AIJA News

It's the most wonderful time of the year

12 December 2018

It's that time of the year again! Yes, you've guessed it...it's time for another countdown to Christmas and the end of the year.  It's the best moment to spend some quality time with family, friends, colleagues and celebrate our successes and set new year goals for 2019. The AIJA team wishes you a Merry Christmas and a very happy new year. 

See you in 2019! Check out our next year's destinations to know where you can find us.

 


Lawyers positive towards the future, but are set to do more

06 December 2018

Lawyers seem to be positive towards the future, but cite resistance to innovation, rise of alternative providers of legal services and commoditisation as the biggest challenges to the future of their profession.

From September to October 2018, AIJA in collaboration with the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe surveyed European lawyers between 25 and 45 years old across 48 countries. The purpose of the survey was to measure the evolution of lawyers’ perceptions towards the challenges affecting the future of the profession since a similar survey was undertaken in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the top biggest threats to the future of the legal profession, as nominated by the respondents of the survey.

1. Resistance to innovation

Close to 47% of European lawyers have rated resistance to innovation the first biggest threat to the profession. The outlook for the future is nevertheless positive, as this marks a decrease of nearly 24% from two years ago.

2. The rise of alternative providers of legal services

86% of lawyers believe that law firms are likely to employ non-lawyers (e.g. project managers, legal technicians) to provide services to their clients in the future. This marks an increase of 10% from 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pressure to increase cost-effective competency and processes as well as leverage new technologies could be some of the drivers towards outsourcing many legal services to alternative providers. The complexity of services and tasks performed by lawyers will only continue to rise. Consequently, alternative providers of legal services will continue to rise as well, as more areas of specialisation may come forth.

3. Commoditisation of legal services

The commoditisation of legal services is rated the third biggest threat (30%). Not surprisingly, this is already challenging the law firms’ traditional business models. Law firms will need to keep on adapting their business to the commoditisation.

The latest survey findings also reveal that compared to 2016, lawyers seem to be doing more bespoke work (increase of 8%) and less routine tasks (decrease of 18.54%).

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

4. Privatisation of justice

The privatisation of justice is rated the fourth biggest challenge (23%). Lawyers foresee a growing trend on the “privatisation” of justice through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (“ADR”) like conciliation, mediation, and counselling. While ADR in some cases may help to provide a quicker access to justice to parties who otherwise may face overworked traditional courts, lawyers seem concerned about the guarantees, lack of transparency and overall quality provided by ADR.

5. Use of new technologies.

Compared to 2016 (28% vs 16% in 2018), lawyers seem to be less fearful of technology replacing them in the future (decrease of 43%). While this marks a more positive attitude towards technology, lawyers are yet lagging in the adoption of new technologies in their law firms.

Tech adoption in law firms (2018 results):

 

 

 

 

 

 

To overcome the challenges to the future of the legal profession, law firms are taking some measures. 42% of respondents are confident that their law firms are taking the necessary steps to introduce new tools or ways of working: from developing marketing or AI tools, using cloud and online databases, automatisation, to legal project management, developing internal knowledge and establishing multi-disciplinary partnerships.

 

 

 

 

Prepare for the future.

Business acumen (customer-centric approach), solid digital proficiency, good management skills and openness towards innovation are mentioned as essential skills for the legal profession. With the rise of new technologies, being simply a knowledgeable lawyer is no longer enough. However, only 3% agree that the training of lawyers is sufficiently adapting to the changing landscape of the legal market. More legal training seems required to adapt accordingly and ensure that lawyers remain indispensable in the era of AI technology.

 Skills for lawyers in the future (2018 results):

'Human beings have a natural tendency to resist change. Lawyers are no different. The decision to evolve and adapt to an increasingly changing legal landscape is simply good business and lawyers should seek to ensure a sustainable business model for their law firms in the long term', says Xavier Costa, AIJA President.

The rapid changes in technology represent an opportunity for lawyers and their business. We should embrace these advances and make good use of new technologies to provide better services to the society and our clients. Quicker, more transparent and efficient legal services will result in increased trust from clients and, thus, in more business for lawyers.

'Lawyers must work closely with the industries leading the digital revolution to ensure that the legal principles that had guaranteed decades of stability, peace and economic growth remain adequately implemented in a digital world’, he concludes.

The findings of the survey were presented by AIJA at the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe (CCBE) conference ‘Artificial Intelligence and Human Justice’ held on 30 November, in Lille; as well as at the LEGAL ®EVOLUTION Expo & Congress held on 4 December in Frankfurt.

To view the full results, please download this summary

 


Lawyers told to make cybersecurity a priority at board level

25 October 2018

With the European Cybersecurity Month running this October, there’s no better time to speak about cybersecurity and the challenges law firms face.

To find out more, we asked the President and Vice-President of the Intellectual Property, Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Commission, Árpád Gered (Maybach Görg Lenneis Geréd Rechtsanwälte GmbH) and Silvia van Schaik (bureau Brandeis).

 

 

What are the challenges of cybersecurity for law firms?

Árpád: The biggest challenge is that law firms often don't consider themselves valid targets. In many cases, this leads to firms taking the minimal necessary technological precautions but forgetting about the appropriate organisational measures. This includes first and foremost educating all collaborators in a law firm on the importance of those precautions and that they can only be effective if they are upheld by all concerned.

After all, according to the ENISA Threat Landscape Report, the top five cyberthreats target the people having access to target systems rather than the systems themselves. Thus, with appropriate technological measures and the proper education of all collaborators, even law firms on a tight budget should be able to counter a significant number of threats.

What about the challenges for smaller law firms with smaller budgets?

Silvia: I believe that large firms and firms that are well known are more likely to become victim to a ransomware attack. Smaller firms may struggle more with finding affordable, practical and safe solutions, for instance for remote working. It’s not always easy to find a balance between safely storing and sharing documents and being able to work.              

How can law firms overcome these challenges?

Árpád: As with every potentially challenging situation, effectively facing cyberthreats starts with consultation by experts in that field. While the concrete measures to be taken may vary from firm to firm, in all cases they should cover the ‘CIA-Triangle’: Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability.

Confidentiality means measures to restrict access to the information to authorised persons, e.g. training of personnel, authentication of users, classification of data and users. Integrity refers to measures to ensure that the information can't be altered or deleted erroneously, be it unintentionally or on purpose, e.g. permissions, version control, redundancy plans. Finally, Availability relates to measures to ensure that the information is always available to the authorised persons, e.g. failover and redundancy measures, geographically separate backups, disaster recovery plans.

Silvia: Involving experts is indeed important. Those experts should also truly understand what the work of a lawyer entails. In my experience, it’s difficult to find such experts, especially at a reasonable price. Furthermore, lawyers should have proper tools and receive training about cyberthreats and what they can do about it. Enough time and budget should be allocated for doing that.  

We see that legal services are more and more embracing new technologies. But it’s time to also take a closer look at the skills available in the legal profession to ensure good cybersecurity practices are in place. In this regard, to what extent is the legal profession equipped with the necessary skills?

Árpád: In countering cyberthreats, the legal profession is not any worse equipped than other businesses that have traditionally worked with analogue media and now discover that the core of their business has been digitalised. The legal profession insofar has even an advantage over other lines of business, as secrecy obligations have always been among the core values. However - nowadays - the process is more complicated than locking up the files in the cabinet at night.

One major skill that is currently often lacking (but not only in the legal profession) is the understanding of what sharing of information over certain means might entail. While a firm might make available appropriate tools or services (e.g. secure online storage and file exchange services), it is nevertheless the people working with the information who need to understand why they shouldn't use any non-sanctioned tools or services. This is especially important in the legal profession, where confidential and sensitive data is regularly processed.

Silvia: I believe that most lawyers have the skillset but don’t always know what tools are available and how they can use them. However, I also believe that cybersecurity, or even IT in general, is still often seen as something secondary to our core business. What can be done more? Truly make cybersecurity a priority at the board level of all firms. Our clients trust us with their information, so we should do anything to make sure it is safe while also being able to do what our clients hire us for!    

To find out more about the European Cybersecurity Month, please visit the dedicated website: cybersecuritymonth.eu.

 


In search of leadership in Dubrovnik...

16 October 2018

by Darko Marković, executive coach and leadership development expert, Inn.Side – learning and development, Serbia

We all have experiences with leaders, either in politics, our community, business or sport. If you type ‘leadership’ in Google, you may get no less than 145,000,000 of hits about books written on this topic. Somehow, everybody knows what leadership is, but there is still a never-ending interest about it. Interesting, isn’t it?

Either in life or in the movies, we can easily recognise a great leader and get impressed with their skills: how they communicate, motivate people, manage conflicts or formulate compelling visions to follow. The good news is that these superhumans were not born with those skills, those were all developed! 

Looking at the topic of what makes a great leader great, contemporary leadership researchers and thinkers would agree that the expertise and how smart you are wouldn’t make you a leader; you need different ways of being smart. The outstanding leaders demonstrate several different intelligences, such as emotional, cultural, political and systemic.   

In my work as a leadership development coach, I have been working with executives from multinational corporations, leaders in international NGOs, owners of businesses or start-ups. What I have learnt from them is that it is never about the skills only. Skills are important, but also easiest to learn. Skills can be learnt and trained, but to produce results they need to land somewhere. There is a need for a fertile ground. This fertile ground in the context of leadership development is leadership mindset and leadership identity.

In other words, it is not so much about WHAT you do as a leader, but rather HOW you do it and WHO you are. You can imagine two leaders saying exactly the same things, but the way the things were said and who they were as persons could have created a completely different impact on people around them. Sounds familiar?

For effective leadership in the complex and fast-changing world that we are living in, more than ever, leaders need to reflect on their leadership. This reflection should include questions like ‘what are beliefs and convictions of mine that are blocking/supporting my leadership’, ‘am I ready to say YES to my leadership?’, ‘what is my leadership calling  and the source of my leadership’, ‘where do I lead from; from the past, present or the emerging future?’, ‘what does the world want from me?’, etc. Yes, you are right, this goes much deeper than ’10 steps to effective leadership’-approach, but that’s the way it is. Leadership development is much more about the inner work than public relations. In the forthcoming AIJA workshop in Dubrovnik, we will create a unique space to learn and grow as leaders and human beings. 

About the Half-Year Conference in Dubrovnik

From 22-24 November, we will host our Half-Year November Conference in Dubrovnik. This year's theme is 'Building Leadership Skills for Success'. 

On Friday, 23 November, participants will spend one day in an interactive workshop run by Darko Marković, executive coach and leadership development expert, Inn.Side – learning and development. The workshop 'How to become a better and more effective leader' promises to provide participants with hands-on advice and practical examples on how to become a better and more effective leader in their day to day work.

On Saturday, 24 November, participants are invited to attend one of the three parallel workshops held during the first half of the day. These will focus on how to develop leadership skills in an international association, such as AIJA, by taking on different roles within the association (e.g. commission officer, national representative, member of the organising committee for an event). Participants will learn how such roles can help them to strengthen their personal brand on social media and build a portfolio that they can showcase in their law firm or the wider legal community.

From 22-24 November, networking sessions will complement the leadership and skills development programme to allow for business contacts and meeting other international law practitioners.

Early-bird registrations end on 23 October. To register and view the full programme, visit the dedicated website.

About Darko Marković

Darko works as a leadership development trainer, executive coach and consultant. During 20 years of his consultancy work, he has been supporting leaders and organisations in their growth and transformation. He has been working with a large number of clients, including multinational companies, European institutions and international organisations in more than 30 countries. His main professional focuses are leadership development, team development solutions, cultural intelligence and systemic change. He has MA in psychology, background in psychotherapy (REBT, psychodrama) and certificates in The Art and Science of Coaching (Erickson College International), Leadership Development through Emotional Intelligence (Weatherhead School of Management, USA) and Systems Dynamics in Organisations (Bert Hellinger Instituut, NL). He is the owner of Inn.Side – learning and development and he is  based in Belgrade, Serbia.

 


AIJA going global in attendance at its Annual Congress in Brussels

27 September 2018

This is not only because more than 700 delegates gathered in Brussels from all corners of the globe for five days of outstanding scientific sessions, professional growth and above it all, a very enthusiastic atmosphere that is unrivalled in our events. But also, because as an international association, we are more and more taking the lead in our digital transformation.

The recent introduction of the electronic voting is a positive way forward for the association which aims to increase accessibility to its internal democratic processes and facilitate new forms of direct participation for its members. Forging the path for electronic voting in AIJA has taken many months of hard work and the Brussels congress was the perfect occasion to put the e-voting into practice. On Saturday, 1 September, the association had its first General Assembly streamed online and attended by all members through their electronic devices.

How it all started and where we are today

In 2016, the General Assembly has decided to introduce electronic voting to allow direct participation of more members to the activities of our association, specifically in those core moments such as the General Assembly which is a critical process for moving the association forward and ensuring that AIJA remains a member-driven organisation.

Today, we have seen that although the total number of assigned proxies remains the same compared to previous elections, its marginal impact appears significantly different: although still a solid 45,5% of the votes are casted via proxy, the trend shows a decrease. We will further investigate together to see whether future elections will confirm or deny this trend.

This year’s electronic voting system has also shown several improvements in the election process. Almost 100 votes were casted by members who were not present at the congress and chose to vote remotely. More than one fourth of the votes casted were expressed by members that wanted to take an active part in the democratic internal dialogue of the association despite not being present in Brussels.

Commitment is vital for the good governance of an organisation and for the reaffirmation of its internal democratic processes; but this is particularly true for AIJA, an international association aiming to strengthen its global presence and reputation. “We can do this not only by investing into strategic expansion and geographic growth, but also by actively involving more and more young members from all over the world. Ultimately, our members and their active participation in the association are the key to our common success”, concluded Emiliano Ganzarolli, AIJA Secretary General, who has led the introduction of e-voting in AIJA.

 


Global Goals Week – Providing English classes to Syrian legal professionals

26 September 2018

With #GlobalGoalsWeek running this week (22 to 29 September 2018) around the world, there’s no better time to raise awareness for action to accelerate progress to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals.

The SDGs are 17 goals defined by the United Nations (UN) to tackle the world’s most pressing issues by 2030. From promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth and employment (Goal #9) right through working together (Goal #17), ensuring equal access to justice for all (Goal #16) and quality education (Goal #4), there is so much we can do for just, peaceful and sustainable societies. These – and the full set of goals - are essential drivers for a long-term sustainable change of the world. Yet for too many people, these are out of reach.

Since 2015, AIJA has been supporting International Legal Assistance Consortium’s (ILAC) “ILAC Syria Programme 2017-2020” to help build the capacity of the Syrian legal civil society for independence through English language classes. The classes, organised by ILAC in Turkey and sponsored by AIJA, aim to empower lawyers, judges and other legal professionals who had to flee from Syria because of the war.

The programme has found that one of the challenges most Syrian legal professionals face is communicating adequately in English. This often prevents them from taking active part in rule of law activities and partnerships with international organisations, as well as conducting effective and efficient advocacy to promote rule of law in Syria.

Through free weekly language classes, ILAC and AIJA help participants to rebuild their careers after the war by offering them the opportunity to learn how to communicate and access legal information in English and build an international professional network. As a result, many of them have gone from not communicating at all in English to doing so uninhibited. Now, some even have jobs where they use English as the working language. With the help of this programme, we hope that participants can continue their legal careers in Turkey and ultimately contribute to rebuilding the legal system in Syria.

AIJA appreciates the opportunity to contribute to the efforts of ILAC and its members to support Syrian legal professionals to perform basic legal services, uphold rule of law and prevent a complete collapse of the justice sector and institutions in Syria. Nonetheless, the complexities, contradictions and risks they face are numerous. There is a need for a continuous coordination and collaboration between lawyers and judges who are inside and outside Syria, so that they can become instrumental in restoring the justice system (should a transitional justice process ever materialise)..

For more information about the ILAC Syria Programme, please visit their website.

Testimonials from participants attending the English course in Gaziantep, Turkey

Ms. Weaam, law student, 25 years old.

“I was studying law in Syria and because of the ongoing war, I could not continue my studies. In Turkey, the situation is different. The English language course helps me a lot because it opens new horizons for me, so I can continue my studies by registering to a university here that teaches law in English. I can get my certificate in law by doing that. The course is very good and helps a lot.”

Mr. Abdu Almunaam Kashish, lawyer, 37 years old.

“The course gives me new information and helps me to review my knowledge in general. The best thing in the course is the concentration of information related to the field of law. For instance, we have learned a lot about the different types of courts and a lot of specialised vocabulary and idioms and so on.”

Mr. Al Hassan, judge, 44 years old.

“In Syria, I was a judge. In Turkey, I have become a legal consultant at a legal organisation thanks to this course. In Syria, we did not focus on the English language and here in Turkey I had to find a new job. The English language courses developed my English skills and gave me the chance to find a respectable and decent job.”

Ms. Rosy, lawyer, 39 years old.

“In Syria, I dreamed to continue my higher studies and finally obtain a PhD. This course really gives me the opportunity to register to any international university to get my PhD in international law. Having access to the English language can help me to achieve my dream. I cannot do my higher studies in Arabic because the English language is a must in my situation.”

Zachariah, lawyer, 27 years old.

“I am a lawyer and very interested in the legal field and my country needs a lot of reforms. In short, the course helps me to read in English about similar situations in other states, so reading in English gives me the experience of other states that had reformed their justice system. We need their experience, their reforms, and we have to read them in English.”

 


AIJA appoints new President and First Vice-President for 2018/19

24 September 2018

AIJA, the International Association of Young Lawyers, elected at its 2018 General Assembly its new President and First Vice-President for the 2018/2019 term of office. Xavier Costa (Roca Junyent) will take on his role as President of AIJA supported by Paola Fudakowska (Withers LLP) as First Vice President, Wiebe de Vries (BloomTax B.V.) as Immediate Past President, Emiliano Ganzarolli (Audisio e Associati) as Secretary General, Lara Vivas (Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira SLP) as Treasurer and Anna Wyrzykowska (WKB Wierciński, Kwieciński, Baehr sp. k.) as Deputy Treasurer.

I would like to thank the AIJA General Assembly for the trust and confidence. I look forward to working with the Extended Bureau and AIJA staff through this new term of office, to ensure that our association remains the best platform for knowledge sharing and professional networking for international lawyers aged 45 and under.

To achieve this, we will further develop strategic partnerships inside and outside the legal community. We will also continue to hold more than 20 events around the world and will strengthen our growth in regions that we have identified as key markets. Particularly, the Americas will be highly placed on our agendas; however, without undermining our recurrent and growing presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

The momentum is there: we are lucky to count on a highly-skilled and motivated team. We are certain we have the right people in the right positions: at the Bureau, Extended Bureau and in out Brussels secretariat. With their help, AIJA will continue to grow in a steady and sustainable way. Our association will keep on providing our international colleagues the connections, training and skills needed to better serve the interests of their clients in a globalised and digitalised world

- said Xavier Costa, President of AIJA.

Xavier Costa is Partner at Roca Junyent, Spain. He advises clients in Mergers & Acquisitions, focusing on cross-border transactions, foreign investments and corporate related matters.

In advance of her election at the General Assembly, Paola Fudakowska, First Vice-President of AIJA set out her vision for the association focused on Diversity, Development and Dialogue.

"The association’s cultural and gender diversity is going from strength to strength. I will harness this enthusiasm and success by continuing to offer local members the support to host events in their home country in line with the association's strategic growth in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region.

