In his last editorial prior to retirement from SCL work on 16 November, Laurence Eastham reviews his last issue as Editor, offers his thanks and wishes all well
This issue is dominated by what I chose to call a Tech Law Masterclass. The eight articles in that section are the product of approaches made to a number of authors that have contributed greatly over the years, though I approached a few fresher faces too. I am delighted to say that some failed to respond, some promised to deliver and some delivered late - it was just like old times. Plus ça change, plus c’est le meme chose.
Those articles are packed with insights from established and respected figures but we have also found space for some new awareness material and an excellent piece on smart contracts. (Just to be clear, all the articles are from respected figures!). As a result of packing in so much, this issue shines out in both quality and quantity since we have splurged on a bonus eight pages. But bear with me just a moment before you start reading the rest.
When I received a call from Ruth Baker almost 25 years ago, asking if I could help produce the SCL publication Computers and Law (we didn’t then have the ampersand), I don’t think I could have imagined that I would be involved with it for almost all of what remained of my working life. It has been a great and wonderful surprise. I have ridden a wave of developments – from ‘will fee earners ever use computers’ to smart contracts and AI – and have been carried along by perceptive authors and massively supported by more SCL members than I can possibly hope to thank. Whether Neil Cameron back in those early days or Neil Brown now, there has always been somebody prepared to step up and provide that much needed material to fill empty pages and shed some light.
I greatly valued the contributions from Media Board/Editorial Advisory Board members and the tolerance shown by the various Chairs over the years - I might not always have done quite what I promised (sorry, Simon et al).
I owe an enormous debt too to our designer Ken Planter because, at least half the time, the only thing people remember and liked about an issue was the cover. And, because my job has involved everything from commissioning to layout, I have needed a lot of help with the technicalities of printing (hat tips to Mike Wicks and Iain Robinson in particular). The website operations threw up a few(!) problems that foxed me too; I owe a cyberpint or two to Simon Forrester.
But the biggest debt is owed to Ruth Baker, whose staunch and unwavering support and crucial advice was so often needed, and to Caroline Gould, who has continued that support and the fun that always went with it. Merci beaucoup.
I would like to follow through with the French phrases with ‘après moi, le déluge’ but, unless you count Brexit, nothing could be further from the truth. I am confident that SCL and the magazine will prosper (though I fear for the C&L ampersand). David Chaplin and Maddie Southorn will ensure that the magazine and website retain your interest and continue to provide enlightenment. New initiatives and new designs are around the corner. I look forward to them – and quite look forward to grumbling about them.
Given the context in which we all work, there will be change aplenty. No doubt in a few years the content of even this fine issue will seems as dated as those tips we used to run on making the best use of WordPerfect. But it is change that SCL is well equipped to cope with. We might well see a shift back to the dual focus that we maintained for a few years - -challenging and exciting times.
Attendance at the 24-hour Hackathon and the last few SCL Annual Conferences showed me what a young and vibrant organisation SCL is. I was enthused by the intelligence and energy on display at those events, albeit left feeling a little old, and by the vital fun that was a crucial part of those events.
Seeing that, I am absolutely sure that SCL will fare well.