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Suzanne Townley

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

The Tech-Files

The Tech-Files


June's foreword

Welcome to June’s issue of the Solicitors Journal.

Last month, the UK enjoyed a reprieve from Eurovision wilderness, after the UK’s entrant, Sam Ryder, came a very respectable second in the competition. Sam has more than 12 million followers on Tik Tok, which – according to the BBC – makes him the most followed UK music artist on the platform, and may have contributed to his success in the competition.

Having a presence on social media is almost a requirement for successful businesses these days, and the legal industry is no exception. But social media and legal tech are a relatively new phenomenon, and many firms – and indeed staff – may struggle to keep abreast of the latest developments.

On p63, Winckworth Sherwood partner Andrea London reflects on ageism in the workplace and the case of Williams v Lyons Holiday Parks [2022], which concerned a 60-year-old employee who was unfairly dismissed because her posts weren’t gaining enough ‘likes’ on her employer’s social media.

Meanwhile, Vanessa Reid of Mountford Chambers offers pause for thought on p26 as she examines regulatory oversight of social media for legal practitioners, the message very much being ‘think before you tweet’. Some sage words of advice I was offered as a trainee by a partner spring to mind: “If you wouldn’t want to see what you’ve written on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper, don’t write it”. 

On p74, the SJ explores the takeover of Twitter and the current challenges facing Elon Musk – one person who is certainly no stranger to social media and the tech world!   

Of course, tech plays an important role in today’s world, way beyond the realms of social media. We relied heavily on IT during the pandemic, and while most of us have now cautiously re-embraced meeting up in person and getting back to the office – though perhaps not as often as before – some changes have stayed the course. One such example is remote hearings, which have remained, in part to try and tackle the court case backlog. However, on p52, Ed Patton of Russell Cooke argues the convenience of remote hearings must be balanced with the need for open justice.

RPC’s Dan Wyatt and Harvey Briggs consider whether our legal infrastructure is ready for the latest innovations in fintech, including the ever-increasing use of digital asset and blockchain technologies (p20). On p62, Harry Burrows explains how blockchain analytics can be used to carry out due diligence and anti-money laundering checks on crypto investors.

While the use of sophisticated technologies may improve efficiencies, we must all be aware that it also increases the risk of cyberattack and potential for fraud. Keller Lenkner’s Mark Kenkre explains on p16 how Authorised Push Payment Fraud is becoming more common as criminals become ever more sophisticated. However, help is at hand: Craig Lurey of Keeper Security explains the steps you can take to combat the rise in cyberthreats on p56; and on p17, The Bureau’s Alastair Murray reflects on tech challenges faced by firms over the last year, lessons learned and what we can take forward to ensure a more cyber-secure future.

Until next month, enjoy the sunshine!