August 26, 2009


 If the printers don’t work to rule, you should just have time when getting this issue to take advantage of the SCL Conference early-bird offer. This year’s Conference at Bath is only £495 if you book by 11 September. I appreciate that price is hardly the major factor when choosing whether or not to book a conference, but saving £50 is not to be sniffed at – especially when the SCL Conference scores so highly on value for money even at its full price. I am particularly interested to hear Alex Charlton QC talk about fraud on Day 1 of the Conference – given that the EDS v BSkyB judgment is still not published as I write this,  early October may be the first chance for him to try and avoid commenting on it. (I swear I heard the judgment was promised for Easter but, to be fair, nobody said which Easter.)

 If you missed the news item on the web site about the discount available to SCL members on the International Journal of Law and Information Technology, the instructions on how to get that are still available there. With Professor Christopher Millard, Professor Richard Susskind and Dr Ian J Lloyd as its general editors and Dr Julia Hörnle as its managing editor, the journal is rightly known throughout the academic world as a leading publication in its field. Its focus on a more academic approach means that it complements the SCL magazine, especially for those seeking to widen horizons and identify international academic thinking. SCL members not only have the opportunity to take advantage of a special subscription rate but can also test the suitability of the journal for their needs by registering online to read a free online isue.

But my biggest money-saving tip is to take advantage of the free online CPD that SCL offers its members. It really is foolish to overlook it as a number of the podcasts are on the edge of entertaining and the questions merely seek to establish that you have actually listened rather than requiring a deep analysis of the subject-matter covered. 

W/web site 

Once there was the World Wide Web and it definitely had initial caps. But www is lower case so it seems natural for people to assume that it is ‘the web’ (if users know what ‘www’ actually stands for).  

I am not entirely adjusted but am trying hard not to worry about it. The web has lost its niche and floated into the mainstream. In truth, that probably happened a good while ago – it has just taken me this long to admit that that has an impact on the magazine’s editorial style guide. I have at last decided to let ‘web site’ past my red pen. 

But the change has a wider importance. When was the last time a listener glazed over when you mentioned the web as they frequently did in the good old days, enabling you to spout any old rubbish and still seem like an expert? When it comes to social exchanges, working in any web-related area now is like being a lorry driver – the listener might possibly acknowledge that you have some special road expertise but it carries no status; they have their own road stories to tell and, if you are lucky, they will share a selection of them with you. If you are unlucky, they will tell you all of them.

 How do you view the difference between ‘Web’ and ‘web’? Is it a loss of special status and a premium rate? Or is it acceptance as a major player in the mainstream of legal work, while still having the smug knowledge that you do have a special expertise? If you take the first view you may have to rebrand, like refuse operatives did or in the same way that those dealing with the minutiae of contracts have become ‘transactional lawyers’. If you take the latter view, the world’s your oyster.