30 Looking Ahead 1 (1998-1999)

handle is hein.journals/trends30 and id is 1 raw text is: 




VIEWS FROM THE CHAIR


Secion to, Undertake New Initiatives
El by George M Knapp


I       a Section, we periodically
address the question of how we can
provide the type of information and
other services of highest value to our
members. When I look at this issue, two
considerations are paramount. From a
long-term perspective, the type of work
we do, and even the regions of the
world where our services are required,
will change. From a day-to-day stand-
point, the need for timely delivery of
information is critical-to a significant
extent, lawyers' stock-in-trade is not so
much what they have done, but what
they know. Those considerations help
explain the specific goals I have selected
for my term a Section Chair.  -
   My highest priority will be to direct
Section resources so that Section com-
mittees, and Section members, can use
technoloy for real-time delivery of
information. The day has already 
arrived when Section members have
used the Section's e-mail forum to deliv-
er information ahead of the trade press.
For example, a query from a Section

George M. Knapp is Section Chair.
He is a partner in the Washington, DC,
office of Coudert Brothers, and con-
centrates his practice on the develop-
ment and financing of domestic and
international infrastructure projects.


member has led to a candid discussion
among Section members of the causes of
recent price swings in midwestern
power markets, and the potential for
changes in approaches to energy indus-
try restructuring.
   Section members have already used
the Section's listserv to identify potential
pro bono counsel, research precedent
from other jurisdictions, and notify
members of new court decisions and
agency action. All of these uses of tech-
nology provide further proof of the
importance for the Section, in providing
member services, of upgrading our tech-
nical capabilities and supporting innov-
ative uses of technology.
   The benefits derived from increased
use of technology reflect the fact that, as
a national association with international
membeiship, this Section provides a
forum for members to discuss issues
and benefit-from experiences gained in


different regions, and different practice
areas. Historically, we have relied on
CLE programming, publications, and
Section meetings to provide this
exchange of ideas. Technology allows
for wider dissemination of information.
But we need not stop there.
   I have proposed that we expand the
focus of our Section meetings to allow
time for a dialogue and discussion of
issues. Our organizational work-the
internal discussions-need not con-
sume vast blocks of time at our Council
meetings. We will experiment with a
new structure for our Fall Council Meet-
ing. At the Sunday Council meeting, we
will discuss some of the key topics that
have been the focus of CLE presenta-
tions at our Fall Meeting. As a Section,
we can then decide on future initiatives,
such as public service programming,
issues papers, or policy resolutions.
   The increased use of technology and
the broadening in focus of our Council
meetings reflects a great strength of our
Section. We are fortunate to be a
diverse Section of interrelated practice
areas. This diversity has an added bene-
fit. Our practices will change over the
course of our careers. In a Section of
our size, there is bound to be at least a
handful of members that are already
doing the kind of work' that others will
need to do (or be expected to do) in the

                      continued on pale 7.


Environmental Risks fortusinessEIndustry:


Embedded Systems and the Y2K Problem
M   by Claudia Rs


  T     he Year 2000 (Y2K) problem has
the potential for wreaking real havoc
with environmental compliance, yet sur-
prisingly few seem aware of the dangers.
While most may associate the Y2K
problem with computer software and
hardware, looming larger may be the
Y2K failures from embedded systems.

Claudia Rast is a partner at Dickin-
son Wright Moon Van Dusen & Free-
man in Detroit. She is Chair of the
Section's Special, Committee on Com-
munications Technology and a liaison
to the ABA Coordinating Committee
on Legal Technology. This article origi-
nally appeared in Vol. 14, No. 3 of
Environmental Compliance & Litigation
Strategy, August 1998.


What Are Embedded Systems?
Embedded systems are typically written
in a low-level code that is burned (or
embedded) into a microchip's read-
only memory (ROM), and cannot be
altered. The U.K. Institute of Electrical
Engineers describes their presence as
far from obvious to the casual observer,
and even' the more technically skilled
might need to examine the operation of
a piece of.equipment for some time
before being able to conclude that an
embedded control system was involved.
in its functioning: Thus, the first trick
is to find all the embedded systems in
your operations.

Finding Embedded Systems
Embedded systems are usually a part of
computerized control panels, which
carefully monitor and- regulate every-
thing from nuclear reactors and electric
power grids to waste water treatment
operations and underground tank farms.
   Embedded systems can also be found


as a part of stand-alone equipment that is
not connected to a computer system or
control panel. A familiar example in the
medical context is the defibrillation
machine. Y21K experts in the embedded
systems area offer checklists to help nar
row the search for-stand-alone embedded
systems. In the May/June 1998 edition of
the Year 2000 Journal, Dave Bettinger set
forth the following checklist of questions
to ask about stand- alone devices:

   * Does it operate with electricity? If
   yes, continue. If no, it's low risk.
   - Does it have a battery or similar
   backup power supply? If yes, contin-
   ue. If no, it's low risk.
   * Does it have a display? If yes, con-
   tinue. If no, it's low risk.
   * Does it have a microprocessor? If
   yes, continue,. If no, it's low risk.
    Does it have a calendar? If yes,
   continue. If no, it's low risk.

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