January 1, 2005

This issue sees a selection of predictions; the full set, which I heartily recommend, have, yet again, been the Web site’s crowd pleaser in the last month or so. But I am pleased that, predictions aside, we have managed to cover some of the issues which I think are going to figure prominently in 2005 and 2006.

I am especially interested in blogging, which is covered in these pages by the authors of that excellent legal blog IPKat. Blogs like IPKat, the redoubtable Nick Holmes blog Infolaw, and the House of Butter have become required reading for me. Even those which deal with issues outside my obvious areas of interest, like the Policeman’s Blog and Jolyon Patten’s Lex in the City, get regular visits – they provide a sort of reality check. The blog and the powerful software that goes with it have the potential to be potent weapons. They can be allied to straightforward brochure sites and provide the flexibility in updating which is normally associated with quite expensive content management software. They can be simply informative and replace other forms of communication (as, to a large extent, does Infolaw) or combine the personal perspective with solid nuggets of information. I feel that they will become tools of choice for many smaller, and some not so small, firms in the near future.

I am also delighted that we also have good coverage of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). In a recent contribution to the SCL Internet Interest Group meeting, Robin Bynoe suggested that “Progress will be driven by the kids” and, whatever the massive initiatives by big business, VoIP has certainly been driven by file-swapping, game-playing nerds. And, not for the first time, they have something to teach us all. Whether VoIP is ready or able to do a job in law firms I leave for wiser heads to decide but I can confirm that it is crucial to keeping expenditure on keeping in touch with distant loved ones under control. It surely will be a massive influence on developments in telecoms.

Lord Scarman

Given his wide-ranging career of immense achievement, it is scarcely surprising that the role of Lord Scarman as SCL’s first President has not been mentioned in the mainstream press. Few SCL members will realise that he took on this role. Perhaps it is scarcely surprising that someone with such far-sightedness did so. His passing is a great loss.