I will join 4 female presidents elected in the last decade to focus on gender diversity through our existing AIJA experience built on indiscriminate support and celebration of each other’s ambitions and successes.

In respect of development, the quality of our academic programmes is recognised both within and outside the association. I will continue to work closely with our colleagues in the IBA, ABA, UIA, IPBA, ELSA and other organisations to identify regular opportunities for collaboration. The success of forging links between our members is already evident in the numbers of former AIJA members who are active in these associations, not least the incoming president of the IBA. 

Dialogue is at the heart of the association's raison d’être to provide an international networking platform. Creating effective networks for young lawyers at the start of their careers is instrumental to their present and future success. By offering members the opportunity to get involved in the association from the outset as a speaker, to organise a seminar or to take on an official role is instrumental to our future growth and represents the heart of the AIJA spirit"

- said Paola Fudakowska, First Vice-President of AIJA.

Paola Fudakowska is currently a solicitor at Withers LLP and she is based in Geneva. Paola is a UK qualified litigator, specialising in all types of family wealth disputes involving trusts and inheritance, primarily with an international focus. She has recently completed an LL.M. in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights at the Geneva Academy.

AIJA would like to thank Wiebe de Vries of BloomTax B.V. for all his efforts and dedication in advancing the young legal profession as a President during 2017/18. He will continue his role as Immediate Past President to support the 2018/19 Extended Bureau.

The 2018 General Assembly took place on 1 September 2018 back-to-back with the 56th International Young Lawyers’ Congress. The Congress brought together around 700 law practitioners, law firms and companies from around the world in Brussels to discuss the impact of globalisation on the legal profession.

Overall results of the elections are available here. For further information, please address your questions to office@aija.org

 


Labour and immigration law, M&A and joint ventures: trends and challenges

20 September 2018

From 4-6 October, Turin will host AIJA’s labour and immigration law annual conference “Work, work, work: current trends and challenges in labour and immigration law” which will run alongside a corporate and M&A seminar titled “Secrets to successful joint ventures”. 

To learn more about the two events, we asked our organising committee to share a few highlights.

Q1: What are the main highlights of the annual conference and M&A seminar?

Rebekka STUMPFROCK, Attorney, AVANTCORE Rechtsanwalte: The scientific programme of the annual conference will feature sessions about the latest developments in labour, employment and immigration law. Topics include “Compliance systems and surveillance of employees”, “Daily opportunities and challenges of the international HR department”, “Discrimination in the workplace and non-discrimination laws” and many more. It will also be interesting to discuss how different jurisdictions view legislations related to whistleblowing.

Marie BRASSEUR, Partner, ALTIUS: This year, the Corporate and M&A seminar is dedicated to joint ventures and will guide participants through the various steps, from prenup to exit. In addition to the corporate aspects, we will also cover topics that are specifically relevant to joint ventures, including competition and intellectual property issues.

Matteo COCUZZA, Partner, Studio Legale Pacchiana Parravicini e Associati: The keynote address on the international labour standards and new challenges in the working world will be something to look forward to next month. We are happy to have Maura Miraglio, Senior Programme Officer at the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), with us on Saturday, 6 October.

Marco GARDINO, Associate, R&P Legal: October is the very best time to visit Turin! In addition to the scientific programme, we promise to have a great social and culinary experience. For instance, on Friday, 5 October, we will welcome participants to Turin’s Egyptian museum for a guided tour of the one of the largest collections of Egyptian artefacts and a dinner in the museum. This will be followed by a wine tasting at the Ceretto winery and a visit of the truffle fair in Alba on Saturday, 6 October.

Q2: The latest challenges and trends concerning labour, employment and immigration law will be discussed at the annual conference. In your view, what are the main highlights?

Matteo COCUZZA, Partner, Studio Legal A. Pacchiana Parravicini e Associati: Free movement of employees has some new challenges: e.g. the new Directive on posting of workers, opportunities/limitations of business visitors throughout different countries and obviously the consequences of Brexit. A new challenge in the world of work is how to create and maintain a safe and non-discriminatory work place e.g. how to react and implement measures to prevent #MeToo discussions in the workplace, the impact of a third gender and how we balance monitoring employees and secure their privacy.

Nicky DE GROOT, Attorney, BWK Partners: Another topic to be discussed at the annual conference is how technology is creating a new world of work, specifically how social media impacts employees and businesses, employee surveillance, flexible working and how to guarantee employees’ mobility. We also see different kind of flexible work models. Most of the flexible work models are a result of the digitalisation of the workplace. Some models create new challenges for companies while others drive new solutions e.g. mobile office, platform work or crowd working, flexible working hours or working time account, desk sharing and flexible retirement schemes.

If we look at the corporate law, companies are developing software to replace the work of lawyers e.g. in analysis of documentation and drafting of contractual models.

Q3: The M&A and Corporate law seminar will run in parallel to the Labour and Immigration Law Annual Conference. What are the key factors for successful joint ventures?

Marie BRASSEUR, Partner, ALTIUS: Before setting up a joint venture, the business partners need to understand what they each want from the partnership. Joint ventures often combine different cultures and ways of working. Understanding the similarities and differences between the parties, as well as the strengths and weaknesses, may help your business to grow faster and generate greater profits.

Marco GARDINO, Associate, R&P Legal: Another key contributing factor to the success of joint ventures is establishing coherent governance agreements that can define the right framework for making decisions and preventing disagreements in the event of deadlock situations between the partners. Agreeing on the business plan and objectives early can also benefit the parties. The mandate and freedoms of the partners then become clear and you can avoid competition within.

Luca VICARIOLI, Partner, VFGS Avvocati Associati: one of the benefits of joint ventures is the resources and knowledge each partner brings to the business. It is important to define an appropriate mechanism that allows an easy way to share information.

More to be discussed in October. To register, visit the dedicated webpage. See you in Turin!

Events powered by AIJA’s Corporate and M&A and Labour and Immigration Law Commissions; organised by AIJA’s Organising Committee:

  • Marie BRASSEUR, ALTIUS (BELGIUM)
  • Matteo COCUZZA, Studio Legale A. Pacchiana Parravicini e Associati (ITALY)
  • Nicky DE GROOT, BWK partners (NETHERLANDS)
  • Marco GARDINO, R&P Legal (ITALY)
  • Rebekka STUMPFROCK, AVANTCORE Rechtsanwälte (GERMANY)
  • Luca VICARIOLI, VFGS Avvocati Associati (ITALY)

 


2018 General Assembly: AIJA makes new appointments

20 September 2018

AIJA, the International Association of Young Lawyers is pleased to communicate the overall results of the elections held at its 2018 General Assembly. In addition to the newly appointed President and First Vice-President, AIJA has appointed new members in the Executive Committee, Forum of the Commissions, Membership Forum, Human Rights Committee, as well as new national representatives, contact persons and officers in its commissions.

For the first time, AIJA appointed a Latin America (LATAM) Coordinator. Pablo Vinageras, member of the Extended Bureau, will work closely with the Membership Forum to strengthen the growth of the Association in Latin America in 2018/2019. A coordinator for the Asia-Pacific region will also be appointed soon. 

Justus Jansen (former co-chair of the Membership Forum), David Frølich (Honorary President) and Wiebe de Vries (Immediate Past President) will now be responsible for engaging with the alumni of the Association.

An overview of the results of this year's elections is available below. 

The 2018 General Assembly took place on 1 September 2018 back-to-back with the 56th International Young Lawyers’ Congress. The Congress brought together around 700 law practitioners, law firms and companies from around the world in Brussels to discuss the impact of globalisation on the legal profession.

For further information, please address your questions to office@aija.org

Bureau

  • Xavier Costa Arnau, President
  • Paola Fudakowska, First Vice-President (elected by the General Assembly)
  • Wiebe de Vries, Immediate Past President
  • Emiliano Ganzarolli, Secretary General (re-elected by the General Assembly)
  • Lara Vivas, Treasurer
  • Anna Wyrzykowska, Deputy Treasurer (appointed by the Bureau)

Extended Bureau

Membership Forum

  • François BARRE, Co-Chair
  • Michaela PELINKA, Co-Chair (newly appointed)
  • Tomas RYBAR, Co-Chair (newly appointed)

Forum of the Commissions

  • David DIRIS, Co-Chair
  • Rebecka THORN, Co-Chair (newly appointed)
  • Jean-Rodolphe FIECHTER, Co-Chair (newly appointed)

Law Course Committee

  • Ned BEALE, Co-Chair
  • Cristina Hernandez-Marti PEREZ, Co-Chair
  • Kristine ZVEJNIECE, Co-Chair

Human Rights Committee

  • Christian PRESOLY, Co-Chair
  • Gülsüm ASLAN, Co-Chair
  • Ulku SOLAK, Co-Chair (newly appointed)

Executive Committee

Newly elected Executive Committee Members (in alphabetical order)

  • Alejandra GARCIA
  • Almudena ALVAREZ OTERO
  • Beatrice STANGE
  • Christian LEUENBERGER
  • Christian SAUER
  • Dominik WAGNER
  • Fernanda MACHADO MOREIRA
  • Francesca SALERNO
  • Gianluca MASSIMEI
  • Guillermo BAYAS
  • Malin HOLM
  • Martijn VAN DAM
  • Pia PADFIELD
  • Romina BROGINI
  • Stefan MUELLER
  • Thomas WEHRLI

In addition, three members will take office and replace those who had to leave the Executive Committee due to other appointments in the Association or resignation.

  • Jérôme DEBRAS, with a mandate for two years, until the General Assembly taking place in 2020;
  • Diego CONTE, with a mandate for one year, until the General Assembly taking place in 2019;
  • Peter HOLTHUIS, with a mandate for one year, until the General Assembly taking place in 2019.

They will all join the other Executive Committee members elected in the past years who are still in office.

National Representatives/ Contact Persons

Newly appointed National Representatives and contact persons (for a complete list of National Representatives and local contacts, please click here)

Argentina: Tomas GARCIA
Austria: Clara GORDON
Belgium: Ferenc BALLEGEER
Finland: Emma NIEMISTO
Liechtenstein: Thomas NAGELE
Luxembourg: Audrey JARRETON
Mexico: Carlos Del RAZO
Panama: Carlos MOLINO
Slovak Republic: Marek LACA
Spain: Nils DOHLER
Turkey: Ulku SOLAK

Regional Representative, South-West Germany: Rebekka STUMPFROCK
Regional Representative, Rhein-Main: Felix DETTE
Regional Representative, Düsseldorf Rhein Ruhr: Beatrice STANGE
Regional Representative, Spain: Alvaro Fernandez Sanchez DEL CORRAL

Contact person, Hong Kong: Louise WONG
Contact person, Mauritius: Percy LOUIS
Contact person, Korea: Emiliano NASTI
Contact person, Romania: Ileana GLODEANU

Commission Officers

Newly appointed Commission Officers (for a complete list of commission officers, please click here)

Antitrust
President: Sophie GILLIAM
Vice-President: Isabel OEST

Banking, Finance and Capital Markets
Vice-President: Alex CARBONELL

Corporate and M&A
President: Moritz MAURER
Vice-President: Rainer KASPAR

Commercial Fraud
President: Thomas RICARD
Vice-President: James LE GALLAIS
Vice-President: Nicolas HERREN

International Business Law
Vice-President: Dominik WAGNER

International Business Law (Sports Law)
Vice-President: Thomas WHERLI

Insolvency Law
Vice-President: Marine SIMONNOT

Labour Law
Vice-President: Nicky DE GROOT
Vice-President (Immigration Law): Katie NEWBURY

International Private Clients and Family Law
President: Henrietta MASON
Vice-President: Veronica DINDO
Vice-President: Julien TRON

Skills, Career, Innovation, Leadership and Learning
Vice-President: Esther GOLDSCHMIDT

Tax Law
President: Jessica KEMP
Vice-President: Guadalupe DIAZ-SUNICO

T.R.A.D.E.
Vice-President: Janine DERMONT

 


From zero to success! Entrepreneurship and innovation in San Diego, 8-10 November

18 September 2018

Over the last decades, San Diego has gained a reputation as a vibrant start-up and innovation hub where many cutting-edge sectors, such as telecommunications, cybersecurity, connected devices, health IT, gaming, data analytics, have come together to learn from – not compete between - each other. A big city that still feels like a small town, San Diego has a unique culture that is for many more supportive and cooperative compared to other markets. This has encouraged the rise of technology-based start-ups as well as incubators and accelerators. To support the growth, San Diego’s major research universities, such as the UC San Diego, are also developing innovative technologies and driving changes at a global level. 

The spirit of innovation, coupled with the bustling start-up environment, is what will bring international lawyers and entrepreneurs to AIJA’s seminar “Entrepreneurship and innovation: from early stages to the evolution” from 8-10 November, at Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. With early bird registration fees until 2 October, the seminar promises to uncover the “real stories” of successful entrepreneurs who have made an impact in their industry. 

The scientific programme will focus on key challenges in setting up new businesses, from strategies to implement and expand the business through different financing models, to protecting corporate and IP assets. The sessions will feature not only lawyers covering the legal aspects, but also entrepreneurs sharing their point of view on what makes a business successful. “We will analyse all steps related to how to finance a startup and discuss the obstacles during negotiations with investors. Participants will also get a view on the growth of university technology transfer from a representative of the University of California San Diego”, says Milena Prisco, senior associate at CBA Studio Legale Tributario.

Legal preparedness for building a successful business

Building a business from scratch can be a daunting process. Irrespective of the business model, there is a set of basic legal rules that should be implemented to ensure the success of your business. Milena believes that “any entrepreneur should tailor the best dress code for corporate governance and IP assets in view of growth and with the aim to scale up the business globally. I strongly believe that setting a solid legal basis is the first investment when setting up a new business”. She explains that the starting point is the protection of founders and key people in your business. It is also crucial to design strategies that can add value to the company in terms of funding and investors.

First, you need to arrange everything between the founders and agree on a well-balanced shareholder agreement. This may already take a while. Then, the first business angel steps in and you start negotiating again. You have to amend the corporate bylaws and deal with ‘liquidation preferences’, ‘tag and drag along’ and with each round of negotiations, the processes get more and more complicated”, says Chiharu SEKINO, associate attorney at Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP.

"Even though many of the clauses in agreements and bylaws are standard, it is important to go thoroughly through them. You will end up with a real mix of legal and economical questions. So, you should really be prepared from the beginning. The setup of terms and conditions, registration of trademarks and the GDPR compliance (in the EU) are also challenges almost every start-up must deal with from the very beginning”, concludes Frederic DACHS, attorney at Kleiner Rechtsanwälte.

Adopting new technologies for innovation

Over the last decade, digital technologies have dramatically changed the global economy and have imposed new drivers for competing in a market. Caroline PLUTA, attorney at PLUTA Rechtsanwalts GmbH, believes that technological change is happening faster than ever. “This is a huge challenge for established companies, as they have to reorganise their processes. In my opinion, they also have to establish new ways of management and product development”.

For many entrepreneurs, advancements in technology have also become major contributing factors in the success of their business ventures locally and globally. Through extensive market research, “technology and digitalisation can provide huge opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop new business models which can be disruptive and thus really change the world”, adds Inese GRATE, senior case and business development manager at Law offices of Jacob Sapochnick. She explains that “the need to innovate has pushed for open innovation which has increased the interaction between start-ups and old or new economy industries and universities”.

These topics and much more will be discussed from 8-10 November at the seminar “Entrepreneurship and innovation: from early stages to the evolution”. To register, visit the dedicated webpage.

Organised by AIJA’s Organising Committee:

  • Frederic DACHS, Kleiner Rechtsanwälte (GERMANY)
  • Inese GRATE, Law offices of Jacob Sapochnick (UNITED STATES)
  • Caroline PLUTA, PLUTA RechtsanwaltsGmbH (GERMANY)
  • Milena PRISCO, CBA Studio Legale Tributario (ITALY)
  • Chiharu SEKINO, Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP (UNITED STATES)

 


Pre-registrations are open for the 2019 Half Year May Conference

17 September 2018

Hong Kong, one of the leading financial centres worldwide, will host the AIJA Half Year Conference from 22-25 May 2019. The Conference is expected to attract over 200 international legal professionals and will feature three distinct seminars: “How to Raise Money from International Perspectives”, “Tax: A Dream, not a Nightmare” as well as a seminar organised by the International Private Clients and Family Law Commission. 

Pre-registrations are now open. By pre-registering, participants can benefit from the early bird fees with no deadline and enter a prize competition which will take place during the conference. Fill in the online pre-registration form and return it to office@aija.org.

 

To learn more about the Half Year Conference, we spoke with the co-chairs of the organising committee Jennifer Maxwell, Partner, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, and Moritz Maurer, Senior Associate, Niederer Kraft Frey.

Q1: What are the main highlights of the Conference?

Jennifer Maxwell: A strong scientific programme is already in place that should appeal to anyone who is involved in international transactions (which should be everyone). High profile speakers from companies and law firms will update participants on the latest tax, capital markets, financing and corporate law developments.  On top of that, Hong Kong is an amazing location for an AIJA event, both from a business development and social perspective.  We promise great things.

Moritz Maurer: Sessions will include topics such as “Best practices in private equity financings”, “Fundraising in the M&A context”, “Cross-border listings”, “Recent APAC tax developments”, “Multinational compliance considerations”, “Tax and immigration planning and compliance for high net worth individuals” and many more. We look forward to this exceptional edition of the Half Year Conference in May 2019.

Q2: In your view, what are the main challenges and opportunities in maintaining a robust international tax structure for a business with global presence?

Jennifer Maxwell: We are seeing increasing public focus on the tax structuring of international business.  As a result, corporate structures will not last if they are only established for tax purposes, rather than on a sound economic basis.  Notwithstanding increased pressure and legal complexity, many opportunities still exist for companies to create an efficient and effective international tax structure.  Our seminar will explore the cutting-edge thinking on these matters and will be of interest to lawyers who act for companies (large or small) that have operations that transcend national borders.  

Q3: In your view, what are the main challenges and opportunities in raising money for corporate growth?

Moritz Maurer: Raising money for a company is now, more than ever, an international project.  In today’s current economic climate, money is extremely agile which is both a challenge (when local investors disappear) and an opportunity (when foreign investors are willing to invest abroad). Showing a client that you know how to access capital pools in other jurisdictions is a valuable legal and business skill for any lawyer. 

More to be discussed in May 2019. To pre-register, visit the dedicated webpage and fill in the online form. See you in Hong Kong!

Conference powered by AIJA’s Commissions on Banking, Finance and Capital Markets, International Business and Sports Law, International Private Clients and Family Law, Tax Law; and organised by the organising committee: 

  • Matthew CULLEN (SWITZERLAND)
  • Bruno GUARNIERI, Miguel Neto Advogados (BRAZIL)
  • Aliasghar KANANI, BONNARD LAWSON International Law Firm (SWITZERLAND)
  • Camille Ka-ying LEUNG, Cazimir BV/CVBA (BELGIUM)
  • Alan LO, Liberty Chambers (HONG KONG)
  • Moritz MAURER, Niederer Kraft Frey Ltd (SWITZERLAND)
  • Jennifer MAXWELL, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (CANADA)
  • Bethan WATERS, Farrer & Co (UNITED KINGDOM)
  • Louise Kam Faye WONG, The Law Society of Hong Kong (HONG KONG)
  • Minglei WU, Mingleilegal LLC (CHINA)

 


Thanks to our sponsors | 56th International Young Lawyers' Congress

14 September 2018

We're happy to have had such amazing sponsors at the 56th International Young Lawyers' Congress this year. Thanks to them, our association was able to provide a high-quality scientific and social programme for around 700 young legal professionals gathered from all around the world in Brussels, from 28 August to 1 September 2018. We would like to thank TransPerfect Legal, Van Olmen & Wynant, Legaroo, Van Bael & Bellis, Fragomen Worldwide, GSJ Advocaten, Astrea, SGG Group, Lydian, and BARBRI International

Thanks as well to our media partners: MLex and The Brussels Times.

