The high-tech world of IT and telecoms is moving so fast that even specialist firms have difficulty keeping up. Like the industry itself, the businesses and legal teams in it are generally young. A new company's growth in this field is often rapid and as a result, its legal team quickly expands to deal with an ever-increasing workload.
But with such sudden advancement comes high risk, as retailer boo.com recently discovered after it was forced into liquidation. The internet is open to corruption, via viruses or exposure of confidential information, and lawyers must keep an eye out for these dangers.
Intellectual property and M&A work can bring rich rewards to firms with niche expertise.
In-house teams are often relied on for their inside understanding of the technology they are dealing with. They tend to call on individual external specialists only when they feel a subject is outside their domain.
While City firms are generally still used for major deals, companies often turn to smaller niche firms, which are cheaper, for the remainder of outsourced projects. Lawyers are often judged as individuals rather than on the reputation of their firm, and outsourcing is mostly done on an ad hoc basis, often through an informal network, though beauty parades are still used by some.