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Field Fisher Waterhouse is launching a European e-commerce association aimed at establishing itself as a lead player for advice in the new economy.
The firm is set to bolster its 14-strong e-commerce team with the launch of the 15-firm European network, to be known as Ecomlex.
The firm is tight-lipped on the full list of network members, saying that some are lawyers from major firms already pursuing cross-border mergers.
Field Fisher IT partner Nigel Wildish says: "Some firms do not want to advertise their membership of Ecomlex because it might prejudice their alliances with other firms. But we will have an association of individual lawyers within firms, who are known experts in IT."
Field Fisher, whose new economy clients include War-ner Brothers, British American Tobacco, Granada and Colt Telecom, says that the association will put it into the top bracket of e-commerce advisers. Senior IT partner Michael Chiswick is already a recognised leader in the field.
Wildish says: "We are now getting five to 10 new clients a week in this area. Many of them want their operations running across Europe and we should be able to provide them with local legal advice in individual countries."
Jan Ramkvist, head of Swedish firm Advokatfirman Fylgia, a founder member of Ecomlex, says: "We are now seeing Swedish e-business establishing operations in the UK and across Europe. The association will enable us to offer our clients a pan-European service and to compete head-on with the likes of Clifford Chance and Baker & McKenzie."
Tom Thomas, head of IT at Scottish member firm Harper Macleod, says: "We are seeing a rapid rise in the amount of e-commerce work this firm is undertaking. Ecomlex is a model for medium-sized law firms to cooperate in specific sectors."