Here's what some of our sponsors are saying about this year's Congress:

TransPerfect Legal

"TransPerfect Legal had an incredible time at the 56th International Young Lawyers' Congress! We want to see you in Rome 2019, so if you need support on your projects, contact your favourite TransPerfect Legal representative or email AIJABrussels@transperfect.com. TransPerfect Legal Solutions (TLS) is the world’s largest provider of legal support services, include language solutions (translation, interpretation, and machine translation), legal technology (AI tools, document review platforms), temporary lawyers, and related services."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Van Olmen & Wynant

"Van Olmen & Wynant was delighted to sponsor the 2018 AIJA Brussels congress. Van Olmen & Wynant is a boutique law firm specialised in employment law and corporate M&A. AIJA allows us to assist your clients in the best possible way when conducting business abroad by referring them to AIJA contacts. I have been a member of AIJA for ten years and I am proud to say that AIJA is not only about networking and referring work. It is foremost about friends who meet each other. As always, during AIJA's congress, I have reconnected with old friends and have also made new friends as result of AIJA’s motto: Learn, Network, Share." Jeroen Mues

 

 

 

 

Astrea

"With warm and good memories, we look back to a very successful edition of the AIJA International Young Lawyers’ Congress in Brussels, Belgium. As a sponsor as well as a Young Dynamic Law Firm with offices in Brussels and Antwerp, we also warmly supported THE HOME HOSPITALITY EVENING of AIJA with  seven lawyers of Astrea opening their homes to welcome a total of 30 AIJA members from around the world with delicious, often typical, food and drinks. This was a unique occasion for all participants to find out about the hospitality and way of life in Belgium as well as to meet Astrea."

 

 

 

 

 

SGG Group (Best International Future Lawyer Award)

"AIJA was this year a perfect time to spend with lawyers in Brussels, which SGG Group is in need today, but as well as in the future, worldwide. This is also one of the reasons why SGG was happy to contribute to the “Best International Future Lawyer Award”. The AIJA event is not only of great interest to have an update on legal matters, but as well a great occasion to see a legal conference with a very personal touch, which makes all participants smile. See you next year in Rome! SGG Group, as a worldwide corporate service provider, is in need of AIJA and its lawyers for close collaboration in many departments."

See you in Rome for the 57th International Young Lawyers' Congress!

 


AIJA scholars share their experience | 56th International Young Lawyers' Congress

13 September 2018

This year, the 56th International Young Lawyers' Congress focused on the impact of globalisation on the legal profession, specifically "is the dream of globalisation over? Are we heading towards or away from international integration?".  The Congress gathered around 700 legal professionals from all around the world in Brussels. A selection of photos is available here.

We asked our AIJA scholars and the winner of this year's Best International Future Lawyer Award to share their experience of the Congress:

"To start with, the experience for me was incredible, one that will forever remain in my mind; it was my first time in Belgium. By attending any of their events, you get to network with young lawyers from all over the world. The scientific and social programmes are well designed to keep you engaged during the entire time. AIJA takes charge of every single detail, leaving nothing to chance. The AIJA staff are also very friendly and helpful.

The knowledge and the skills I was able to acquire will make me a better lawyer in my day to day practice.  I will share the information with my colleagues, friends and anyone who would be interested to hear whenever I have the opportunity.

The social events gave me an opportunity to interact with the young lawyers of diverse culture, legal practices from different countries of the world and made me learn the current trends in international law. In as much as every country has its unique legal practices, I was able learn that the challenges in the legal profession are almost the same and also shared with the different people I interacted with.

The events will not only go a long way in your personal development as a legal professional but also create great memories as you tour the host city. The choice of venue for the Brussels Congress was also very accessible and convenient.  I really enjoyed the visit to the Manneken Pis, The Atomium, The King of Belgium Palace, The Grand Place, European Parliament, Museums within Brussels and Matonge, which is highly populated by Africans, right  in the heart of the city.

Being the Managing Partner of Wangoko & Company Advocates, a small sized firm in Kenya, I appreciated the impact legal technology has on smaller firms in modern legal practice. Generally, the topics discussed during the working sessions were well thought out for any young lawyer intending to go international in their practice. Additionally, I also learnt enormous ideas on how to improve our firm to position ourselves for the benefit of having a competitive edge now and in future. The contacts I got in the AIJA Congress in Brussels, both personal and professional, will be of high importance to help our firm move to the next level in business. I was humbled to be part of the congress and remain grateful to AIJA for the opportunity.Wangoko Njoroge

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"The 56th International Young Lawyers' Congress was an intriguing event which helped me fathom the nuances of being a global lawyer. The working sessions at the Congress were indulging and provided me with a platform to share my thoughts with professionals from different countries. My interactions with people from different countries/domain expertise assisted me in developing perspectives about various legal systems.

The social events organised at the Congress were designed in a fashion that everyone could sense the spirit of AIJA. I would recommend AIJA for young lawyers as AIJA to me denotes a family. You have to be once at AIJA for you to never leave AIJA again. I would like to thank AIJA for giving me an opportunity to be a part of this global meet. If young lawyers have an urge to spread their wings - AIJA is certainly an organisation which can be trusted to provide you with a platform to fly." Saurabh Bindal

 

 

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“I think I underestimated what I would gain by attending this year’s annual Congress in Brussels, Belgium. The combination of scientific and social programmes was superb and in particular, I was most engaged with the sections on cross-border transactions and specialised international commercial litigation. I also found the working session on landing an international client, whether you’re in a small or large firm, very informative and hope to apply the things I’ve learned here soon in practice. These programmes have widened my view of practicing law, which I hope, will extend my practicing abilities.

However, my favourite part about Congress has been the connections I’ve made and the networking opportunities - I met so many like-minded people from different jurisdictions, who’ve become new colleagues and also new friends. I’ve already had the privilege of visiting some of my new colleagues in The Hague, in the week following Congress. It is for this exposure that I would, without a doubt, recommend participation in AIJA’s events to all young lawyers, studying or qualified. I am grateful for the opportunities  the Congress has afforded me and have left with unforgettable memories. I cannot wait to attend future events.” Christopher Sawyer, 2018 Best International Future Lawyer

 


2018 Best International Future Lawyer is...

04 September 2018

We are delighted to announce the winner of this year's Best International Future Lawyer Award - Christopher Sawyer.

The award ceremony took place on 1 September at the closing gala dinner of the 56th International Young Lawyers' Congress in Brussels. The award was presented by the competition sponsor, SGG Group

 

 

 

 

 

About the winner

Christopher graduated from the University of South Africa (UNISA) in September 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in commerce (BCom), with double majors in law and tax. He then pursued a bachelor’s degree in law (LLB) at the same university and graduated in September 2018. In his final year of LLB studies, Christopher took modules on International Law, World Trade Law and International Transport Law. With interests in aviation, science-fiction and law, Christopher hopes to move further into the expanding international, space and commercial legal fields, both academically and in practice.

About his essay

This year's essays were judged by the European Centre for Space Law. Christopher Sawyer’s essay received the highest score for his "very structured argumentation and approach, good grasp of relevant international law and his to-the-point philosophical approach underlying the legal reasoning".

His essay explores the existing, but perhaps inadequate, international legislation vis-à-vis humanity’s use of space and celestial bodies. He shows that although some legislation exists, there are simply not enough controls in place at present to properly govern a colony formed on the Moon.

The essay considers that if a colony was formed off-world, its inhabitants would be from different countries and therefore different legal systems. Without a written legal system, without certainty, legal nuances would be lost and chaos would ensue shortly after inhabitation. Christopher also explores the concepts of citizenship and what this would mean for people who emigrate to the colony and the generations of people born there, as well as different forms of government which could work in controlling the colony (or colonies, as it were).

You can read the winning essay on awards.aija.org or here

About the Best International Future Lawyer Award competition

Every year, AIJA awards essays submitted on a topic in the field of international law. This year, AIJA granted the Best International Future Lawyer Award for the best written essay submitted on the topic "The moon is now colonised, you are in charge of its legislation. How do you handle it?". 

The competition is open to any law student aged 45 and under, and enrolled at any university worldwide at the time of the submission. The winner is entitled to free AIJA membership for the next three years and free attendance to the International Young Lawyers' Congress.

For more information, please visit the dedicated website awards.aija.org. The 2019 Best International Future Lawyer Award competition will open early next year. 

 


Limassol to host a seminar on legal trends and challenges to real estate and the environment

22 August 2018

From 18-20 October, Limassol will host the AIJA seminar “Property developers, architects, civil engineers – contractual questions, environmental challenges and current trends” at the hotel Crowne Plaza.

Cyprus is fast becoming an emerging destination for business and professional services. The success of the island is due to the progressive legislation, regulatory environment and strong network of financial and professional services providers. Its strategic location at the crossroads of three continents - Europe, Asia and Africa - makes it a great investment hub. This makes Cyprus and the city of Limassol ideal business locations for professional services providers, real estate development and energy consultants and lawyers.

To find out more about the seminar, we asked Bernd Hauck, one of the Organising Committee Members at AIJA and Partner at Kellerhals Carrard.

Q1: What are the main highlights of the seminar?

The seminar is a great event not only for construction, real estate, and environmental and energy lawyers. The scientific programme covers questions of contract law (especially consultancy agreements), insurance contracts and environmental challenges. Furthermore, Building Information Modelling (BIM), THE hot topic in the construction industry will be discussed. The scientific part of the seminar will be closed by two panels on liability, respectively litigation and arbitration.

The social programme promises to be entertaining with a cruise on the Mediterranean coast, snorkelling and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. We will make sure to show the participants around the city and stop by a local “Taverna” where they can taste the delicious local food and enjoy the typical Cypriot hospitality.

Q2: What are the main obstacles in a construction project and will they be discussed at the seminar?

A construction manager once told me that the main issues when constructing a facility are quality, costs, deadlines and the interactions between them. Over the years, I understood that he was absolutely right. If a respective problem occurs, the building principal will try to hold as many involved parties accountable as possible. E.g. in case of a violation of deadlines by the contractor the principal might try to target the consultant as well. To explore this matter, our seminar will feature a panel on risks for consultants when contractors do not meet their deadlines.

Q3: In your view, what are the challenges and opportunities in adopting BIM? What are some recommendations that others can follow to overcome any legal issues that may arise in adopting BIM?

First and foremost, BIM is not a legal but a technical issue. BIM is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition. The construction sector considers BIM to be THE disruptive tool for the industry over the next years. We must follow our client and provide advice how to implement legal answers to their need to use BIM. Given the current lack of a broad legal standardisation, the answer can only be a proper contract addressing all the relevant questions arising in BIM projects. This especially includes the definition of each individuals’ “scope of supply” in a BIM project, the fixation of the agreed BIM structure, provisions on liability, data protection an data security issues, IP rights and the remuneration to be paid for the respective “BIM performance” (which might be in addition to the usual performance in a construction project).

To register, please visit the dedicated webpage. See you in Limassol!

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The seminar is organised by AIJA's Environmental and Energy Law Commission and Real Estate Commission. The Organising Committee includes the following AIJA members:

  • Eoin CASSIDY, Mason Hayes+Curran (IRELAND)
  • Martin FOERSTER, Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH (AUSTRIA)
  • Bernd HAUCK, Kellerhals Carrard (SWITZERLAND)
  • Eleni POLYCARPOU, Withers LLP (UNITED KINGDOM)
  • Stavros STROUZAS, Stylianou and Strouzas LLC (CYPRUS)

 


INSOL EUROPE Annual Congress 2018, Athens, Greece – Registration now open!

27 July 2018

Registration is now open for the INSOL Europe Annual Congress in Athens (Greece) from 4-7 October 2018.  

Just by saying the word “Athens” one can’t help but think of the oldest and largest civilisation in Europe, stretching back more than 3,000 years. Imagine walking on the hill of Pnika or strolling the Ancient Market, places where people used to meet to discuss important public issues, places where democracy first appeared.

It is therefore a great venue for the 37th INSOL Europe Congress. “Breaking the Chains”, the theme of the Congress is truly fitting for Greece. The resilience, the calm and the strength of the Greek nation helped them overcome their economic crisis. After all these difficult years, Greece’s economy is growing again! This is just one example of what INSOL Europe's professionals aim for: help nations after an economical decline to break the chains and prosper again. 

This year, the Technical Programme will feature themes such as 'The Holy Grail of Greek Insolvency Law' and 'Brexit - Are we prepared?'. The Break-out Sessions will include topics such as 'E-mobility' and 'How to crack down on offshore companies'. These and other subjects will be sure to make for lively discussions that will endure beyond the Congress itself. 

Athens will be the perfect place for brainstorming, creating new connections, networking and meeting other like-minded professionals. After the Congress, what could be better than having a great conversation, in the Greek spirit, with a new friend, listening to some traditional Greek music, while enjoying a glass of wine and beautiful weather? 

 Further details can be found here

 


Learn what it takes to be (more) international at the 56th International Young Lawyers’ Congress

28 June 2018

On Tuesday, 28 August we will explore the abilities and know-how a lawyer should have to be a truly international professional during a pre-congress seminar titled “How to become an international lawyer?” at the 56th International Young Lawyers’ Congress in Brussels. This pre-congress seminar is open to legal professionals looking to pursue a career internationally or young lawyers aiming at becoming more international in their law firm. We spoke with two of the pre-congress seminar coordinators to find out more: Nicolas Thieltgen, Brucher Thieltgen & Partners and Jérôme Vermeylen, ALTIUS.

To register to the pre-congress seminar click here.

Q1: What should participants expect from the pre-congress seminar?

Nicolas Thieltgen: Supporting young lawyers in developing a global career is at the core of AIJA. As an international association for young lawyers, we strive to offer the right opportunities for them to learn, develop and expand their business worldwide.  But what is an international lawyer? What are the qualities of an international lawyer? How do you become one? These are some of the questions that will be discussed and hopefully answered during the pre-congress seminar. For this purpose, different panels of experienced international lawyers, consultants, but also managers of international associations will gather in Brussels to share their thoughts and experience.

Jérôme Vermeylen: Participants can expect top-notch speakers giving their views on what it takes to become and stay an international lawyer nowadays but also in the future. These speakers are high-level legal consultants, lawyers and in-house counsel in multinationals. If you are attending the pre-congress seminar, you should not miss the keynote speech given by Jaap Bosman, the author of the book “The Death of a law firm”.

Q2: In your view, what does one need to become an “international lawyer”?

Nicolas Thieltgen: Communication skills and empathy are some of the first qualities you need to gain to become a good “international lawyer”. An excellent technical knowledge of your legal system is also a must. To be able to easily explain your field to foreign clients, you need to fully understand your practice. Human and technical…you need to master both sides to be an international lawyer!

Jérôme Vermeylen: An international outlook, excellent communication skills in English (on top of other languages), an intellectual and cultural flexibility to adapt, interpersonal skills and the ability to deliver high quality services.

Q3: How does globalisation impact your day-to-day work?

Nicolas Thieltgen: Being based in Luxembourg, a tiny country in the middle of Western Europe, I experience globalisation and the international side of my activity as a lawyer every day. This is an important part of the attractiveness of my job!

Jérôme Vermeylen: Globalisation impacts my daily work in many different ways. Contract drafting is heavily influenced by foreign (UK/US) standards and it is important for me to have some basic knowledge of other legal systems in order to better explain Belgian law to foreign clients. Through the effects of globalisation, I experienced the value of building an international client base and having good contacts in foreign firms with a similar profile. Globalisation and networking through AIJA and other international associations enables me to easily access these resources and connect with people worldwide.

See you in Brussels!

To register and view the full programme, visit the website: brussels.aija.org.

 


How to get the most from your experience at the 56th International Young Lawyers’ Congress

28 June 2018

With the early bird registrations coming soon to an end, we spoke with the AIJA Organising Committee members Grégoire Ryelandt, Partner at deprevernet, and Marie Brasseur, Partner at ALTIUS in Brussels, to find out more about this year’s Congress and the host city, Brussels.

Q1: What should participants expect from this year’s Congress?

Grégoire Ryelandt: Participants should know that Brussels is a genuine mix of cultures and a diverse city: more than half of its residents were born outside of Belgium. The city is home to around 200 embassies – more than any other in the world. The presence of the European institutions also makes the capital one of the most important decision-making centres in the world. Brussels is an international business hub at the heart of Europe. NGOs, consultancies, international institutions, media and law firms, among others, have set up their offices in the Belgian capital. This makes it the perfect venue for young legal professionals to meet and discuss the impact of globalisation on the practice of law.

Marie Brasseur: This year, the Congress venue is Radisson Blu Royal, a hotel conveniently found at the heart of Brussels. The central location of the venue will allow participants to get a ‘real-time’ pulse of the city and its vibrant atmosphere. Once you are here, you will see that many great attractions are within a 10-minute walk from the hotel, so you get to experience the best of Brussels. The Organising Committee promises a fun social programme with indoor and outdoor activities for everyone. In addition to the social programme, this year’s scientific programme has been tailored to respond to a wide range of interests so regardless of your field of law, you can benefit from all working sessions and workshops. The full programme is available here.

Q2: What are the top 5 things to know about Brussels during the Congress?

Grégoire Ryelandt: Brussels is a very easy-going city. Walk out of the hotel. Go in one of the many small bars on one busy street corners in the city. Sit at the bar and start talking with your neighbour. You will learn a lot more about Brussels and our way of life than in any guide.

Comic strips are one of the treasures of the Belgian culture. The Belgian Comic Strip Center is just a few hundred meters away from the Congress hotel. You should take the comic strip tour. It will take you to very nice settings.

On Sunday, have breakfast at the Museum of Musical Instruments (MIM) or in Parc d’Egmont. Then go for a walk around the Sablon district to visit the Galleries and the many antique shops, which are real gold mines.

During the Summer, drinks are organised almost every evening in a pop-up location somewhere in the city. Ask a local when you arrive in Brussels and he/she will tell you where to go during the week.

As a lawyer, you can’t leave Brussels without having visited the Court of Justice. The building is poorly kept, but it is full of small stories that local lawyers will be happy to tell. Go to the Court of Justice between 9 and 10 am and follow the lawyers in courtrooms to feel the atmosphere of the building. Also, have a look around the 1st floor. Many doors are unexpectedly open. Don’t be shy, local lawyers will be happy to show you around!

Q3: What are the main highlights of the social programme?

Marie Brasseur: As always, there are plenty of opportunities to network and make friends during the Congress.

On Tuesday 28 August, we will host a Welcome Reception at the Saint-Hubert Royal Galleries, a stone’s throw from the Radisson Blu Royal and the Grand Place. Former President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy will open the Congress with a keynote on the benefits and drawbacks of globalisation. During the same evening, you should also join us for our inaugural speed dating session where all delegates get to meet each other. Our former AIJA President Dirk Nuyts will be for sure a great host.

On Friday 31 August, the Day Out will bring you to one of the most popular Summer spots in Brussels, Bois de la Cambre. Enjoy the afternoon with your Congress friends in the middle of the nature with a selection of typical Belgian indoor and outdoor activities. Teamwork and creativity will be key to bringing the (fun) challenge to a good end!

