AIJA-TRIAL International Talks on Human Rights
05 April 2022
AIJA and TRIAL International are collaborating to launch a few short talks on Human rights to present the organisation, some projects it is working on and new initiatives. This year, TRIAL is celebrating its 20th Anniversary.
What is TRIAL International?
TRIAL International is a non-governmental organisation that fights impunity for international crimes and supports victims’ quest for justice. International crimes include genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, enforced disappearances and torture. They work to give victims the opportunity to obtain justice and reparation.
TRIAL International is one of those rare new-generation of NGOs that go further than reporting on human rights violations and undertaking advocacy work. We investigate cases, often going to conflict zones, draft and file, criminal, civil and human rights cases, bring direct legal support to victims, as well as training partners on the ground, judges, prosecutors and especially lawyers, in legal and investigative techniques.
Watch the first video between Elsa Taquet, Senior Legal Advisor at TRIAL International, and François Barre, AIJA Immediate Past President, below.
The second interview with Elsa Taquet, Senior Legal Advisor at TRIAL International, and Martijn Burgers, AIJA Human Rights Committee Co-Chair, explains how a legal assistance or legal case works, what TRIAL International’s impact is and how to support the association.
The third interview with Philip Grant, Founder and Executive Director at TRIAL International, and François Barre, AIJA Immediate Past President, explores how and when the organisation has been founded, the impact that TRIAL has had over the years and the way it can be supported.
International Women's Day - Break the Bias
08 March 2022
Happy International Women’s Day to all. Are you ready to #BreakTheBias?
This year’s IWD campaign advocates for a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. In the context of the climate crisis, the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” recognises the contribution of women and girls around the world to climate change response, to build a more sustainable future for all.
At AIJA we are privileged to welcome a nearly equal amount of female and male members, with 50% of women currently in leadership positions. But there is still so much we can do, every day.
Within our community, the Diversity Officer and the AIJA Women Network (AWN) lead the efforts to raise awareness and initiate dialogues around key issues such as the power and benefits of diversity and inclusion, tools to effectively advocate D&I efforts, allyship and mentorship of women in the legal profession.
Most recently, at our November Half-Year Conference in Dubai, a panel of women leaders in law and business shared the start of their professional journey and the opportunities, challenges and choices that they have faced along that journey allowing them to excel to their fullest potential. They also gave their perspective on the essential ingredients to harness the future success of women business leaders in the Middle East region.
The network has also mobilised itself in the most efficient manner to organise immediate support to those impacted by the war in Ukraine. Our female leaders are a stellar example of strength and dedication. These are only a few highlights of their actions:
- Launching the AIJA initiative to connect our legal community with people needing help as a consequence of the war. Read more here.
- Setting up the "Swiss aide to Ukraine Association" to deliver fast humanitarian help to Ukraine. You can contact them here.
- As an independent board member of the foundation, raising awareness of the activities of SOS Bambini housing refugees crossing the border towards Romania. You can donate here.
- Organising humanitarian aid with the help of local bar associations
- Offering pro bono legal aid for refugees arriving in European countries
Would you be interested in becoming part of the AWN? Please send us an email at email@example.com and we will connect you with the group. Men and women are welcome.
Save the date for upcoming events by AIJA’s Diversity Officer and the AWN.
AIJA Women Network webinar
05 April 2022 – 14:00 CEST
Parental bias webinar with Laura Langner, expert on parental career success and research leader and big data scientist with the University of Oxford.
Toolkit for change webinar
13 April 14:30 – 15:30 CEST
Diversity & Inclusion workshop with the Diversity Officer.
Half-Year May Conference
18 – 21 May 2022, Gothenburg
‘Working Parents Making It Work: Overcoming Maternal and Paternal Bias’ workshop with Chelsea Mullarney, DEI Partner and sponsor of BR’s Women’s Initiative and Parents Forum and Litigation Partner at Brown Rudnick. More information here soon.
60th Annual Congress
Thursday 25 August 2022, Singapore
Being an ally – Building a successful international business. Please see more here.
AIJA supports Ukrainian lawyers and their families
28 February 2022
Following our joint statement with UIA on condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, AIJA desires to provide the entire Ukrainian civilian population, in particular all members of the Ukrainian National Bar Association, their families and friends with tangible help.
In case any of the bar members need assistance, s/he can contact AIJA at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we will immediately forward the message to an AIJA member who will further assist, including finding respective advocates, notaries, or local humanitarian organisations.
Many AIJA members have already joined the special assistance programme to help the Ukrainian nationals, in particular the Ukrainian lawyers, and their loved ones.
UIA and AIJA condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
24 February 2022
The International Union of Lawyers (UIA) and the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) note with deep dismay and great concern the military invasion of the territory of the State of Ukraine by the army of the Russian Federation that took place yesterday, a military aggression that we strongly condemn.
This unprovoked, armed attack on the Ukraine violates the Rule of Law, public international law, and the numerous agreements to which the Russian Federation is subject through international conventions and treaties, all of which recognise the sovereignty of States and safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms of human beings, especially of civilian populations and that we, as international associations of lawyers, aim to protect.
Ignoring all diplomatic attempts at international mediation to avoid this grave outcome will surely claim a large number of victims and result in an unacceptable humanitarian catastrophe of great proportions, generating a dangerous instability in the world. Thus, we urgently request the Russian Federation to uphold the Rule of Law and respect the international conventions, treaties, accords and principles which it has previously ratified and to which it has previously agreed to be bound. We further entreat the Russian Federation to reconsider, immediately cease all hostilities, and order the peaceful withdrawal of its troops from the sovereign territory of the State of Ukraine, thereby returning to the world the peace in which all human beings desire to live.
We extend our full support to the entire Ukrainian civilian population, especially those who are in the invaded zones in which the Russian military aggression is currently taking place. We also express, in these terrible moments, our unconditional support to all members of the Ukrainian National Bar Association, to our individual organisation members, their families, and their friends, wishing with all our might that the barbarism and disaster that an armed conflict always generates cease immediately, thus avoiding more suffering than that already caused and returning to normality and understanding. As associations actively engaged for many years in bringing together lawyers from different countries, including both Ukraine and Russia, we urge that violence give way to dialogue, aggressiveness to calm, conflict to diplomacy, in defence of the Rule of Law and fundamental values and rights, all of which we protect and today are in grave danger.
The international community of lawyers stands with the Ukrainian nation!
The 12th Edition of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer - Colombia
18 January 2022
The 24th of January marks the annual International Day of the Endangered Lawyer. This day is a call to bring attention to the situation of lawyers from all around the world, who have been harassed, silenced, pressured, threatened, persecuted, tortured, as well as murdered and often disappear. The reason for such brutal treatment is simply being committed to their professional obligations and helping those in need.
Why the 24th of January? The date has been chosen as a memorial day towards four trade union lawyers and a co-worker, who were killed on 24 January 1977 in their office in Madrid for only doing their job.
The Day of the Endangered Lawyer has been founded in 2009, while its first edition was organised in 2010. Since then, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer focused on the situation and threats to lawyers in such countries as Honduras, Egypt, Turkey, China, Pakistan and Azerbaijan. The year 2022 brings attention to the situation of Colombian lawyers for the second time.
The Observatoire International des Avocats en Danger (OIAD) recently issued the report on Colombia illustrating threats that lawyers there have to face every day. The report lists the number of concrete cases of lawyers and human rights organisations, which were prosecuted for actions taken towards defending human rights in the past years. In order to defend the Colombian human rights lawyers in this report 10 demands and recommendations have been set, among others calling the Colombian state to:
- comply with the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers
- urgently address the many attacks on human rights lawyers and guarantee their free and independent exercise of their professions, in accordance with Principles 16 and 18 of the U.N. Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers
- conduct impartial, independent, and effective investigations into, and, where appropriate, seek prosecutions of the perpetrators of, crimes against human rights lawyers, to bring an end to impunity.
This year, AIJA has joined the coalition in recognising the Day of the Endangered Lawyer along with other 27 organisations.
To learn more about the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, please visit the website here.
To find out more about the situation in Colombia, please read the full report here.
A growing concern for the safety of lawyers in Afghanistan after the nation’s takeover by the Taliban
18 October 2021
1. After the withdrawal of international military forces, the Taliban extensively expanded its territorial control in a military campaign and seized control of Kabul on 15 August 2021, thus disintegrating the Government in place. As the Taliban returns to power, the rule of law and the welfare of Afghanistan justice system workers are once again at great risk.
2. Under Taliban rule, judges and lawyers, particularly women legal practitioners, are threatened by persecution for being part of the judicial system and for having carried out their professional duties under the previous regime.
Endangered lawyers, judges, and prosecutors, especially women legal practitioners
3. Since the fall 2001, Afghanistan promoted and practised freedoms and rights protected by the rule of law, and lifestyles away from the one imposed by the Taliban. The US, alongside foreign allies, assisted the post-Taliban government in developing a better judicial and prosecution system by training legal practitioners and enhancing the legal educational system. Parallelly, private contractors and non-profit organisations came into the country and were provided with private law firms’ services on local compliance issues.
4. However, local law firms lost their clients as the Afghan government was collapsing to the Taliban. International contractors, non-profit and non-governmental organisations all left the country during the evacuation window, which was closed on 31 August 2021. Local clients are not in need of legal counsel anymore since all judicial institutions are currently shut down. Law firms, with no clients and no income, had no other choice but to downsize before ultimately closing their doors, and lawyers started to leave the country – legally or illegally.
5. Not all legal practitioners were able to leave the country. Those left stranded behind have been living in hiding, fearing for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
6. Such is the case for Latifa Sharifi, a prominent lawyer dedicated to defending women’s rights since 2009, who got stopped at the Kabul airport on 15 August, when trying to leave the country with her family. Ms Sharifi, who assists women victims of domestic violence and through divorce proceedings, received numerous death threats, forcing her to live and work underground.
7. A similar testimony was given over the phone by Sakina Khan (an alias), a practising lawyer based in Kabul who stayed behind while her children left the country. Without a visa, she is just “waiting for the Taliban to come any day now and kill [her]”. And even if the visa comes through, nothing prevents her from getting shot at if she steps outside her house.
8. Prosecutors and judges who, under the previous regime, ruled against and convicted the Taliban are specifically targeted. Farishta, a prosecutor in Afghanistan’s Attorney-General’s office who convicted those who committed rape, murder and domestic violence, is now in danger as the Taliban freed hardened criminals and Islamist militants. For instance, she successfully convicted Mohamad Gol for planning suicide bomb attacks. He was freed. Soon after, he called Farishta telling her that he was seeking revenge. A Prosecutor still living in hiding with his family in Afghanistan gave an identical story.
9. The Law Society of England and Wales president reported that on 18 August 2021, approximately 270 women judges and 170 women lawyers were still in Afghanistan facing great risk.
