The 21st century has seen advancements being made in technology at an unprecedented pace and volume. The ever-changing nature of technology has meant the innovation of new products and services, each requiring regulation due to the potential of its misuse and harm to society. This has also given rise to the development of a multitude of new legislation and regulation governing the various areas of the technology sector. It is critical to consider the broad scope of technology law and how it intersects with many other fields of the legal profession.
Technology law encompasses compliance with data protection and privacy laws, telecommunications carriers’ obligations, directors’ duties and responsibilities, and competition law. Moreover, as the law continues to lag behind technological advancements, law reform often occurs quickly and haphazardly. This means technology lawyers need to be highly skilled and experienced in unpacking legislation which can be confusing, and not always well-written. Technology lawyers must also keep up to date with the various laws in the fast-paced policy arena. Lawyers are relied upon to understand the various legal obligations, and to assist clients to operate their businesses within the parameters of such legal boundaries.
Technology lawyers must also be adept in managing and developing contracts. Contracts and legal documents for clients in the technology sector can be highly specialised and require a great deal of technical knowledge and skills. In addition to the standard considerations of understanding clients’ legal and commercial needs, it is also critical to consider clients’ technical needs and concerns.
There is a wide range of legal matters and implications that must be considered. For example, there are many different types of intellectual property issues that may arise in respect of a company’s new service or product. Similarly, while promoting the client’s interest to conduct their business, consideration must be had as to whether this infringes upon any consumer laws.
The client base for technology law is wide and varied. Clients for technology lawyers can include:
• software development companies
• local government councils
• telecommunications carriers
Technology law is a complex field of the legal profession; but it is also a dynamic, flexible, and exciting area of law. Due to the broad scope and continuing development of technology, technology law is a similarly vast area of the legal profession. Technology lawyers wear many hats. From drafting contracts or providing regulatory advice to assisting with risk management and making carrier license applications. Technology lawyers can be relied upon to work well under pressure and in fast-paced environments, to be adept problem-solvers and critical thinkers.