New Council Members

April 30, 1999

The Council of SCL has been strengthened by the addition of three new memberswith very different backgrounds and interests. Simon Kosminsky, Mark Slade andDistrict Judge Monty Trent will each bring skills and experience which will help SCL face the challenges which rapid developments in IT provision in the lawbring with them.

Simon Kosminsky

Simon Kosminsky has been an IT professional for 16 years, working in both thepublic and private sector. He has been IT Director at Wilde Sapte since 1991.Having completed an honours degree in Law and Politics in 1981 he achieved amerit award in his postgraduate diploma in Computer Science. He is the author ofa book `Computers – who needs them?’ and has contributed articles to a varietyof publications. He is a regular speaker at seminars and conferences. He is amember of the ELITE group of the British Computer Society and currentChairperson of the PCDOCS UK user group.

Mark Slade

Mark Slade (35) is Fidler & Pepper’s partner in charge of IT. Fidler& Pepper is a six-partner firm in the depressed (former) mining area ofNorth Nottinghamshire. Soon after qualifying in 1989, Mark joined theconveyancing department, which at that stage was already running a casemanagement system. He learned how to customise the system, and changed it so itreflected how the firm worked. In 1990 he ran a consultancy offering thisservice to other firms running the same system. In 1994 he helped to write anewcase management system with Select Legal Systems Limited, and thenimplemented that system throughout the firm. From 1989 to the end of 1998 he hasrun the domestic conveyancing departments at 1, 2, and 3 offices using the casemanagement system. He is well aware of the problems of private practice in adepressed area, and also how technology and better work methods can be used tosolve those problems.

Mark Slade first went on the Internet in January 1995, and started working onthe Fidler & Pepper Web site later the same year. The Fidler & PepperWeb site has been featured in Delia Venables newsletter, Mastering the Internetby Ian Shircore and Richard Lander (due out in November 1998), News of theWorld, Radio Nottingham, Internet Magazine, and most of the Nottingham press. Itfeatured the first online conveyancing quote system and the first online matterreports (where clients can get progress report on their matters over theInternet). He recently spoke about the development of the Web site at `Thecommoditisation and online provision of legal services’ conference in December1998.

Just before Christmas Mark left the day-to-day running of the conveyancingdepartment and concentrated on submitting Fidler & Pepper’s franchiseapplication. He is currently working on getting the matrimonial departmentworking as efficiently as the conveyancing department, and the next version ofFidler &Pepper’s Web site.

Mark programs in UNIX shell script, dabbles in Perl and has recently learnedJavascript. He is married with three daughters, Ella (5) and Eve(3), and Megan(11 months and not sleeping much).

District Judge Monty Trent

Distict Judge Monty Trent was a solicitor in private practice for 20 yearsprior to appointment to district bench in 1992 (last seen soliciting in Soho assenior partner in Barnett Alexander Chart, West End commercial outfit). He ismarried with three children, Kelly the lurcher and six or seven computers. Hecaught the computer `bug’ in the late 1970s when he bought a Sinclair ZX81,Spectrum then original IBM PC and so on. Failed, disgracefully, to persuade hispartners to go digital (though by the time he left he had written a debtcollection application and the firm had computerised its accounts). He hasorganised clandestine training sessions for JUDITH (Judicial IT Project) judgesand was recruited by the Project to manage judge-led training in every circuit.`Usual suspect’ member of various judicial IT groups including JTG (JudicialTechnology Group), JSB (Judicial Studies Board) IT working group and Associationof District Judge’s IT group. He is a member of Civil Justice Council.

Monty Trent’s current particular interests are:

  • establishing IT protocol for courts
  • preparing material for judicial intranet (he cooked up the Housing Law Web site and bullied Nic Madge, Roger Horne, Laurie West-Knights, Sean Overend and other Nibelungs to knock this up very satisfactorily indeed)
  • supporting training of judges during the current project to deliver equipment to 1,000 members of the judiciary.