On Saturday 1 September, we will invite everyone to a Gala dinner at the Halles de Schaerbeek. Nestling in the heart of Brussels in a metal and glass structure dating back to 1901, this former covered market has been saved from destruction and wonderfully renovated. Its space is unrivalled and perfectly suited for celebrations. Les Halles de Schaerbeek will offer the ideal setting to this farewell festive evening of the Congress.

Among the various social events organised during the Congress, I think that the most special and anticipated evening of all is the «Home Hospitality Dinner», where local lawyers open their homes to welcome AIJA members from around the world with delicious, often typical, food and drinks. This is a unique occasion for participants to find out more about the hospitality and way of life of the city hosting the Congress in a friendly atmosphere. This Belgian edition is certainly not to be missed!

Q4: How would you describe this year’s Congress in three words?

We only need two: Feel welcome!

See you in Brussels!

The 56th International Young Lawyers’ Congress will take place from 28 August to 1 September at the hotel Radisson Blu Royal in Brussels. Early bird fees are available until 5 July. To register, visit the event website: brussels.aija.org.

 

 


The Best International Future Lawyer Award 2018 competition announces its jury

26 June 2018

We are delighted to announce the jury who will have the task of examining and judging the essays for this third year of the Best International Future Lawyer Award competition.

The competition is organised with the support of the European Centre for Space Law. The winners will be announced on the competition website in July.

 

About the Jury

Emeritus Professor of Public Law in the French Universities, Professor Armel Kerrest taught International Public Law, especially Space Law and Law of the Sea at the Universities of Western Brittany and Paris XI. He taught in other French and foreign universities on many occasions, published books and articles on European and International Law especially Space Law and Law of the Sea.

He advises for Space Law International Organisations, Governments and Companies. He is the Vice chairman of the European Centre for Space Law of the European Space Agency (ECSL/ESA), the President of the Association for the Development of Space Law in France, the Chairman of the Institute of Law of International Spaces and Telecommunications (Brittany); a Member of the Space Law Committee of the International Law Association (ILA) and of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) and a member of the Société francaise de droit aérien et spatial (SFDAS) a member of the board of the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL). He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics and a corresponding member of the Académie de l'Air et de l'Espace.

Professor Dr. Frans G. von der Dunk holds the Harvey and Susan Perlman Alumni / Othmer Chair of Space Law at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s LL.M. Programme on Space and Telecommunication Law (for more information on the programme: see http://law.unl.edu/spacecyberlaw/) since January 2008. He also is Director of Black Holes BV, Consultancy in space law and policy, based in Leiden (for more information: see http://www.black-holes.eu).

Von der Dunk was awarded the Distinguished Service Award of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in Vancouver, in October 2004, the Social Science Award of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) in Valencia, in October 2006 and the Social Science Book Award of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) in Jerusalem, in October 2015. He was a signatory, together with various Nobel Prize winners, dozens of astronauts and cosmonauts and other luminaries from the global science and entertainment community, of the ‘Asteroid 100x Declaration’, December 2014.

He defended his dissertation on “Private Enterprise and Public Interest in the European ‘Spacescape’” in 1998 and published the first comprehensive “Handbook on Space Law”, with a foreword by Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, in 2015. As of 2006, he is the Series Editor of ‘Studies in Space Law’, published by Brill.

Von der Dunk has written more than 180 articles and published papers, many of which can be accessed at http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/spacelaw/, giving rise to hundreds of full-text downloads monthly. He has given more than 150 presentations at international meetings and was visiting professor at over 30 universities and other academic institutions across the world on subjects of international and national space law and policy, international air law and public international law. He has (co-)organised some 20 international symposia, workshops and other events, and has been (co-)editor of a number of publications and proceedings.

Von der Dunk has acted as legal advisor or legal task manager in more than 90 projects, advising various government agencies and international organizations as well as a number of non-governmental organizations and industrial stakeholders on matters of space law and policy, including major space applications such as satellite navigation, remote sensing and private commercial spaceflight.

About the European Centre for Space Law

The European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) was established under the auspices of the European Space Agency in 1989, with a mandate to promote awareness, knowledge and development of the legal framework relevant for outer space activities. The ECSL seeks to fulfil its mandate by organising a range of conferences, courses and activities for students, academics and professionals throughout the year. Every year, the ECSL organises the European Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court, an Essay Competition and a two-week course on Space Law and Policy – free for selected students from or studying in an ESA-member states. Other activities are organised on an ad-hoc basis. For more information see the ECSL website or follow the European Centre for Space Law on Facebook or LinkedIn.

 


700+ young lawyers to discuss globalisation in Brussels this summer

25 June 2018

Brussels will be soon home to over 700 young lawyers during AIJA’s 56th International Young Lawyers’ Congress. For one week, from 28 August-1 September, AIJA is welcoming law practitioners from across the world at the hotel Radisson Blu Royal to discuss the impact of globalisation on the legal profession.

We spoke with the AIJA work coordinators responsible for this year’s scientific programme to find out more: Jean-Rodolphe Fiechter, Kellerhals Carrard; Karen Ruback, Grinberg Cordovil Advogados; Andreas White, Kingsley Napley LLP.

Q1: What are the main highlights of this year’s scientific programme?

Jean-Rodolphe Fiechter: For this year, we chose the theme of globalisation. We will explore where we are today and the direction we are headed: towards greater integration, international co-operation and cross-border trade; or in the opposite direction? M&A, Antitrust and Banking/Finance lawyers, for instance, will discuss how new regulation and policies create additional challenges for completing cross-border transactions. You shouldn’t miss out on the other sessions on information technology and fake news; or on free trade through the lens of recent developments regarding NAFTA, TPP, and steel and aluminium tariffs imposed on China and Europe. Speaking of the latter, I would encourage everyone to attend the workshop organised by our AIJA Real Estate, T.R.A.D.E., and Transport Law Commissions on the New Silk Road Initiative from a transport, distribution and lease law perspective.

Andreas White: Alongside numerous speakers from AIJA, some of whom will be sitting on a panel at an international legal conference for the first time in their professional career, we are absolutely delighted that we have some outstanding external speakers on the programme. I am particularly looking forward to hearing from Fabienne Schaller, a judge from the new international commercial court in Paris. She will be giving us a keynote speech at the first seminar, on dispute resolution in an ever more globalised world.  The Friday morning SCILL session will also be a particular highlight, with its focus on legal-tech and pricing legal services. The final session’s keynote speaker is promising to teach us about “techniques for greater profitability and happier clients”: not to be missed!    

Karen Ruback: It is also worth mentioning the discussion on a very relevant topic in the context of globalisation, which is the creation of specialised chambers within state courts that deal with international commercial cases, that will be led by our AIJA Litigation, International Arbitration, Commercial Fraud and Insolvency Commissions.

Q2: In your view, is the dream of globalisation over? Are we heading towards or away from international integration?

Jean-Rodolphe Fiechter: In my opinion, globalisation is not over at all. But it’s true that we are somehow emerging from a dream, where a globalised, unified world seemed to be a goal of its own, and within close reach. At least that is how I felt when I studied for my LL.M. in “Law and the Global Economy” in Singapore, back in 2009. The West appeared united and was eagerly looking towards Asia. The many challenges we are currently facing should not tire us out, but on the contrary, encourage us to continue to strive for international integration. And in this respect, AIJA is a great forum, bringing together talented young lawyers from across the globe who, together, will shape the future of our nations.

Andreas White: As AIJA members we are by nature outward and forward looking, and internationally minded, so I don’t think many of us really believe that it’s possible or desirable to roll back progress towards international integration. International political, legal and commercial co-operation is always a challenge, but AIJA and its members are committed to these goals. 

Karen Ruback: From my point of view, it depends on the perspective. In certain aspects, with regard to international trade, we may find certain countries more willing to engage in closer co-operation, while others seem to be heading towards a strong protectionism policy. Considering the legal practice, we may find some signs of stronger local, national policies possibly influencing certain decisions (for instance, in the antitrust area). However, there are also movements towards a more globalised legal system where the creation of international chambers (leading to accepting the use of the English language as an official one) or the establishment of jurisdictions rules aimed at attracting international cases to a certain country may indicate a path toward a more globalised (legal) world – at least for certain areas of law. I am eager to learn more about this topic from the perspective of colleagues practicing in other areas of law and in different jurisdictions during the Brussels Congress.

Q3: How would you describe this year’s Congress in three words?

Global – Diverse – Thrilling.

To register to the 56th International Young Lawyers’ Congress and to check the full programme, visit brussels.aija.org.

 


Herman van Rompuy to open the 56th International Young Lawyers' Congress in Brussels

20 June 2018

This year's 56th International Young Lawyers' Congress will be opened by the former President of the European Council and Prime Minister of Belgium Herman van Rompuy. Our distinguished guest will give a keynote speech on globalisation in today's world during the Opening Ceremony of the Congress, on Wednesday, 29 August at the Egg Brussels.

Globalisation is about much more than trade as it was in the beginning. Ten years ago, the world was close to a financial meltdown. It was a global crisis. Globalisation created huge migration flows, felt by many in Europe as threatening their identity. Terrorism became a global phenomenon. Free trade is often not considered any more as fair trade. The word ‘trade war’ is now very common. The cyberspace is part of war strategies and affecting privacy worldwide. Climate change is the biggest challenge for the human race and our planet. All this fuelled fear. Globalisation of the markets needs global governance. In times of rising nationalism, how can we build a safer world?

To register, visit brussels.aija.org.

About Herman van Rompuy

Elected as the first full-time President of the European Council in November 2009, Herman Van Rompuy took office when the Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1 December 2009. In 2012, he was re-elected for a second (and last) term starting on 1 June 2012 and running until 30 November 2014.

At the time of his first election, Herman Van Rompuy was Prime Minister of Belgium. Prior to that he had served in Belgium as Speaker of the House of Representatives (2007-2008) and in several government positions, including as Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Budget (1993-1999). His was Minister of State (2004) and Secretary of State for Finance and Small Businesses (1988).

A former economist at the National Bank of Belgium, Herman Van Rompuy began his political career in 1973 as national vice-president of his party’s youth movement. He was president of the Flemish Christian Democrats (1988-1993). He served in the Belgian Parliament, in turn as Senator (1988-1995) and Member of Parliament (1995-2009).

He is now professor at the universities of Leuven and Louvain, the College of Europe in Brussels and Sciences Po in Paris and he is the President of the European Policy Centre.

 


Globalisation and the legal profession today: An interview with the President of AIJA

18 June 2018

Globalisation will be at the heart of the debates during AIJA’s 56th International Young Lawyers’ Congress, from 28 August to 1 September 2018 in Brussels. 700+ young legal professionals will gather from all around the world in Brussels to discuss the impact of globalisation on the legal profession. We asked the President of AIJA Wiebe de Vries, to share his thoughts on the theme of globalisation.

Q1: Why globalisation during this year’s International Young Lawyers’ Congress?

The increased economic integration in the past decades has caused a backlash against openness in many developed countries around the world. Today, we witness a growing wave of populism and Euroscepticism that seem to encourage a return to closed borders and national control over flows of goods, capital and people. The economic crisis, Brexit vote, and the nationalism trend e.g. in the US have only further illustrated the movement against globalisation. So, this year, we will ask our delegates: is the dream of globalisation over? Are we heading towards or away from international integration?

As an international association, we want to offer the space for professionals to meet and exchange views on a topic that matters to them in their day-to-day work in their law firms and with their clients. Before determining the direction of the trend with regard to globalisation, I personally believe we will need to better explain its benefits and see how we can overcome current and future challenges. Apart from this, we can raise the question whether the current level of international integration is actually reversible. An answer could therefore be that we need to find new ways to engage towards a better international integration. This and more will be discussed during the Brussels Congress.

Q2: In your view, what is the impact of globalisation on the legal profession?

Globalisation has led to a growing need for lawyers with international expertise, specifically lawyers that can work with different business cultures and in more than one jurisdiction. This has also brought an increase in the mobility of lawyers having the right skills and expertise. Domestic lawyers can now easily move from their local practice to one in another country, or simply continue their domestic practice from a different location - we could call them legal nomads. We can also find many more opportunities abroad than some years ago. We can connect with our peers, regardless of where they are, to stay up to date and make sure we know who to turn to if, for instance, a case needs to be referred.

Above all, I think that in today’s globalised world, we - as young lawyers, need to be able to constantly re-evaluate our role in the profession and more broadly in the larger community to find a balance between the traditional features of the practice of law and the modern business practices. We need to be able to open ourselves to change and be willing to embrace the challenges and opportunities brought by new technologies and ways of working. Then we can say that, indeed, we are embracing some of the many benefits of globalisation.

Q3: What is the benefit of being part of an international association such as AIJA in today’s globalised world?

What AIJA has to offer is a great example of how professionals from all corners of the globe can benefit from knowledge sharing and business opportunities, regardless of where they are. At AIJA, we seek to support our members by creating communities, sharing knowledge and developing skills. Both professionally and personally, our members keep close ties with each other and help one another to advance their professional careers. Friendship is at the heart of our membership. Another benefit of being part of an international association like AIJA is that you can easily get access to local knowledge abroad; and that might be the most luxurious service you can bring to your clients in today’s globalised world.

To register and to check the full programme, visit brussels.aija.org.

 


AIJA supports human rights

15 June 2018

At AIJA, we are passionate about supporting human rights. In today's turbulent times, human rights are more important than ever. Given the increased number of crises and threats worldwide, there is a need to improve funding in this area.

Through AIJA's fund SOS Avocats - we are involved on an ongoing basis in a number of international projects. This includes Lawyers without Borders and supporting the organisation of English classes for refugee judges from Syria.

We also organise our traditional run for human rights three times a year during our Half-Year Conferences and the International Young Lawyers' Congress where we raise money to fund the work on human rights work within SOS Avocats.

Last May, AIJA members successfully raised €2,500 EURO in support of SOS Avocats in a Human Rights Raffle at the AIJA Half-Year Conference in Warsaw. Thank you to our sponsors: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, ECCO, LXA The Law Firm, MaraNaturals, Mogens Daarbak, North TQ Distribution, Simonsen Vogt Wiig, TCC Global; and the members who made this possible.

Find out more about SOS Avocats and our work on human rights here.

 

 


AIJA Double Seminar in Frankfurt to focus on innovation and Internet of Things

05 June 2018

Frankfurt is not only the banking capital of Germany, but is also home to many other industries, including life sciences, biotechnology, logistics or IT and telecommunications. This has brought a strong local concentration of R&D and innovation activity across high-tech industries as well as traditional enterprises looking to revolutionise their business practices.

AIJA will host its 7th Annual Competition Conference from 21-23 June in Frankfurt to discuss the impact of innovation on competition law and share an outlook into the future. Alongside the Competition Conference, the AIJA IP TMT and TRADE commissions have organised a Conference covering emerging legal issues related to Internet of Things (IoT), including Standard Essential Patents and FRAND. 

We look forward to welcoming legal practitioners interested in Antitrust and IT law to Frankfurt. The Double Seminar will be a great mixture of red-hot topics, such as the development of IoT applications - the main topic of the IPTMT seminar, and IoT in relation to research and development – the main topic of the Antitrust Seminar”, said Stephan Dittl, Organising Committee member at AIJA and Partner, Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner.

The rise of new technologies and various market mechanisms give rise to new issues in the field of competition law. For instance, an institute wanting to enjoy a stronghold in an ever-changing market landscape may need to assess whether the “old rules” apply to the new environment, how the new environment impacts the market structure, whether they must rethink or reinvent the law in the new environment. These are some of the issues that we’ll try to address in Frankfurt”, he adds.

Stephan also reminds us of the joint session on Saturday 23 June, when delegates are invited to explore the latest on FRAND wars, specifically in the IoT world. Another topic for discussion will be FinTech – which is a must in Frankfurt, the financial centre of German and home of the European Central Bank.

To register, please visit the dedicated event web page. See you in Frankfurt!

 


AIJA scholars share their experience | AIJA Half-Year Conference 2018, Warsaw

05 June 2018

The AIJA Half-Year Conference in May tied together the latest updates related to corporate governance and how to develop successful relationships between clients and attorneys. A selection of photos is available here.

We asked our group of AIJA scholars to share their experience of the Conference:

"Participating in the AIJA Half-Year Conference provided me with an extensive knowledge in relation to current and future trends in corporate governance, as well as tailor-made insights on how to promote my legal services on the market. Besides a valuable scientific programme, I enjoyed a lot the social activities that took place in the most emblematic sites of the Polish capital, such as the Royal castle or the National Opera. What's curious is that I have visited those places before, but adding the 'AIJA touch' to it made the whole stay in Warsaw unforgettable. 

If you plan on attending any future AIJA events, you should prepare yourself for a big dose of fun and knowledge "sur place", as well as great memories and valuable professional and personal contacts "à emporter". Thank you AIJA!" Iga KUROWSKA

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"I am thankful that I have had the chance to attend the AIJA Half-Year Conference in Warsaw. I got the opportunity to meet many inspiring young legal professionals coming from different corners of the world. Quite challenging to take part at a "Client Pitch Simulation" (my first by the way)! As a young lawyer, I find it extremely fascinating how a career-enhancing conversation has the power to transform a situation or (a client, a partner, an associate) relationship for the better.

What I like most about AIJA is the ability to bring young lawyers together to discuss their careers, hopes, and expectations for the profession. Although every country has its own unique attributes, we share many similarities in our professional lives. I had the chance to meet people that experience similar day-to-day challenges, i.e, the changing nature of our legal profession, the challenges that we, as young lawyers, face in managing our work and private lives, and in keeping our productivity at high enough levels to satisfy partners. I would definitely recommend the AIJA events to all lawyers! Why? It's simple! You will get the chance to learn, to enrich your legal education, and acquire skills that make us better lawyers. Furthermore, it is the perfect venue to explore and build networking relationships."  Sara DE CARVALHO

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"One word to describe the conference - outstanding. The topics covered are key to every legal practitioner, particularly the session on developing the client-attorney relationship. The social events were great. To paraphrase one of the participants - once you attend an AIJA event and the ‘AIJA bug’ bites you, you will hardly miss the AIJA events. The participant was right; I have already been co-opted to assist in organising next year’s Half-Year conference in Hong Kong (22-25 May 2019)." Wilson MBUGUA

 

 

To apply for scholarships to participate in one of our events, please have a look at our upcoming events and then submit your application here.

 


AIJA partners with LAWASIA to host Young Lawyers' Forum at their 31st Annual Conference

04 June 2018

AIJA and LAWASIA are co-hosting the Young Lawyers' Forum session taking place during the 31st LAWASIA Annual Conference "New Era for South East Asia" from 2-5 November 2018, in Siem Reap. To see the programme and register, visit the dedicated website.

The 31st LAWASIA Annual Conference is a platform for bar leaders, jurists, professional organisations and individual lawyers from across the Asia Pacific to discuss regional developments in law, including such issues as judicial practice, legal education, cross border business and investment law and cross-border dispute resolution.

The Young Lawyers' Forum session will be held on Saturday, 3 November. The session will focus on the interests of young lawyers from any part of the world, and will provide them with an opportunity to raise issues of particular concern to the next generation of practitioners. Experienced practitioners are welcome to participate. If you are a member of AIJA and wish to contribute to the session as a speaker, please contact us by email: office@aija.org. This will be a great opportunity to grow your business and expand your network across the Asian market.

