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.

FFW’s boast in the machine
Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) is the undoubted star of Web Week this week after becoming the first law firm to launch in virtual world Second Life (see story, page 5).

Second Life was created by US company Linden Labs in 2003 and is one of the fastest-growing virtual worlds. There are currently more than five million users resident in Second Life alone and the combined real money value of the major virtual economies now exceeds the GDP of many nation states.

Which would seem reason enough to launch a virtual office there.

But here’s FFW partner David Naylor explaining his reasons for launching an office: “Virtual worlds offer a compelling environment for communication and collaboration, as well as an important commercial distribution channel. By establishing a Second Life presence, we’re able to interact in new and engaging ways with our clients and the wider community. Businesses are moving increasingly rapidly into Second Life and other 3D internet environments and their advisers should be there with them.”

Here’s a taster of some of those companies that have launched in Second Life: Adidas, ABN Amro, Amazon, American Apparel, AOL, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, BBC, Calvin Klein, Cisco, Circuit City, CNet, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Endemol, General Motors, IBM, Intel, MTV, Nissan, PA Consulting, Reebok, Reuters, Save The Children, Sony BMG, Starwood Hotels, Sun Microsystems, Toyota, Warner Bros, Wells Fargo, Yahoo!And if that’s not enough for you, you can also check out Duran Duran and Suzanne Vega in Second Life. Web Week was a bit of a Durannie as a kid (hey, weren’t we all), but unfortunately missed out on the live experience. We’re not quite sure that Second Life is an adequate substitute for seeing a twentysomething John Taylor in the flesh, but still can’t wait to hear Rio in cyberspace.

Reuters has been here a while. This is what it’s got to say on the subject: “Reuters reports what happens there because it matters here. This is not a game. These are real people. This is real money. This is real news.”

You have been told. Baker & McKenzie may have an office in Chihuahua (that’s in Mexico folks). Reed Smith may have an office in Solihull. But FFW has one in another world. Beat that DLA Piper.

Wind, rocks and smelly socks
Meanwhile, back in the real world, our intrepid explorers from Travers Smith have mailed back from Everest Base Camp: “The trip through the ice-fall was long and tiring although we managed to complete the route in good time – this was encouraging as it shows we are acclimatising well and it’s safer if you can climb quickly at altitude.”…Two years ago, an avalanche hit Camp One and wiped away all the tents (fortunately, with no one injured as no one was in the tents!). The evidence of this is now in the ice-fall – as the glacier has shifted down the valley, so have the remains of the camp. You will be glad to know the site of Camp One has now been moved to reduce the possibility of avalanches reaching the camp.”

Phew!”The stay at Camp One was cold and windy and the storm winds buffeted our tent throughout the night. Things were not helped by territorial disputes breaking out when Sam carelessly and thoughtlessly ventured onto Russ’s side of the tent. This was eventually solved by Russ placing his used, damp socks down the middle of the available space. We are hoping that it is this kind of problem-solving ingenuity which will see us to the top of Everest.”

To see if Sam can cope with the whiff of Russ’s socks and to keep up to date with their adventures, visit www.travers smith.com