International organisations and Bar associations’ monitoring and support
10. Among others, the Law Society of England and Wales, the International Bar Association, the American National Bar Association of Women Judges, the French Bar association (Conseil National des Barreaux de France), along with the Italian National Lawyer’s Council (Consiglio Nazionale de Forense) and the General Council of Spanish Lawyers (Consejo General de la Abogacia Espanola) are showing their support and are all mobilised to help their Afghan counterparts.
11. The Law Society of England and Wales, the Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada urged the “immediate establishment of humanitarian corridors for safe evacuation” before the Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council.
12. In a joint statement, the Law Society, Bar Council and Bar Human Rights Committee called on the UK government to offer asylum to female judges and ensure that Afghan lawyers, judges are included in the resettlement scheme or Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP). The Government responded positively.
13. The International Academy of Trial Lawyers will sponsor the evacuation of four Afghan lawyers and their families, who face danger from the Taliban due to their work, to the United States pursuant to a program that could temporary entry onto US soil and the opportunity to apply for asylum.
14. On a positive note, 26 female judges and lawyers and their families arrived in Athens from Afghanistan on 30 September 2021. And, Latifa Sharifi was designated recipient of the 2021 UIA Rule of Law Award by the UIA Governing Board.
Read the full news here.
Towards Justiciability of the Right to Education
18 October 2021
From a little girl banned from going to school in rural Afghanistan to university students demonstrating in Switzerland against the extension of the Covid pass requirement to universities, the issue of the right to education has come to the forefront of public debate in the last few months. Among the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to education (Article 26) is not ordinarily the one that generates the most discussion. However, recent events have brought this issue back into the spotlight and have demonstrated once again the vital importance of this right.
As a reminder, the right to education entails (in a nutshell):
- free, compulsory and Universal Primary education;
- generally available, accessible to all and progressively free Secondary education, including technical and vocational
- higher education, accessible to all on the basis of individual capacity and progressively free;
- freedom of choice.
The right to education is often seen as enabling access to all other human rights in addition to being one of the most powerful instruments for lifting people out of poverty. Education is also closely linked to gender equality.
While significant progress has been made in this area in the last few decades, recent crises, whether security or health-related, have highlighted the fragility of these achievements. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic, causing the greatest disruption to education systems in history, has had a profound impact on the right to education worldwide. As it is often the case, girls and women have been particularly affected. School closures have made them more vulnerable to child marriage, early pregnancy and gender-based violence, making them less likely to pursue their education.
Much of the work in this field needs to be done on a political level, through funding and raising awareness of the importance of receiving a comprehensive education. In an area of interest to the legal practitioner, however, justiciability of the right to education may also contribute to guarantee access to education. Indeed, where rights are justiciable, courts can ensure that the state is held accountable for its actions, in accordance with international, regional and national human rights obligations. The full realization of the right to education requires it to be effectively implemented at the national level through constitutional provisions, legislation and policies.
At the international level, however, the justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights, unlike civil and political rights, is still underdeveloped. The recent entry into force of complaints procedures for the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is nevertheless a step in the right direction. Alongside national judicial systems, regional Human Rights systems also provide an important source of the right to education case law and ensure that states are held accountable.
In this judicial context, legal professionals, and among them lawyers, have an important role to play and can help to progress towards non-discriminatory access to education, by contributing to clearly define what the right to education encompasses and concretising the obligations of states in this regard.
Read the details here.
AIJA e-voting at 2021 Annual Congress
22 July 2021
For the fourth year, AIJA will be using e-voting at the 2021 Annual Congress! This year, we are electing a new Vice-President of AIJA, a new Treasurer and voting for the partial renewal of the Executive Committee. We will also be using e-voting for other resolutions submitted to the General Assembly on Saturday, 28 August.
E-voting is easy. Join us and enjoy the multiple benefits of e-voting next month in Zurich or online! Here is why:
1. Direct participation
E-voting offers a more time-efficient and transparent way for members to be directly involved in the future of the association. This way association decisions are made with the consideration of the entire organisation.
E-voting is an electronic system that allows members to log into a secure voting platform and cast their votes electronically within their web or mobile browsers from any location and any device.
Voter privacy, election integrity, correctness and security are guaranteed through encryption protocols. To ensure that the election process is secure, please follow these instructions:
Step 1. Please log in on MyAIJA during the election windows and click on the link in the ‘AIJA ELECTIONS’ box you find on top of the home page. The link to the e-voting platform will only be available during the election windows.
Step 2. Once you have clicked on the link, please follow the instructions and fill in the ballot. There will be no further identification required.
Step 3. Proxy holders will fill out as many ballots as the total number of proxies they received in addition to their own vote.
E-voting instantly collects and processes the data in real time. The voting platform can prevent accidental over-voting, as each voter is required to identify with their unique Membership ID Number through MyAIJA.
The Philippines: Attacks against lawyers further escalating
23 June 2021
Together with 29 lawyers’ organisations, bar associations and human rights organisations, AIJA signed a joint statement on the escalating attacks against lawyers in the Philippines.
The undersigned organisations express our deep concern over the attacks and the oppressive working environment lawyers still face in the Philippines.
We call again on the Duterte Government to adequately protect the safety and independence of lawyers and end the culture of impunity in which these attacks occur.
In view of the above, the undersigned organisations and individuals urge the Government of the Philippines to:
1. Investigate promptly, effectively, thoroughly and independently all extrajudicial killings and attacks against lawyers, and other jurists, with the aim of identifying those responsible and bringing them to justice in proceedings that respect international fair trial standards;
2. Take all reasonable measures to guarantee the safety and physical integrity of lawyers, including the provision of adequate protection measures, in consultation with the persons concerned;
3. Create and fully support an independent, credible and impartial body, i.e. not under the control or the influence of the government, composed of members selected exclusively from nominees from lawyers organizations, civil society, the Church and the like in a transparent way, who are known for their human rights record, independency and integrity; this civilian investigative body must be entrusted with the necessary investigative and prosecutorial powers to investigate promptly, impartially and effectively - under international supervisory mandate - all reports and complaints against state security agents with respect to extrajudicial killings, threats and other forms of harassment; the recommendations of this investigative body should be immediately followed by the government.
4. Consistently condemn all forms of threats and attacks against lawyers publicly, at all political levels and in strong terms; and,
5. Fully comply with and create awareness about the core values underlying the legal profession, amongst others by bringing the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers to the attention of relevant stakeholders, especially members of the executive, police, and the military.
Read more about the final statement here.
14 June: International Fair Trial Day and the Ebru Timtik Award
14 June 2021
The right to a fair trial has long been recognised by the international community as a fundamental human right, without a fair trial every individual risks becoming the victim of a miscarriage of justice.
Ebru Timtik was one of 18 lawyers in Turkey who were members of the Progressive Lawyers Association, some of which were working at the People’s Law Office, made subject to a prosecution in the Istanbul 37th Assize Court under Articles 314 and 220 of the Turkish Penal Code for terrorist offences. She and her colleagues were convicted on 20 March 2019 after a trial during which basic procedural safeguards and internationally recognised fair trial principles were ignored. Her conviction was based on the testimony of anonymous witnesses, many of which gave inconsistent testimony in relation to alleged facts and time periods. Lawyers acting in her defence were frequently prevented from participating in the proceedings and in some circumstances were excluded.
The defects in the trial process led Ebru Timtik together with one of her colleagues, Aytaç Ünsal, to commence a “death fast” following a hunger strike which began on 5 April 2020, the Turkish “Day of the Lawyer”. Sadly, on 27 August 2020 Ebru Timtik died whilst continuing to protest both her innocence of the charges on which she had been convicted, and the lack of respect for fundamental fair trial principles in the criminal justice system which had prejudiced both her and her colleagues, and many thousands of other individuals in Turkey.
International Fair Trial day - 14 June
In recognition of Ebru Timtik's sacrifice, a number of international bar and lawyers organisations (including AIJA), have come together to arrange an annual “International Fair Trial Day” which will be observed every year on 14 June. Steps are also being undertaken to introduce a new annual Ebru Timtik Award to recognise an individual or an organisation who has, or which has made an exceptional contribution towards securing fair trial rights in the country on which the International Fair Trial Day is focusing for the year in question. Each year a conference will be held, either online or at a physical location in a country chosen because of the level of concern with regard to the lack of respect for fair trial rights in that jurisdiction at that time. There will also be events in the countries across the word on each International Fair Trial Day to raise awareness of the situation in the focus country.
The International Organisation of Young Lawyers (AIJA) fully supports this initiative and wishes to raise awareness on this important issue and to continue to keep Ebru Timtik's memory alive.
To find out more about the International Fair Trial Day, read the statement here.
The Inaugural International Fair Trial Day event will take place later today (15.00-17.20 CEST) online. Watch it live on YouTube.
Great partial victory from AIJA member in significant human rights case involving the right to vote
18 February 2021
Rodrigo Da Silva, an AIJA member native from Uruguay and an American citizen, shares his story on his partial victory related to violations concerning the right to vote by Uruguayan citizens living abroad.
In 2011, I filed a petition against my native country of Uruguay with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) where I am acting in dual capacity as petitioner and counsel. The petition deals with violations concerning the right to vote by Uruguayan citizens living abroad which are estimated to be about 15-20% of the total Uruguay citizenry (there are 3.4 million citizens residing in Uruguay and about 800,000 residing abroad). Uruguayans living abroad can only participate in all national elections if they travel to Uruguay on the date of the election. In other words, there is no mechanism to cast absentee ballots from abroad and it is now the last country in South America that is disenfranchising its citizens in this regard. The lack of implementation of a system for casting ballots from abroad is not only a violation of the Uruguayan Constitution which provides that “every citizen is a member of the sovereignty of the Nation, and as such is both an elector and eligible”, but also violates the American Convention of Human Rights. More importantly, there is no legal proceeding in Uruguay that a citizen like me can bring to compel government officials to implement a system to exercise a right that is being violated by omission or for lack of procedures which is also a separate violation of the judicial protection section of the American Convention.
Proceedings at the IACHR have 2 stages, a jurisdictional one call admissibility where the IACHR decides if the petition meets the jurisdictional basis of exhausting local remedies, if it has been brought within the applicable time, and if it does involve the violation of substantive provisions of the American Convention. Then, if cases are “admissible”, a formal case is opened and the case proceeds to the merits stage. On 25 April 2020, the IACHR issued the attached 3-2 decision in Spanish which found my petition to be admissible and hinted that I should prevail on the merits. The IACHR found that I had exhausted local remedies, that the petition was filed timely as this is an ongoing violation, and that the petition asserts potential violations of Articles 23, 24 and 25 of the American Convention as set forth in Articles 1.1 and 2 of the same.
