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I was only able to spend one day at the Virtual Worlds Expo in LA last week, but the big virtual law story was unmistakable: large U.S. law firms are starting to get more involved in 3D internet legal issues.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman (sporting a spiffy new logo and single-name branding) drew the most attention for an announcement that Pillsbury is creating a practice group with a specific focus on virtual worlds.  There are other firms with video game practice groups, of course, but this is a virtual worlds and video games team, and I believe it makes Pillsbury the first major U.S. law firm to specifically target the emerging 3D internet market by name.  Kudos to team co-founders IP Section head James Gatto and IP partner Evan Finkel, as well as the rest of the team.

Pillsbury’s lawyers had company; I talked to ten or fifteen other attorneys, many from big firms.  Firms were even sponsoring events at the Expo this time.  Latham & Watkins, the home of Roxanne Christ (Co-Chair of the Publications Subcommittee of the American Bar Association’s Special Committee on Computer Gaming and Virtual Worlds) sponsored a VIP reception for speakers at the Latham offices in Los Angeles, and Nixon Peabody sponsored lunch.

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