“I see it as part of the payback in the sense that the practice of law has been very good to me. When you’ve got 30 years of experience you don’t hog it; you share it and you pass it on, like the torch to the next generation.”
Harvey has almost as many years’ experience dabbling in the black arts of programming, starting with a TRS 80 back in 1980.
“It was a Model One, with a monstrous 16KB of onboard RAM and a tape recorder to store data.”
It’s not dead yet, either, Harvey finding a use for it in developing a random number generator for Lotto numbers.
Harvey became involved with the law and information technology course when the previous lecturer moved on.
Harvey had been substituting for another lecturer and was approached by the school’s dean to take over the course.
“It was a field in which I had an interest and I had an opportunity to develop it and take it a few steps further towards the legal side.”
Previously the course was run as 50% law, 50% technology, even down to encouraging the students to build their own websites and write code.
The course is one of the most popular of the elective courses in Auckland’s law degree, which Harvey says bodes well for the future of IT law.
“It is a growing area in the sense that new technologies are coming along and it’s good to have a rigorous and disciplined way of approaching the way in which law deals with new technology. Even if the old rules do apply, at least you’ve got the answer.”