If I were to prevail on the merits, the Uruguayan government would be directed by the IACHR to implement a system for Uruguayans living abroad to cast votes in national elections, failing which, the IACHR may file an action with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights wherein the IACHR would be the actual plaintiff/petitioner and I would be entitled to participate as a victim. In December 2020, I filed my supplemental memorandum dealing with the merits phase of the case and I am hoping to get a hearing in Washington, DC where the IACHR is headquartered or to present through videoconference oral arguments to further bolster the legal arguments made in the written submissions. Unlike many other countries, the vote of the citizens living abroad can change the outcome of elections in Uruguay.
The Oriental Republic of Uruguay is divided in 19 states (they are called “Departments”), Uruguayans living abroad are commonly in local parlance as “Departamento 20” (“D20” or in English “Department 20”). As you can see from the chart, D20 is the second state by population in a symbolic country that would count all of its citizens living abroad. This shows in a very graphic way the significance in the case, especially considering our current and sitting President won the last election by only 37,000 votes, see here.
Read the IACHR document issued on 25 April 2020, available in Spanish
Read Rodrigo’ supplemental memorandum, available in Spanish
Chart source: INE – Censo 2011 y Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
The Day of the Endangered Lawyer: A struggle to protect Azerbaijani lawyers
21 January 2021
AIJA has joined again this year the international coalition of 32 law organisations and bar associations in recognising the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, which is commemorated on 24 January every year.
On 24 January 1977, four trade union lawyers and an employee were killed in their Madrid office simply for doing their job. Since 2010, this date is remembered as The Day of the Endangered Lawyer. On this special day, international lawyers raise awareness about the number of legal professionals who are being harassed, silenced, pressured, threatened, persecuted, and in some countries tortured and murdered for their work; and they initiate, or further develop a national discussion about ways to protect lawyers.
In the past few years, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer discussed about ongoing threats in countries such as Egypt, Turkey, China, Colombia, and Pakistan. This year, the 11th Day of The Endangered Lawyer focuses on the challenges of Azerbaijani’s lawyers.
Although Azerbaijan has ratified the most important international human rights treaties, authorities continue to violate them. These human rights violations have been noted by international institutions and non-governmental organisations. Furthermore, in 2018, Azerbaijan introduced a law that prevents lawyers who are not members of the Azerbaijan Bar Association (ABA) and other law practitioners from exercising their profession.
The struggle to protect Azerbaijani lawyers - Petition
AIJA, along with other international partners, has signed a petition calling on the Azerbaijani government to fully implement the ratified international human rights treaties, to ensure that lawyers that have suffered damages are compensated, secure that the independence and role of lawyers are respected by all government institutions, among other vital measures.
To learn more about the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, visit the website here.
To find out more about the status of lawyers in Azerbaijan, read the petition here.
AIJA Environmental & Energy Law Commission report on Circular Economy Day
15 December 2020
For the Circular Economy Day, 18 November 2020, the AIJA Environmental & Energy Law Commission asked members for a contribution regarding the current state of the ‘circular economy’ in Belgium, Brazil, the EU, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Slovenia and Sweden.
All answers are purely informative and cannot be seen as a legal advice whatsoever.
Feel free to contact authors of each given section of this report for further advice.
Joint statement on Iranian lawyer persecution
03 December 2020
AIJA, together with 24 other Bar Associations and legal organisations, stands in solidarity with renowned Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. She is being persecuted by their Government for practising her professional duties.
Learn more about Ms Sotoudeh' situation in our joint statement attached.
To further understand her persecution, the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute and the Law Society of England and Wales invite you to the Nasrin Sotoudeh film seminar, taking place on Friday, 4 December at 16:30 - 18:00 GMT.
Jeff Kaufman - "NASRIN" Director
Marcia Ross - "NASRIN" Producer
Hossein Ahmadiniaz - Iranian Lawyer
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC - Director, IBA Human Rights Institute
Dr. Marina Brilman - International Human Rights Adviser, The Law Society of England and Wales
AIJA urges UN Member States to recognise, uphold and protect the rule of law
14 July 2020
A joint call for action - signed by 50 bar associations, law societies, and national and international lawyers' associations, including AIJA, the International Association of Young Lawyers - has been issued on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the adoption of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
The call for action reaffirms the relevance and the universality of the Basic Principles and notes with "great concern the increasing frequency, globally, of attacks and interferences both on the independence of the legal profession, and against lawyers individually, including threats, intimidation, retaliation, harassment and interference in the discharge of lawyers’ professional functions. Lawyers are exposed to arbitrary sanctions, including arrest, prosecution or deprivation of licence to practice law, and/or to situations in which governments fail to safeguard lawyers adequately where their security is threatened as a result of engaging intheir profession".
World Refugee Day 2020
20 June 2020
Written by AIJA's Human Rights Committee
Today, 20 June 2020, is World Refugee Day. On this day, we honor the millions of refugees and forcibly displaced people across the globe and commemorate, with the greatest respect, the many lessons of life and humanity that draw from their hope, strength and courage. Today, we also take a pause and acknowledge – perhaps more than ever – that we all share responsibility in the making of a world that is truly just, inclusive and equal to all human beings.
With 'Every Action Counts' as its global theme, a more inclusive and equal world is in fact what UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) lays emphasis on in commemoration of World Refugee Day 2020:
The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent anti-racism protests have shown us how desperately we need to fight for a more inclusive and equal world: a world where no one is left behind. It has never been clearer that all of us have a role to play in order to bring about change. Everyone can make a difference. This is at the heart of UNHCR’s World Refugee Day campaign. This year, we aim to remind the world that everyone, including refugees, can contribute to society and every action counts in the effort to create a more just, inclusive, and equal world.
The urgency of doing something has become apparent now, more than ever before, with more than one per cent of humanity (i.e. one in every 97 people) being affected by forced displacement and with fewer and fewer of them being able to return home. As UNHCR reflects in its annual Global Trends Report that was published two days ahead of World Refugee Day 2020, 79.5 million people were displaced by the end of 2019. Whilst this is the highest total that UNHCR has seen to date, an added concern is the long term exclusion of displaced individuals from society: ‘We are witnessing a changed reality in that forced displacement nowadays is not only vastly more widespread but is simply no longer a short-term and temporary phenomenon,” according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
People cannot be expected to live in a state of upheaval for years on end, without a chance of going home, nor a hope of building a future where they are. We need a fundamentally new and more accepting attitude towards all who flee, coupled with a much more determined drive to unlock conflicts that go on for years and that are at the root of such immense suffering.
Undeniably, World Refugee Day 2020 has gained extra dimensions due to the unprecedented number of forced displacements and the health, social and economic challenges that our global community has been experiencing in recent months. On World Refugee Day 2020, we recognise that a more just, inclusive and equal world by definition depends on solidarity, well-informed individuals and on concern for the well-being of others. It depends on our actions and our actions count. As an international organisation for young lawyers and as members of the global community, we will continue to use our platform to raise awareness about the plight of refugees around the world and to promote the protection of their human rights. And in doing so, we will continue to rely on the dedication, inspiration and actions of our members to creating a world in which no one is left behind.
ترفند بازی انفجار
بازی انفجار رایگان
بازی انفجار شرطی
Virtual coffee with the AIJA President
02 June 2020
In June, as part of our association’s commitment to Diversity this year, join AIJA President Paola Fudakowska for a series of virtual coffees with inspirational women who will share interesting stories from their careers in frontline journalism, diplomacy, medicine and law.
AIJA members, colleagues, friends and families are invited to join and engage in a interactive discussion about women in leadership across a variety of professions.
On 5 June, Paola has invited British diplomat Caroline Hurndall. See more here.
To accommodate the different time zones of our global membership, the coffees will take place at 15:00 CET each Friday on 12, 19 and 26 June on Zoom, for which please follow this link. More details about the guests will be published soon.
Updates can be found on our 'Upcoming events' page.
AIJA Commissions meet online
02 June 2020
AIJA members can now meet online with their Commissions.
Be prepared to discuss current events in your area of practice, ask questions, share experiences from your jurisdiction or business. If you have any AIJA projects in mind, this is also a good moment to share and plan for the coming months.
The meetings will take place during the last week of the month in April, May and June. The meeting details will be shared by your Commission President and Vice-Presidents.
30 April, 28 May (16:00 CET)
Corporate and M&A
30 April, 28 May, 25 June (14:30 CET)
Environment and Energy Law
27 April (16:00 CET), 26 May (17:30 CET), 2 July (16:00 CET)
30 April (17:30 CET), 29 May (13:00 CET), 3 July (13:00 CET)
27 April (14:30 CET), 25 May (16:00 CET), 2 July (17:30 CET)
28 April, 26 May, 30 June (16:00 CET)
International Business Law
28 April, 26 May, 30 June (14:30 CET)
29 April, 27 May, 1 July (16:00 CET)
28 April (17:30 CET), 2 June (17:00 CET), 7 July (18:00 CET)
28 May, 29 June (17:30 CET)
29 April, 27 May, 2 July (14:30 CET)
29 April, 27 May, 1 July (13:00 CET)
27 April (17:30 CET)
|Commercial Fraud||29 May (16:00 CET), 29 June (11:30 CET)|
|International Private Clients and Family Law||3 June (14:30 CET)|
AIJA virtual home hospitality
11 May 2020
Social distancing-imposed practices worldwide have made meeting with our AIJA friends challenging, but not impossible. AIJA continues to travel the world – just virtually this time.
We've decided to put a virtual spin to our traditional and much-loved evenings of home hospitality. Once a month, AIJA member volunteers are virtually opening their homes to guests for an hour-long get-together. The next virtual home hospitality will start at 18:00 CET on Thursday, 28 May.
How to join
Please send us an email by 20 May COB where you tell us whether you want to be a host or a guest on 28 May.
The AIJA team will contact by email all hosts to introduce them to their guests and share with them some guidelines on how they can organise their virtual home hospitality. Hosts are then invited to communicate directly with their guests and share the details to connect.
To ensure everyone gets to speak and share, each host is assigned up to 8 guests.
Here’s a screenshot of April’s home hospitality, with some 50 guests joining our hosts for the evening:
Available to AIJA members only.
This is our new normal
04 May 2020
An update from Paola Fudakowska, AIJA President 2019/20
At AIJA we thrive on embracing qualities and experiences that are different from our own. Our variety of expertise, skills and knowledge has enabled us to build a diverse association with over 4,000 members from more than 90 countries. This cultural diversity has empowered us to grow and foster strong alliances, relationships and connections both inside and outside our association. Through supporting diversity, we have created a community which produces innovative ideas and solutions from the synergy of our members.
Until now this year has been different, unexpected. As we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for us to continue to meet as a community and have the events we are used to having and love – just virtually.
