Web Week

The Lawyer’s Web Week is a weekly commentary on legal activity on the web. This includes an overview of the best of the week’s blogs. If you want to direct us to useful links, email webweek@thelawyer. com.

Are law firms set to lead double lives?
Web week discovered the intriguing world of the Second Life this week. Second Life is a virtual world, which Web Week is concerned about entering in case it never re-emerges. But others have stepped in where Web Week fears to tread.

Reuters has been the first major corporate to launch a Second Life news service, while Sony BMG is set to provide music in this other world, which was created to be “better than reality, without political or religious issues”.

Second Life residents use Linden dollars to buy and sell items and trade shares. A US congressman even raised questions about Second Life’s tax status.

All this caused www.informationoverlord.co.ukto wonder: “Had the world gone mad? Kevin O’Keefe [at kevin.lexblog.com] predicts Law Firms cropping up in SL sometime soon. Hmm, small ones maybe, not sure I can ever see a Clifford Chance or Linklaters Second Life office anytime soon.”

It’s a caring, sharing world
Information World Review (www.iwr.co.uk) dipped into Web Week’s world this week: “Anyone who still imagines that law firms are dinosaurs when it comes to adopting new technology should lay that belief to rest. In the past year, the global law firm Allen & Overy [A&O] has embraced Web 2.0 technologies at a time when many corporates are still trying to work out what they’re for.

“They could instantly see the benefits of using blogs and wikis as a method of communicating and sharing information within the firm.

“A&O’s head of knowledge management Ruth Ward is now excited about the next phase of the project, which will involve rolling out a site to the knowledge management teams of key clients. She sees this as an extension of work that A&O already does: ’We spend a lot of time with key clients. We bring them together and have lots of areas of common interest to discuss. It’s not just Allen & Overy telling our clients what we think works and doesn’t work; it’s about clients sharing their ideas with each other.’

“This model of working, Ward believes, is becoming increasingly common, with businesses tending to enter into collaboration with each other. As an example, she cites the Banking Legal Technology Group, a consortium of major banks that has created a portal to share legal information from law firms such as A&O and Linklaters.

“In future, it seems likely that this kind of collaboration will become the norm – and Ward will be able to say she played a part in making it happen.”

Will The Duc be a big biller?
www.managingip.com dipped into comic book territory with news of Vietnamese superhero Dang The Duc.

The Duc, it turns out, is also “a former partner of Vision & Associates in Vietnam, [and] has left the firm to set up Indochine Counsel.

“The new firm, based in Ho Chi Minh City, has three partners and seven associates and legal assistants. It will focus on transactional work, but its lawyers will still advise on IP litigation. The other IP partners at Vision & Associates have stayed with the firm.

“Dang The Duc said he expected the legal market in the country to develop rapidly over the next few years, following Vietnam’s membership of the WTO.”

Royal blues
Clifford Chance was quick off the mark with its response to the Queen’s Speech on 15 November. The firm’s head of public policy Michael Smyth and lawyer Patricia Barratt produced an easy-to-digest guide to the speech. They quickly posted it online at www.cliffordchance.com. However, at 30 pages, 862.8KB and several thousand words, it didn’t seem that easy to digest.

Blog on dudes
A handy search engine was launched last week for those hard-to-find blawgs. Check out blawgsearch.justia.com for the latest on how your firm is doing in the blogosphere.