October 27, 2010

I am writing this in the positive afterglow of the latest successful SCL Conference. My relatively brief attendance was a lift for morale. But this focused event, and especially the focused and positive collection of attendees, does remind me that standards on these pages and on the web site need to be kept high to match expectations. I hope the expectations are met. If even half those who expressed stirring and challenging thoughts at the Conference, whether as speakers or from the floor, were able to turn those contributions into articles, we would have a very rich seam to mine. 

New Developments for SCL 

In opening the Conference, SCL Chair Clive Davies highlighted three exciting new developments.

First, there was the new SCL logo and the ‘tag line’ that goes with it. The former is simply a refreshing change and we are busily engaged in the process of reflecting that change in these pages and on the web site. The latter (‘the IT Law Community’) is a recognition of old functions and new aims and encapsulates the renewed focus of SCL. While SCL has long been an IT law community, as was perfectly demonstrated by the SCL Conference itself, the renewed emphasis on that role will inform future initiatives and influence SCL policy.

The second new development springs from SCL’s community function and has spawned two initiatives. A new SCL group is to be formed – the SCL Junior IT Lawyers Group. The Group will have its first meeting in 2011 and will aim to provide a forum and meeting place for those with less experience of IT law practice. The second initiative involves a more informal arrangement but also recognises the specific needs of some SCL members. There is to be a series of SCL events with a special focus on matters of interest to in-house lawyers. The first meeting, Providing Legal Support Smarter – the In-house Perspective, is on 2 December. The events aim to attract the increasing number of in-house SCL members, and of course they offer a further incentive to join SCL to those in-house lawyers with an IT law role.

The third new development is the creation of a scheme for accreditation and certification of IT lawyers. There will be both basic IT Law Certification and, for those with proven experience in the field, the more advanced SCL IT Law Accreditation. The full scheme will be announced in the New Year but it will add even more value to SCL membership as accreditation by SCL will be available only to SCL members. Accreditation and certification will have increased significance too once the SCL Members’ Directory is online. 

Clive Davies said: 

‘These new initiatives are central to the way in which I see SCL developing through 2011 and beyond. The accreditation/certification scheme is a new and exciting venture and involves a recognition of how far SCL has come and how central it is to IT law practice in the UK. I am keen to listen to more suggestions from members as to how we can serve their needs’. 

Back to Basics 

This issue of the magazine introduces a new feature – Back to Basics. We will see a series of articles over the next year which will focus on the fundamentals of IT law practice. Roger Bickerstaff gives a full introduction to the series on p 25, but I wanted to emphasise how keen we are to get feedback on the idea. Gillian Cordall has contributed the first piece in the series, aiming to cover all the very important elements of contract formation and show their relevance to IT law practice. I think she has succeeded admirably but I would love to hear from the target readership because that will help us pitch later articles in the series at the right level. If you have colleagues who could give me feedback, do encourage them to do so.