What we’ve been up to
We’ve set up an internal e-learning taskforce to propose new ideas, formats and content for our members to stay connected online during the upcoming months. The e-learning taskforce works closely with AIJA’s Academic Programme Committee which is responsible for maintaining our calendar of virtual events. The e-learning Taskforce is composed of Viktoria Keri (AIJA Association Manager), Anouk Rosielle (Co-chair, Academic Programme Committee), Manuela Cavallo (Portolano Cavallo), Debra Forman (Pinstripe Coaching) and Corina Pirva (AIJA Communications Manager), with support from François Barré (AIJA First Vice-President). Our approach is built on three main themes:
(1) Learn: We want to provide a learning environment for our members, using webinars to discuss current events impacting the legal profession and the practice of law.
(2) Network: We want our members to continue to meet as a community during these uncertain times when in-person events and meetings may not be possible.
With the weekly Friday virtual ‘Coffee with the AIJA President’ series, we’ve started informal conversations to connect with our members and their experiences across the globe. Guests have interacted with our members on important topics, such as well-being in lockdown and tackling disability in the legal profession. The next dates are currently scheduled on 8 May, 15 May, 22 May and 29 May.
We’ve also put a virtual spin on our traditional and much-loved evenings of home hospitality. Once a month, AIJA hosts are opening their virtual homes to their guests. If you’d like to be a host or guest for the next virtual home hospitality on 28 May, send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s a screenshot of April’s home hospitality, with some 50 guests joining our hosts for the evening.
(3)Share: Our community can continue to grow by sharing best practices and experiences.
We’ve launched the AIJA #HomeTalks, a limited series of weekly informal conversations about the business and human impact of COVID-19, with lawyers and business leaders from around the world sharing their experiences.
Finally, we’ve offered our members the opportunity to meet with their Commissions to discuss current events in their areas of practice, share and plan future AIJA projects and keep in touch. Commission meetings take place during the last week of the month in April, May and June. The agenda is available here.
For AIJA, this year dedicated to Diversity is about starting to enrich conversations and challenge individuals to understand the value of different perspectives within society and the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic has moved these conversations online for now.
I want to thank our Brussels team for their efforts to bring our beloved Association online during this extraordinary time. We will continue to closely monitor feedback and adapt our online offering to the needs of our members.
To contact the AIJA eLearning Taskforce about new ideas for e-learning projects, please send an email to email@example.com.
If you are a Commission looking to organise a webinar, please contact the AIJA Academic Programme Committee(Anouk Rosielle, Babak Tabeshian, Kristine Zvejniece).
‘Your legal first aid kit: COVID-19’ webinar takeaways
29 April 2020
On 7 April, AIJA hosted its first webinar in response to the challenges ushered in by COVID-19. Both external and in-house counsel perspectives have been shared during this 30-minute event as well as new ideas and tools for your legal first aid kit.
Undoubtedly, the crisis brought challenges but also a series of opportunities. This webinar was the ideal moment for speakers from different jurisdictions to share their first weeks’ experience dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and map out some of the opportunities that they had already identified. These insightful discussions have sparked many questions that directly affect clients’ business and legal professionals.
Key Takeaways from the webinar’s speakers:
Marco Gardino, R&P Legal - Studio Associato, Italy:
“Some national legislations had to adapt in order to remove certain corporate formalities, allowing shareholders and board of directors’ meetings via digital means”, and “companies will have to be very careful about managing the approval process of annual financial statements and decisions on whether or not to distribute profits accrued before the outbreak of the virus”.
Anda Mize, European Lingerie Group, Latvia:
“We have been lucky that our company is already a very digital one, mostly due to our footprint, as the management team is spread throughout various European countries. In terms of working remotely, the current restrictions do not present a significant change-up for us. With companies, law firms, and authorities alike becoming more digital, more efficient and focused, I believe that this will be one of the positive takeaways from this situation.
Arguably, the most difficult aspect of this crisis is that we do not know how long it is going to last, and hence, how to appropriately gear up for the future. Surely, law firms and companies alike can relate to this.
What I personally appreciate from our external counsel is that they keep calm and carry on, adjust, react, and just stay focused on the issues at hand. It is also interesting and useful to hear their insights and suggestions on how to go about this undoubtedly unique crisis, as external counsel work with clients in different industries and jurisdictions and have hence seen more issues, solutions, and do’s and don’ts than I have as an in-house lawyer in my specific company/industry.”
Alessandro Paci, R&P Legal - Studio Associato, Italy:
“Many clients are not aware that force majeure clauses may include notice requirements and time limits. Some clauses also require to provide force majeure certificates from qualified authorities; however, not all countries’ authorities issue certificates. In any case, it may be questionable if a certificate would be recognised in the country of performance. In the weeks ahead, it is imperative that new contracts contain optimised force majeure clauses and also specific Covid-19 provisions.”
Eric Johnson, Advokatfirman Cederquist, Sweden:
“Albeit unlikely to be force majeure, a drastic decline in revenue may be considered hardship, i.e. situations where the commercial balance has been severely impacted due to external unforeseen circumstances, and one of the contracting parties is suffering major losses whilst the other stands more or less unaffected. Now, hardship clauses – as opposed to force majeure clauses – do not release the suffering party from its performance obligations, but they would give the party a right to have the contract renegotiated (at least in part). If there is no hardship clause in the contract, it is probably very difficult in most jurisdictions to unilaterally impose amended terms. Looking ahead, consider including renegotiation clauses in your contracts, and/or terms that will allow you to push back payment dates for a certain period of time, in case of extraordinary external circumstances.”
Max Mailliet, Etude Max Mailliet, Luxembourg:
"These are interesting but also challenging times for lawyers. In many countries, the rules change daily, today’s truth is tomorrow’s lie. We have to move quickly, anticipate changes and, most of all, keep our synthetic thinking at the same time. We are also stuck somewhere between our client’s best interests and our ethical rules, some of which ask us to uphold the general best interest.”
Thank you to the speakers for their contribution. Check out for other AIJA online events here
COVID-19 measures must factor in fundamental human rights and the rule of law
24 April 2020
AIJA is profoundly concerned about the risk of violations of the principles of rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights arising from the adoption of certain emergency measures taken in order to address pandemic risks.
Emergency measures should be limited to what is strictly necessary, proportionate and temporary in nature, subject to regular scrutiny, and respect the aforementioned principles and international law obligations. They should not restrict the freedom of expression or the freedom of the press.
If the principles of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights have been violated once, it may be extremely difficult to revert once the emergency situation is over.
AIJA commends the initiatives taken by several European countries and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) to bring to the attention of policymakers and lawmakers at EU and national level some of the obvious threats to the rule of law:
- European Lawyers’ and Bars’ concerns over COVID 19 measure
- Statement from several European countries
AIJA urges all members and young lawyers around the world to actively safeguard and take personal actions as young professionals to defend the principles of the rule of law, human rights and democratic values during these challenging times.
AIJA recommends our members and young lawyers to take the following concrete measures:
- use existing mechanisms, especially judicial ones, to protect the above values,
- initiate discussions with your local bar associations about the importance of defence of human rights and rule of law in difficult times,
- contribute to defending these values in civil life.
AIJA is the only global association devoted to lawyers and in-house counsel aged 45 and under. Since 1962 AIJA provides outstanding international opportunities for young lawyers to network, learn and develop.
AIJA's Human Rights Committee supports the right of every lawyer to practice their profession freely. The committee supports the entitlement of every individual to legal representation and a fair trial, and the protection of the rule of law.
Talking tax and tech in Malta amidst global disruption
08 April 2020
Silvio Cilia (Corrieri Cilia - Malta) shares some highlights from the recent AIJA Annual Tax Conference, on behalf of the Organising Committee.
It’s been four weeks since we saw many of our AIJA friends and colleagues at the 2020 AIJA Annual Tax Conference organised by our Tax Law Commission at the Malta Hilton in St Julians, Malta. The world was already beginning to change, and some of our participants and speakers joined us remotely. Despite the setback from the COVID-19 crisis, the AIJA spirit remained vibrantly alive throughout the event, with more than 57 lawyers coming from 20 countries coming to Malta.
The conference was organised by a committee composed of several AIJA members: Guadalupe Diaz Sunico (Lener - Spain), Marco Masi (Facchini Rossi Michelutti - Italy), Alessandro Foti (De Berti Jacchia - Italy), and Silvio Cilia (Corrieri Cilia - Malta).
Keeping up with the tech - Is technology a friend or foe for tax payers and tax practitioners?
This was the central question set out at the start of the conference. The event opened on Friday morning with an enthusiastic duo made up of AIJA President Paola Fudakowska and AIJA Tax Law Commission President Jessica Kemp. Their welcome address was followed by interventions from two distinguished local guest speakers, Dr Gege Gatt and Dr Ian Gauci. Dr Gatt, a lawyer by training and an IT/AI entrepreneur by profession, provided the attendees with illuminating insights on concepts such as artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning and data processing technology; setting the tone for the topics discussed in the later sessions. Dr Gauci, a leading tech lawyer in Malta, shared an erudite overview of the legislative and regulatory developments and the features thereof making Malta innovative and relevant in the field of technology, AI and blockchain.
The first panel of the day, made up of Rachel Dress (Racine - France), Michelle Wiesner -Lameth (Rosinus Partner - Germany) and moderated by Barry Mcgettrick (Matheson - Ireland), discussed the increasing use of artificial intelligence and technology by tax authorities throughout the tax inspection process. In addition, the panellists discussed their experience with electronic tax returns and supporting documentation, as well as the implications in case of a tax inspection process and the increasing use of electronic tax compliance management systems.
This was followed by a discussion on the rise of blockchain, cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings and the related VAT and tax aspects for companies and individuals. The discussion also shed light on the challenges faced by tax advisers in relation to such new technologies and innovative business models. Moderated by Gertjan Verachtert (Sansen International - Belgium), the panel welcomed Catarina Belim (Belim Services – Portugal) and Michael Gauci (Corrieri Cilia - Malta) as speakers, together with Marco Masi (Facchini Rossi Michelutti - Italy) and Eva Stadler (Wolf Theiss - Austria) who both joined via Skype.
A post-BEPS world and the challenges of tech disruption
In the afternoon, David Areias (Areias Advogados - Portugal) led a panel that discussed the role of the tax adviser in the context of a post-BEPS world and the challenges of technological disruption in the legal sector where the new mantra appears to have become tax compliance, not tax planning. The panel was joined by several speakers, Clemens Willvonseder (Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte - Austria), Kirsten Debono Huskinson, Camilleri Preziosi - Malta), along with Jose Rubens Scharlack (Scharlack Advogados – Brazil) on Skype.
The ongoing conflict between the right to privacy and the quest for transparency in the light of new digital tools (geolocalisation, credit cards and financial info, AI and cognitive technology etc.) was the theme of the last panel on Friday. Moderated by James Bromley (Farrer & Co - United Kingdom), the panel presented views from Marc Buchmann (Fischer Ramp - Switzerland) and Alexandra Ologu (Monolit Legal & Tax - Romania) on where the moral and legal boundary might lie between these two conflicting priorities.
