SCL and Student Events

December 11, 2017

On 29 November, SCL held its highly successful student-focused
event ‘A Path to Tech Law’. It was an opportunity to help inform the choices of
students who might be considering a career in tech law, designed to give them
an insight into the realities of practice and tips on getting started in tech
law. The event was generously hosted by Reed Smith and was chaired by SCL
Trustee Mark Lumley from Shulmans LLP. The panel was made up of Chris James, Legal Director, DLA Piper
(UK) LLP, Lucie Audibert, LSE LLB
& McGill BCom Graduate, Junior Policy Officer at Internet &
Jurisdiction, Winner, SCL Student Essay Prize 2016, Michael Butterworth, Tech & Outsourcing Associate at
Fieldfisher, Lorraine Chimbga,
Compliance Analyst, FundApps, recently designated Best Future International
Lawyer 2017 by the AIJA, and Chris
, Professor of Internet Law, University of Sussex. It was a sold-out

Olivia Jean-Baptiste has shared her impressions of that
event, which we set out below, concluding with the phrase ‘I hope that there
are more events such as these targeted specifically at students in the future’.
Olivia has not had long to wait. SCL has arranged the SCL
Student Tech Law Challenge 2018
to be held on Saturday 3 February 2018. The
event is being held by the SCL Junior Lawyers’ Group at the University of Law
and involves teams ‘living a day in the life of a tech lawyer’ – testing negotiating,
presentation and decision-making skills. Bearing in mind that the last student-focused
event sold out and the buzz which Olivia Jean-Baptiste reflects on below,
students might well be encouraged to consider the event pretty urgently.

Olivia Jean-Baptiste

As a law student, I have attended countless events at
commercial firms but never one that has had a strong nexus to technology law, let
alone one that offered an insight into finding ‘A Path to Tech Law’. The timing
of this event, for me was serendipitous. As a second-year LLB law student I am
not only figuring out which areas I would like to specialise in but also
completing the daunting process of making and sending off applications for
vacation schemes and training contracts. I was beginning to feel apprehensive
about tech law and felt perhaps I should stick to a more ‘traditional’ area of

However, the first way in which the SCL event helped was
confirming that I am in fact a suitable candidate for a technology-based career
in law. I have always had an interest in technology and have been proactive in ensuring
that this interest would be clear to potential employers. Event chair Mark
Lumley, a SCL Trustee, listed some of the key qualities of tech lawyers which I
felt matched my own strengths. These were curiosity, ‘an interest in what is
coming next’ and ‘a passion for what they do’.

Moreover, one of the panellists, Lorraine Chimbga, a
compliance analyst for a start-up called Fund Apps, made the point that
you can sell your enthusiasm even if you’re not a tech expert. Ultimately, the
panellists made clear that you do not have to know everything! You must simply
show motivation and an interest. This is one of the reasons why events such as
these are so helpful. They reignite a passion in committed students that they
do have what it takes as long as they work hard to achieve it.

Motivation and determination are nothing
without a way of being utilised: a clear plan. This is another way in which the
SCL event was useful. While the Internet is a great resource for researching
and learning about how to become involved in tech law, the opportunity to be
face-to-face with current tech lawyers was invaluable.

I left with a more concrete plan on how to
get into tech law and ways of broadening my knowledge. While you do not have to
be an expert to succeed you cannot be complacent either. As Chris Marsden said
‘a little extra knowledge would always help’. The panellists stressed the
importance of networking with practising lawyers and recommended reading Code 2.0 by Lawrence Lessig. Even
something as simple as a book recommendation can put you a step closer to
becoming a tech lawyer and finding what truly interests you.

To conclude, I am extremely grateful to SCL
for this insightful event.  It was
certainly worth braving the cold on a dark Wednesday evening for and I hope
that there are more events such as these targeted specifically at students in
the future.