Today’s The Times: The Brief, tells the story of a husting meeting I had with 100 Law Society council members in my run up to being appointed deputy vice-president. This meeting took place over Skype call, but was not without technological difficulties.
Even leaders of the legal profession can fall into technology bear traps. A case in point has just emerged involving David Greene, the senior partner of the London litigation law firm Edwin Coe, which was at the heart of the Brexit Article 50 Supreme Court ruling.
Greene recently successfully stood for the post of deputy vice-president at the Law Society, the quasi-trade union for around 140,000 practising solicitors in England and Wales.
The election was contested – which held no fear for Greene, who has twice (unsuccessfully) stood as a Labour candidate for parliament – and the process involved a husting meeting before the discrete electorate of 100 Law Society council members.
But Greene was faced with a conundrum. The husting was scheduled to coincide with his attendance at a Commonwealth Law Association conference in Melbourne. Not to fear, said the technology boffins at the society’s Chancery Lane headquarters in London, we’ll beam you into the council chamber via a Skype video link.
All well and good – but Melbourne was ten hours ahead of London, meaning that the session was going to take place at around midnight for the candidate. Greene realised that the video would capture his image from the waist up and therefore adopted a newsreader approach by remaining in his boxer shorts with suit jacket, shirt and tie on top.
All went swimmingly for the first few minutes, with Greene enthralling the electorate despite the vast distance of miles. Then the video connection went on the blink.
“We can still hear you, David, so carry on,” cried the panicked technicians, confirming the audio was still functioning.
Greene did not miss a beat and carried on setting out his ten-point plan for making the Law Society great again. But it was a warm evening in Australia so he thought he would cool off by ditching the jacket, shirt and tie ensemble.
By the time the future deputy vice-president was semi-naked he heard another cry from London: “David! Don’t take off any more!”
Unbeknownst to our hero, the Skype video had reactivated after a few seconds. Perhaps that is why he won the election.
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