Fresh Starts and Freshening Skills

September 1, 2015

As we return from the relaxation of our summer holidays or, perhaps for some parents, a return to the normality of work after arduously long school holidays, many of us will be looking for a fresh start and new stimuli. It can be a dangerous time. SCL members are sensible enough to avoid the obvious dangers – particularly the Tech dangers – of the likes of Ashley Maddison, but we can easily commit to marathons or language classes in a burst of reckless vigour.

The SCL offers safer options. You can hone your IT law skills at the {SCL Annual IT Law Conference:} – a one-off burst of self-improvement that is tax deductible and will pay for itself in increased expertise many times over. My own focus is on the session on cyber-crime and cyber liabilities. It’s an area that I want to know more about and the SCL Conference will be a good opportunity to find out more. There will be a range of high impact sessions throughout the day. Litigators really cannot afford to miss the morning keynote on e-disclosure from the Hon Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart. Kit Burden’s session on outsourcing developments will be important to most IT practitioners and any tech lawyer with the merest brush with e-commerce will want hear Nicola Fulford on the complex balance that needs to be maintained between brands and consumer privacy. IT lawyers of every persuasion will find insight and rewards from the panel discussion on the digital single market and Richard Susskind’s afternoon keynote on Online Dispute Resolution will give an insider’s view of a topic that may well threaten/promise wide-ranging changes in legal practice.

Speaking of fresh starts, eager and fresh faces are likely to arrive in IT law departments in the coming days. Those talented and lucky enough to get training contracts include a few especially lucky (and, hopefully, especially talented) ones who will get the chance to work on IT law issues. This is a good time to remind SCL members that trainees – whether starting now or in the middle of their training contracts – can {join SCL for free:}. We also hope to welcome as full SCL members those who joined as trainees and have now qualified. Many are continuing to practise in IT law (why would they not?) and SCL membership should not be confined to the senior members of the firm with IT law specialist skills.

Within the SCL there is plenty to keep us busy. We are in the midst of an IT and website upgrade project and the website will be looking much fresher and more modern in the near future. We are also facing the challenge of organising the next IFCLA Conference next June. Many SCL members have yet to grasp the IFCLA (International Federation of Computer Law Associations) concept. It is basically the international extension of the SCL. The IFCLA Conference next June will have all the hallmarks of an SCL event but with more of an international perspective – value, pertinence and interaction, to name but a few. The topics for {IFCLA 2016:} will include virtual currencies, robotics, IoT and cybersecurity. It will replace the normal SCL Conference but, big though an SCL Conference is, this is a much bigger deal.

It will be a real opportunity for SCL members to gain knowledge of a more international dimension of these issues and to make new international connections (without paying ruinous air fares). In an increasingly borderless world (at least for IT lawyers), it is important for IT law practitioners to appreciate other perspectives. I am especially keen for firms to encourage more junior members of the IT department to attend – and we hope to spread that word across the IFCLA membership.

I look forward to meeting many of you at the SCL Annual Conference on 8th October. Be assured that I am always happy to listen to new ideas for SCL or comments on ways in which we can improve. See you there!