New SCL Web Site

November 1, 2001

This issue will arrive on the desks of SCL members shortly after the launch of the new SCL Web site. I think we are allowed just a little celebration for that. Nevertheless, having written a number of editorials remarking on the failures of the legal profession in producing a sufficient Web presence, I seek forgiveness from all who have been subject to any implied criticism.

In fact the proof of this particular pudding is in the regular eating. The new site allows for much easier updating from SCL headquarters and, crucially, from SCL members. If there is something hot happening, we will now be able to react more quickly to reflect that. Go and look and tell me what you think. (But don’t tell me you don’t like the colour.) And when your awe has subsided, think about ways in which you and your firm can contribute to the site. We will have more news of all kinds and more opportunity to post short articles and opinion pieces. But the site’s strength will be gained from the quality of material posted – and essentially that’s down to the SCL members.

I have often sought contributions for the magazine from the wider membership (and I am still hoping) but a Web site can consume material with great rapidity. Of course we intend to commission pieces for the magazine still and the magazine’s content will be a cornerstone of the Web site but not everything to be published on the Web site has to meet the (perceived) strict criteria which are applied to the pages of this publication. We need lots of snippets and recycled notes as well as full-scale articles. Some of you already prepare material for newsletters and intranets – why not offer it to us too?

In view of the recent launch of the new site, it is appropriate that this issue carries articles about Web site techniques. If some of the points made seem basic, then that is partly because you really cannot be reminded too often of the basics. I think that the hardest part of good Web design is keeping a firm grip on those basics while still stretching the utility of a site. It is all too easy to be carried away with the clever bits for their own sake.

The issue also contains timely reminders of the legal difficulties which continue to arise from the increasing use of the Web. The browse wrap trap and deep-linking liabilities are real problems for many people – not just esoteric areas of interest. It is this move of IT law from a subject of interest only to a few specialists to a subject impinging on the business community at all levels and on a significant proportion of consumers which is throwing up so many points of interest. Where once it was acceptable to plead ignorance, that is no longer a viable position for business. I wonder if the more protective rulings in leading cases are now things of the past. In all probability, the level of protection which was once applied to the poor old business man (or local authority) would now seem appropriate only for the consumer.