22 and a Path to Tech Law

This week’s post features a review by Olivia Jean-Baptiste of the ‘A Path to Tech Law‘ panel that I recently spoke on for The Society for Computers and Law. Olivia is currently an undergraduate LLB student at City University of London where she is also president of the British Red Cross RAG group.

A Path to Tech Law

As a law student, I have attended countless events at commercial firms but never one that has had a strong nexus to technology law. Let alone one that offered an insight into finding ‘A Path to Tech Law’. The timing of this event, for me was serendipitous. As a second year LLB law student I am not only figuring out which areas I would like to specialise in but also completing the daunting process of making and sending off applications for vacation schemes and training contracts. I was beginning to feel apprehensive about tech law and felt perhaps I should stick to a more “traditional” area of law.

However, the first way in which the SCL event helped, was confirming that I am in fact a suitable candidate for a technology based career in law. I have always had an interest in technology and have been proactive in ensuring that this interest would be clear to potential employers. It was the SCL panel chair Mark Lumley, partner at Shulmans, who listed some of the key qualities of tech lawyers which I felt matched my own strengths. These were curiosity, ‘an interest in what is coming next’ and ‘a passion for what they do’.

“I am in fact a suitable candidate for a technology based career in law. The opportunity to be face to face with current tech lawyers was invaluable. I left with a more concrete plan on how to get into tech law and ways of broadening my knowledge.

Moreover, one of the panellists, Lorraine Chimbga, a compliance analyst for a regtech start-up called FundApps made the point that you can sell your enthusiasm even if you’re not a tech expert. Ultimately, the panellists made clear that you do not have to know everything! You must simply show motivation and an interest. This is one of the reasons why events such as these are so helpful. They reignite a passion in committed students that they do have what it takes as long as they work hard to achieve it.

Motivation and determination are nothing without a way of being utilised: a clear plan is needed. This is another way in which the SCL event was useful. While the internet is a great resource for researching and learning about how to become involved in tech law. The opportunity to be face to face with current tech lawyers was invaluable. I left with a more concrete plan on how to get into tech law and ways of broadening my knowledge. While you do not have to be an expert to succeed you cannot be complacent either. As Chris Marsden said ‘a little extra knowledge would always help’.  The panellists stressed the importance of networking with practicing lawyers and recommended reading Code 2.0 by Lawrence Lessig. Even something as simple as a book recommendation can put you a step closer to becoming a tech lawyer and finding what truly interests you.

To conclude, I am extremely grateful to SCL for this insightful event. It was certainly worth braving the cold on a dark Wednesday evening for and I hope that there are more events such as these targeted specifically at students in the future.

Editor’s note: Once again, thank you to Olivia for allowing me to share this here, what she said really stuck with me as it is something that I wish I had seen too when I was studying. It also reminded me of ‘what is my why’ and for that I am grateful.

Upcoming Opportunities with the SCL

SCL Student Tech Law Challenge 2018 – Saturday 3 February 2018, London

SCL Student Essay Prize 2018

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