Davis Wright forges first global e-commerce group

Ten top international firms are launching the first global law firm alliance that focuses exclusively on e-commerce law and the internet.

Led by 375-lawyer US firm Davis Wright Tremaine, the Global Alliance for eCommerce Law includes Australia's top-five firm Clayton Utz and leading Hong Kong practice Johnson Stokes & Master.

The group has members in North and South America, Asia, the South Pacific, and the Middle East.

It is in the process of talking to firms in Europe with the aim of bringing five or six firms on board with one in each significant jurisdiction.

The other member firms are Argentinian firm Marval O'Farrell & Mairal, Brazilian firm Demarest e Almeida, Mexican practice Goodrich Riquelme y Asociados, Filipino firm Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles, and Singapore firm Rodyk & Davidson.

Keith Korenchuk chair of the alliance and a partner in the internet and e-commerce group at Davis Wright, says: “We are in discussions with a number of European firms and hope to have the major European markets covered in the next few months. We are going to pick only one firm in each country.

“We are looking for leading firms and we will try to create an environment where we will work with local firms in each country.”

He says the size of the firms involved means there is no point in bringing on board any more than another five or six.

He says: “It's going to be a relatively small group and that's by design. We have a firm in Australia that has 800 lawyers, our firm has 375 and the member in Hong Kong has 275.

“We have a lot of lawyers that need to understand what we are trying to do -we are not interested in having 100 firms.”

Partners at Davis Wright conceived the idea and approached firms in the other states.

Managing partner Bradley Diggs says: “The worldwide business environment is transforming and our law firm is committed to leading our clients into the e-commerce age.

AEuropean-wide e-commerce alliance called Ecomlex was launched in March (The Lawyer, 6 March.)

Its members include Field Fisher Waterhouse, Harper Macleod and German member Leinen Derichs.