SCL Annual Conference: The impact of changing economic cycles on the practice of IT Law

I promised in an earlier post to follow up on a reference to the Society for Computers and Law Annual Conference. This takes place in Bath on 9 and 10 October, with the title The impact of changing economic cycles on the practice of IT Law.

The Speakers’ list includes some people worth listening to. Restricting myself only to the ones I know or have heard speak, the list includes the following:

Alex Charlton QC and Matthew Lavy, both barristers at 4 Pump Court, are are both well-known in the field of electronic disclosure but here are booked to talk about fraud, cybercrime and regulation of the Internet.

Professor Richard Susskind, whose keynote interview is followed by a panel session called How do we meet the Susskind challenge? I will have a preview of this, since Richard is speaking at a Supersession at ILTA09 in Washington on 26 August; his title there is the same as that of his book – The End of Lawyers. Both sessions will involve discussion of his view that the market for legal services will undergo great upheaval in the next few years and that information technology will play a central role in bringing about this change.

Chris Bull, European and Chief Operating Officer of Integreon, the outsourced knowledge and support services company, who is one of the panelists for the Susskind session.

Andrew M Kanter, Chief Operating Officer of Autonomy, who is the guest speaker at the conference dinner. I met him at the excellent Legal Forum which Autonomy hosted in Washington last year.

Most of these people are welcome on platforms on both sides of the Atlantic. Why does this count for anything at a conference in Bath?

If you cast your mind back to the beginning of the recession, you will recall Gordon Brown’s emphasis on the fact that “it all began in America”. That was true, albeit not an altogether satisfactory substitute for action. I do not subscribe to the oft-repeated view that we are “X years behind America” in our approach to electronic discovery, where X is a number between two and four. That view seems to me to ignore both the differences between our respective rules and practice, and the scale and quantity of litigation in hand at any one time. In relation to the recession, however, and our reaction to it, it is undoubtedly the case that America has felt and is feeling its successive waves a little ahead of us. Speakers and thinkers of this calibre with feet on both sides of the Atlantic are likely to have messages of importance to bring to the Bath conference.

Having said that, it is with some diffidence that I must add that I may have to miss the SCL conference because I will be off to Washington to take part in the Masters Conference on 13 and 14 October – we hope to repeat the US-UK judicial panel which went down so well at IQPC in London (see The discovery of disclosure commonality with a trans-Atlantic judicial panel)  The potential collision only came to my attention as I was writing this. If it is possible to attend both conferences, I will – if I can do back-to-back conferences in Barcelona and Sydney, then Bath and Washington should be a doddle.

To get to last year’s Masters Conference I had to cross the Pacific and America in one (rather long) day. This year, I hope to see something of Washington, instead of arriving just in time to catch the end of the conference launch party. Having seen the SCL agenda, I will try to take in Bath as well.


About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
This entry was posted in eDisclosure, Electronic disclosure, SCL. Bookmark the permalink.

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