Taxing the digital economy
The second day saw a very well-attended first panel which was dedicated to the latest developments in the taxation of the digital economy dominated by US MNEs and the implementation of unilateral measures by some EU countries, as well as the new concept of digital PE. This panel was led remotely by Alessondro Foti (De Berti Jacchia - Italy) with Nicolas Duboille (Sumerson - France), Anna Sidorova (Bonnard Lawson - Switzerland) and Inga Zillmer (Zillmer - Germany) being physically present.
The academic programme closed with an animated roundtable discussion on the tax implications and challenges of the sharing economy moderated by Jose Eduardo Aguilar Shea (Squire Patton Boggs - Spain) with fellow panellists Coralie Dedieu (Algance - France), Peter van Velthoven (Van Doorne - Netherlands) and Arne Riis (BDO - Denmark) actively engaging all attendees.
The social programme in brief
Besides the academic content, the seminar featured a delectable social programme starting on Thursday evening with welcome drinks at the classy Quarterdeck bar at the conference hotel. This was followed by an exquisite dinner at Sale e Pepe restaurant in St Julians. On Friday evening participants were treated to a very informative historic walking tour of Valletta followed by dinner at the 16th century grand hall of the former military hospital of the Knights of St John. On Saturday afternoon, a select group gathered for a scenic guided tour of the west part of the island and a walking tour of Mdina, Malta’s ancient capital city. The conference ended with a lavish gourmet dinner at the Michelin star De Mondion Restaurant situated in one of Mdina’s historic palazzos.
AIJA #HomeTalks by lawyers
06 April 2020
The world has stopped because of COVID-19: What about your law practice? What about you?
Following on from our webinar ‘Your first legal aid kit’, AIJA will start a series of weekly informal conversations about the business and human impact of COVID-19 with lawyers from around the world.
AIJA’s first ‘#HomeTalks by lawyers’ session kicks off on Zoom on Wednesday, 8 April (10:00 - 10:30 AM CET) with guests from Hong Kong, Spain, Italy, Netherlands and France.
We would like to hear from you, too. Come and share your own experience of the lockdown and how you make the best of the situation in your country, at your law firm, with your clients, or at home. We will do our best to allow time for everyone to speak. Just remember: there’s always another talk the following week as these interactive talks will take place every week on Zoom: link.
Stay updated on our website and social media for more info.
48th European Presidents’ Conference – Vienna
09 March 2020
AIJA took part in the 48th European Presidents’ Conference of Bar Associations and Law Societies on 21 February 2020 in Vienna.
Together with other Presidents and High Representatives of European Bar Associations, Law Societies and international lawyers’ organisations, AIJA President Paola Fudakowska and AIJA First Vice-President François Barré participated in this year’s discussion on ‘Democracy and Rule of Law – Keeping up the Pressure’ which was the main topic of the event.
Following the European Conference, a Resolution signed by 48 Bar Associations and international organisations of lawyers, including AIJA, has been released this month to share our joint commitment to the rule of law, the separation of powers, an independent judiciary and fundamental rights. The resolution also highlights widely shared support to members of the Polish legal professions who have been targeted by repressive disciplinary measures and have recently voiced their concerns during the so-called ‘march of the 1.000 robes’ in mid-January 2020.
In this context, the Resolution invites the wide legal family, all our fellow lawyers, judges and prosecutors to send a strong signal during a ‘march of the European Robes’ between 24 and 26 June 2020 in Brussels, Belgium.
As an international association, AIJA stands together with all judges, prosecutors, lawyers to defend the rule of law and safeguard the independence of the judiciary in Europe and beyond.
Read the full resolution here.
#EachforEqual every day
08 March 2020
An equal world is an enabled world. This year, the International Women’s Day (IWD) is calling for collective action to achieve more gender balance in the world. Celebrated on 8 March, this annual celebration is also an opportunity to reflect on the importance and value of diversity within society and the role we all play in encouraging equal opportunities.
Here at AIJA, diversity is the beating heart of our association and we have dedicated the year of 2020 to this topic. As the International Association of Young Lawyers, it’s diversity that first brought us together and continues to do so.
‘My election as the fifth female President of AIJA in the last decade illustrates how the members of our association for international young lawyers actively support female empowerment and leadership’, says AIJA President Paola Fudakowska.
Our statistics speak for themselves: 43 per cent of our members are women and 51 per cent of the officer roles are held by women. There is currently a gender balance across the Association’s executive board and during the past ten years 73 per cent of the senior leadership roles on our executive board were held by women.
Paola makes the point that, ‘We lead by example to show - in the words of another champion for female empowerment - women don’t need to find a voice, they have a voice. They need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen’.
Following the 2020 narrative of 'an equal world is an enabled world' – and recognising everyone’s role in this – AIJA will celebrate diversity at our 58th annual congress in Rio de Janeiro, from 24-28 August. Under the theme ‘United in Diversity: Empowering our Future’, the congress will advocate for a dynamic and wide-ranging profession; it will offer a discussion platform to provide insights into the complex and multidimensional nature of our society. The congress will also mark the launch of the AIJA Women’s Network, an initiative to leverage the strength and capabilities of AIJA’s members to promote and progress the advancement of women’s careers in the legal sector. Whilst we can’t single handily solve the issues women face in the legal profession, we believe that our collective strength can enable us to together build brighter careers for the woman of today and the future.
With over 4,000 members from more than 90 countries, it’s also the cultural diversity within our association that has empowered us to grow strong alliances across our differences, fostering strong relationships and connections both inside and outside our association in the past 58 years.
Collectively, each one of us is able to contribute towards a more gender equal world. Gender equality matters in business, government and society. Because an equal world is an enabled world, AIJA chooses to be #EachForEqual every day.
This year, our members have accepted the #EachForEqual challenge launched by the UN to promote equal opportunities. Want to share your photo? Put your arms up front and strike the #EachForEqual pose. Send us the photo by email with a short message on the value of diversity and gender equality within society. Over the next weeks we will be publishing our members’ messages on our social media.
AIJA to launch women in law network
06 March 2020
8 March marks the International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is ‘Each for Equal’ which is about challenging stereotypes, broadening perspectives and celebrating women’s achievements. We spoke with Jennifer Maxwell, President of the Banking, Finance and Capital Markets Commission, about the launch of the AIJA Women’s Network and gender diversity in the legal profession.
1. What inspired you to create the AIJA Women’s Network initiative?
Forty-three per cent of AIJA members are women and fifty-one per cent of AIJA’s officers are women. This high level of participation is impressive, especially when we look at gender diversity statistics from the wider legal sector, which are less encouraging.
Moving towards equal representation requires substantial changes within the legal sector and at a societal level. But we can’t wait for that to happen.
And while each of us can work to effect change within our own practice and firm, I believe that our unique and untapped tools are the networks and capabilities of the women members of AIJA. If we work together and share our experiences, we can build our careers together.
So I shared this idea with several AIJA friends (including Paola Fudakowska, AIJA President), and together we formed the AIJA Women’s Network.
2. What is your main goal for the AIJA Women’s network?
The main goal of our network is to leverage the strength and capabilities of AIJA’s members to promote and progress the advancement of women’s careers in the legal sector.
Our first session at the Annual Congress will be a series of moderated discussions on how to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, build client relationships, and move towards partnership.
We’re going to listen to each other to gain insight from our respective real-life successes and brainstorm about how to work together to move forward in our careers. I believe that we can learn as much from real-life women and their professional experiences, obstacles and successes as we can from experts. Plus, we can help one another.
The long-term goals of the network will be determined by everyone at our first session. So I hope that many people attend so that they can have their say! I also want to mention that in the long term, the network will not be restricted to women.
3. What one piece of advice would you give to a woman thinking of starting a career in law?
While having mentors who are more senior to you is important, it’s just as important to develop strong relationships with people who are at the same stage as you are. These relationships will help your personal and business development, as you can work together to overcome the obstacles that inevitably pop up. The concept of ‘peer mentorship’ is the main driver behind our network’s first session.
4. The number of women joining the legal profession is rising. What impact do you think a more representative split at the top of the profession would have?
The number of women entering the legal profession has been high for many years. The real problem is how to keep women in law. For example, in Germany, up to 50% of the first-year associates are women, but at the equity partner level only 16% of partners are women.
It’s been proven in study after study that having women in decision-making roles improves company performance. Diversity equals profitability, and the same principles apply to the legal sector.
5. Which powerful woman do you admire the most and why?
The women I most admire and who have had the most impact on me are those who are in my day-to-day life. I have been lucky to work with some incredible women (both colleagues and clients) who have shown me, by example or through mentorship, new ways to address the societal and professional barriers that we face as women lawyers. That being said, I must also state that Beyonce is amazing. #beyhive
6. What does this year’s International Women’s Day 2020 slogan #eachforequal mean to you?
It’s a reminder that while the world is moving ever closer towards equality, we must all play our part to make those vital changes happen.
Advertise in our 2019/20 yearbook
02 March 2020
4,000 yearbooks are sent to our members and supporters in more than 90 countries worldwide. Showcase the services of your law firm and profile yourself by publishing an ad in the AIJA 2019/20 yearbook.
Check out the different options and choose your preferred level of visibility.
Profile A - Personal profile
Profile B - 1/4 page ad
Profile C - 1/2 page ad
Profile D - Full page ad
€150 (+ VAT if applicable)
€600 (+VAT if applicable)
€950 (+VAT if applicable)
€1,600 (+VAT if applicable)
World Day of Social Justice: Closing the inequalities gap
20 February 2020
'Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.' - United Nations
Today, the 20th of February 2020, we join the United Nations in the commemoration of the World Day of Social Justice: a day for us as a young lawyers’ association, for us as lawyers and, more generally, for us as members of society, to raise awareness on the pursuit of social justice by promoting the human development and human dignity of all. Today, we remind ourselves that the notions of inclusive development and respect for human dignity lie at the heart of human rights. We emphasize once again that we cannot attain social justice, unless we respect human rights.
To mark this year’s World Day of Social Justice, the United Nations has chosen the theme 'Closing the inequalities gap to achieve social justice'. Within this context, today is also a day to celebrate the fact that the last decade has shown a decline (albeit in modest figures) in global inequality for the first time since the 19th century. And yet, as encouraging as this might sound, there is still more to be done: 'While we have made many notable advances in this field, there is still much work to be done, not only to track inequality but also to better understand how the rules of the global economy can help drive inclusive growth' (World Bank). In particular, with the global economy itself being pressured by disruptive developments that are fueled by protectionism, the digital economy and the threat of climate change, it is fair to say that we have reached yet another critical stage in the pursuit of equality. As the United Nations have pointed out, 'this is a critical time for decisive actions for an equitable future, which requires strong and coordinated responses at the global level to address the multidimensional root causes and to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development'.
