WorldCom Targets Legal Industry

SAN MATEO (08/02/2000) - Worldcom Inc. on Wednesday announced a key deal with legal technology software developer West Group to provide its Enterprise DSL broadband service to law firms.

The partnership is important because it is an early attempt to customize broadband connections for a specific industry, and may signify that DSL will creep into business applications by first penetrating key vertical markets, such as law offices.

Clinton, Miss.-based WorldCom and its DSL partner Rhythms NetConnections Inc. in Englewood, Colo., will fuel West's new Web-based legal application dubbed WestWorks.

Eagan, Minn.-based West's plan is to pull together law practice management functions and its content offerings and deploy that combination over WorldCom's Enterprise DSL connection.

WorldCom signed with Rhythms to ensure that the service has a national footprint, although the WestWorks software will first be available in Miami, Houston, and San Francisco later this year.

Using the broadband connection provided for WestWorks, law offices will be able to quickly access docketing, time and billing, and client-data entry applications. West describes the new application as a first attempt to deliver customized broadband access to a vertical industry with specific content needs.

WorldCom and Rhythms are just the latest partners for West's WestWorks effort.

Also included are IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., and Elite Information Group Inc.

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