Shining a Light on Junior IT Lawyers

March 19, 2015

As Spring finally arrives, even those of us who are more mature can feel youthful – until we are swiftly reminded by partners or children that we are not quite as young as we once were. And that sort of dangerous delusion can spread into IT law practice – partners and senior figures in IT law departments can convince themselves that they have a monopoly on innovative thinking and valuable new perceptions. It is not true of course – they may have valuable perceptions but they are not quite so new as once they were – and I like to think that most of those senior figures who are involved in SCL are as keen as I am to nurture young talent – and to recognise that sometimes that young talent no longer needs nurture but can teach all of us valuable lessons.

With that thought in mind, I would like to appeal to SCL members at Partner level or senior barristers to contact SCL HQ with details of the ‘rising stars’ in your firm or chambers. Senior in-house lawyers may have suggestions too. We have no intention of ditching our many star speakers who have illuminated SCL’s events and conferences. But we would very much like to refresh the pool of talent that we draw from when arranging SCL events. We would like to see the many younger members of SCL, of both sexes, taking a greater role in future events. Let us know who you feel show a particular aptitude and talent for speaking on IT law related subjects and should be offered the opportunity to speak at SCL events. It would also be nice to address the gender imbalance that often besets IT-related events at the same time. We would particularly like to encourage more female junior lawyers to be involved.

Still on the subject of our junior members, I am delighted that newly formed SCL Junior Lawyers’ Group will hold its first event in June. The Group is in good hands under the leadership of Michael Butterworth from Herbert Smith Freehills, with the support of SCL Trustee, Chris James. With the Technology Law Futures Group also gaining momentum, there is a lot for younger IT lawyers to get excited about in SCL’s offerings. One of the key purposes of the Junior Lawyers group will be to give junior lawyers an opportunity to meet counterparts in other firms and companies and discuss issues of relevance to them.

As that Junior Lawyers’ Group develops, I hope that more trainees, pupil barristers and devils will look to take advantage of our very special free membership offer. It’s surprising that relatively few trainees know about this opportunity. It might be worth taking a few minutes on receipt of this email to suggest to some of those in your office that they should sign up. It is worth emphasising that it really is free – and not ‘free’ in the Amazon Prime sense.

But we are also hoping to catch the prospective IT lawyers even earlier. The SCL University Ambassadors scheme now has its own webpage. We would be very pleased to hear from anyone who is prepared to become an SCL university ambassador and we are planning to hold a meeting of those who volunteer in the next few months.

Finally, can I direct your attention to an exciting prospect in June. I think that the Tech Law Futures Conference on 18 and 19 June has one of the most exciting programmes we have seen – and the track record for these events sets the bar very high. It seems apposite that it is taking place during London Technology Week. We might see some considerable synergies or, given that the Tech Law Futures Conference addresses some of the tensions between humans and machines, we might see an invasion.