Today, as we stand at the dawn of a new decade, i.e. the decade preceding the 2030 deadline of the Agenda for Sustainable Development, we follow the United Nations in their call to uphold global social justice. We assert human dignity and human development and call upon our members to continue to do what is in their capacity, particularly as lawyers, to improve social conditions and remove the barriers faced by people because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. Closing the inequalities gap might be a challenge indeed, but it's high on the agenda of our association. Our annual congress in Rio will be an occasion to explore the topic even further as we will discuss diversity and inclusion under the theme ‘United in Diversity: Empowering our Future’.
The article has been written by AIJA’s Human Rights Committee to mark the World Day of Social Justice. To find out more about the World Day of Social Justice, please visit the UN website.
More than 100 young lawyers gathered in the Dolomites to discuss M&A
17 February 2020
This year, the annual AIJA M&A winter seminar took place in Madonna di Campiglio, from 15 to 18 January. Marco Gardino (R&P Legal - Italy) summed up the event by sharing some of the main highlights with us.
The organising committee, Marie Brasseur (ALTIUS - Belgium), Marco Gardino (R&P Legal - Italy), Clara Gordon (WOLF THEISS Rechtsanwälte GmbH & Co KG - Austria) and Matteo Vernizzi (Studio Legale Spinazzi Azzarita Troi Genito - Italy), planned out three days of workshops which explored teamwork in M&A transactions as well as which M&A transaction ‘pitfalls’ arise from other legal fields.
The seminar was opened by AIJA President Paola Fudakowska, with an attendance of more than 100 lawyers from more than 20 jurisdictions. The welcome address was followed by a panel on how the limits set by antitrust law can be integrated in M&A processes in a practicable way. Moderators Clara Gordon (Wolf Theiss - Austria) and Vittoria Deregibus (Pedersoli - Italy) discussed the topic with the two antitrust law experts Gustaf Duhs (Stevens & Bolton - United Kingdom) and Isabel Oest (Commeo LLP - Germany).
Antti Sailakivi (HPP attorneys - Finland) and Alex Montoya (Casahierro Abogados - Peru) then guided the tax panel on how to structure the deal from a tax perspective and what specific tax clauses should be envisaged in the transactional documents with the two tax law experts Alessandro Foti (De Berti Jacchia Franchini Forlani - Italy) and Alberto Brazzalotto (Maisto e Associati - Italy).
HR issues in M&A transactions are always crucial for M&A transactions. Using a very interactive approach, with an interesting live survey system, Dino Serafini (Ughi e Nunziante - Italy) and Jakob Nortoft (Glimstedt - Sweden) moderated a very effective panel with Nicky De Groot (Penrose Law - Netherlands), Stefan Muller (Wenger & Vieli - Switzerland) and Zuzana Chudackova (BNT attorneys - Slovakia).
On the second day, the first panel was dedicated to data protection issues, with an interesting analysis by Siri Martensson (Morris Law - Sweden) and Karolina Miksa (WKB - Poland) on the impact of GDPR in the management of M&A transactions, moderated by Giorgio Ferrero (Portolano Cavallo - Italy) and Dr. Daniel Mösinger (K&L Gates - Germany). The second panel focused on dispute resolution: Lars Raedschelders (Sherpa Law - Belgium) and Thomas Seeber (Kunz Wallentin - Austria) discussed the importance of efficient dispute resolution of M&A disputes with expert litigators, Liv Bahner (Bratschi - Switzerland) and Marie Davy (Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP - France).
Marie Brasseur then moderated a well-attended panel dedicated to exchanging views with in-house counsel. Gloria Bertini (Head of Contracting, Snam SpA - Italy), Nemio Passalacqua (General Counsel Europe, Petronas Lubricants - Italy) and Davide Davico (General Counsel, Ersel Investimenti - Italy) debated how interaction between in-house lawyers and external counsel can be improved.
The need to interact in M&A transactions with lawyers from very diverse backgrounds requires great project management capabilities. For this reason, the programme closed with a project management training session led by DLM Partners. The participants worked on a practical exercise, which was also a great support activity for CBM Italia Onlus.
Besides the academic content, the seminar featured a fantastic social programme, with skiing as well as the first AIJA ski mountaineering excursion. Participants enjoyed a dinner at the well-known Chalet Fiat, surrounded by the unique landscapes of Dolomiti di Brenta.
AIJA finances explained
10 February 2020
AIJA is a longstanding and growing international association which offers professional and personal development opportunities to young lawyers worldwide. Operating in a financially sustainable way is important to ensure we offer the best possible value for money through our events and other membership benefits.
We are a non-profit organisation which means we don’t aim to make any profits. In 2016, AIJA had a surplus, or accumulated funds, generated from membership fees, event registration fees and event sponsorship. The decision was made to invest those funds to fund growth in strategic destinations to extend our global reach, to develop membership services and make long-term sustainable investments. Through this approach we were able to hold events in strategic locations, attract new members, contribute to the local young legal community whilst growing our association’s international presence, present in 90 countries.
Our members expect us to manage our finances sustainably and responsibly. We therefore regularly review our income and expenditure to make sure that we are investing in the most efficient way. We have devised a long-term plan, allocating funds where they are most strategically beneficial. Moving forward, the association will also increase its efforts in developing year-round institutional sponsorship to cover AIJA’s operational costs and support event-related expenses. This will diversify and increase the income streams of the association, but also build organisational resilience.
Below you will find a broad overview of our finances. For a more detailed analysis, members can see AIJA’s annual accounts which are presented every year at the General Assembly during the Annual Congress and can be found in the MyAIJA members platform. Our Bureau is available to discuss the association’s finances with you.
Day of the Endangered Lawyer: A struggle to protect the lawyers from Pakistan
24 January 2020
AIJA has joined an international coalition of 32 law organisations and bar associations in recognising the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, which is commemorated on the 24 January every year.
On 24 January 1977 four trade union lawyers and an employee were murdered in their Madrid office for simply doing their job. In 2010 the Day of the Endangered Lawyer was established to remember those killed in these abhorrent attacks, and raise awareness of lawyers around the world whom are harassed, threatened, tortured and murdered for their work.
In recent years the Day of the Endangered lawyer has focused on the threats lawyers face in Egypt, Turkey and China. This year, the day is highlighting the challenges lawyers in Pakistan face. Pakistani lawyers have been subjected to acts of judicial harassment, murder and mass terrorism for carrying out their professional duties. The most notorious attack took place on 8 August 2016 when terrorists attacked the Government hospital of Quetta, resulting in the deaths of 56 lawyers. The Human Rights Institute of the Bar of Bordeaux has created a video illustrating the horrific attacks on lawyers in Pakistan as part of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, you can watch it here.
A struggle to protect the lawyers from Pakistan - Petition
AIJA with its international partners has signed a petition to the The Pakistani Government, calling on the government to ensure that lawyers are free to carry out their professional duties in safety and without fear of reprisals or attacks as required by the UN Basic Principles on the role of lawyers, amongst other vital measures. The petition is available in several languages: English, French and Spanish.
To learn more about the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, visit the website here.
To find out more about the status of lawyers in Pakistan, read the report here.
Have a wonderful festive season!
13 December 2019
Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa Law-Law-Law-Law, Law-Law-Law-Law!
'Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa Law-Law-Law-Law, Law-Law-Law-Law!
Have a wonderful festive season and celebrate it in full glitz and glamour!
We look forward to another fabulous year of learning, sharing and networking around the world!
AIJA supports the LEGAL ®EVOLUTION Expo & Congress 2019
02 December 2019
The LEGAL ®EVOLUTION is Europe's groundbreaking exhibition and congress for the entire legal department, compliance department and law firm. More than 1,100 participants – mainly in-house counsel, law firms and compliance departments – are expected with 90 exhibitors and partners, 40 lectures and partners as well as 15 workshops and 75 coaching sessions. This year, the congress takes place from 4-5 December in Kap Europa, the Congress House of Messe Frankfurt (Germany).
One of the main topics is the substantive law of the digital economy, including lectures from Prof. Sebastian Omlor, LL.M. (NYU), Prof. Martin Ebers, Dr. Martin Fries and other academics and practitioners. Exhibitors from ten countries will show the leading services, IT-solutions and managed legal services for law and compliance.
Our partners from LEGAL ®EVOLUTION offer AIJA members a 20% discount on all tickets. For more information about how you can access this discount, please contact the AIJA team.
The programme of the congress is available here.
First AIJA healthcare seminar on medicines and medical devices
12 November 2019
From 27 to 29 June 2019, 50 participants from 18 countries attended the first AIJA Healthcare Seminar on 'Medicines and medical devices in the EU Single Market - dreams and reality' in Zurich. The seminar was organised by AIJA's Healthcare and Life Sciences Commission. The topics discussed included parallel trade, the new Clinical Trials Regulation ('CTR'), the impact of the new medical devices regulations ('MDRs') on study agreements and distribution contracts, challenges for the healthcare industry in view of Brexit, and the Falsified Medicines Directive ('FMD'). In addition, two keynote speeches on portfolio transformation and the Swiss regulatory system were part of the programme.
Janine Reudt-Demont, MLaw, LL. M., Attorney at Law, Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd, wrote about the main highlights of the seminar in the Life Science Recht Journal (Issue 4/2019). Below some of the key points from her article.
Portfolio transformation in export markets
The seminar kicked off with a keynote speech given by Dr. Stefan Ibing from Novartis Pharma Services AG (Switzerland). The speaker provided practical insights into portfolio transformation of a pharmaceutical company in export markets. Stefan Ibing explained to the participants that portfolio transformations are often structured as asset deals and that therefore, business units needed to be switched country by country, asset by asset and employee by employee. In a very interesting discussion with many questions raised by the audience, he talked in detail about possible issues with regard to the transfer of personnel, the transfer of product assets as well as the reorganisation of the supply chain. The speaker also reminded the participants to always verify the tender situation, i.e. to clarify whether there are any open tenders that are still unfulfilled, whether tender applications have been filed and if so, what their status is. Clarifying the tender situation is particularly important in case of a change in distributor in a respective country.
Panel and workshop on parallel trade
The panel was moderated by Martin Abraham (Czech Republic) and included Marek Holka (Slovakia), Indrikis Liepa (Latvia), Dr.Philippe Seiler (Switzerland) and Koen T’Syen (Belgium) as speakers. During the panel, they addressed experiences with parallel imports and exports of pharmaceuticals.
