Address to SCL Members

October 12, 2014
It’s been a frenetic week for the SCL, with the Annual Conference still very fresh in our minds. 
It was a great event to attend and we are grateful not just to the excellent speakers and the SCL staff who made the event go so well but particularly to all those who attended. There was a great buzz of conversation at all of the breaks and there  were lots of interesting ideas about how we can make the SCL more relevant to more members.  We now need to make sure that we take action on the good ideas.  It is always a concern that there is more that we can be doing  for our members but, when we get over 150 attendees at the Conference, I feel sure that we are getting something right!
I am especially grateful to Madeline Moncrieff of the Guardian Media Group for an opening keynote on user-generated content, ranging from ‘open journalism’ to copyright liability, that opened many eyes and created just the right atmosphere. The panel sessions and presentations had just the right mix of light and heavier material – a good few laughs and a lot of solid take-away points. 
Everyone will have their own Conference high-spots. As  a traditional IT law practitioner, I found the session on cloud implementations especially useful but, speaking to other SCL members after the Conference at the drinks session in the intriguing (and rather ghoulish!) surroundings of the Hunterian Museum, it was good to hear that almost everyone had a different take on the best bits. 
It is not easy to get these events right and we rely very much on the feedback we get after the events. Please do let us have your thoughts and reactions if you attended, or even let us know why you didn’t attend. We rely very much too on our members’ suggestions for topics – keep them coming.
Name Change?
Anna Cook mentioned in her introduction to the Annual Conference that we’ve been considering whether the SCL’s name adequately describes or properly reflects the vast range of technology that most ‘IT lawyers’ must now grapple with. Do we really want to be seen to limit ourselves to ‘computers’? ‘Computers’ are now only one aspect of the broader ‘Tech’ world and the term is rather dated. Of course our current name has its virtue: not only is it well established with a well recognised acronym but ‘computers’ are pretty pervasive, even when they appear in forms to which few any longer ascribe that title. I won’t reveal my own favourite now but I would like to hear views on possible alternative names for the Society, or whether people remain happy with the existing name.
In-house Group Online
Making the SCL more attractive to In-house lawyers is an important objective for the SCL. One idea is to give in-house IT lawyers the opportunity to interact with each other online in an environment where private practice lawyers would be excluded. This would make it easier for in-house lawyers to ask “how is it done” type questions with their counterparts in other in-house roles in a closed forum.
So our plan is to create an opportunity for in-house lawyers to communicate in a forum that is designed exclusively to meet their needs.  We should be able to do this within the soon to be renewed SCL web site.  I am keen to hear from in-house lawyers with their views and with their wish lists. The reaction to the idea at the Conference was very positive and I would love to hear from those who were not able to make it there.
Finally, can I repeat my call for members to interact with SCL online. It does not beat the interaction at events but it is a vital supplement if we are to do our best for members. I am sure that you are aware of the excellent programme of masterclasses, update seminars and the Foundations of IT Law modules listed on the web site but, if there is something that you feel is missing, please contact us and let us know.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Roger Bickerstaff
SCL Chair