From the Editor’s Chair

March 1, 1999

It includes three articles which we are running under thecollective title: IT Masterclass. We have Christopher Millard on data protectionand the Internet, Chris Reed on Internet contracting and Harry Small onwarranties, limitation and exclusion clauses and we have deliberately allowedmore scope than usual so that they can actually deal with the detail rather thanmerely paint the broad picture.

Having spent some years denying that there was such a thing as IT law, I amamong the chastened; I can hardly fail to acknowledge the explosion in it. I mayhave been influenced originally by a strange perspective – it seemed difficultat one time to identify more than three practitioners who were capable ofwriting about it, so to claim (as I do for this issue) that we had articles byleaders in the field would have seemed strange indeed. Now the magazine canconfidently expect to run good quality articles on IT law in each and everyissue – there are three excellent pieces which we are forced to hold over forlack of space and which will appear in the April issue – whereas once IT law wasvery much the poor relation to IT applications. I recall that the suggestionthat we might have separate sections of the magazine for the two areas wasprincipally rejected because the paucity, or complete absence, of IT lawcoverage might be exposed and prove embarrassing.

And the development in this area has not only been good for the magazine, ithas been good for SCL too. The decision was made some years ago to split theresponsibilities of the SCL Chair so that law and technology were dealt withseparately; whether that was the product of foresight or irresistible pressure,the subsequent development in SCL provision for IT lawyers and the increase inthe proportion of IT lawyer members show it to have been wise. The challengenow, for SCL and the magazine, is not merely maintaining the balance between ITlaw and IT for lawyers (for that can be done negatively) but maintaining thatbalance through excellence.

It will be no surprise after such a build-up when I claim that this issuedoes precisely that. There is too much to commend but I cannot resist directingyour attention to Ron McQuaker’s excellent piece on the Y2K myths. I am alsopleased that we are able to add our weight to the efforts which Delia Venablesand Charles Christian have made to assist very small firms by producing anarticle which they have been distributing free of charge to those interested – Ihope readers in larger firms will feel free to copy it and give it to those towhom it is principally addressed.