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STATE OF MARKET

Is cyberlaw still alive? [by Jim Dunlap] Net-based litigation survives demise of many dot-com players.

It’s logical to assume that cyberlaw as a legal

“The Internet touches almost every area of

“[Cyberlaw] is still somewhat growing, but

specialty has gone the way of Internet-based

the law in some sense,” DeGidio said. How-

very slowly at this point,” Anderson said.

IPOs. Some might think the boom-gone-bust

ard Friedman, director of the Cyber Securi-

“Probably the market is collapsing in some

that was dot-com magic has left cyberlaw

ties Law Institute at the University of Toledo

areas, but our firm is prospering because of

attorneys with nothing to do but dust off

School of Law in Toledo, Ohio agrees.

our specialization and the fact we market our services extensively.”

worthless stock options. But the death of cyberlaw has been greatly exaggerated.

“Cybertech is finding its way into lots of

While some firms or individual practitioners

different areas that traditional uses of the

DeGidio was previously an associate in a

have downsized or de-emphasized the area,

Internet did not previously involve,” he said.

large firm, but went out on his own when he realized his cyberlaw business would support

others have stuck to their high-tech guns If there has been a trend in cyberlaw prac-

him quite nicely. He also markets his niche

tice, it has perhaps been most noticeable in

expertise aggressively - on a Web site at the

“It depends whether your practice was in

large firms. Many who boasted sizable cyber-

address www.cyberlawyer.com. DeGidio said

IPOs or intellectual property, but intellectual

law sections a few years ago have shifted as-

the dot-com demise affected large firms, but

property hasn’t gone away, and the need for

sociates into more lucrative practice areas.

there is still plenty of need for his expertise.

away,” said Al Hammond, a law professor

“I’ve seen my Internet practice go away - I

“From a big-firm perspective, it’s not so

at the University of Santa Clara in Santa

don’t even spend much time doing it any

much worth it, but it’s fine for me,” he said.

Clara, Calif. “It’s more prudent to think about

more,” said Ralph Losey of Katz, Kutter,

cyberlaw expanding - there are actually more

Alderman, Bryant & Yon in Orlando, Fla. “It

This story appeared in the October 2002

opportunities, rather than less.”

may be better in other parts of the country

edition of The National Jurist, www.nation-

- Orlando is not exactly a high-tech center

aljurist.com.

- and thrived.

people to do that sort of thing hasn’t gone

Cyberlaw is technically a sub-specialty of

- but there’s not a big local client base here

intellectual property law. Its basis is the

like there is in places like Silicon Valley.” On

Internet, and anything related to it.

the other hand, a number of medium-sized specialist firms and sole practitioners seem

Many of the companies who created the

to be right at home in cyberspace. Their

Internet buzz have struggled or disappeared,

clients are primarily small- to medium-sized

but the Net continues to re-invent itself with

businesses and individuals. Major corpora-

new uses and applications. That prolifera-

tions tend to use in-house or retained coun-

tion of uses - and its incredible worldwide

sel for cyberlaw issues, even though they

access - continues to create opportunities for

may not be well versed in the field, according

cyberlaw attorneys.

to Losey.

Anthony J. DeGidio Jr., a cyberlaw special-

Stephen Anderson is a principal in Newport

ist attorney in Toledo, Ohio, said his practice

Beach, Calif.-based Anderson & Shippey, a

involves litigation, trademark and domain

thriving cyberlaw specialist firm with other

name disputes, e-commerce, some crimi-

offices in San Francisco and Washington,

nal cases such as pornography, and First

D.C. Anderson said his firm has found a

Amendment issues.

profitable niche.

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Is cyberlaw still alive?  

Cyber legal specialty has gone the way of internet-based IPO. You are practicing in IPO or intellectual property.

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