Alto Law Group

The hardest thing about writing this first substantive post was deciding what to discuss.  There are so many issues happening on macro, micro, collective and individual basis that it is almost impossible to pick a first topic to address.  We are fortunate to have an amazing cadre of clients who are doing some incredible things both because of and in spite of the economic downturn that has affected all of us in some way.

So to make it easy, I’ve decided to focus this initial post on alto itself.  Since our launch in early 2006, we’ve grown as an organization in many ways.  I’m not going to turn this into a full history review.  Rather, I want to talk just a bit about where we are as we move into 2010.  Many of our goals for the year are the natural outgrowth of our clients’ goals.  In many ways, we go as our clients go.  That is an important part of alto.  We have always maintained the desire to sit alongside our clients as valued partners, and not simply outsourced service providers.  Therefore our optimism for steady growth commencing in 2010 is a direct result of the expectations of our clients.

We started 2010 as a more robust and capable firm than we were at the start of 2009.  We brought on Steve James as an associate.  Steve came to us from Nike and has jumped head first into our sometimes fast-paced practice.  He will be assisting us in all aspects of the services we offer to our clients.  We feel fortunate to have him on board.

We’ve also moved offices.  We’ve expanded our space and allowed for further growth.  The best part (albeit unexpected) is our location directly across the street from the enormously popular food carts at on Alder between SW 9th and 10th Avenues.  It’s the best $6.00 you can spend in Portland.

We have broadened our relationships with experts in areas such as trademarks, tax, litigation, bankruptcy and patent prosecution, thereby permitting us to provide a true full service offering to our client base.  Doing it through outsourced relationships with experienced third parties allows this to happen in a cost effective manner as we do not assume the overhead of the additional firepower.

A newly revamped alto website launched in mid January.  We wanted to provide a clearer message about the services we offer to companies at varying stages of their life cycle.  Therefore, the description of our services is bifurcated into services dedicated to Emerging Businesses and services dedicated to Established Businesses.  The website now reflects more accurately how we work and serve our clients.

In terms of our practice, we will continue to provide a broad swath of legal services to industry leading clients, primarily in the areas of technology, social media, and interactive design.  As indicated on our website, this includes both large and small ventures.  Timely, for this posting, we are starting to see activity increase for both of these client types.  For instance, we currently have 5 emerging clients who are in the process of obtaining legitimate venture capital or angel investing.  We saw little appetite for this type of financing last year other than under very draconian terms.  We are also seeing fewer bankruptcies and foreclosures as things start to stabilize.  Finally, the slow but noticeable increase in IT-related and capital infrastructure spending that is just starting to be undertaken by our established clients is not only an indication of their emerging confidence in the economic climate, but it is also likely to have a beneficial trickle-down effect on our smaller clients which sell into these larger organizations.

While there can be no guarantee as to when the recovery will arrive or the extent to which this will happen at all, we, like many of our clients, feel that business is beginning to rumble back to life.  As our clients tackle the issues facing them during this time (whether they be operational, financial, sales or technology-related), we will be along side of them helping to guide them through the legal issues they encounter – and we will do so in a cost-effective manner and at the speed of business, not the speed of law.