Users need to put their legal defences in place now as lawyers prepare to make a killing out of the one-off opportunity presented by the year 2000 crisis.
The warning was issued by Steven Hook, a lawyer with San Francisco law firm Thelen, Marrin, Johnson and Bridges, to user delegates attending last week?s Year 2000 Conference and Expo in New York.
He predicted a post 2000 scenario in which shareholders sue companies, customers sue suppliers and in which the only winners will be the lawyers.
?Think about it ? how many $400 to $600 billion social problems have been resolved without copius legislation?? asked Hook.
He claimed that there was no way of avoiding an outbreak of year 2000 litigation. But he said it was possible to minimise the risk of being on the receiving end of legal action if action is taken now to ensure preventative measures are .
Users must put their own houses in order by ensuring that their systems are year 2000 compliant. ?I know it?s easier said than done,? admitted Hook. ?But it is the most obvious solution to preventing legal exposure and by far the best one.?
He emphasised that the principle of being judged by a jury of peers will not apply in the overwhelming majority of Year 2000 law suits.
?It?s an IT problem. You will be facing a non-peer jury,? he warned. ?If you start explaining why your computers failed in terms of the cost of memory chips in the 1960s, you are just going to get a lot of blank stares.?
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