One of the great things about the SCL is that we are an educational charity. Obviously education can encompass an extraordinarily wide range of activities. It can mean the dissemination of technical information for the expert, as represented by the (hopefully) informative news and analysis in Computers & Law and on scl.org, or organising our regular member-led training sessions.
But sometimes, without wishing to belittle anything else we do, our educational output can be much more ambitious. Two such initiatives are on the horizon that remind us that education, education, education is what we are all about.
And if you’re wondering why your Editor has set about plugging these events I have three answers. One, and most importantly, is that I am genuinely excited by them and want to share that excitement with readers and members. Second is that I hope to be report on them in the December issue. And third is out of self-interest. Both events promise to bring the SCL (and your Editor) into contact with people from outside our usual circles, opportunities to connect with new writers and contributors (and that makes my life easier.)
First up, chronologically, is the Tech Law Curriculum World Café on 15 November. This is all about shaping a tech law curriculum capable of producing pupils, graduates and future lawyers able to thrive in the new digital age. That aim is ambitious: the format equally so. The World Café idea is not ours, and is not novel, but is new for SCL. In short, small groups of legal educators, practitioners, recruiters and technologists will drag a chair up to join small group discussions each focussing on a specific aspect of the skills and aptitudes students need now and in the future. The fruits of discussion are ‘harvested’ (and yes that is the technical term used in such events) by a rapporteur to be moulded into a Green Paper with the help of members of our recently instituted (and very impressive) Advisory Board who are the progenitors of the event. Attendance is free but by application so if you or anyone in your contact list has something useful to add to the conversation get in touch with SCL HQ now via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The second event promises to get our name to a much wider audience, but the ambition is provided by the presenter. I’m referring to this year’s Sir Brian Neill Lecture on 26th November which will be presented by Haben Girma. Haben is a remarkable woman. She is deafblind. Her mother, a refugee from Eritrea, made it to the US in 1983. From that difficult background she became the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, along the way making sure rights for people like her are respected by businesses and public bodies. She has evolved her own technology to enable her to communicate seamlessly with anyone who can use a keyboard – including, memorably, President Barack Obama. She has also spoken all over the world about the difference technology has made to her life, including a TEDx talk with over 250k views on YouTube and Apple developer conferences.
Her personal, practical and often humorous approach seeks to inspire those in the tech industry make inclusion and accessibility the start and heart of any project. Using personal examples of the hurdles and benefits she has unearthed in her own brushes with technology, she wants technology designers to carry on pushing boundaries of what can be achieved, such as developing the enormous potential of haptics. As I said ambitious, but an ambition you can help fulfil by being there with your colleagues, particularly those designing apps and solutions, to hear what Haben has to say.
So helping to shape the future of legal education and educating the industry on the tremendous opportunities that technology opens up to make the world more inclusive all in the same month? The SCL at its best.
PS And don’t forget our annual conference next week!
SCL Editor: Computers & Law