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01 December 2009

James Hatton Appears in Lexpert Magazine Article About The Virtual Legal Marketplace

Farris Partner James Hatton appears in the November 2009 issue of Lexpert Magazine in an article, entitled “The Virtual Legal Marketplace,” which discusses how technology is being used in the legal profession.

To read the excerpt featuring James Hatton, please see below:

The Virtual Legal Marketplace
by Marzena Czarnecka

Lawyers have been cautious about using social networking but are gradually embracing the use of social sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Web 2.0 continues to challenge lawyers as they realize that opting out of this new system of connection may equal opting out of business.

[...] Is it worth it? For James Hatton, a partner with Vancouver’s Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

Hatton has a personal profile on Facebook and a professional one on LinkedIn. He’s had a blog on licensing (www.jameshatton.com/public) since 2003, and, more recently, he’s started playing with Twitter. But his big “gift” to the web is an exhaustive list of links to publicly available pharmaceutical commercial licensing agreements, hosted on Delicious (http://delicious.com).

Delicious is a social bookmarking site where members share their favorite bookmarks. Hatton was an early adopter of its capabilities: it was a convenient was to organize the information he was gathering, and an easy way to share it with interested colleagues.

Inadvertently - but perhaps inevitably - the Delicious bookmarks have become his most powerful business development tool.

“When I go into a negotiation, I always arm myself with all publicly available agreements of the other side,” Hatton explains. For the most part, these are publicly disclosed documents available via SEDAR, the Securities Exchange Commission and other sources, but finding them requires some digging. Hatton’s done the digging - and in the spirit of Web 2.0, he doesn’t think everyone else should replicate his effort. (A big change, notes Fodden, from the old-school model of closely guarded knowledge, within the legal profession and without.) Instead, people searching for specific pharmaceutical licensing agreements can - and do - go to http://delicious.com/JamesHatton/agreement and find what they need.

As they use the bookmarks Hatton has collected, they make them better. User suggestions help Hatton refine his sorting tags, identify new areas to track and occasionally bring his attention to agreements he may have missed. That makes his job easier.

Then there’s the profile and the pay-off: “I just got a call from a patent lawyer in Seattle, who called me after looking at the Delicious bookmarks, and told me he’s just been talking about them with his boss,” says Hatton. There’s a file in this offering. “For me, that’s gold.”

Here’s the tricky part, though. The pay-off’s there chiefly because Hatton’s “gift” to the Delicious community was, and is, a sincere one, with no strings attached. There’s no “sell” on the site, no “hire me because I’m the expert in this field” sign. [...]

Excerpted from Lexpert Magazine

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