CompTIA Offers a Hand to Small or Mid-Size IT Firms That Need to Lawyer Up
Historically, it has not been uncommon to hear people sneer at lawyers — but everyone wants a good one when the situation calls for it. Today's world has never been more litigious, and the biggest players in the technology industry in particular seem to be constantly fighting battles in court.
Government anti-trust bodies, environmental organizations, unions and labor groups, patent trolls looking for nuisance settlements — not to mention tech companies suing each other over every possible point of contention. Having a five-star in-house legal team is part of the price of doing business for today's tech industry heavyweights.
Even small business operators need to think about how they would respond to some sort of legal action taken against them. Not everyone can have a full-time legal department like Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Even having a single lawyer on retainer can be a financial burden that most small businesses can't manage.
Leading IT industry organization CompTIA, recognizing both the need for (and the related expense of) solid legal coverage for small IT companies, has created a new benefit for its premier members whereby they can get legal services through CompTIA's partner, InfoTech Law Advocates (ITLA). The CompTIA Legal Services Program was launched at the start of 2015, and is available to any of CompTIA's premier members based in the United States.
CompTIA offers applications for Premier memberships to any IT industry organizations that fall into at least one of the following categories:
? Solution Provider
? Channel Associate
While the Legal Services Program is a great added value for CompTIA premier members, the necessity for such a program is not something to be embraced. Read this sentence from CompTIA's related press release, and see if it doesn't make you feel a little uneasy:
"ITLA is a full-service law firm dedicated to providing small to mid-size IT companies with the legal representation needed to address the growing business complexities of highly regulated industries and vertical markets."
Note: Can we please take the buzzwords "vertical markets" and throw them down a deep well along with "synergy", "rightshoring," and "mindshare"? Our language is polluted enough, business word nerds.
Corp-speak aside, the gist of the press release (and the program itself) is that even small tech companies are vulnerable to the widespread legal shenanigans that run through the IT industry like a flu virus. "Highly regulated" is one way to describe the IT world, which has a contentious legal history, and has only grown more hazardous and confusing over time as the globalization of information technology has sent products and services zooming across international borders faster than would-be regulators can respond.
Even self-employed app creators need to consider the possibility that some user will download their app, feel that it's based on a post-pizza dream they had, and sue the creator for subliminal intellectual property theft. If you think this is a ridiculous basis for a lawsuit, you are giving the world too much credit. A few years ago, people were suing Subway because the "foot-long" subs they'd ordered were only 11 inches long.
Still, it's about the world we live in, not the world we want. CompTIA's legal services offering is a timely perk that is also sign of the times. For small-to-mid-sized companies considering applying for CompTIA premier member status, the added benefit of getting access to an IT-specialized legal firm is definitely a carrot that may pull them in.
It's a shame that this kind of service has become nearly mandatory in today's IT world. There's nothing wrong with rule of law: the alternative is the dystopias of Mad Max and The Walking Dead. The ease with which frivolous lawsuits gain traction in our current justice system, however, is less of a shining example of freedom, and more of a black mark on society's report card.