SCL Conference: Alive and Kicking

October 14, 2009

I was at Bath only on Friday – so for one day of the two-day SCL Conference. But, although I missed Saturday’s proceedings, I feel confident in saying that it was a great success. I am bolstered in that view by what I have heard of the formal and informal feedback from those who did attend but I mainly formed the view based on what I saw.

It wasn’t the presentations themselves. Although there was considerable sparkle from some presenters, it was the exchanges between panel members and from the floor – where delegates with frightening expertise sometimes revealed themselves – that most impressed. That chimed with a suggestion from one speaker, Malcolm Bennett, that more recognition is needed that it is not just the lawyer’s job to screw the other side but to ensure that the project to which a contract relates will actually work (I paraphrase wildly). He must have been impressed with the exchanges that followed on outsourcing and government contracting – where rival lawyers worked hard to define best approaches.

There’s no end of intelligence being applied to find innovative legal solutions that make business sense and suit all parties. (Perhaps a lesson here for the OGC, given their adherence to the relatively moribund terms they insist upon.) I was genuinely impressed and, while {I don’t fully agree with Malcolm Bennett:}, I am beginning to wonder if he was closer to being right than I gave him credit for.

Of course there is a part of me that was intensely jealous – it would be great to see that level of exchange reflected in web site comments (but even I don’t think that is all that realistic).

Friday left me feeling very positive about SCL’s future and I am sure that feeling is widely shared by those that attended.