Bar Council to harness the power of information super highway …thingy…

On a day when The Lords ruled that the Serious Fraud Office acted lawfully in halting the investigation into BAe and nearly forty years after the invention of email (which pre-dated the invention of the internet), the Bar Council has decided to harness the power of the digitial information era to communicate with members.

I am grateful to a particularly switched on law librarian for providing the text of the article from Counsel magazine: The Email Initiative – proving, yet again, that law librarians are vital even in the age of electronic information.

The article in Counsel  magazine throws up some surprising points.

1.  Any professional body worthy of its name needs to communicate effectively with its members.  The Bar Council is contacting members to inform them of the Email Initiative.  They hope, soon, to have harvested 75% of the profession’s email addresses.  Interestingly – “Many expressed surprise that the Bar Council did not have their email address already.  Others were sceptical about disclosing personal email addresses:  a few were hostile.”

2.  This is a time of increasing change in the legal services sector… effective interest representation and regulation depends on efficient communication, ‘but communicating directly with 15,000 individual members of the Bar is currently a challenge’.

3. The initiative is not intended ‘to deluge’ the Bar with messages or clutter up in-boxes. The Bar Council does understand how ‘frequent email blasts’ can induce communication fatigue…. but the Bar Council wishes ‘to harness the power of technology’ to put them in touch with developments etc etc… consistent with the “one Bar’ approach… The Bar Council notes that its website contains a wealth of information ….. but ‘busy practitioners may not have the time to browse the site to search for material’.

4. Direct email would have several advantages…. better communication etc etc etc.  There were also ‘regulatory’ benefits.

5.  “What stands in the way of this direct communication is the simple absence of a comprehensive set of personal email addresses for the profession. Only half of the profession has provided email addresses.  The plan is (a) to require disclosure – but this has disciplinary implications in the event of failure to disclose or (b) to encourage more members to provide email addresses voluntarily.

Well… there we are. The Bar may be thirty plus years later than other early adopters of information super highway benefits – but….. a new dawn may soon rise in the sky and in-boxes will ping in Chambers throughout the land and barristers….  may not, as the old saying goes, be wiser, but at least they will be better informed.

I suspect that the voluntary approach may not bear much fruit – barrristers being the independently minded lot they are – and… some were ‘hostile’ to the idea, after all!.  Some say… that some barristers do not have email addresses.  I know one barrister who says that he doesn’t get any emails at all – a source of pleasure to him – because he does not have an email address.

18 thoughts on “Bar Council to harness the power of information super highway …thingy…

  1. (*adopts persona of cobwebby, crinklie, slightly deaf 19th century learned counsel*)
    Email? E-MAIL you say? What’s it all about, eh, eh?!?! It’s all technological Gobldegook if you ask me – next thing you know Chambers and Barristers will be out there and BLOGGING ” It is simply not to be tolerated!! Heaven FORFEND, my dear Charon, what is to become of the finest traditions of the Bar?!?! Whats that you say? Get with the 21st Century? What on EARTH is that supposed to mean, eh, EH???

  2. SW: It was quite an extraordinary article. My summary is a fair precis.

    The Chief: A bit of Microsoft clip art – comes with Word – I just could not resist the pic.

  3. So Bill Gates is to blame for my disturbed state? Excellent!

    ps It is a funny pic. Just a little … disturbing for some. What can I find to cheer me up? Oh, 175 for 6, that’s just blooming fantastic, it’ll all be over by the weekend.

  4. The Chief…. I have just logged on to the BBC Cricket web coverage…. hopeless. fucking hopeless. Vaughn does not seem to be able to score, KP has lost touch… and Collingwood has reverted to fine batting form.

    This time tomorrow – what say you to South Africa 380-1?

    I may have to take of the wine of The Bourbons this evening.

    At least we have the Olympics to watch soon – athletes choking in smog….. TV pictures where we can’t see the competitors because of the smog…. Yachstmen getting tangled up in green algae…..

    Perhaps the Chinese will put on a few executions to keep the crowds entertained. Thy certainly used to shoot people in their stadiums….. probably put it on hold until the olympics are over.

  5. Charon – still, apparently Colly is a “good bloke”. That makes it all ok I suppose.

    I fully predict that once the Olympics finally starts all Chinese smog will have been renamed “Olympic Spirit Clouds in association with Samsung” and small children will be encouraged to run around in it in the hope that one day they too could hope to be concealing blood transfusions from the drugs testers before the final qualifying round for the sprint texting competition. That’s another thing – “drugs tester” is a bit of an inaccurate job description. You’d think they’d go around saying things like “this is the best coke I’ve had since last weekend” or “rather disappointing recent batch of crystal meth”, but instead they get to inspect other people’s urine. I bet a lot of applicants are pretty miffed when they get to the interview stage.

    With reference to Twitter, I’ll have a Pimms if you’re mixing some up. As you might be able to tell my brain is overheating.

  6. The Chief…. Pimms on the way – I am, it has to be said, taking the waters on twitter!

    Personally, as I have said before, I am a great believer in the use of drugs in sport. I would love to see someone run 100 metress in 4.2 seconds or someone high jump 32 feet into the air – that would be worth watching….

    I am pretty sure I could run 100 metres in 15-20 seconds…. so… the top athlete gets to his / her destination 5-10 seconds before me. By the time he catches his breath I am at the bar… what is the point of running 100 metres or long jumping. The triple jump is even more bizarre. If i saw someone doing that in Chiswick High Street I would be under a duty to call the Police Community Support Officers.

  7. The Chief – I have to say, on a construction and analysis of the event in question, that I share your view.

    Mind you… calling the atrocity that is being perpetrated today at Edgebaston ‘cricket’ is a very much more flagrant untruth…

  8. I don’t much care how they chose to communicate with me; what I object to is the regular flow of tatty, naggy, threatening letters from the Bar Standards Board etc e.g.: ‘have you done your CPD yet ? It’s a requirement….’, “are you an employed barrister doing advocacy, tell us else we’ll report you..blah blah”. (But at least I can line the hamster cage with them). Now we’ll get letters telling us to give over our email addresses (or else they’ll take disciplinary action) so that they can clog my email in-box up with their harangues, surveys and demands for cash. Wonderful.

  9. TommyPaine

    Excellent comment – thank you for posting! I have a number of friends at the Bar who rolled their eyes when they read this post about the ‘Email Initiative’ – or so they told me. I was not present to witness such a remarkable anatomical or… perhaps, physiological feat!.

  10. tommypaine should send them a letter saying he is quite willing to give them his email address. if they would be so kind as to email him about it, he will email it right back to them – email is, after all, the preferred method of communication, you know.
    or that might be like the time arthur dent asked the onboard beverage dispenser to make him a proper cup of tea. (if that isn’t too abstruse and geeky a reference)

  11. Perhaps I should create a special email address just for Bar Council communications.

    What about:

    ‘criminaljusticewasonlyatvdramatimothyduttonsopleasegetalife@hotmail.co.uk’ ,or

    ‘thankyoubutiprefertodomycpdpointsinamadrushon21stdecembereachyearwhenicandomychristmasshoppingatthesametime@yahoo.co.uk’, or

    ‘yesiamanemployedbarristernoiamnotdoingcountycourtadvocacymycompanyprefersmetonegotiateinternationaldeals@mac.com

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