New Initiatives from the IT Law Community

December 10, 2015

It can be tempting at this time of year to focus on the very short term – to aim just to get through to the New Year with a festive celebration or two to complicate matters. I was delighted to see that two of our SCL members are prepared to think longer term and are looking to embark on new initiatives which SCL fully supports.

Andrew Hooles is looking for others to get involved in producing better contracts for IT deals. It would be great if a group of our members could help in suggesting ways in which some of the common dysfunctions in such contracts, and we will all have our pet hates, could be avoided. We might actually get to a stage where it is common for the contract to be used and referred to by those who actually need it as a point of reference. There’s a question in my mind over whether IT contracts should act as an effective road-map for their project or whether they should be the “back-stop” that is referred to when everything else fails. It may be that there is scope for both types of contract but we ought to be clearer which type is being produced. Do read Andrew’s article and consider contributing to the group he hopes to form – I know he has had some interest already.

As a Northerner who moved to London many years ago in search of work, or at least better work, I am interested in Antony Hall’s comments on the Northern Powerhouse. He is looking for other lawyers from the North to get involved in making the Powerhouse more powerful. He believes that, for the North’s technology centres ‘to truly grow in maturity, it is essential that each cluster develops an accessible professional services infrastructure that can readily provide its technology businesses with specialist advice on their doorstep’. We have recently seen a resurgence in SCL activity in the North and this could be indicative of a more general trend. Antony wants to see much more collaboration to help create ‘a powerful technology proposition that is greater than the opportunities that they could ever create independently without interaction’. The SCL is keen to assist in making this happen. Read Antony’s article here and get involved.

Our President, Professor Richard Susskind, has recently published “The Future of the Professions” (co-authored with Daniel Susskind). To a certain extent this is salutary reading and the debate on the SCL website on the topic provides some interesting dimensions. What is clear is that Tech lawyers ought to be embracing change rather more than other lawyers. Whilst much of the work of lawyers may be overtaken by systems of one sort or another, the need for debate over what the law ought to be should remain within the scope of legal professionals. This is a debate that the SCL is increasingly focusing on. This will be a key theme at the IFCLA conference next June.

I am very pleased that SCL members see the Society and, in particular, the SCL website as a vehicle that can be used to create as well as just a provider of services and information. It is the essence of the SCL mission as an IT law community that we all contribute as well as consume. The web-site is in the process of being upgraded. The new website ought to go live quite early in the New Year so watch out for changes in style and format.

One other contributor to SCL springs to mind. Priti Magudia has worked on SCL matters for the last 13 years but is now leaving us for pastures new. I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank her for her work over these years. The SCL Trustees greatly value all that she has done – and of course we wish her good luck in her new job.

Finally, since this is likely to be my last email to members for 2015, and it is just about respectable to refer to such things, I want to wish all SCL members a very happy festive season. I look forward to an exciting 2016.