Reflections and a very bright future

January 12, 2016

Dear Member,

This will be my last monthly email to SCL members as Chair. My three year term as Chair of the SCL is almost over and I will be stepping down at the SCL AGM on 28th January. Assuming that there are no coups or revolutions in the meantime, Mark O’Conor from DLA Piper UK LLP will be taking over as the new SCL Chair.

It’s been a great pleasure and an honour to be the Chair of the SCL. At the start of my term, I identified three key areas of focus for the SCL. These were to build up the SCL’s links with the in-house legal community; to provide more opportunities for junior lawyers interested in Tech legal issues; and to develop a more international perspective.

Progress has been made in all of these areas. The in-house SCL membership is steadily increasing but more needs to be done. It still lags a long way behind my assessment of the numbers of in-house lawyers specialising in Techlaw in the UK. The Foundations course has been a good development in providing a structured development programme for people who are interested in becoming Tech lawyers. It is now even more popular in its second cycle than it was in its first. Our University Ambassadors will draw more students to Techlaw and to contribute to the Society, especially combined with our special deal for trainees, which offers free SCL membership until qualification.

On the international front, the SCL is running the IFCLA conference in June (9th and 10th June at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in Savoy Place in central London). It’s a great, newly refurbished venue. The two day, biannual conference for all International Computer Law Associations will take the place of the SCL Annual Conference this year and gives a great opportunity to look at issues from a more international perspective. The programme is almost complete – see {IFCLA Conference:}. The twin themes of Tech in Regulated Environments and Tech in Fast Moving Environments are both important areas for SCL members to get to grips with. I hope SCL members will really get behind the event and make it a roaring success. The ‘Early Bird’ registration fee expires on 29 January so you might want to prioritise your application!

Most importantly, my thanks go to everyone who has contributed to the SCL over my term as Chair. We should not forget that as a voluntary organisation the members’ contributions are what make the SCL. But the SCL provides more than just a venue for discussion – what’s been particularly important to me over the last three years has been the opportunities to make and renew friendships with like-minded people. Before I became Chair we set ourselves out as the “IT Law Community”. It may sound trite but it is an important aspiration – particularly as jobs and careers become more fragmented. Thank you to everyone who has made this role such a joy.

Finally, thanks to everyone in the SCL HQ and the Trustees who have made this role a pleasure. Caroline Gould as General Manager has been a tower of strength and enthusiasm through-out my tenure. Laurence Eastham the SCL Editor has always provided wise counsel. Maddie Southorn and Priti Magudia have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the SCL operation remarkably smooth. In the more extended SCL “family” both Simon Forrester on the IT systems and Siân Leverton on finance have provided remarkably dedicated long-term commitment to the SCL.

Best wishes to the new Chair!


Roger Bickerstaff is a Partner and Head of the Digital Business Campaign at Bird & Bird LLP, he is Chair of the SCL and President of IFCLA.