This month’s profile delves into the Council’s many committees and focuses on Graeme McWilliams, vice convener of the Technology Subcommittee

What is your own practice area?

I specialise in intellectual property and e-commerce work, manage the Standard Life group IP portfolio, advise on publications, social media and the online world, and manage the in-house training and communication programmes for Group Legal, Standard Life.

What motivates you to get up on a Monday morning?

My alarm clock/radio and the urge to check my emails and social media alerts.

What’s your top tip for new lawyers?

Get a supply of business cards, get out there and network. It is always interesting to meet new lawyers and other professionals at internal and external events. It is a small world and you never know who you might have something in common with. Networking can help you, your career, and your organisation, or simply add to your LinkedIn contacts.

How long have you been a member of the Technology Subcommittee and how did you become involved?

I have been vice convener of the Technology Subcommittee for almost two years. I have always had an interest in IP/IT, and Colin Anderson, the legal manager who originally hired me at Standard Life, put my name forward to join the E-commerce Committee, as it was then known, around 2000. This was later reconstituted as the Technology Subcommittee in early 2011, which marked its second anniversary in January 2013.

What have been the highlights for you personally?

The subcommittee’s involvement in and contribution to the advice and information issued by the Society on cloud computing and social media, which were very well received in the UK and abroad. These were great opportunities for the subcommittee to be involved in some cutting edge technology developments, get ahead of the game and receive really good feedback. The recent guidance on cloud computing issued by the Ministry of Justice used and attributed the Society’s cloud computing advice and information in its formal guidance, which was issued to all solicitors working in the criminal justice system in England & Wales.

What big project/issue is the committee working on at the moment?

It’s business as usual, with more new Government and EU consultations, reviews of some of our technology related rules and guidance on the Society website, our ongoing focus on technology developments and innovation in our courts, and plans to have a joint meeting with the IP Committee in 2013.

Some of the larger ongoing projects/issues this year for the subcommittee include CCBE, e-Codex, European ID cards for lawyers, the EU Lawyer Directory and electronic practising certificates.

What do you see as the other main issues that the committee will have to address in the near future?

If social media develops any further, as is being predicted, and we all end up working from home and communicating by social media, we will have to revisit the Society’s social media advice and information again!

The aim and function of the Technology Subcommittee is to consider matters relating to the law and/or practice of technology, and where appropriate, to provide guidance and information to the profession. So we extend an open invitation to all our readers to involve us in, and seek our input on, any technology related issues.

Are you a member of any other committees?

Yes, the Intellectual Property and In-house Lawyers’ Group Committees.

If you could change only one thing for your members, what would it be?

It would be great to have more interactive meetings and seminars online, so we could all participate from our desks, homes or on the move.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I am on the board of the Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy, have a Scottish Opera subscription, like to travel and regularly go to the theatre, museums and art galleries. I also have a keen interest in supporting World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April each year, in and out of the office. I have been co-chairing the joint Society and Faculty World IP Day event in Edinburgh for the last five years, and this year’s sixth annual event details are almost finalised.

Graeme McWilliams is Legal Adviser, IP & E-Commerce, Standard Life, Edinburgh and a member of the Law Society of Scotland’s IP, Technology and In-house Lawyers’ Group Committees and IP accreditation panel.
The opinions expressed are personal, and do not reflect the opinions of Standard Life group or the Law Society of Scotland.
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