 


AIJA Q&A: The Internet of Things and the law

01 June 2018

AIJA will host its 7th Annual Competition Conference from 21-23 June in Frankfurt to discuss the impact of innovation on competition law and share an outlook into the future. Alongside the Competition Conference, the IP TMT and TRADE commissions have organised a Conference covering emerging legal issues related to Internet of Things (IoT).  There will also be a cross-over event on FRAND issues. Registrations are open for both events here.

To find out more about the Conference and the IoT Seminar, we asked Chloe Taylor, Organising Committee member at AIJA and Associate, Carpmaels & Ransford.

Q1: What are the challenges and opportunities of IoT in the legal profession?

Over the past few years, we have gone from Internet of Things being a niche interest to a connected bracelet or fitness tracker that everyone wears on their wrist. This means that it is important for lawyers to understand the legal issues involved in the Internet of Things.  One of the challenges for lawyers is that the Internet of Things doesn’t map neatly onto a specific area of law. A commercial lawyer, data privacy lawyer, telecoms lawyer, intellectual property lawyer or competition lawyer could find themselves all being asked to advise on a connected device and/or IoT issue and all of them would have something to say but wouldn’t necessarily have the whole picture.

It can be a daunting area to get into – that’s one of the things we wanted to address in this conference.  So, we are breaking the Internet of Things down into parts – ownership issues (i.e. how do you own a connected device), data issues (both personal data and wider issues of cybersecurity), trademarks and the internet of things and the impact of connected devices on supply chains and distribution.

Q2: In your view, how can the law practice embrace IoT in their day to day business?

How and to what extent law firms actively use connected devices will, I think, very much depend on the area of law in which you practice. In family and criminal law, it is clear that connected devices can be extremely useful as sources of evidence, for example, a fitness tracker might provide evidence of the location of a suspect.  For those of us in commercial and corporate law IoT offers opportunities in terms of work but may not as readily translate into being used in our day to day legal work. That said, there are new technologies which I think are more likely to impact commercial and corporate lawyers – I’m a commercial IP lawyer by day and two of the areas that will really change my practice in the next few years are (i) the rise of smart contracts, and (ii) block chain technology for intellectual property registers. It’s definitely an exciting time to be a lawyer.

Q5: In your view, what are the main data protection issues in IoT?

One of the main challenges for data protection and IoT is that the IoT/connected devices rely on a flow of information and this can include personal data.  This requirement for free flow of data between devices seemingly runs counter to the narrative of the GDPR which encourages consumers to be more mindful of the use of their data and to take back control.  This contrast and looking at the impact of the GDPR one month in will be the subject of one of the talks at the conference – and it looks to be a great talk with representatives from both private practice and industry giving their thoughts.

To register, please visit the dedicated event web page. See you in Frankfurt! 

 


AIJA Q&A: How to effectively manage a legal business (of tomorrow)

24 May 2018

US lawyers work on average 2,3 hours each day on billable work according to the 2017 Legal Trends Report by Clio. This leaves them with around six hours each day of non-billable work. According to the report, half of this time focused on non-billable work is spent on administration and a third on new business generation. This is what law firms struggle with the most.

But with the latest technology tools and improved project management capabilities, legal practitioners can easily overcome these challenges. Today, Legal project management (LPM) is firmly established in the legal market and continues to grow as law firms and in-house counsel see its value in helping them to solve their constant “more for less” dilemma: providing more services and better tailored legal advice for less costs.

The AIJA Seminar “How to effectively manage a legal business (of tomorrow)?” will seek to offer further insights into legal project management and the necessary tools to effectively manage a business from 28-30 June in Sofia, Bulgaria. Ahead of the Seminar, we asked the Chair of the AIJA Organising Committee - Dr. Orsolya GÖRGÉNYI, Partner at Szecskay Attorneys at Law, and the Seminar trainer – Marion Ehmann, ICF-cert. coach (PCC), IILPM-cert. Legal Project Practitioner, about the importance of legal project management tools in a legal business.

Q1: What are the challenges of the legal profession? How can LPM tools help?

Orsolya GÖRGÉNYI: We often tend to focus on LegalTech, specifically Artificial Intelligence (AI), and lose sight of the bigger picture. Law firms face more basic challenges than that as we all can imagine. As lawyers, we seem to believe that we are special, and the rules of business, marketing, or the rules of gravity for that matter do not apply to us. Ethical standards differentiate lawyers from other businesses, and lawyers have a duty to the overall society and the administration of justice, but after all, law is a business -...and should be run as a business!

In any business, project management is key. Clients want Quick Solutions (possibly upon pushing a button on their smartphones!) - at Predictable Prices, Communicated in a Client-Centred way!  They will drive law firms to achieve this. This can be done by adopting new technologies or simply by adopting new processes and skills, becoming better at managing legal projects. Project management and the use of efficiency tools that focus on billing, time management and customer relations have been a reasonable business practice in other industries for decades. However - while we are busy discussing about the potential use of AI in legal services, most law firms have not even solved their most basic software needs.

Q2: What are the main challenges in adopting LPM tools?

Marion EHMANN: Getting lawyers to change the way they work. Way too many lawyers cling to “the way we have always done things”, even the younger ones. But the old ways are no longer working under changed market conditions – what got you here will not get you there. The antidote to this problem is to start with a few small changes that create early wins in efficiency or profitability. Those early wins will make you curious and hungry to add some more tools. 

Q3: How can LPM be an effective tool for legal businesses?

Marion EHMANN: LPM helps lawyers to increase client value and establish close client relationships and thereby achieve their business goals. LPM provides a toolbox to successfully scope projects, engage stakeholders, lead successful teams, plan tasks, draft budgets or fixed fee proposals and manage the work within such budget, track progress and manage risks.

If the atmosphere at a firm is change-averse, it is in my experience a good idea to start training some ambassadors or a pilot group and let them then showcase their results to their colleagues. Soon ears will perk up. I remember for example a series of trainings I did at a law firm where the CFO casually remarked “I know which projects are staffed by people who did the LPM training, because there the write-offs are lower”. That certainly got people´s attention.

Orsolya GÖRGÉNYI: Soft skills, "the Human Factor" is essential now, when smart and intelligent software can perform the "commodity work" of - not only junior – but all lawyers. In the future, lexical knowledge will no longer be important, and soft skills will gain importance. Clients will always value a "trusted board room advisor". Therefore, it is very important to develop soft skills for lawyers. The AIJA SCILL (Skills, Career, Innovation, Leadership &Learning) Commission is organising its next law practice management seminar in Sofia at the end of June entirely dedicated to Legal Project Management. It is a toolbox of practical and soft skills for managing legal matters, which helps lawyers to increase client value (“more for less”) and establish close client relationships.

Q4: What does an effective legal business look like in the future?

Marion EHMANN: Legal businesses that want to survive and thrive under today´s and tomorrow`s market conditions need to become more client-centred. We have been operating as experts in an ivory tower for far too long, when in fact being a lawyer means working in a service profession. Our clients come to us with a certain need and they want us to take care of it. The need usually boils down to ‘peace of mind’, whether it is a business transaction, family law issues, tax disputes or a social insurance case or what have you. Giving clients that peace of mind requires certain professional skills on top of legal skills – skills that we sometimes call “soft”, which is a misnomer since they can be hard to muster. Besides, the legal businesses of tomorrow will have to adjust to the fact that AI-based tools will take over part of our work (e.g. research, review of documents), so lawyers need to focus on the client-serving aspects of our profession to stay in business. Tools sets such as Legal Project Management and Legal Design Thinking can help us with that.

To register, please visit the dedicated event web page. See you in Sofia!

 


General terms and conditions: when are they effective in contracts concluded by email?

23 May 2018

by Alessandro Paci, LS LexJus Sinacta, Bologna, Italy

Under Italian law, general conditions prepared by one of the parties are effective as to the other, if at the time of formation of the contract the latter knew of them or should have known of them by using ordinary diligence. Businesses usually conclude agreements by exchange of emails and in the purchase order or the order confirmation each party refers to its general conditions of sale or purchase. Under Italian law when are such standard conditions effectively known by the other party?   

Recently, the Italian Supreme Court, in decision no. 21622 of 19 September 2017, offered an interesting point of view on this matter.

Facts

An Italian company brought an action against a German company before the Tribunal of Milan seeking damages as a result of failure to comply with an agreement concluded between the parties by email. The German defendant contended that the Tribunal lacked jurisdiction and that the Tribunal of Berlin had jurisdiction under a jurisdiction clause included in its general conditions of contract. These conditions were expressly referred to in the order issued by the Italian company and were available on a website indicated in the order. The Italian company claimed, among other things, that the jurisdiction clause was invalid since the parties did not agree on it and it did not comply with the requirements provided in the Regulation CE no. 44/2001 (now replaced by Regulation (UE) no. 1215/2012) on jurisdiction in civil matters. 

Decision

The Italian Supreme Court stated that the jurisdiction clause was valid pursuant to Regulation no. 44/2001 as it constituted a communication by electronic means which provides a durable record of the jurisdiction agreement. The decision by the Italian Supreme Court confirmed what was stated by the European Court of Justice in a recent judgement (Judgment of 21 May 2015 – C-322/14). The Court stated that a jurisdiction agreement included in general terms and conditions accepted by “click-wrapping”, constituted a communication by electronic means which provide a durable record of the agreement where that method makes it possible to print and save the text of those terms and conditions before the conclusion of the contract.

The Italian Supreme Court also pointed out that the general conditions, in which the jurisdiction agreement was included, were also accepted because the purchase order referred to them, and as a result became an integral part of the agreement. According to the Italian Supreme Court, knowledgeability was not precluded by the fact that the company’s website indicated in the purchase order was not a hyperlink, but the buyer had to copy and paste it.

The Court ruled that the exclusive jurisdiction clause was valid and therefore the Italian Courts lacked jurisdiction.

Conclusions

The decision is relevant because it confirmed the Court of Justice case-law on the prorogation of jurisdiction. More interestingly, it poses new questions on when general conditions are deemed knowledgeable under Italian law. According to the Italian Supreme Court, this requirement is fulfilled when they are available on the seller’s website, and the website is indicated in the purchase order issued by the buyer by email.

As a result, to make sure that a commercial partner may know the terms and conditions, a company should include a copy of them on the company’s website so that they are easily accessible, and always refer to them in the purchase order or the order confirmation.

 


New provision for international authority

23 May 2018

By Hendrikje Herrmann, Ahlers & Vogel, Germany

Introduction

The validity and effect of an authority are not subject to the law of the contract concluded by the authorised person but to be determined autonomously in case a dispute arises out of a transaction in which an agent was involved. This generally results in uncertainties for those who conclude contracts with an authorised person e.g. a commercial agent and respectively those who authorise an agent to conclude contracts. The autonomous determination of the authority thus constitutes a risk for the international trade. Therefore, the German legislator found it necessary to codify the existing case law and principles as established by the scholars in terms of the law applicable to international authorities.

On 17th June 2017 the “Statute for the Amendment of Provisions in the Field of International Private Law und Civil Procedure” has come into force in Germany. By way of this statute i.a. a new Art. 8 was added to the Introductory Act to the Civil Code (IACC). This Article determines for the first time which law applies to an authority when the agent acts abroad on behalf of the person granting the authorisation.

In summary, the authority is to be determined – subject to a choice of law – in accordance with the law of the state in which the agent or the principal has his regular place of residence or usually makes use of the authority. The new provision of Art. 8 IACC thus establishes clear rules for the determination of the law applicable to an international authority and enables the parties to consider the scope of the authority. Nevertheless, for parties involved in international trade it is in the interest of legal certainty still favourable if principals choose a law that shall be applicable to the authority and inform the agent as well as the third party of this choice.

The provision of Art. 8 IACC can be summarised as follows:

Choice of law

As per Art. 8 para. 1 IACC the principal’s choice of law has priority provided that this choice of law was known to the agent as well as to the third party. However, the parties are free to choose a law that is applicable to the authority by way of a tripartite agreement. Such a tripartite agreement can be concluded at any time and without observing any form requirements. A general choice of law clause in a contract (f.e. the one concluded between the agent and the third party) will not automatically determine the law applicable to the authority. The law applicable to the authority is to be determined autonomously. An explicit choice of the law applicable to the international authority is thus desirable.

1. In the absence of a choice of law

In case such a choice of law is missing and the agent is acting as an entrepreneur Art. 8 para. 2 IACC provides that the law of the state in which the agent has his regular place of residence shall be applicable. For example, A is permanently located in Germany and was authorised by the Dutch company B to distribute B’s products as their commercial agent. As per Art. 8 para. 2 IACC German law would be applicable to the authority.

 2. Employees

If the agent is an employee of the principal, Art. 8 para. 3 IACC provides that the law of the principal’s regular seat is applicable. Thus, assuming that the employee of a Dutch company purchases office supplies for and on behalf of his employer in a German store, Dutch law will be applicable to the employee’s authority.

The determination of the applicable law as per Art. 8 para. 1-3 IACC always requires that the third party towards whom the authority is exercised is aware of the choice of law or the regular place of residence.

3. Art. 8 para. 4 IACC

Provided the authority was granted for a long-term period and there does not exist a choice of law and the agent neither acted as an entrepreneur nor as an employee of the principal (thus as a private person), the law of the state in which the agent usually makes use of the authority is applicable. This also requires that the third party is aware of the place of regular use of the authority.

4. Fallback

Art. 8 para. 5 IACC contains a “fall-back” regulation for cases in which the applicable law cannot be determined according to Art. 8 paras. 1-4 IACC. In this case the provisions of the state in which the agent makes use of the authorisation shall be applicable. If the third party and the agent were aware of a limitation of the authority according to which the authority was only to be used in a specific state then the law of this state is applicable. Should the place of use of the authority be unknown to the third party, the statutory provisions of the state in which the principal has his regular place of residence shall be applied.

5. Scope

However, this new provision solely determines the law applicable to the agent’s authority in the relation to third parties and has no effect on the internal relationship (usually mandate) between the principal and the agent or the law applicable to the transaction concluded by the agent. The provisions stipulated in Art. 8 IACC are limited to the authority granted by legal transactions and have thus no effect on authorities granted by statute.

6. Summary

The German legislator codified in the new provision of Art. 8 IACC which law applies to an international authority. If there is no choice of law the authority is to be determined in accordance with the law of the state in which the agent or the principal has his regular place of residence/seat or usually makes use of the authority.

The new provision of Art. 8 IACC thus provides legal certainty for parties contracting with an authorised person. Nevertheless, for parties involved in international trade it is still favourable if principals choose a law that shall be applicable to the authority and inform the agent as well as the third party of this choice.

 


Redesigning distribution by terminating distributor agreements: Can dealers claim delivery anyway?

23 May 2018

By Dr. Benedikt Rohrβen, Salary Partner, Taylor Wessing, Munich

In principle, manufacturers can freely design and develop their distribution system according to their marketing strategy and any changing needs. Likewise, they are in principle free to choose the number and name of their sales intermediaries (distributors/dealers, franchisees, agents, etc.). They are in principle also free to switch to selective distribution, with the aim of aligning the distribution of their products with certain criteria (in particular: regarding the quality of distribution), thus possibly also reducing the number of distributors. However, as an exception, distributors may force the manufacturer to supply them anyway – namely if the manufacturer has a significant market power. In such a case, an obligation to contract with a distributor, resulting in an obligation to deliver may follow from the prohibition of discrimination (laid down in sec. 19 para. 1, 2 no. 1, 20 German Act against Restraints of Competition).

This issue becomes especially practically relevant if a manufacturer redesigns its distribution network – just like a well-known German manufacturer of high quality branded cases does now. The manufacturer switched to selective distribution in 2011/2012 (for the advantages of selective distribution and possible restrictions of distribution, see the article here). To redesign its distribution network, the manufacturer terminated the former distributor agreements and offered to conclude new ones – according to which the distributors newly committed themselves to present the goods in a certain way and buy and use the manufacturer’s shop-in-shop system. According to the manufacturer, the appearance of a former distributor did not correspond to the new business concept and the new marketing strategy, which is why the parties could not agree on concluding a new agreement. Thereupon, the distributor filed an action, aiming at the conclusion of a new dealer contract and thus delivery of his shops.

The District Court of Munich denied the claim (decision of 09.09.2014, ref. no. 1 HKO 7249/13), the Higher Regional Court of Munich, however, affirmed such claim (decision of 17.09.2015, ref. no. U 3886/14 Kart) – arguing that the manufacturer had a leading position in the relevant "market for high-priced and high-quality suitcases" or, conversely, that the distributor had a dependency if and because the manufacturer’s suitcases could not be replaced by equivalent others. Such dependency would in particular be indicated through a high distribution rate (i.e. the manufacturer supplied a large number of comparable distributors) as well as the unique design and the associated high recognition value. Now, the Federal Court of Justice overturned the judgment and remanded for a new trial (decision of 12.12.2017, ref. no. KZR 50/15). Reason: the distributor’s assortment-related dependency (“Spitzenstellungsabhängigkeit” as special case of “Sortimentsbedingte Abhängigkeit”) on the the manufacturer was not sufficiently proven. Although a high distribution rate was regularly decisive, it might be less meaningful in qualitative selective distribution systems as the present one. Decisive for redesigning distribution systems:

"If a supplier chooses to switch to a qualitative selective distribution system at a certain point in time, an assortment-related dependency is regularly indicated by a high distribution rate in the period before." (Para. 19)

The manufacturer can especially bring forward two arguments against such alleged assortment-related dependency, namely that

(i) the number of distributors the manufacturer himself supplied with his products is much lower than the total number of distributors that offered his products (i.e. including those buying the products from other sources), and that

(ii) the distribution rate is to be determined on the basis of those distributors who are comparable to the distributor demanding access to the distribution system and delivery (para. 27) – as the German Federal Court previously stated in terms of designer upholstery (decision of 09.05.2000, ref. no. KZR 28/98, p. 12 et seq.).

Practical conclusions:

1.            “There is nothing more constant than change”: When redesigning the distribution system, carefully consider if you want / need transitional arrangements – or better leave them out. One very good reason to leave them out: they might make it more difficult to exclude unwanted distributors. Thus, in the above-mentioned case, the Higher Regional Court Munich rejected the manufacturer’s objection that the distributor’s business model "aimed at bargain hunters" – arguing that the manufacturer gave other distributors time of "12 months after conclusion of the agreement" to fulfil the new qualitative criteria.

2.            For qualitative criteria (also: requirements / specifications) in Internet sales, please see the other articles on Legalmondo, especially on platform bans and price comparison bans.

 


International Bar Association (IBA) awards scholarships for their Annual Conference, 7-12 October 2018, Rome

03 May 2018

IBA European Regional Forum is once again awarding scholarships to European young lawyers (under 35 years) for attending the IBA annual conference from 7-12 October 2018, in Rome. 

The scholarship covers the attendance to the annual conference and all costs for travel and accommodation. This year's conference will focus on the current critical challenges facing the EU and will discuss different views on how to best meet these challenges. For more information, visit the dedicated website

 

 


AIJA Half-Year Conference Interview: Corporate governance today and tomorrow

26 April 2018

A conversation with José Costa Pinto, Founding Partner at Costa Pinto & Associados - Sociedade de Advogados, President of the National Association of Portuguese Young Lawyers (ANJAP) and member of AIJA.

José will be speaking at the session “Corporate governance today and tomorrow” during the AIJA Half-Year Conference taking place from 23-26 May, in Warsaw. 

Q1: What can participants expect from the session “Corporate governance today and tomorrow”?