The panellists first discussed the legal situation in the EU and the individual Member States as represented in the panel. They critically assessed the legality of strategies pharmaceutical companies could resort to in order to try limiting parallel trade, such as supply quota systems, dual pricing, 'direct to pharmacy' systems and product life cycle management strategies. The evaluation of these practices is to be made under the (EU and national) competition law rules and the EU pharmaceutical regulatory framework, including the obligation of continuous supply applying to marketing authorisation holders and distributors. The panel further discussed whether and to what extent EU Member States are allowed to adopt legislation that restricts parallel trade to tackle the problem of medicine shortages. The speakers explained that the validity of such national legislation is to be assessed under the EU rules on the free movement of goods. With regard to Switzerland and based inter alia on the Swiss Federal Supreme Court’s decision in the Elmex-case, it was concluded that restrictions of passive sales were generally considered forbidden restrictions of competition unless justified for reasons of economic efficiency (e.g. reduction of distribution costs also in favour of end customers) whereby restrictions of active sales outside of a certain territory and selective distribution systems were generally considered allowed.
In the second part of the panel the active participation of the audience was required, as a complex case scenario involving parallel trade of pharmaceuticals was presented that needed to be analysed in small groups. After a short preparation time, each group had to present and plead its case before the mock tribunal presided by Dr. Stefan Ibing. The key learning from the mock trial was that even if the legal principles such as the principle of proportionality were clear, it was far from easy to apply them in practice. A careful analysis is required in light of the factual circumstances of each individual case.
Panel on the New Clinical Trials Regulation
Tfmup Akhundov (Russia), Dr. Jan Henning Martens (Germany), Jackie Mulryne (United Kingdom) and Nina Studer (Switzerland) got to the bottom of the new Clinical Trials Regulation that has entered into force on 16 June 2014, but will only enter into application after an independent audit and a period of six months starting from a confirmation notice published by the European Commission. It is currently estimated that the CTR will come into application during 2020. The CTR harmonises the assessment and supervision process for clinical trials throughout the EU and aims at setting the highest standards of safety for study participants as well as increasing transparency of trial information. Against this background, the panel pointed out that the new CTR as 'single entry point' particularly facilitates multicentre studies. Local ethics approval must, however, still be obtained.
Specifically addressed was the rather tricky interplay between the CTR and the GDPR. On the one hand, the GDPR provides that a data subject must at all times be able to withdraw consent and request the deletion of its data. On the other hand, according to the CTR, a withdrawal of the informed consent given to take part in a clinical trial shall only be possible for the future in the sense that activities already carried out and the use of data obtained based on informed consent before its withdrawal, are not affected. The speakers called the audience's attention to this issue and informed that the European Commission had addressed the interplay between the CTR and the GDPR in a Q&A document published on IO April 2019. In this document, the European Commission points out that the informed consent in the context of the CTR is a safeguard and not a legal basis for data processing, which is why it is important to distinguish between the requirement for consent from a person to participate in a clinical trial on the one hand, and the requirements for a lawful processing of personal data under the GDPR. According to the Commissions view, the withdrawal of consent to participate in a clinical trial under the CTR may, not necessarily affect the processing of personal data gathered in the context of that trial. The personal data may continue to be processed where there is an appropriate legal basis for such processing under the GDPR. In such cases, the personal data of that person gathered before the withdrawal shall be kept for the purposes and under the conditions defined in the study protocol and the legislation. Based on these guidelines, the speakers discussed whether one should, in a clinical trial context, rather rely on other grounds for the processing of personal data than on consent. As (i) if consent is used as the lawful basis for processing, there must be a possibility for individuals to withdraw that consent at any time and there is no exception to this requirement provided for under the GDPR with regard to scientific research. But also as the (ii) withdrawal of consent under the CTR does not affect the processing operations that are based on other lawful grounds, such as legal obligations of the sponsor and the investigator (e.g. with regard to adverse event reporting).
The panellists also drew the audience’s attention to the small differences between the CTR and current Swiss law and explained possible Brexit-scenarios with regard to the implementation of the new CTR and its impact on ongoing clinical trials. Finally, the panellists provided an introduction to the Eurasian Economic Union unified market of medicines of which inter alia Russia forms part.
Challenges and opportunities of the New MDRs from a Swiss perspective
Keynote speaker Dr. CARLO CONTI (Switzerland) spoke about the challenges and opportunities faced by Switzerland in view of the transposition of the MDRs into Swiss law. He particularly stressed the importance of negotiating - in parallel to such transposition by way of making the necessary adaptions to the respective Swiss laws (such as the TPA, the MedDO ,etc.) - an update of the mutual recognition agreement in relation to conformity assessments ('MRA'). Only such update would allow Switzerland to continue participating in and preserving market access to the EU market as equal as today. The speaker further emphasised that it was crucial for the Swiss regulator (Swissmedic) to be able to continue cooperating intensively with the market surveillance authorities of the EU Member States.
Panel on the new MDRs and their impact on study agreements and distribution contracts
Marco Blei (Italy), Arne Feber (Czech Republic), Dan Mihai (Romania) and Janine Reudt-Demont (Switzerland) talked about practical impacts the new MDRs will have on study agreements and distribution contracts. Based on the increased transparency demands posed by the MDRs, the panel inter alia addressed the new Unique Device Identification ('UDI') requirements as well as the fact that rather extensive information on clinical studies with medical devices will become publicly accessible based on their inclusion into the European database on medical devices ('Eudamed'). The speakers further pointed out that the MDRs provide for disclosure of quite far reaching design and manufacturing information and that stakeholders should, thus, be even more aware to accurately protect their trade secrets, know-how and intellectual property rights in time, e. g. by implementing sufficient confidentiality clauses into both, agreements relating to studies with and the distribution of medical devices.
The panellists also discussed the interesting question of whether a manufacturer of hi-tech medical devices may implement a selective distribution system in a manner that is compliant from a competition point of view. Further views were exchanged on the impacts of the MDRs on liability clauses in distribution contracts. Despite the MDRs quite clear assignment of obligations and liabilities to the manufacturer, the authorised representative (if any), the importer and the distributor, it was deemed very important to clearly allocate liabilities in a distribution contract between the various subjects in the distribution chain and to answer at least the following questions: Who is responsible? For what? And to what extent? With regard to data protection impacts, besides the generally strengthened conditions for consent and the enhanced information rights as well as typical data protection clauses in distribution and clinical study contracts, the panel elaborated on the required content of an informed patient consent to participate in a clinical study. Next to the essential information on the kind of personal data processed, the purpose as well as the legal basis for processing, the privacy information accompanying the consent form should also include information on how the data subjects rights are protected. Specific consent requirements may apply, for instance, to the collection of biological samples as well as to the further use of personal data for future scientific research.
Brexit panel on challenges for the healthcare industry
A lot has already been written and said about Brexit - most of it sounds like a glimpse into the crystal ball. The panel consisting of Dr. Amalia Athanasiadou (Switzerland), Michaela Herron (Ireland) and Ewan Townsend (United Kingdom) however, managed to present a very relevant and interesting analysis of the different Brexit-scenarios and the challenges for the healthcare industry (pharma and medical device companies).
The panel not only discussed what will happen to the marketing authorisations issued based on EU law, but also explained that Brexit gives raise to supply chain challenges, such as the need of finding a balance between the fear of "out of stock" versus the risk of overstocking. Also other challenges, such as the end of free movement of goods, questions of infrastructure locations and concerns with regard to quality risks due to delays at the border were addressed. Interestingly enough, pharma companies may have reservations about working with service providers having their servers in the UK, due to questions of data protection.
The speakers further pointed out that there were different possible scenarios to keep in mind with regard to the exhaustion of intellectual property rights and parallel trade as the UK will have to choose which exhaustion regime to apply: international exhaustion, exhaustion within the EEA (regional or national exhaustion).
With regard to medical devices, a hard Brexit would mean inter alia that an authorised representative must be established within the EU27 and that UK notified bodies would no longer be listed on the EU Commissions information system.
Panel on the Falsified Medicines Directive
The panel consisting of Michal Chodorek (Poland), Per Hedman (Sweden), Clara Pirez (France) and Barbora Vrablova (Czech Republic) moderated by Ilja Czernik (Germany) introduced the Falsified Medicines Directive. The audience was informed that the safety features provided for by the FMD applying since 9 February 2019, such as the inclusion of a Unique Identifier ("UI") on the outer packaging as well as a device allowing verification of whether the packaging has been tampered with (so called Anti-Tempering Device ["ATD"]) needed to be mandatorily followed for prescription drugs (unless for prescription drugs listed on the exemption list¬) but not for OTC-products (unless for OTC-products listed on the mandatory list). The panel, however, cautioned to bear in mind that each EU Member State had the opportunity to be stricter, so the locally applicable requirements should always be checked. The speakers further explained that the FMD was only applicable to drugs for human use placed on the European market, but not to veterinary use products.
According to the panellists, the biggest challenges in implementing the FMD lie with the middle of the supply chain, because both, the manufacturer’s responsibilities (e. g. to seal the products, to affix the UI and upload it to the European hub [the EMVS ]) and the dispensing healthcare institutions duties (e. g. to verify and decommission each product against the EMVS and national verification systems) are quite clearly regulated. This is, however, not the case with regard to the responsibilities of wholesalers and distributors, despite the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/16 detailing how medicine authenticity shall be verified and by whom. In general, Article IO of the Commission Delegated Regulation states that also wholesalers must verify the authenticity of the UI and the integrity of the ATD. Chapter V then, however, only addresses the case of a middle supply chain consisting of one wholesaler only. I. e., it remains unclear if and to which extent the safety features must be verified as well by other stakeholders of the supply chain, such as distributors, sub-distributors or logistic providers. The speakers further pointed out that verification of compliance was additionally complicated as there are no aggregated product codes. It is, thus, not sufficient to check one code, but every single code and package must be checked, which is impracticable.
AIJA signs international statement of solidarity
08 October 2019
AIJA has signed the International statement of solidarity, alongside 34 organisations including Lawyers for Lawyers, in connection to the merciless killing of Dutch colleague Derk Wiersum, a well-respected lawyer and deputy judge whom was shot in broad daylight.
Derk was shot outside his house in Amsterdam in the early morning of 18 September 2019. Derk was representing a crown witness in the so-called Marengo-trial, a high-profile criminal case against members of an organisation accused of several murders and attempted murders in the last couple of years. Although the events are still being investigated, it is assumed and highly likely that the death of Mr. Wiersum is related to his work as a lawyer.
AIJA and its fellow signatories are shocked about the killing of Mr. Wiersum, and we remain concerned about the impact of this tragic event on the legal profession and the rule of law. AIJA welcomes the prompt and public condemnation of this crime and the immediate measures taken by the Dutch authorities to initiate an investigation into this abhorrent attack.
To learn more, read the full version of the statement here.
*photo: Derk Wiersum, photo from https://wiersum.org
Diversity: 2020 theme for our association
02 October 2019
by Paola Fudakowska, AIJA President 2019-2020
As incoming President of the International Association of Young Lawyers in September 2019 – the fifth female lawyer to lead our association in the last ten years – I have chosen diversity as the theme of my presidency.
