December Address to Members

December 9, 2014

Building on the successful Foundations of IT Law programme we plan to develop the SCL Foundations of IT Law Diploma in early 2015, with a view to making it available from Autumn 2015. The idea is that attendees of the Foundation of IT Law Programme will be able to build on their commitment and turn it into a university accredited Diploma. The intention is that both current and future attendees of the Foundations programme will be eligible for the Diploma. It would further reinforce the idea that IT law is a speciality and give recognition to those that want to make a speciality of this area of law. Please let us know if you are interested in signing up for the Diploma. The more people who are interested that we know about at this stage, the easier it will be to obtain University accreditation for the Diploma.

More generally, we have realised that, at present, very few universities give a focus to IT Law at undergraduate level. We think that the awareness of IT law as a speciality ought to be raised within our universities and we are planning to recruit SCL University Ambassadors. Central to our existence is the aim of fostering the understanding of IT law and the universities ought to be giving the next generation of lawyers an awareness of IT law as a legal speciality. Of course, the SCL University Ambassadors initiative will have a double purpose; it will contribute both to the increased awareness of IT law at our universities and it will increase the awareness of SCL among students and help the SCL to forge closer links with the universities. We are keen to hear from SCL members who would like to take on the role of SCL University Ambassadors, particularly anyone who already has a relationship with a local university (guest lecturer etc) and who would be prepared to ‘spread the SCL word’.

Continuing the focus on developing opportunities for the more junior element of the profession, we are delighted that the SCL Junior Lawyers’ Group is to be re-launched. Many thanks to the hard work of SCL Trustee Chris James and others for taking this initiative forward. Michael Butterworth of Herbert Smith Freehills will be the acting Chair of the Group but he is keen for others to become involved. The intention is to run events on more basic technology topics, such as ‘What is Open Source?’ and ‘How does the Web work?’ Again, please let us know if you would like to be involved and if you have suggestions for events.

With 2015 around the corner, my thoughts are already turning to SCL’s commitment to host the IFCLA conference in London in 2016. I’ve mentioned previously in these notes that the SCL will be hosting the bi-annual conference of the International Federation of Computer Law Associations in 2016. It is not quite the IT law Olympics but it is just as important a European-level event for IT lawyers. Crucial to the success of the IFCLA conference will be the participation of many SCL members, particularly in making overseas visitors welcome. There will be many opportunities for the SCL membership to rally round and support the event in numerous ways. More immediately, we need to establish an Organising Committee for the event. Please let me know if you would like to be a member of this Committee.

Finally, can I take this opportunity to wish all SCL members, Season’s Greetings and all the best for the New Year.

Roger Bickerstaff