A Welcome Christmas Tradition

December 15, 2017

Much of the enjoyment of Christmas is in
taking comfort from indulging in some well-worn rituals. In dark winter days,
retreating to tradition provides sanctuary from the icy blasts outside.

So after a year of political and technological
turmoil, I make no apologies for using my last message of the year to indulge
in that ancient Christmas activity of looking back at some of the highlights
and achievements over the last 12 months. 

The Online Courts Hackathon, held over 24 hours on a
hot weekend in July, must be counted as one of them. This was a novel form of
event for us and all present were swept away by the energy, invention and
collaboration shown by the competing teams. As our Editor Laurence Eastham
noted in his review of the day:

‘Even I, as a mere observer, was energised
and uplifted by the wonderful atmosphere, the plethora of great ideas and the
stunning skills on display.’

The fact that the event needed to take place
at all is testament to the deep changes that technology is wreaking on legal
practice on the ground. The winning team’s use of voice recognition to provide
assistance to litigants in person is surely a theme we will see recur in 2018.

November saw a successful inaugural student
event ‘A Path to Tech Law‘. Over 120 aspiring tech
lawyers attended, coming from all over the country. The event was borne out of
our University Ambassadors’ initiative which has been set up to engage, enthuse
and educate the tech lawyers of the future and which will be, alongside our
Bursary award, a key part of our activities for hopefully many years to come.

There were so many SCL events in 2017 that
it’s hard to choose, but the ‘Back to Basics‘ Technology day was universally
well received and I think it’s increasingly important that we understand the
law, market practice, and also the underlying technology too.  It also
gave us the chance to launch SCL on YouTube. Our channel now hosts seven videos from
the event, freely available for any interested viewer and acting as a permanent
calling card for what we do.

Also available on the YouTube channel is the Sextech video that shows that no area of human
existence, no matter how intimate, is beyond the reach of the technological
revolution and hot on its heels, the debate as to the need for law and
regulation to ensure that a civilised approach prevails.

But not all highlights are about the new.

We should celebrate the continued strength of
the SCL magazine and the content on the revamped,
now mobile friendly website. It is easy to forget how much expert
insight, analysis and comment is published in print and online each year by
members and thought leaders all expertly marshalled by Laurence Eastham.
 Indeed many of you use the SCL archives as a first port of call for your
research.  A magazine redesign awaits in the New Year to ensure that it
keeps pace with modern tastes.  This year we were delighted to welcome
David Chaplin to the SCL team.  David is the Development Editor for the
SCL website and is spearheading our International Associate Editors initiative.

I am hugely grateful for the continued
support and enthusiasm of my fellow Trustees and also the contribution from the SCL
Groups who have organised a host of excellent events this year.  I would
also like to highlight the efforts of the team at SCL HQ, Caroline, Maddie and Sarah who manage the
Society on a day-to day basis, support the membership and oversee our entire
programme of events involving speakers and delegates from the UK and around the

These ongoing activities are at the heart of
what we do and what your support, through membership fees and time offered,
helps to provide. It is that mix of tradition and the innovation that sets us
apart and helps to make the SCL such a vibrant community.

Enjoy the break and prepare yourself for a
turbulent 2018.