It’s been a pleasure and a privilege
Walking home with my son one day some years ago, when he was quite young, I asked him (as I often did) what he’d done that day.
He very proudly told me that he’d evolted. Eventually we’d established that he meant he’d evolved, but still the word is used in our household even to this day, much to his embarrassment. Given his size (he’s much bigger and stronger than me) I probably won’t be able to get away with it for much longer, so I’ll have to save it up for a celebratory speech to make him blush, or perhaps a blog or two so long as he doesn’t want royalties.
However the point of the story was not (or not only) to share a funny anecdote about my very funny children, but also to make the observation that when we think about evolution, we think in big terms, such as how we have evolved from living in caves and killing our own food, to living in houses and having Tescos deliver to us, whereas we actually evolve every day. We are learning and growing and changing and developing all the time, and so are those around us, and our environment.
Technology is one of those things that is growing and developing faster and faster with each day, and so is law, or perhaps, because technology is growing and developing so fast, law is having to do the same to keep up. If I think back to my first role as a paralegal 34 (!) years ago, to what my paralegals do now, there have been more changes in the last 10 years than there were in the previous 24 years. If I look at what life was like for them even 12 months ago, it’s changed again, mostly due to the lockdown, but that’s only been possible because the technology exists to enable us to upload documents to the court system so that everyone can access them, and to facilitate hearings taking place by Skype and Zoom. Things that would have been unthinkable in 2019.
Of course this leads to new decisions being made, because new ways of dealing with things, leads to new questions about those new ways of dealing with things. One such question that caught my eye recently was on the point of privilege. Privileged communications between solicitor and client do not have to be disclosed to the court or the other side, so if we have an email exchange about, for example, your chances of success at court, and what the pros and cons of your case are, that is confidential. However, if in the course of that exchange, you send me documents, are they automatically covered by privilege? No, the Supreme Court have just decided, to the disappointment of Sports Direct. Which has then led to the question, does that apply to, for example, a link to a Dropbox file. Logic would say probably that the same rule would apply, but as we are constantly evolving, we’ll have to wait and see.
The best thing to take away from this is never take anything for granted. Law, like everything else, is a constantly changing area, and the rules and laws that applied to us 34 years ago, may well have changed. After all, it’s not that long ago that everyone believed that the earth was flat and smoking was good for you!
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Moving with the times.