Feedback and Futures

June 3, 2015

Firstly, many thanks to all the SCL members who have responded to my recent email asking for suggestions for “rising stars” in IT law that might contribute to SCL events. We hope to involve these talented junior lawyers very soon in various events. I’m really pleased that the {first meeting of the SCL Junior Lawyers’ Group:} will be held on 22nd June 2015. This should be a really good event and we encourage junior tech lawyers to come along on the 22nd.

One of the most satisfying and rewarding aspects of the SCL Chair role is getting constructive feedback from members. There have been various suggestions asking SCL to organise more webinars and to live stream SCL events. All of these suggestions are fed back to the Trustees for their consideration and your input helps SCL to improve. How else can we respond to SCL members’ needs? We are reviewing these suggestions and looking into the possibility of videoing SCL events as well as sound recording them for podcasts. It would be good to have more feedback on whether there is a real desire for SCL events to be filmed. Don’t hold back from suggesting things – the more interaction the better.

Much of the focus of SCL activity during recent weeks has been on upcoming conferences. This month’s {Technology Law Futures Conference:} looks to be a really exciting event. It opens with the ‘Roadmap to Superintelligence’ and closes day 1 with {‘The Great AI Swindle’:}. The whole conference offers a rollercoaster ride for IT lawyers, with robots, drones and the IoT offering a range of other thrill rides, and driverless cars perhaps substituting for the dodgems. The Technology Law Futures Conference is a great opportunity for both senior and junior practitioners to meet and discuss issues that will affect us well into the future. Everyone has a valid contribution: it’s a great opportunity to learn and contribute.

As Technology lawyers we have the great advantage of a subject matter that is constantly changing and developing. Of course, IT law practice still has its more boring workaday drafting days in the office and there are times when it seems that IT law has gone mainstream, but there are endless opportunities to explore edgy concepts that offer a challenge – and sometimes even a little danger. It would be good to see SCL and its members engage with these exciting concepts. The Technology Law Futures Conference is our way of helping you keep in touch with them.

Perhaps at a more down to earth level, the programme for the {SCL Annual Conference:} in October is more firmly rooted in present-day practice – indeed the day has a profoundly practical focus. But it very definitely has its thrills and it is not one whit less interesting and certainly not less important. Organisers Matthew Lavy and Hazel Grant have managed to get The Hon Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart, the Judge in Charge of the Technology and Construction Court to give a keynote. SCL President Professor Richard Susskind OBE will be giving further insights into the plans for online dispute resolution that captured national attention recently. That makes it unmissable for the litigators but there is plenty to amuse the rest of us with a host of speakers on practical topics.

Outside of the focus on conferences, we held a meeting recently for the {SCL University Ambassadors:}. This came up with a host of ideas that can help SCL engage more fruitfully with its potential student audience. Special student events, guest lectures, a revamped Student Article Prize and an online discussion board for students are all under consideration. But we also still need more practising IT lawyers to step forward and work with their local university IT law staff to help bridge the gap between the academic world and IT law practice. Do consider volunteering, if only because it has obvious advantages to you and your firm (cherry picking the best graduates, raising profile with tech’s next generation, etc).