Report on SCL Junior Lawyers’ Group Meeting – Back to Basics 1

October 8, 2011

This meeting, the first of the ‘Back to Basics’ sessions addressing the key areas of knowledge required to advise on IT law, was delivered by John Yates (v-lex) and Terry Bergin (4 Pump Court) and was chaired by Rebecca Anderson (Kemp Little LLP).

The meeting was extremely well-attended, with the audience being made up of over 55 lawyers from law firms ranging from magic circle to niche IT practices, as well as in-house practitioners.

John Yates opened the session, sharing his pearls of wisdom from over two decades of advising on various complex technology and outsourcing deals.  His headline message was that lawyers on such transactions are capable of adding value over and above a general review of legal Ts and Cs, by being more involved in the overall deal process and, therefore, being better informed of the potential risks involved.  He referenced a number of recent examples of “deals gone wrong” and suggested ways of navigating possible pitfalls.

Terry Bergin, who has worked on some of the most high-profile IT litigation of recent years, focussed in further still on the drafting of exclusion of liability clauses.  His advice was that the crafting of an effective exclusion clause is dependent on an informed understanding of the risks associated with a particular deal, with thought, in particular, being given to: (i) what the contract is about; (ii) what could go wrong; and (iii) the potential consequences.  He also went on to discuss the merits of different dispute resolution mechanisms, including Expert Determination and Early Neutral Evaluation.

The session was very well received, and set a good precedent for Part 2 of the Back to Basics series. 

Rebecca Anderson is a Senior Associate in the Commercial Technology team at Kemp Little. Gayatri Sehdev is an Associate in the Corporate team at that firm.