Participants can expect a multi-jurisdiction view on the most relevant corporate governance issues today, such as board composition and structure, remuneration and compensation, shareholder activism, gender gap and culture and behaviour matters.  I believe that, further to the speakers’ interventions, we can also expect an interesting debate and exchange of ideas with the audience.

Q2: What are the main challenges and opportunities for effective corporate governance?

The main challenge is to be perceived as an asset by companies, shareholders and stakeholders rather than a cost and a burden they have to overcome. I believe, however, that the latest financial and corporate scandals have contributed to a significant increase of social and academic awareness regarding the value of “good governance” over the last decade. This can be decisive for the dawn of effective corporate governance. 

Q3: What are the current developments in corporate governance? And how have these impacted the business?

From a Portuguese perspective, I have to highlight the new “Corporate Governance Code” which was enacted by a civil association – the Portuguese Institute of Corporate Governance – and replaces as from January 2018 the former “Corporate Governance Code” issued by the Stock Market Commission. Portuguese companies will now have to adapt their own structures and practices to the new rules, which will be evaluated for the first time in 2019.   

Q4: Shareholder activism and their ability to influence corporate management have steadily increased over the last year. What are best practices in effectively engaging with shareholders and addressing their concerns?

It is indeed correct to state that the pressure on the boards of companies has significantly increased over the last years, due to the implementation of several mechanisms that have improved shareholders’ activism. In several jurisdictions there were significant changes in law and corporate governance codes aimed at increasing shareholders’ powers and enhancing their ability to control the board of directors and the management. It is crucial to minimise the information gap between shareholders and the board, to boost the former’s ability to participate – on a standalone basis or together with other shareholders – in the shareholders’ meeting, as well as to submit a wider range of matters to their prior approval.      

Q5: What is the role of the lawyer in establishing effective corporate governance practices?

Lawyers must be side-by-side with the boards and the management, developing a permanent and vigilant work on the development of the companies’ activities and their capacity to maintain their governance models working properly.

Q6: In your view, what are the skills a good corporate governance lawyer should have to be successful in his/her career?

Since corporate governance is a multidisciplinary field of practice, it is crucial for corporate governance lawyers to be constantly up-to-date, not only on legal matters related to corporate governance, but also on management and economic matters. This entails a permanent study and constant legal practice, but also a capacity to follow the news on the most relevant companies and economies to understand the full framework of the corporate governance and, thus, be able to properly advise clients.

The Half-Year Conference will be divided into two seminars. The first one will focus on current trends and developments in corporate governance, while the second one will focus on the relationship between in-house and outside counsel and their clients. Other exciting news will be announced soon, so stay tuned on our social media channels and website to get the latest updates.

See you in Warsaw!

 


AIJA Half-Year Conference Interview: Upholding judicial independence

26 April 2018

The independence of the judiciary will be one of the topics discussed at the Human Rights Session hosted during the AIJA Half-Year Conference on 24 May, in Warsaw.

To find out more, we continue our series of interviews with Przemysław Tacik, Assistant Professor at the Institute of European Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, and strong promoter of Human Rights in various dedicated projects.

To see the full programme and register, visit the dedicated event web page.

Q1: What are the challenges to the independence of the judiciary in today’s world? And why is judicial independence important?

Judicial independence remains a keystone of liberal democracy. The existence of objective and impartial courts guarantees civil rights and liberties which otherwise may be easily infringed by the executive or the legislative. Moreover, the public recognition and authority of independent courts promote equality, the Rule of Law and legal certainty. Without the independence of the judiciary, (1) rulings in criminal cases turn into a public vendetta, often of a political character; (2) rulings in civil cases will not be respected by the losing party and will be treated with suspicion of corruption or extra-judicial motives; (3) rulings in administrative matters will not be based on equality of arms between the administration and the citizen.

The independence of the judiciary is enshrined in most national constitutions and in human rights protection acts of international law: Art. 10 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 14 (1) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Art. 6 (1) European Convention on Human Rights. It is also well-embedded in the EU law and explicitly guaranteed by Art. 47 (2) Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

In the transforming public sphere of the early 21st century, independent courts remain one of the few stable points of reference. To quote Ronald Dworkin, they are assigned the task of “the public use of reason”. In times when authorities collapse, and the public discourse is getting dominated by persuasive, but shallow arguments, the courts may have the chance to defend the culture of the argument and reasoning. Independence of the judiciary involves a selection of candidates for judges who are highly qualified and able to conduct in-depth analyses of the case. The stability of their positions guarantees broad perspective and “long breath” of arguments. Without proper independence of the judiciary, the system of law is more prone to incoherence, narrow positivism and abstraction from democratic values.

It is, however, one of the reasons for which the judiciary often comes under attack from anti-liberal or, to use a vague, but perhaps indispensable term, “populist” movements. As recently reminded by Jan-Werner Müller in his study What Is Populism?, these movements draw their political force from a sharp distinction between “the elites” and “the people”. Much as this distinction is fuelled by economic discrepancies, it is also projected onto state apparatuses. In this perspective, the independent judiciary is by definition a seat of “elites”. Preservation of independence against populist (un)reason and adequate response to justified criticism are two main challenges that the contemporary judiciary must face.

Q2: In your view, how can countries increase or preserve the true independence of the judiciary?

Firstly, the independence of the judiciary depends on institutional guarantees that have become a democratic standard, well-embedded in human rights protection acts of international law. In this regard, their maintenance is a necessary condition of independent judiciary.

Nevertheless, apart from these institutional guarantees the true independence of the judiciary requires an appropriate legal culture, which cannot be safeguarded by purely formal means. This culture includes authority of courts and their rulings, as well as perception of the judiciary as vital part of the democratic society. Naturally, a major part of responsibility for developing such a culture lies with courts themselves. Only through issuing well-justified and impartial rulings can they inculcate respect for the independence of the judiciary.

The independence of the judiciary is not autotelic. It is a means for safeguarding civil rights and liberties, as well as administering justice. Judges need to bear in mind that the independence of the judiciary may be effectively defended and developed only if it has observable effects for the society. Therefore, it might be argued that especially in the times when the independence is challenged, courts must be vigilant to consider the social impact of their rulings.

Q3: What are the main trends in the judiciary across Europe vs. globally?

Naturally, given the current complexity of the globalised world and diversity of legal systems it is hard to outline general trends in this area. There are countries with authoritarian regimes, where the judiciary faces completely different challenges from the one in developed democracies. Nevertheless, it could be surmised, although with great circumspection, that the judiciary in all parts of the world face two fundamental problems. The first is the increase in the complexity of legal systems. Modern law is characterised not only by a fast growth of the number of norms that are in force, but also by a growth of the number of sources they flow from. In the globalised world the myth of a positivist system of law which would be coherent, reasonably extensive and could assure decidability of each case, has been superseded by the postmodern and pluralist vision of an excessive, overdetermined and unkempt field of competing norms. Courts can no longer be just “mouth of a law”, as in Montesquieu’s vision. They need to plough through massive normative material, consider various sources of norms and elaborate interpretations that will establish relations between them. Consequently, the workload of courts seems to increase.

Secondly, we can refer to the defence of the independence of the judiciary against attempts of the executive to control it. Naturally, concrete realisations of this trend differ in various countries. It seems, however, that throughout the world liberal democracies are on the wane, whereas authoritarian trends gain ground.

The situation in Europe does not differ substantially from these trends. The complexity of legal systems is even greater in Europe due to advanced integration. European courts tackle legal pluralism on a daily basis, because they have to combine norms of national origin, the EU law, general international law and regional instruments of international law, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. As to the defence of the independence of the judiciary, the problem is particularly acute in the Eastern part of Europe, especially Poland and Hungary. Nevertheless, Western Europe is not free from it: the anti-systemic culture which arose in the UK in the wake of the Brexit is responsible for a widely popular contest of the judiciary.

Q4: What is the situation in Poland and how can the country overcome the current assault on the judiciary?

The general prospects for the independence of the judiciary in Poland are currently dim. Since 2015, Polish judiciary is under constant pressure from the executive, which undermines its independence, effectiveness and authority.

In the years 2015-2016, the current ruling majority undertook some unconstitutional reforms whose clear aim was to introduce its nominees to the Constitutional Court and gain control over it. Three of the new nominees were unconstitutionally elected for the places which had been already occupied by judges to whom the president of Poland refused swearing-in ceremony and thus precluded them from taking office, even though they had been elected lawfully by the lower chamber of Polish Parliament. Moreover, the current president of the Constitutional Court was elected in a procedure which was questionable from a legal point of view. The current vice-president of the Court was revealed to be a former member of secret services, which he concealed during hearings before the Parliament commission. The law on the Constitutional Court was amended a few times within this short period to facilitate the process of gaining control over it. As a result, the Court was dominated by judges who expressed explicit support for the ruling majority. Before that happened, the executive had usurped a de facto power to assess validity of the Constitutional Court rulings, because it refused to publish in the official journal those rulings which found reforms of the Constitutional Court Law unconstitutional. These rulings remained unpublished and the Constitutional Court sits currently in unconstitutional formations.

In 2017, the ruling majority undertook far-ranging attempts to gain control over the general judiciary. After massive social protests in July 2017 and the subsequent veto of the president of the Republic, a few major reforms were finally adopted in December 2017.

In 2018, the ruling majority pursues with the work on amendments of the Supreme Court Law, with an explicit view to have sway over the Supreme Court after some of its current judges, including the First President, will reach the mandatory retirement age. The new project of the Law envisages that after the seat of the First President is vacant, the President of the Republic will be entitled to nominate an acting First President who is not stipulated by the Constitution. It will allow the ruling majority to directly influence the person in charge of the Supreme Court.

As a result, a part of the Polish legal system functions currently in the state of exception. Clearly, unconstitutional laws are still in force because either the Constitutional Court’s rulings which declared them unconstitutional were not published, or because the new Constitutional Court – sitting in unconstitutional formations – does not declare them unconstitutional. Moreover, the Constitutional Court in its new composition ignores the unconstitutionality of the laws which led to its formation. In this respect, Poland significantly differs from Hungary, where the undermining of the position of the judiciary was generally carried out with the use of constitutional amendments. In Poland, the Constitution was not amended, but effectively rendered inoperative. The current assault on the judiciary can hardly be overcome, because in most respects it has either already happened or will happen within a few months. The whole process of overtaking the Supreme Court will have been probably finished by July, when new judges will be appointed and the new chambers will become operative. It cannot be stopped by the Constitutional Court, because it is clearly dependent on the ruling majority. Most of the amendments that will undermine the independence of the judiciary are already in force; it is only a matter of time before the process of appointing new judges is complete. It remains an open question whether and how this process could be reversed in the future. Given the entanglement of legal matters concerning the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court, it will probably not be enough to simply apply the Constitution to declare some laws unconstitutional and return to the status quo ante. The continuing functioning of unconstitutional formations of the Constitutional Court has created a legal chaos, in which separating valid from invalid acts will be extremely difficult. Moreover, unconstitutional acts will have their consequences which may be irreversible. What might be needed is adopting a new constitution which will re-establish the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, the process of subjugating general courts to the executive will be hardly reversible – not only because new political nominees will be already appointed as judges, but because the chilling effect on the independence of judges will have long-lasting effects on the legal culture of the Polish judiciary.

 


AIJA members can attend the ABA Young Lawyers Division Spring Conference at a discounted rate

23 April 2018

The American Bar Association is hosting their Young Lawyers Division Spring Conference from 10 to 12 May in beautiful Louisville, Kentucky, US. The Conference will take place at the historic Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville.

The conference will offer a large variety of continuing legal education programming on topics that include but are not limited to intellectual property, intimate partner violence and the law, gender equity in the legal profession, family law, and ethics training. Additionally,  all conference registrants can benefit for one-on-one Executive Coaching Sessions with Debra Forman, a highly coveted professional life coach, at no extra cost. The programme will also include numerous social networking opportunities, including an International Oratory Competition on Friday afternoon, a Friday evening Gala, and an International Attendee Reception on Saturday afternoon.

ABA waives the $95 registration fee for the conference if you are a member of AIJA. For more information and to register, visit the dedicated webpage.

 


AIJA Half-Year Conference Interview: Reflections on judicial independence

20 April 2018

The independence of the judiciary will be one of the topics discussed at the Human Rights Session hosted during the AIJA Half-Year Conference on 24 May, in Warsaw.

To find out more, we interviewed Mikołaj Pietrzak, Advocate, Dean of the District Bar Council in Warsaw, permanent representative of the Polish Bar at the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) in the Human Rights Commission and Partner at the law firm Pietrzak Sidor & Partners

To see the full programme of the Half-Year Conference and register, visit the dedicated event web page

Q1: What are the challenges to the independence of the judiciary in today’s world? And why is judicial independence important?

A strong constitutionally enshrined tri-division of powers and system of safeguards, checks and balances system should work effectively to protect judicial independence, and as a result, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Where systemic safeguards allow, politicians throughout the world will attempt to apply political pressure on court decisions using different methods. This may sometimes be merely public criticism by a cabinet minister of a specific judgment or may go so far as passing a law dismissing an entire group of judges and replacing them with political appointees. 

This process of undermining the tri-division of powers, the system of checks and balances, and as a result the independence of the judiciary, is occurring to various degrees in many Central and Eastern European states, like Poland, Hungary, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey.

This process constitutes a direct threat to domestic systems of protection of human rights. Human rights violations committed by public authorities cannot be effectively questioned or remedied without independent courts and independent judges. Violation of the guarantee of the independence of the courts and judges makes human rights but a meaningless declaration.

Q2: In your view, how can countries increase or preserve the true independence of the judiciary?

This is a serious and broad question and we certainly cannot exhaust the problem in our short conversation. But I think it’s important to draw attention to two issues.

First, we need to concentrate on civic education, in particular on the subject of human rights and law, shaping awareness, understanding and respect for democratic institutions, for the system of checks and balances. Looking back, this is an area in which much more could have been done both in Poland and Hungary.

Secondly, we need to change the language and fashion in which lawyers, especially judges, communicate with citizens. Much can be done to move this language away from a hermetic and technical language to one that is more comprehensible to members of our society. The legal community is naturally insular and closed to communication with the society. In Poland, it took the assassination of the independence of the courts for associations of judges and the judges themselves to open up and become active in the public space. Until now, they maintained a far-reaching restraint, were closed and therefore viewed as being removed from society and aloof. Democracy paid a great price for this closed-mindedness.

Q3: What are the main trends in the judiciary across Europe vs. globally?

As I mentioned, in Europe, which is not at all a uniform judicial organism, there are visible backlashes and questioning of core values, like democracy, rule of law, human rights. We are witnessing an emergence and strengthening of populism, and willingness to consolidate the judicial, legislative, executive power within the hands of the ruling political formations, and especially their leaders. I don’t see that tendency globally among other countries which – like European states - have a tradition of constitutional liberal democracy.

Q4: What is the situation in Poland and how can the country overcome the current assault on the judiciary?

Since 2015, Poland has been going through a constitutional crisis impacting firstly the Constitutional Tribunal. This Constitutional Court, responsible for the constitutional review of laws, no longer functions properly. The ruling party paralysed it first by electing new judges to the Constitutional Court, to fill three seats in the Tribunal which were not vacant (they were occupied by judges elected by the previous Parliament). The Constitutional Court itself ruled that these three new judges were in fact not judges. Ultimately however, the faux judges were allowed to act as judges by the politically appointed new president of the Constitutional Tribunal. The three real judges have not been admitted to the Constitutional Tribunal because the President refused to accept their oath, in violation of his constitutional duty. Since November 2015, parliament adopted many legal acts amending the Act on the Constitutional Tribunal, which were aimed at further paralysing and controlling the Tribunal’s work. At present, most of the judges (including the remaining faux judge, who has been appointed the vice president of the Tribunal) of the Constitutional Tribunal are connected to the ruling party and the tribunal has ceased to fulfil its role of critical constitutional review. On the rare occasions that it does actually proceed a case regarding the constitutionality of a given law, the Court has demonstrated a lack of willingness to provide any judgment in opposition to government opinions regarding controversial laws.

 As concerns the common courts, changes in the law on the organisation of courts in Poland were made in July 2017. The Minister of Justice received the power to revoke at any time any president of any court in Poland and appoint a new one without the obligation of consulting the representatives of the judges working in that court. Using this instrument, by February 2018 the Minister of Justice dismissed 130 presidents and vice presidents of the courts and replaced them with handpicked nominees. Needless to say, this created a chilling effect among judges and is a significant limitation of their independence.

In 2017 and 2018, the parliament hastily reformed the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary (a constitutional body which selects and appoints Judges and is intended to safeguard the independence of the judiciary). One of the most of controversial changes in these laws was the immediate termination of the terms of office for Supreme Court judges. All amendments related to the National Council of the Judiciary were aimed to ensure political control when appointing judges.

If you are interested in finding out more, you can read a statement in English from Iustitia, the largest association of Polish judges, which includes a detailed analysis of the situation in Poland regarding the judiciary. This is a reply to a misleading "white book" issued by the Polish government regarding problems with the judiciary and how the new laws are allegedly intended to solve these problems.

 


Using the law to shape effective corporate governance practices

17 April 2018

The legal landscape for corporate governance is constantly changing under the spotlight of evolving compliance, operational and market requirements. Effective corporate governance practices are essential to a good functioning of a company, including to its relationships with shareholders, suppliers or customers. In-house and outside counsel can be instrumental in improving the corporate governance practices of a company and managing risks that could affect the value of the business or shareholders. This will be a topic for further discussion at the AIJA Half-Year Conference from 23-26 May, in Warsaw.

AIJA invites all in-house and outside counsel and other legal professionals interested in the latest trends and developments in corporate governance to attend the Conference seminar titled “Corporate governance – current trends and development”. The Seminar is organised by the Corporate and M&A Commission of AIJA.

In the run-up to the Conference, Anne Toupenay-Schueller, Partner at JEANTET AARPI, member of AIJA and speaker at the Half-Year Conference, shares more details about the session and gives her view on the challenges and opportunities in corporate governance.

Anne says that during the Seminar, participants will have the opportunity to “exchange views on the latest developments, specifically regarding compliance. Related challenges and opportunities in various jurisdictions across the world will be also addressed”.

Challenges and opportunities for effective corporate governance

Corporate governance has evolved over the past years. We witnessed changes particularly with regards to compliance. For instance, Anne says, “in France, new legal requirements have been put in place for companies above certain thresholds to comply with compliance measures (the so-called “Sapin 2” law (No. 2016-1691 dated 9 December 2016), specifically on anti-corruption, trading in influence, but also the law No. 2017-399 dated 27 March 2017 on the corporate duty of vigilance for parent and instructing companies, to identify the risks and prevent damages to human rights and other fundamental freedoms). Certain companies are accordingly required to put in place measures and procedures (e.g.  cartography of risks, assessment procedures, alert procedures, etc.) and ensure an ongoing follow-up”.

Speaking about the opportunities in corporate governance, she adds that “an efficient corporate governance system can enable investors to have confidence in the business and the economy. You can then use the system in place to assess the performance of the company”. With respect to compliance, companies are invited to promote effective and strict practices, including a strong undertaking from the managers in the organisation and compliance processes. Good communications within the company on such practices are as well of great importance.

Over the past years, we have also witnessed the rise of shareholder activism and their ability to influence corporate management. More than ever, it is important to put in place processes that allow effective engagement. Anne refers to the principles of corporate governance from the OECD. She explains that these recommend providing sufficient information to shareholders on all decisions having a material impact/giving rise to fundamental changes on the company and the right to approve or to participate to them. For instance, “under French law, shareholders of limited liability company have access to information during shareholders meetings; they are entitled to raise questions in relation to the agenda. They also benefit from specific rights; certain decisions can only be taken in the shareholders meeting (e.g. modification of the By-laws). This can also raise the question of protection of minority shareholders and investors”.

