Thursday, June 20, 2013


NACUA is the venerable organisation for Uni lawyers and the annual conference is a huge big deal. There are about 30 of us non-Americans, here to confirm that the problems are the same for General Counsel the world over. At least in the US, General Counsel is a "Vice-President" and an expected part of management (if not the "President's Inner Cabinet").

It's at the Marriott Downtown hotel, a nice old art-deco hotel with all mod cons. After the introductions, the first session was a conversation between experienced Supreme Court counsel which touched on an upcoming decision about race quotas - a hot topic in the USA and the subject of several contentious and contradictary approaches by the US Supreme Court (or SCOTUS as it likes to be called) over the years.

Then the simultaneous sessions started, and it's a judgment which to go to because they're all relevant to some extent. I chose one on major copyright cases involving university electronic library reserves - a couple of authors' rights associations have taken on unis and lost bad. The US copyright law allows a lot more "fair use" so the digitising universities are on a good chance to establish that the electronic libraries don't infringe against the law.

The evening reception was in a huge ballroom with very few chairs, so we set up a circle with some others, put our bags in the middle and had a base from which to venture out and try the food. Usual drinks service, but the food offerings included make-your-own Philly Steak and other "Hoagies" (meaning lots of meat and cheese in a roll), crab cakes cooked on the spot on a griddle, antipasti and grilled chicken salads for the modest eater. After a couple of hours of that, we adjourned to the bar and then to The North Star Bar and Restaurant, a music venue on the outskirts of the city. Nice blues, but a long stagger home.

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