Certification and Accreditation

March 1, 2011

“A university professor set an examination question in which he asked what is the difference between ignorance and apathy. The professor had to give an A+ to a student who answered: I don’t know and I don’t care.”
– Richard Pratt, Pacific Computer Weekly, 20 July 1990.

I have maintained an interest in standards and training throughout my career. It is so easy to miss that latest case or other legal development in the IT field. Most law firms have good internal training programmes but these of necessity have to cover other material in addition to the subjects that particularly interest IT lawyers. In house we also have such programmes, though not normally as comprehensive. We can in addition sometimes join in the trainging sessions run by the law firms we use.

Nevertheless capturing and retaining useful knowledge specifically related to IT remains a challenge. I personally have found that writing and lecturing is a really good way to find out if you truly know your subject.

And of course SCL has many great educational events and we can use online technology to do webcasts or hold “live meetings”.

However we felt at SCL that what has maybe been missing was any kind of accepted standard for an IT lawyer who has gained good practical experience and has made the effort to continue his or her professional development.

So we have just launched on the SCL web site a scheme for the certification of junior IT lawyers and of accreditation for more experienced IT practitioners – see  http://www.scl.org/site.aspx?i=ne19293

The general idea is to try to set some standards by which IT lawyers can be recognised as such both within their practices and more generally.

I commend this new initiative to you and as it is, hopefully, used more and more welcome your feedback.