The role of in-house and outside counsel

Anne believes that in-house and outside counsel can play a fundamental role in establishing effective corporate governance practices on various matters, such as “determining the most adapted governance structure for the company, assisting companies on compliance issues or advising them in case of a control from regulatory authorities”.

We also see that the ongoing advances in communications are changing the role of internal and external lawyers. Emails, mobile devices ease our communications but also increase the expectations of clients. Clients now expect lawyers to be accessible at all times and to respond even faster than in the past. Consequently, successful lawyers must be able to adapt and provide effective advice to clients in a timely manner. But success goes beyond this. A corporate governance lawyer should also be able to define business-oriented strategies and solutions for clients and understand their objectives. It is important to proactively anticipate issues and risks that clients may have to face.

Finally, there is a distinction to be made between in-house and outside counsel. The in-house counsel is generally involved in the process earlier, usually at the planning stages. So, compared to the outside lawyers - in-house counsel have the opportunity to shape decisions early and help the business minimise legal risks while achieving its objectives.

The Half-Year Conference will be divided into two seminars. The first one will focus on current trends and developments in corporate governance, while the second one will focus on the relationship between in-house and outside counsel and their clients. Other exciting news will be announced soon, so stay tuned on our social media channels and website to get the latest updates.

See you in Warsaw!

 


A guide for in-house and outside counsel on how to develop a successful relationship with clients

10 April 2018

How to speak to sell better to in-house counsel. Strategies on how to develop a successful in-house counsel – outside attorney relationship. Negotiating fees for legal services to meet clients’ expectations. Personal branding for legal professionals. These are some of the themes that will be discussed from 23 to 26 May at the AIJA Half-Year Conference in Warsaw.

AIJA invites all in-house and outside counsel and other legal professionals interested in improving their communications and negotiation skills to attend the Conference seminar titled “Happily ever after! Perspective from in-house counsel and law firms on how to develop a successful client-attorney relationship”. The Seminar is organised by the Skills, Career, Innovation, Leadership and Learning (SCILL) Commission of AIJA.

In the run-up to the Conference, we asked Štěpán Holub, SCILL President and Organising Committee Member at AIJA, about the main highlights of the seminar. “This will be the best place to understand what in-house counsel expect from outside lawyers and the other way around. The seminar will combine theory with practice and will seek to share examples from real-life situations”, Štěpán said.

For in-house counsel, it is important to assess whether a legal issue can be solved in-house, or if there is a need for outside expertise or additional resources. That is when usually a company decides to outsource and reach out to law firms, for instance. He says that “you have to act quickly on it, so you don’t lose a good business opportunity. As legal professionals, we need to be able to see our limits and handle legal cases and our clients both from a legal and commercial perspective”.

The seminar will also address best practices on how to best serve clients as an in-house or outside counsel. Developing a successful relationship with clients can be challenging, but there are ways to improve the likelihood of building a successful and lasting partnership. Štěpán believes that “in order to be successful, we need to see the issue through the eyes of the client and understand what is needed. Knowing the law is not enough, we need to know the industry and business we work for. It is easy to say but difficult to do. This is why AIJA will host a seminar dedicated to this subject at the Half-Year Conference in Warsaw".

To conclude, Štěpán says that the key to success is listening. “Listen first. We have two ears and only one mouth to listen twice as much as we talk. Sometimes it may seem difficult to do something as basic as listen. This goes beyond just noting down the basic facts related to the legal issues of the client. You need to listen to understand essential things, such as your client’s goals, needs and expectations”.

The Half-Year Conference will be divided into two seminars. The first one will focus on current trends and developments in corporate governance, while the second one will focus on the relationship between in-house and outside counsel and their clients. Other exciting news will be announced soon, so stay tuned on our social media channels and website to get the latest updates.

See you in Warsaw!

 


Highlights from the AIJA Seminar "The Challenges of Compliance and Anti-corruption"

09 April 2018

The AIJA Seminar "The Challenges of Compliance and Anti-corruption" took place from 23-24 March in Recife, Brazil. Mariëlle Boezelman, AIJA member and one of the moderators, speaks about the main highlights of the Seminar. 

The seminar presented a general overview on current topics related to the anti-corruption legislation and compliance programmes in various jurisdictions worldwide. Brazil was the perfect place to host this seminar, as Brazil has one of the largest ongoing anti-corruption investigations - also known as Operation Carwash. 

'Operation Car Wash' - in Portugese 'Operação Lava Jato', is an ongoing criminal investigation carried out by the Federal Police of Brazil and judicially commanded by Judge Sérgio Moro starting 17 March 2014. It is a cross-border investigation with more than one thousand warrants for search and seizure, temporary and preventive detention and coercive measures. In 2016, a breakthrough happened in the case. Odebrecht and Braskem - two Brazil based companies - pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court in Brooklyn to conspiring to violate a U.S. foreign bribery law after an investigation involving political kickbacks at Brazil’s Petrobras unearthed the bribery scheme.

Odebrecht SA and affiliated petrochemical company Braskem SA agreed on a penalty of $3.5 billion, the largest penalty ever in a foreign bribery case. This penalty resolved international charges involving payoffs to Brazil’s state oil company and others. The huge penalty was negotiated as part of a broad settlement with U.S., Brazilian and Swiss authorities. During the Seminar, we even learned that the Brazilian, Swiss and US public prosecutors have an Whatsapp group to keep in close contact to exchange information. As you can imagine, this raised questions about international judicial assistance and whether the legal requirements are met.

The Carwash investigation thus formed an important bases to discuss several topics during the AIJA seminar. We came across interesting differences between jurisdictions and problems. For instance, how is the principle of 'ne bis in idem' safeguarded in such cross-border investigations and how can two Brazilian companies plead guilty in a U.S. Court while a company in Brazil cannot be held criminally liable? These questions show that close contact between lawyers in such cross-border investigations is of vital importance.

Differences between jurisdictions worldwide

We discussed extensively some interesting differences between jurisdictions, specifically about the role of legal entities in different jurisdictions. In the Netherlands, it has been possible for a legal entity to be prosecuted since 1951 for specified economic crimes. And since 1976 it has been possible to prosecute legal entities for any crime according to article 51 of the Dutch Procedural code.

The question is how can a legal entity be held criminal liable? A legal entity does not have any hands or feet nor can it act by itself. It always has to be represented by a natural person. But how can acts (or omissions) of individuals (directors, managers, employees) be allocated to a company? Whether the criminal actions of a natural person can be attributed to a legal person depends on whether the company had control over the criminal activity and accepted it.

This means that if the criminal activity of a natural person is part of the normal business of the company, or is part of the company’s official or unofficial policy, or is more or less accepted by the company, the criminal offence can be attributed to the company. The Dutch Supreme Court summed up four situations in which conduct, in principle, may be said to be carried out ‘within the scope of a corporation’:

  • the act or omission has been carried out by someone who works for the company;
  • the conduct fits the everyday ‘normal business’ of the corporation;
  • the corporation gained profit from the conduct concerned;
  • the course of action was at the ‘disposal’ of the corporation, and the corporation has ‘accepted’ the conduct – acceptance including the failure to take reasonable care to prevent the conduct from being performed.

In our daily practice, we see that the public prosecution office tends to hold legal entities responsible for actions of an employee without assessing whether the acts of the employee can be attributed to the company. Moreover, considering the jurisprudence of the Dutch Supreme Court the legal entity has to act intentionally to commit a crime. All the relevant circumstances have to be taken into account for this. For instance, if an employee committed wrongful acts it has to be taken into account whether the company has given clear instructions to the employee to do its work right. Furthermore there should be a reason for the legal entity to doubt the satisfactory services of the employee. If not a crime of an employee cannot merely be attributed to the legal entity.

This jurisprudence thus shows that internal regulations and compliance procedures are of vital importance to discuss issues about (criminal) liability.

This AIJA seminar showed that cross-border investigations are growing and lawyers have to take into account all the differences between jurisdictions and work closely together to ensure that clients will receive a tailor made solution for every jurisdiction.

This article has been originally published by Mariëlle Boezelman on www.lawlunch.com. Note that it has been slightly adapted.

 


3 Reasons to enter the Best International Future Lawyer Award competition

06 April 2018

With entries now open, we invite law students worldwide to submit a written essay on the following subject: “The moon is now colonised, and you are in charge of its legislation. How do you handle it?”

Any object launched from the Earth is registered by a state, and through this registration it becomes subject to that state's national jurisdiction and control. Thus, a space colony would operate in accordance with the laws of the state that registered the base or shuttle they arrive with. However, we see there is a chance that a future colony might seek independence. 

So, we are challenging law students with this notion that humans may one day build societies beyond Earth and demand their independence. 

Why you should enter the competition
Here are, in no specific order, 3 reasons why you want to enter the Best International Future Lawyer Award competition:

Credibility
Soon you will be searching for your first job or maybe you are already on the lookout for a traineeship. An international award will make you stand out from other candidates.

Recognition
The Best International Future Lawyer Award will be handed out in front of over 800 international legal professionals at the 56th International Young Lawyers' Congress in Brussels, so you can get the recognition your work deserves. Building a professional network is one of the fundamentals of success at the start of your career. Winning is a great way to start building your professional network as you will get access to free AIJA membership until 2021.

Confidence
Participating in the competition is a statement. It shows that you are confident in your knowledge of law and that you take pride in your work. Such demonstration of confidence is a good way to impress your future colleagues and potential employers.

Deadline for submissions is 15 May 2018. For more information about the competition and to submit: awards.aija.org

 


Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: no better time to stand up for human rights

22 March 2018

Paola Fudakowska, President of AIJA’s Private Clients Commission and Candidate for the role of AIJA’s First Vice-President shares some reflections from the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council taking place from 26 February to 23 March 2018 in Geneva.

70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

This year, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) celebrates its 70th anniversary.  So not much older than our association which celebrated its 55th anniversary last summer.

The UDHR is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the UDHR was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948. For the first time, it sets out fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages. 

The text of the UDHR is timeless and continues to be relevant at global, national and regional level. It recognises that all human beings are free and equal and entitled to the rights and freedoms identified in its thirty Articles.  These include the right to life, right to justice, right to freedom of movement and culminate in the right to a social and international order in which the rights and freedom set forth in the UDHR can be fully realised.

The 70th anniversary at the heart of the UN Human Rights Council debate

This significant milestone is the common thread running through the discussions of the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), the main UN body responsible for global promotion and protection of human rights.  The HRC meets three times a year in Geneva, over a period of four weeks.  Emergency meetings may be convened at short notice to respond to human crises. 

The last emergency session of the HRC took place on 5 December 2017 to address the human rights violations in Myanmar, which have caused over half of the Rohingya population to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh. In his address to the HRC, the High Commissioner for Human Rights raised the controversial question whether, based on the evidence, elements of genocide could be present.  He also acknowledged that this is ultimately a question for a competent court.

Now during its 37th session, the attention of the HRC is being diverted in a number of directions: from addressing the ongoing conflict in Syria to protecting the rights of the child in humanitarian situations; from exploring the rights of persons with disabilities (specifically access to justice) to concrete action to eliminate racial discrimination; from the abolition of the death penalty on the African continent to freedom of religion.

The 37th session of the HRC also allowed some time for reflection upon various human rights achievements over the past 70 years and challenges to come. 

The President of the HRC chaired a high-level panel discussion to mark the 70th anniversary. The members of the panel recognised that one of the greatest achievements of the UDHR is that it emerged following a dark period of history during the Second World War, when seemingly impossible consensus by all states was achieved to recognise universal values. The UDHR sowed the seeds of identifying the human rights which required protection. There are now nine human rights treaties, with the corresponding monitoring bodies, giving legal and enforceable rights to groups including children, women and persons with disabilities.  In return, this has given visibility and recognition to these groups in society.

The panel identified challenges for the future to include:

  1. Recognition and strengthening of regional systems such as the African and Inter-American systems to enhance global engagement with human rights issues.
  2. Engagement of the next generation with human rights norms, while recognising that innovations such as artificial intelligence and bioscience will impact on the ability to engage.
  3. Implementation of human rights policies which may require a change of perception to widen their impact. Narrowing the gap between certain groups in society may be achieved by recognising that, for example, housing is more than a commodity; it is a human right which is necessary to give dignity and equality to the homeless and those in sub-standard housing. 

The role of the individual in the UDHR

And what about the role of the individual in upholding the UDHR?

Aung San Suu Kyi once asserted that, "I do protect human rights, and I hope I shall always be looked up as a champion of human rights." On her doorstep sit the Rohingya people in desperate need of a champion to promote and protect their human rights. 

70 years young, the UDHR invites every individual to promote respect for the rights and freedoms that it enshrines.  As young lawyers in all corners of the globe, whatever our area of specialism, we can be its champions.

 


AIJA partners with the European Centre for Space Law

21 March 2018

AIJA is pleased to partner with the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) for our third edition of the Best International Future Lawyer Award competition. The competition invites law students with an interest in international law to submit an essay responding to the following question: “The moon is colonised and you are in charge of its legislation. How do you handle it?”. The deadline to enter the competition is 15 May 2018.

The European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) was established under the auspices of the European Space Agency in 1989, with a mandate to promote awareness, knowledge and development of the legal framework relevant for outer space activities. The ECSL seeks to fulfil its mandate by organising a range of conferences, courses and activities for students, academics and professionals throughout the year. Every year, the ECSL organises the European Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court, an Essay Competition and a two-week course on Space Law and Policy – free for selected students from or studying in an ESA-member states. Other activities are organised on an ad-hoc basis. For more information see the ECSL website or follow the European Centre for Space Law on Facebook or LinkedIn.

On 23 and 24 March, the ECSL will organise a Practitioners’ Forum and a Young Lawyer Symposium at ESA Hq in Paris. The Practitioners Forum aims to gather experts from all over the space sector to address an emerging issue in space, this year focusing on cyber issues and legal tools to address and mitigate threats. The aim of the Young Lawyer Symposium is to allow for early career scholars and professionals to present on a space law related topic in an international forum, exchange ideas and network amongst themselves. This year’s Young Lawyers’ Symposium will consider legal aspects in relation to space debris, renewable launchers, space vehicles and future exploration.

AIJA will be present at the Young Lawyers’ Symposium on 24 March 2018. We look forward to being there and discussing with participants about how they can apply to become the next Best International Future Lawyer. See you there!

 


The second annual T.R.A.D.E conference to take place in amazing Amsterdam

20 March 2018

It is not just because of its beautiful historic canals, bikes, architecture or world-class museums! Amsterdam is also home to many international law firms and global businesses. This makes it an attractive and vibrant city for international lawyers to experience the value of the commercial law practice during AIJA’s second annual T.R.A.D.E conference, from 12 to 14 April 2018.

This year’s conference will cover a broad range of practical topics related to the preparation, negotiation, drafting and termination of international commercial contracts. Attendants will have the opportunity to access first-hand knowledge from highly qualified speakers from international law firms and in-house legal departments. This second edition of the conference hopes to provide international commercial lawyers with an ideal forum to exchange their views on the topic and enrich their network. On top of that, AIJA’s unique spirit of friendship will make everyone feel welcome!

Babak Tabeshian, Organising Committee Member, explains that while all the sessions are timely and highly relevant, “for those who do a lot of business with Asia, the panel on intercultural negotiations will be particularly interesting” on Friday, 13 April. He adds that “the in-house counsel panel discussions on contract management and termination will also be of particular interest” on Saturday, 14 April. On the same day, hot topics such as the effects of Brexit on cross-border contracts will add even more flavour to the scientific programme.

The social programme will start on Thursday, 12 April, with a welcome reception at the Eye, an architectural pearl standing on the banks of the River IJ. This will be followed by a canal cruise and an exquisite dinner at an Indonesian restaurant on Friday, 13 April. And if this isn’t enough, we hope that you will stay in town after the conference to enjoy the many splendid sights Amsterdam has to offer.

For more information about the conference and to register, visit the dedicated webpage.  

 


Meet the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) head on

19 March 2018

Coming into effect on 25 May 2018, GDPR will introduce new data protection obligations for companies and new rights for individuals. The forthcoming regulation will have a heavy impact not only on the EU-based companies, but those based outside of the EU will also have to apply the same rules while offering services in the region. One of the most significant aspects of the GDPR is that it expands the territorial scope of the EU data protection law. Regardless of the company’s location, data processing with reference to the EU will lead to the applicability of the GDPR.

With the new regulation looming on the horizon, we will organise a GDPR seminar for AIJA members on the side-line of the 2018 Annual Conference “At the Crossroads: The Fusion of Private and Public International Law” of the American Bar Association. The AIJA seminar will be held on Friday, 20 April at the Grand Hyatt, in New York.

During the seminar, attendants will find out to what extent the GDPR applies to companies outside the EU/EEA and how the GDPR requirements for non-EU companies can be efficiently implemented in current processes in data-driven business models. Mastering the appropriate tools and knowledge of an adaptable roadmap towards an efficient implementation of the GDPR will provide companies with a clear competitive advantage.

According to Johannes Struck, Organising Committee Member of AIJA, the main challenge of the GDPR will be “to adapt the data transfer strategies of companies with transatlantic business operations to the new requirements of legal compliance and data protection management. This will be vital for companies that wish to continue to present themselves as reliable partners, particularly for non-EU/EEA companies”.

Speaking about the impact of the regulation on international law firms, David Areias, Organising Committee Member of AIJA, adds that “they [international law firms] are very likely to have the activity of their international clients impacted or influenced by the GDPR. Therefore, they must be prepared to recognise the need of compliance with the GDPR by developing internal skills and knowledge, and various forms of cooperation with their EU offices or with other EU law firms.”

Registration is now open. See you soon!

 


AIJA supports ELSA Student Trainee Exchange Programme (STEP)

07 March 2018

This year, AIJA is happy to support again ELSA, the European Law Students' Association, in their efforts to identify law firms that may be interested to hire new trainees and be part of STEP.

STEP is a trainee exchange programme that enables law students and young lawyers to gain first hand experience of the substantive and procedural law as well as the culture of another country. The Student Trainee Exchange Programme of ELSA offers AIJA members the opportunity to have highly qualified law students from all over Europe as trainees. The traineeship can vary from 2 weeks to 24 months and can take place in any law related area.

For more information about the traineeship programme, visit the dedicated website.

Read testimonials of AIJA members that benefited from the STEP programme:

Our office has a specialized, niche field of expertise: assisting German-speaking clients in Belgium. ELSA STEP is therefore an excellent partner for us, as it brings us in contact with many native German speaking students from abroad. On the other hand, the students find an interesting opportunity abroad where there is no language handicap. On the contrary, they can immediately ‘STEP’ in. The selection process goes very smooth and fast, and is almost completely arranged by ELSA itself. We just fill in the forms concerning the requirements and after some time we receive detailed CVs of the candidates, leaving us only the (difficult) task to select. No hassle with separate traineeship agreements etc… everything is standard form,so we can concentrate on working together with the
students.” - David Diris, Kocks & Partners (Belgium)


We are very pleased and satisfied in participating in ELSA Traineeship Programme and we will do it again. It was an interesting experience for the trainee who had the opportunity to work with us for a period of time and leave the life of a law firm, but also for the people of our firm who benefited from networking with an international student.” - Manuela Cavallo, Portolano Cavallo Studio Legale (Italy)

 


5 #legalvalentines poems from lawyers with love

14 February 2018

Thanks to the #legalvalentines hashtag, lawyers all around the world are taking over Twitter in honour of St Valentine’s Day.  

