Ian Penman and Paul Hosford
Total number of partners: Two
Total number of lawyers: Four
Main practice areas: Media and technology
Key clients: Sony Computer Entertainment, SpinVox, YooMedia
Number of offices: One
The founding partners of media boutique New Media Law, Ian Penman and Paul Hosford, originally met at DLA (now DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary) before Hosford decamped to Steptoe & Johnson. The two decided to reaquaint themselves at New Media Law when both realised that they were turning away potential clients who could not afford City rates. The pair launched their niche firm in January 2002 and recruited trainee Michelle Bonn, who has since qualified, to assist them.
Penman was immediately pleased to see a number of DLA clients following him, including his key client Sony Computer Entertainment (Playstation). Penman has advised the company on its music licences and regulatory issues with Ofcom, among other things.
While Penman was “utterly amazed” that such a prize client would stay loyal to him, it reaffirmed his belief in his new business. Penman and Hosford focus on IT and IP law, mainly for developing companies. Bonn provides litigation expertise and an extensive contact base in the film industry.
Flexibility is a key word in the New Media Law vocabulary and Penman has a desire to offer services outside the remit of the average lawyer. For a fixed fee, New Media Law will identify sources of funding for entrepreneurs with good business ideas. The firm will turn to its network of funding sources, which includes venture capital funds, investment bankers and high-net-worth individuals.
The firm has assisted nine companies in the last year in this manner, including Christina Domecq’s new venture SpinVox, a system that converts voice messages to text on telephones. After assisting with fundraising, New Media Law advised the company on commercial agreements with Dixons and John Lewis.
When these companies grow and have deals that require more manpower than New Media Law can provide, the firm turns to Cobbetts. Hosford and Penman signed a joint venture agreement with the national firm, which allows New Media Law to outsource work to them immediately via email. The firms have worked together on a number of shareholder deals and Cobbetts worked on the corporate restructuring of the Online Travel Group following a referral from New Media Law.
In October last year, the firm grew further with the recruitment of Roger Field as a consultant. Field was group legal director for Random House for five years and prior to that ran the legal department at IPC Magazines for seven years. Field specialises in publishing law and Random House has already sent the first instructions. He will be offering his libel reading services, as well as his general commercial and legal expertise, to a host of publishing and media companies.