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It is more than a decade since the dotcom bubble burst but one lawyer in particular remembers it as if it were yesterday.
“I’ve been interested in the internet since 1995 when there was no work to speak of,” recalls Lecote founder Andrew Sparrow. “By 2000 when the bubble burst I’d already been working in the sector for several years.”
Sparrow, then a partner at Birmingham firm Lee Crowder (now part of Cobbetts), says that in a way the bubble bursting was a good thing. “A lot of law firms came to the sector late and thought it wasn’t viable,” he says. “But I was so committed that I decided to set up a new firm.”
So Lecote was born in 2002, with the aim of handling legal work associated with the internet.
The firm now acts for a range of new media clients including online games developers, website designers, software developers and television and film production companies on web-related issues.
“It’s not an easy business climate but a lot of spend is going online,” says Sparrow. “It’s very dynamic.”
He points to the success of social networking businesses as evidence that early doubters of the web’s importance were wrong, saying that few saw how successful it was going to be.
The lawyer is convinced that one of his firm’s recent innovations will also be a success. Last year Lecote delivered a so-called ’virtual world’ for an event attended by a range of clients and other professionals. The firm built a virtual auditorium in Second Life and guests around the world attended via their avatars. The objective was to show how the virtual world can be a viable platform for legal services.
“This technology will be much more widespread in future and lawyers will be part of it,” says Sparrow. “A few years ago nobody thought about Facebook - you can’t rule anything out with the internet.”
Principal: Andrew Sparrow
Number of partners: One
Number of equity partners: One
Number of lawyers: One
Number of fee-earners: One
Number of offices: One
Main practice areas: Internet and new media-related commercial contracts, IP/IT