What’s IT all about?

February 19, 2009

When asked, ‘What’s it all about?’ most people over a certain age have to battle to repress the overwhelming urge to shriek ‘Alfie’ (you didn’t repress it? – how embarrassing for you). But mine is a serious question.

This site is supposed to cover matters of interest to SCL members, with the main focus on their working lives. I met with a handful of leading IT lawyers only last week and, in the course of a discussion about covering the basics for those new to IT law, I asked the basic question: ‘What is IT law?’

The range of responses was telling – guilt and giggles were certainly present. It is safe to say that the definition was a fluid one. If a transaction that falls to a colleague has an element of IT in it (which, in this century, is pretty well every transaction of a commercial nature) then the IT lawyer can bagsie it – it seemed that IT law was whatever the lawyer wanted it to be. There followed a few embarrassed confessions about rather unlikely IT work and the point was well made that distinguishing (as some firms still do) between the IT law department and the commercial department made no real sense any more on the basis that any commercial enterprise which did not operate with IT at its heart in some way was not likely to be around for long anyway.

I left though no more sure of what IT law is – it is easy to recognise some aspects of it when you see it and easy to recognise a few things that are not it – but just as with the real ‘What’s it all about?’ the grey areas are so pervasive that the borders are lost in the mist.

All this is by way of prologue to this post (albeit a good deal longer than the play) and to the Editor’s Blog. I would like to tell you what the Editor’s Blog will cover but I am not yet sure myself. The blog will be about matters that I think are of concern to SCL members. That means that a lot of the time it will be about IT law, whatever that is. Some of the time it will be about technology and lawyers. Some of the time it will be a little self-indulgent and it will certainly reflect my opinions and prejudices. But I sincerely hope that it will develop by dint of the interaction which this blog and other new elements of the new web site make possible. I will pay careful attention to comments from SCL members and this blog will reflect their perceived interests.

I might just possibly ride my own hobby-horses too though.