We assure you that this will brighten your day! Here’s our morning selection:

  • Oliver Lewis, @DrOliverLewis says:

Roses are red

Violets are blue

But it’s not in your best interests

To give them to you.

  • Bilaal Shabbir, @mbs_786 says:

Roses are red

Don't be afraid

Deadline's tomorrow

I've got emergency legal aid 

  • Bilaal Shabbir, @mbs_786 says:

I'm finally rid of you

Our relationship was short

Give me half the house

Or I'll see you in Court 

  • Paul Mertens, @pejmertens says:

Amendments are red

Re-amendments are green

With violet then yellow

For points yet unforeseen...

  • Vikram V. Koppikar, @HAND_OF_DOG says:

Roses are dead

 Violets are green

 Res ipsa loquitur

 Lawyers are mean

 


Florence Promises to be Taxing

13 February 2018

The city of Florence could stake a claim to having invented modern taxation: commercial credit, government borrowing and merchant banking all flourished in Renaissance Florence, under the House of Medici. It’s a pretty fitting city, then, for this year’s AIJA tax law seminar which takes place from 1 to 3 March. But despite the obvious historical context, the theme of the seminar is exceedingly modern: "The concept of fairness in national and international taxation".

Pietro Mastellone, Organising Committee Member, explains, in some detail: “This is a pivotal concept for the development of tax law. If the tax is fair, both in its substantive perspective (i.e. how much you should pay to the state) and in its procedural one (i.e. how is the tax effectively collected?) then the tax systems are able to pursue their institutional role to finance the public expenses through a wide contribution from honest taxpayers.” The presentations will therefore, “treat the impact of procedures that allow tax authorities to obtain information useful to carry out control activities on taxpayers producing income abroad, which may be considered, somehow, the ‘thermometer’ of the evolution of international tax law.”

Pietro continues, enthusiastically: “The transition from a total absence of assistance between states, essentially justified by the fact that taxing powers are an expression of a state’s sovereignty, to a stage – following the G20 of London 2009 – in which forms of cooperation exponentially expand. This has led to a scenario where taxpayers’ fundamental rights are not adequately protected in cross-border situations”. Counterweights in international public law such as bilateral treaties, or the EU Charter of Nice, are therefore increasingly coming to the fore.

The social schedule includes a welcome cocktail reception on the rooftop bar (weather-permitting) of the Grand Hotel Baglioni, walking tours of the historical centre of Florence, wine and cheese tasting, Florentine cuisine at “Buca Mario”, cocktails at the “Colle Bereto Café” and even late-night dancing at the “YAB” nightclub.

Pietro’s commitment in setting up the 11th AIJA Annual Tax Seminar reveals a ‘family tradition’ in hosting high-quality legal conferences in Florence, since his father Carlo – actually Honorary Vice-President of AIJA – organised there a memorable AIJA Annual Congress on “The financing of start-up companies” in September 1997.

For more information and to register, visit the dedicated web page

 


Are You the Best International Future Lawyer in the Galaxy?

13 February 2018

It’s the ‘Best International Future Lawyer Award time of year again (let’s call it BIFLA for short). And the topic this year is out of this world. Literally. Membership Forum co-chair François Barre explains: “The topic chosen this year is: The moon is now colonised, you are in charge of its legislation. How do you handle it? In this context, would civil and common law systems be merged? If not, which one would prevail?”

How on Earth did they come up with that topic? “The theme for the Brussel’s yearly conference is related to the possible end of the globalisation dream”, says François. “Which is, all in all, an earth related question… yet space programmes are expecting to colonise other planets by the end of 2025. Our question thus is: how can we deal with our dreams of expansions outside of earth if we are not able to think globally on our own planet?”

Ok, sounds like fun. So how can young lawyers enter BIFLA, and what do they win? Any law students aged 45 and under who are still enrolled at any university, can apply. They don’t even have to be a current AIJA member – they just need to send an essay on the set topic by 15 May (for full T&Cs, see the dedicated website). The winner gets free AIJA Membership until 2021, their name and winning essay publicised across the galaxy – i.e. AIJA’s website, social media and various communication channels – plus free travel and accommodation to the 2018 International Young Lawyers’ Congress in Brussels, Belgium.

“Once in Brussels, the winner will meet future colleagues, potential employers, and new friends”, enthuses Membership Forum co-chair Anita Gerdin. “The winner will arrive with an established reputation before he or she starts the first roundtable of speed dating, basically the best way to start at AIJA!”

“Young future lawyers have to embrace their youth and knowledge to challenge us and make us rethink constantly our profession and the issues at stake”, says another Membership Forum co-chair Justus Jansen, adding: “Contestants should know that a similar project had been implemented in the 1970’s… This could be a good starting point for them to understand the issues raised at the time and see how to learn from past experience. They have to be thorough and realistic – with great powers come great responsibilities.”

For more information about the International Future Lawyer Award, click here.

 


Let’s Raise a Glass to 2018!

12 February 2018

With 2018 already well underway, let’s reflect on the previous year just gone. As we awoke to the new year, we asked AIJA President, Wiebe de Vries – how was it for you? “We had unique events to close the year”, said Wiebe, nostalgically. “A very successful Half-Year Conference in Girona, surely with the best food we ever served to our members in my AIJA history.” It was also, he said, “great to see so many members also showing up for our Christmas Cocktail in Brussels”.

But partying aside, what were his conference highlights of the year? “Several: we had an impressive seminar with over 600 lawyers and law students in Tehran. It was a very special occasion where it became clear that local lawyers are very eager in meeting with people from outside Iran. Another not to miss event was of course the Tokyo Congress where around 500 members from all around the world joined there. A strong reinforcement of our presence in Asia and we are going to build further on that!”

So how is he going to build on it for this year? “AIJA must always have the goal to grow, not only because we lose members every year who turn 45, but also because I believe as many members as possible should enjoy the AIJA experience”, says Wiebe, assertively. “We saw some 10% growth over the past year, I would be extremely grateful if we manage to grow with 10% again over the coming year. More than that, geographical spread should balance more this year, with two seminars in Asia (in Hong Kong and Singapore), as well as a seminar in Recife (Brazil), and activities in the US. I believe we are on a good track to really make AIJA Global.”

What does Wiebe have in store for us for 2018? What exciting venues and food sensations await the AIJA membership this year? “No doubt the Brussels Congress will be fantastic! As a tax lawyer, I am also sure the Firenze annual tax seminar will be a very special event. And, I also look very much forward to the Warsaw Half-Year Conference. I have never been to Poland and I am very eager to experience Poland in proper AIJA style!” Wiebe also teasingly says that he had five proposals for the Half-Year Conference to choose from, so we are expecting big things from Warsaw – let’s raise a glass of piwo to the (half) year to come!

 


Best International Future Lawyer Award 2018 open for submissions

10 February 2018

AIJA is calling on all future lawyers with an interest in international law to compete for the Best International Future Lawyer Award 2018. The competition aims to celebrate the brightest and the best young minds preparing for a career in the legal industry. 

All law students aged 45 and under who are still enrolled at any university worldwide at the time their paper is submitted, are eligible to enter the competition.

Interested participants can submit a written essay on the topic "The moon is now colonised, you are in charge of its legislation. How do you handle it? In this context, would civil and common law systems be merged, if not, which one would prevail?".
Essays should be submitted by 15 May 2018 (in English).

Awards

The winner will be awarded during the 56th International Young Lawyers' Congress taking place from 28 August to 1 September 2018, in Brussels, Belgium.

He/she will benefit from the following:

  • Free attendance to the 56th International Young Lawyers' Congress from 28 August to 1 September 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. Travel and accommodation will be covered.
  • Free AIJA membership until 2021 and access to useful industry resources and a network of 4,000 lawyers across the world
  • Publication of the winning essay to the AIJA website and social media channels

To enter the competition, please visit the dedicated website: http://awards.aija.org.

 


Half-Year Conference in Warsaw Features Corporate Law

10 February 2018

The AIJA Half-Year Conference in Warsaw held on 23rd to 26th May coincides with the Warsaw Arbitration and Mediation Days organised by ICC Poland and arbitration institutions including the Arbitration Court at the Polish Chamber of Commerce. So never ones to miss out on a good networking opportunity, AIJA has decided to invite them for a joint welcome reception where members can get the chance to mingle alongside influential members of the arbitration and mediation community.

Then there’s the scientific seminar. Anna Wyrzykowska, from the organising committee, fills us in: “The theme ‘Corporate governance – current trends and developments’ – was selected by the M&A Corporate Commission because for a long time we have not had an event focusing particularly on corporate law.” This will be of particular interest to lawyers who work for large international firms, and anyone interested in hearing from external speakers from large corporations. “Therefore we will have an occasion not only to discuss the topic among AIJA members but also share views and opinions with general counsels and in-house lawyers”, says Anna.

There will also be a seminar from the Skills, Career, Innovation, Leadership and Learning (SCILL) Commission on how to successfully develop client-attorney relationships, as well as sessions devoted to the lawyers’ marketing skills (so called ‘beauty contests’). The scientific part is not only limited to the seminars. During the Conference the meeting of all 18 AIJA commissions will take place, including the Human Rights Commission meeting with keynote speakers including the Dean of Warsaw Advocate’s Bar.

So that’s the serious bit done. What about the fun? “The social program will allow the participants to experience Warsaw’s highlights but also to continue to network in a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere for which AIJA is known for.

Thursday’s Opening Dinner will take place at the National Opera Theatre on 24th May and the Gala Dinner on Saturday 26th May will be held at the beautiful Warsaw Royal Castle. On Friday evening the guests of the Congress will be invited in small groups to the local lawyers’ homes for AIJA’s increasingly popular ‘Home Hospitality’ evenings.

“I cannot tell which part excites me most”, says Anna, evasively. “All Polish members of the Organising Committee of this event are excited that our colleagues from AIJA will visit our hometown which is why we will try to make sure that this event will be a very memorable one!”

Join us in Warsaw from 23 to 26 May for an exceptional conference with two parallel seminars to choose from. For more information and to register: https://www.aija.org/en/event-detail/378

 


Become a specialist in International Family Law at University of Carlos III of Madrid

22 January 2018

AIJA is happy to support the Master's in International Family Law, a new programme launched by the University of Carlos III of Madrid (Spain). The course aims to provide expertise in all family law matters from an international perspective. 

The programme consists of nine modules: International marriage, International marriage crisis, Economic asset system, Sonship, International adoption, Child protection, International child abduction, Food, International sequence.

Classes are in Spanish and will begin on 23 February 2018. For more information, visit the dedicated website (in Spanish).

Contact:

Carlos III University of Madrid

Postgraduate Studies Centre

Specialist in International Family Law

Laura García Albendea Albendea

Phone number: 91 624 5805

Dpcho: 18.1. C03

Getafe Campus

Calle Madrid, 135

28903-Getafe

derechofamiliainternacional@postgrado.uc3m.es 

 


Game of Funds: The HYC Programme Review

08 January 2018

Girona 2017 (3)The Girona half-year conference (HYC) promised to cover two entertaining topics: “Crowdfunding & Alternative Financing” and “Film Industry Law”. But did they cover, and did they live up to the delegates expectations?

The Seminar on Film Industry Law started with a general overview on audio-visual rights out of the cinema, dealing with “the ownership on the film industry Intellectual Property rights and the management of Audiovisual Rights”, informs Cristina Hernandez Marti, who was in charge of the Film Industry seminar. “After lunch on Thursday we explored the universe of IP rights cascade in the film industry, the role of trademark law in the cinematographic world and ended up with a panel on film production and distribution. On Friday we started with a public law approach examining the requirements that have to be taken into consideration when filming outside the studio. And we ended this seminar with the panel on War Over IP Rights.”

The Film Industry Seminar also gave a general overview of the audio-visual rights, and the copyright treaties which deal with such rights. “We covered the problems that may rise when there is a multitude of parties involved in the production of a movie”, says Cristina. “During the panel on Management of Audiovisual Rights we also discussed about the problems a production company has to deal with. All the sessions, were really interactive and the audience participated actively throughout the seminar.”

Other highlights included Rafael Sanchez from the Spanish collective society covering Spanish private copy remuneration, Yvonne Maier of NDF, Germany, on the remuneration of actors and other contributors to the movie, and the film editor Alexandru Radu’s industry insider view.

Meanwhile the seminar on crowdfunding and alternative financing, explains Pablo Vinageras Cobielles of the Organising Committee, “was rich in content, diverse in speakers, interactive and dynamic. The panels on ‘how to finance a project with a happy end’ and ‘the Brexit Thriller’ were most interactive while the ‘shared economy’ brought innovation and thought-provoking discussion”.

Girona was also able to offer social outings to complement the seminar programmes. The Saturday sessions concluded with a tour of the locations used during the filming of Game of Thrones, followed by the gala dinner held in a twelfth century castle.

“We received really positive takeaways from the attendees. The input received proves that the Girona HYC was a success”, said Pablo. “Attendees praised the venues chosen for the social program, while a good diversity and balance was reported in the number of jurisdictions represented, ages, gender, nationalities, in-house lawyers/legal advisors and external speakers.  We have been told by numerous attendees that Girona HYC will be long thought-of as an outstanding conference.”

 


A Big Shake-Up of the AIJA Executive Committee

08 January 2018

Girona 2017 (2)For years the role of the AIJA Executive Committee (EC) has been limited to the admission of new members and the appointment of officers. However, “this approach was not ideal as EC delegates were missing enthusiasm in their role, and the Community of Members itself was urging for a more proactive role of the Executive Committee”, explains Emiliano Ganzarolli, AIJA Secretary General.

Therefore the decision has been made to transform the role of the EC. “We have switched the focus”, announces Ganzarolli. “Now the larger part of the meeting is dedicated to the opinion of EC members on highly relevant topics such as geographic expansion, cooperation with other associations, innovation and the quality of our events.”

The EC meeting is now divided into three parts: first, the EC is called to approve new members and perform any other statutory tasks; second, the Report from the Bureau (circulated prior to the meeting) is scrutinised and discussed; and finally, roundtable meetings see EC members gather in small groups to discuss urgent topic areas.

“This new format brings several positive effects”, explains Ganzarolli. “The community of members can be much more innovative and daring, while a larger group of 48 active EC members brings significantly more ideas and solutions than the Bureau could do on its own. Projects and new challenges for the Association are shared, and solutions are taken jointly. All this brings more effective management to the Association, larger involvement and participation of members, and shared knowledge.”

The first year of EC meeting under the new format has already been held, with positive results. The EC members discussed a range of issues, including how to secure better quality of our events, how to empower the National Representatives, how to attract younger members and how to expand globally. “Many ideas came out of the roundtables and most of them have been already implemented”, informs Ganzarolli. “Answering the call of the members of the Executive Committee, the Association committed – among other initiatives - to reduce registration fees for younger members, for local new comers and for in-house counsels; reduced fees are also now implemented for the members of the Organizing Committees of events.” Social media presence has also been improved, while National Representatives are now provided with toolkits and templates for communication.

“The voice of the EC has proved to be effective and the goals achieved together confirmed that its role is substantial for the life of our Association”, says Ganzarolli. “The opinion of the most dynamic members in AIJA is now, more than ever, a value we don’t want to miss out: and that is why we need more and more candidates for the position of EC Member”

 


The View of Girona from the Philippines

08 January 2018

Girona 2017 (4)Each year AIJA awards a number of scholarship for young international lawyers to attend an international conference of their choice. In November 2017, the AIJA scholarship was awarded to Maria Diory Rabajante, an Associate at the Esguerra & Blanco Law Offices, Philippines, to attend the Girona conference.

“I noticed that what set AIJA apart are the youthfulness, energy and vibrancy of its members”, enthused Diory after the event. “These characteristics of AIJA’s members make professional networking, as well as building personal relationships, easier. AIJA is a perfect platform for young lawyers to establish an international network, and to discuss various legal issues with lawyers of different nationalities.”

AIJA granted Diory a full scholarship to attend its conference in Girona following her successful online application. “I browsed AIJA’s website, and got interested in the Film Industry Law seminar”, she explained. “I applied for a scholarship, and fortunately got accepted”.

She described AIJA as, “an avenue for skills development and knowledge acquisition. Since AIJA encourages its members to step up and volunteer in its projects, the members have the opportunity to improve their skills and develop new ones. Furthermore, with the interaction of various cultures, AIJA’s members will have a wider perspective of their respective legal fields.”

Her experiences in Girona more than matched her expectations. “Everything about the conference was amazing”, she said. “Girona is a perfect event venue for the conference, particularly the Film Industry Law seminar. The city has an incredible architecture, rich history and culture, and delectable food. A tour of the sites where the Game of Thrones was shot and a visit to the Museu del Cinema complemented the lessons that I learned from the seminars.”

As well as providing her with a great opportunity to learn from lawyers in her specific field (“the discussion on different domestic laws involving film industry gave me a wider perspective of the Intellectual Property law, which is one of my areas of practice”, she said) she also left Spain with a bulging contacts book: “the conference served as a platform for building relationships. I had the opportunity to meet, network, bond and party with lawyers from different parts of the world.”

Diory returns to Asia with an enthusiastic message about AIJA: “As an Asian, I believe that AIJA would be able to attract more Asians to join and attend AIJA’s events if it would organise more conferences and events in the Asian region... I would definitely recommend joining AIJA and attending AIJA’s events to other young lawyers.”

 


What Did AIJA Newbies Make of Their First Conference?

08 January 2018

We all remember our first AIJA conference. With exclusive venues and exciting destinations, each conference takes months of planning and creates memories that last for years. But what’s the first time like for the AIJA staff members who help to organise the events? After attending our November conference in Girona, two new AIJA staff members, Fanny Senez and Viktoria Keri, described their first impressions of the ‘AIJA spirit’ in action.

“I had a great though intense week!” said Fanny. “Girona is a lovely city, the venues for the dinners were awesome with amazing food and I had a great time getting to know more AIJA members and people I will soon be working closely with on upcoming events. Everything is possible with such an exceptional AIJA team where cooperation, enthusiasm and professionalism are naturally combined! This is definitely a recipe I want to keep for the next upcoming events.”

As another first timer, Viktoria added, “I really appreciated the warm welcome and genuine interest of participants which made my integration unexpectedly easy and fast. It became clear to me that members are ready to climb mountains to bring AIJA to the next level and I will be glad to support them in their efforts… I have never before experienced a more relaxed and fun atmosphere at a conference.”

Fanny and Viktoria are event organisers, not lawyers, so as well as ensuring the smooth running of the event, they were also in a unique position to assess the general mood of the conference. Did attendees appear to be leaving the seminar sessions enthused, or confused? “The feedback we received was that the level of the speakers and seminars presentations was outstanding”, said Fanny. “AIJA has this unique family spirit where members are happy to learn and share knowledge but also network and meet one another again during events.”

According to Viktoria, the attendance numbers were high: “the scientific programme – especially the film industry session – received outstanding feedback … The high quality of both sessions and social agenda was emphasised by most participants and overall AIJA received very positive feedback. Many shared the view that Girona was one of the greatest conferences organised in recent years, and all agreed that AIJA is continuously raising its standards.”

So what was the biggest highlight? For both Fanny and Viktoria, the answer was the same: dinner at Mas Marroch, courtesy of El Cellar de Can Roca’s, the 3 Michelin star restaurant and twice winner of World Best Restaurant. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

 


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