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Computer Law Committee joins Business Law Section.

The Computer Law Committee has relinquished its position as one of the Bar's substantive law standing committees, but it hasn't disappeared. The committee has become part of the Business Law Section and is now accepting members.

"The Business Law Section had been courting us for a couple of years to come over and join them," said Stephen Krulin, chair of the committee.

And thanks to the hard work of people like Sam Lewis, the immediate past chair, and Jose Rojas, another former chair, the committee did just that.

Prior to becoming an official committee of the Business Law Section, the committee was governed by Bar guidelines which limited the membership to 50 people and imposed a six-year term limit for members. Because the committee was created in the early 1980s, many of its more experienced member were forced to step aside, according to Krulin.

The committee also was financially limited, which allowed it to conduct only one CLE offering per year. Krulin said this made it hard for members to present information about current trends in the ever-changing field of computer law.

The committee has always been comprised of people who know a great deal about computers and computer law, and who are, for the most part, at the cutting edge of computer-related arbitration, litigation, and mediation, Krulin said.

"We approached our CLE efforts as an opportunity to open this experience to the Bar in general. Now, with the section, we'll be open to providing additional programs," Krulin said. With the reorganization, the committee will have access to the section's CLE funds.

The committee may also accept as many members as they'd like, including those seasoned members who previously left the committee.

"We're very happy to have them join our section," said Business Law Section Chair David Felman. "We're going to invest some money to help them do whatever the want."

Krulin likened the committee's previous situation to a large plant in a small pot.

"The more that we bloomed, the tighter it got. We wanted to expand, and the only way left to us was to become a section, which became impossible," he said.

The Computer Law Committee had sought section status for several years, but a lack of sufficient funding hampered its progress.

Many members of the Business Law Section represent technology companies, and some were among the early Computer Law Committee members, which makes for a good pairing, according to Felman.

The committee leaders weren't nearly as confident about the match early on in the process, though.

"We've got people who teach computer law, who work for businesses, who work for Internet companies, who work in the criminal sector. There's a wide variety of people who aren't strictly business lawyers," Krulin said. "We polled the old-time members, the former chairs, former vice chairs, and posed the question."

The majority of committee members agreed it was a good idea, and when it came down to the final vote, the committee was unanimous.

The Computer Law Committee's first meeting as part of the section commenced at the section's retreat in Naples in late August. Plans to offer the committee's experience and knowledge to benefit the legislature's consideration of upcoming technology and privacy issues were presented.
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Publication:Florida Bar News
Date:Sep 1, 2001
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