So what do I mean by diversity? The dictionary definition suggests different elements or qualities and variety, with the specific example of the inclusion of different types of people in a group or organisation. AIJA is a truly international association for around 4,000 junior to mid-career lawyers from over 90 countries representing over 700 law firm of all sizes. Our statistics speak for themselves: 43 per cent of our members are women and 43 per cent of the officer roles are held by women. There is currently a gender balance across the Association’s executive board and during the past ten years 73 per cent of the senior leadership roles on our executive board were held by women. But we can do more. When organising our high-quality seminars, our members are encouraged to ensure gender-diverse panels, with a wide representation of countries and different sized law firms.
The Association’s strategic focus is to increase geographic diversity by growing our membership in Asia, the Americas and Africa.
Building on the success of events in Singapore and Hong Kong, during my presidency the focus is on the Americas as we host our half-year November 2019 conference in Miami and the August 2020 annual congress in Rio.
Our partnerships with other legal associations that have a strong presence in our target continents, such as the International Bar Association, offer existing networks to support our goals of long-term growth and development in our chosen geographic areas.
I am actively working with our African members and our motivated commission officers who want to deliver an event in Africa in late 2020/2021, so watch this space.
My promise of prioritising diversity is supported by the creation of a new diversity officer position to join our advisory board. That role will entail actively monitoring and promoting diversity among our membership and our events. It will also focus on leveraging our existing relationships with sponsors and legal association partners, as well as identifying new connections and opportunities to promote the Association’s long-term commitment to diversity. Churchill famously said, ‘Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common – celebrate it every day’.
Our annual congress in the technicolour city of Rio on 24-28 August 2020 represents the end of my tenure. What better place in
the world for our Association to make a public commitment to diversity while celebrating our existing success!
This article was first published in the IBA Litigation Committee newsletter in September 2019, and is reproduced by kind permission of the International Bar Association.
Xuejun Zhao is awarded the Best Future International Lawyer Award for her outstanding academic prowess
14 September 2019
AIJA’s Best International Future Lawyer Award (BIFLA) seeks to develop law students understanding of the global development agenda. AIJA believes that encouraging young lawyers to provide solutions to major challenges in the world is vital if we are to adequately prepare them for their future careers. The BIFLA strives to prepare young lawyers for the testing road ahead!
This year’s competition was focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in line with the 57th Congress’s sustainability theme. The essay question that entrants responded to was ‘If I could change the world…how can I, as a future lawyer, contribute to a more sustainable world?’.
The 2019 winner is Xuejun Zhao. Xuejun graduated from the University of Groningen in September 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in International and European Law. Due to her interest in sustainability, Xuejun continued her studies at the same university by pursuing a Master’s degree in Climate and Energy Law.
Her essay delves specifically into SDG 13: Climate Action, where the current trend of climate litigation is analysed. The essay explores the feasibility of climate litigation, and considers the existing domestic cases, as well as the possibility of turning to the international realm.
The essay illustrates that, while the courts may be our best hope of reversing the damage done to our planet, the domestic context may not be the solution. Hence Xuejun’s essay analyses the possibility of creating of an International Environmental Court as a means of achieving SDG 13. In doing so the issue of jurisdiction is considered, in addition to private party access.
In response to her astounding achievement, Xuejen says 'almost half a year since hitting the submit button, I can safely say that entering the BIFLA competition was one of the best decisions I have ever made. During the Rome congress, I learned from (and even met!) experts in a field that I hope to break into someday, cultivating skills applicable to my future career. It was also in Rome that I found out about Loyola Law School’s generous offer, which will allow me to further deepen my legal knowledge. Entering the BIFLA competition made all this possible, and I am immensely grateful to AIJA for that!'
Xuejun was presented with the BIFLA at the Gala Dinner at the glamorous Villa Medici at the 57th Congress in Rome. Her award was honoured with an array of prizes, including free AIJA membership until 2022, publication of her essay across AIJA’s channels and an invitation to attend the 57th Annual Congress free of charge with travel and accommodation included, as well as a one-year scholarship with our prestigious sponsor Loyola Law school.
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles is one of the top law schools in the United States. Loyola is home to prominent faculty, dedicated students, and cutting-edge programs, with a strong sense of social justice. Our 18,000+ alumni network reaches across the United States and into 35 different countries and includes current and former ambassadors, high level government officials, and more than 800 partners at major law firms.
'We are delighted to sponsor this year’s award for Best Future International Lawyer. Loyola seeks to educate women and men who will be leaders in our globalised world. We look for students who will be demonstrating in their practice of law and public service the highest standards of personal integrity, professional ethics and a deep concern for social justice and society. Members of AIJA represent the perfect example of the above and the winner of the Award, with her focus on sustainability, will surely be affecting with her work the advancement of society. It was an honor for Loyola to play a small role during this year’s AIJA Congress and we look forward to welcoming Xuejun to our campus in the near future!'', said Professor Michael Waterstone, Fritz B.Burns Dean, Loyola Law School.
This year, AIJA also awarded two special mentions in addition to the Best International Future Lawyer Award. The two special mentions were awarded to Rebeca Spuch for her essay on the intersection between education and the Sustainable Development Goals and Judith Creppy for her essay ‘Would legal personhood help to ensure a better protection for the environment?’. The two essays have proven great quality, as well as a good understanding of the SDGs and law.
The benefits of e-voting
20 August 2019
AIJA welcomed e-voting last year and due to its resounding success we will be using it again at the Annual Congress! We are excited to use e-voting to elect a new Vice-President of AIJA as well as a new treasurer and the partial renewal of the Executive Committee. We’ll also be using e-voting for any resolutions proposed to the General Assembly on Saturday, 7 September. Below are some of the benefits of e-voting to be experienced in Rome next month!
1. Direct participation
E-voting offers a more time-efficient and transparent way for members to be directly involved in the future of the Association. This way association decisions are made with the consideration of the entire organisation.
E-voting is an electronic system that allows members to log into a secure voting platform and cast their votes electronically within their web or mobile browsers from any location.
Voter privacy, election integrity, correctness and security are guaranteed through encryption protocols. The voting platform is provided by AssociationVoting. To ensure that the election process is secure, we:
- Use industry-standard 128-Bit SSL encryption
- Enforce one member one vote by requiring voters to identify with their AIJA Membership ID Number and email address, to ensure only one voting ballot per identifier
- Ensure voting accuracy by preventing accidental over-voting and providing a prompt error notification that requires attention before their vote can be cast
- Require voter validation of selections as a preview step before their vote can be cast.
- Maintain a detailed audit trail of voter selections and ballots cast, available to the AIJA voting administrator as the voting results PDF and also enabling validation of challenged ballots or results. Voter details such as IP address is tracked as well.
E-voting instantly collects and processes the data in real time. The voting platform can prevent accidental over-voting, as each voter is required to identify with their unique Membership ID Number.
AIJA members to vote electronically this year
15 July 2019
E-voting is an electronic system that allows members to log in to a secure voting platform and cast their votes electronically within their web or mobile browsers from any location.
AIJA adopted e-voting in 2018, with the aim to increase accessibility to its internal democratic processes and facilitate new forms of direct participation for its members.
How e-voting works
Members will first vote for the First Vice-President. This year, there are two candidates, François Barré (co-chair, National Representatives Committee) and David Diris (co-chair, Officers of the Commissions Committee). The e-voting process is as follows:
- Members receive a link to a secure electronic voting platform the first week of September.
- Vote opens on Thursday, 5 September, 13:00 CET, and closes on Saturday, 7 September, 11:30 CET.
- Members log in to the electronic voting platform using their AIJA Membership ID Number and the email address shared with the Association for communication.
- Once logged in, members simply have to choose their preferred candidate.
The debate between the two candidates will be streamed online on Thursday, 5 September, from 12:00 to 13:00 CET.
Members will also vote for a new treasurer, partial renewal of the Executive Committee, and any Resolutions proposed to the General Assembly on Saturday, 7 September. They will again log in to the electronic voting platform, but using a different link. Vote opens at 11:00 CET and closes the same day at 11:30 CET.
If members are unable to vote electronically, they can still assign a proxy to a fellow Member who can vote on their behalf. Members are invited to visit their member dashboard MyAIJA for more information.
Nasrin Sotoudeh and all Iranian lawyers arbitrarily detained should be immediately and unconditionally released
04 July 2019
On the occasion of the L5 Meeting, convened in Barcelona, Spain, on June 3, 2019, the undersigned organisations express their deepest concerns about the sentencing and continuing arbitrary detention of several Iranian lawyers, including prominent Iranian and award-winning human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.
Attacks on lawyers have intensified in Iran in recent years. Lawyers are facing judicial harassment as a consequence of their legitimate professional activity.
The most emblematic case is that of Nasrin Sotoudeh who was recently sentenced to a shocking conviction of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes for national-security related offences [stemming from seven charges, including “assembly and collusion against national security”; “spreading propaganda against the State”; and “appearing at the judiciary without the Islamic hijab.”].
Ms Sotoudeh is known worldwide for her unwavering commitment to the defence of human rights, her opposition to the death penalty, and her courageous advocacy for the independence of the legal profession and the judiciary system. As a result of her tireless work as a human rights lawyer, Ms Sotoudeh and her family have been repeatedly targeted by Iranian authorities, and
subject to harassment, intimidation, imprisonment, as well as a ban on practising law, her profession. Prior to her last arrest in June 2018, she devoted herself to the defence of young Iranian women who have been arrested and prosecuted for peacefully protesting against the compulsory veiling in Iran.
Other human rights Iranian lawyers are being targeted. Earlier this month, Amirsalar Davoudi, a well-known lawyer representing human rights activists and other individuals detained for their social and political activities, was sentenced to 30 years in prison and 111 lashes for “collaborating with an enemy of the state through interviews,” “propaganda against the state,” “insulting officials", and “forming a group to overthrow the state.” Lawyer Mohammad Najafi, was recently sentenced to a total of 17 years in prison and 74 lashes in three separate cases for the charges of “disturbing the state” and “publishing falsehoods.” Other lawyers have been arrested or have faced prosecution such as Arash Keykhosravi, Ghassem Sholeh-Sa’di, Farokh Forouzan, Mostafa Daneshjoo, Mostafa Tork Hamadani, Payam Derafshan and Zeynab Taheri. Furthermore, even though his case is less recent, lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani should not be forgotten. He was conditionally released on November 21, 2018 after serving more than seven years in prison in Tehran. Abdolfattah Soltani is one of the co-founders of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders and has devoted most of his career to defending political prisoners.
The undersigned organisations strongly condemn the detention of Nasrin Sotoudeh and other Iranian lawyers, as well as the charges brought against them, as the charges appear to be solely related to their legitimate work as lawyers, and aimed at curtailing their peaceful human rights activities.
We respectfully urge the relevant Iranian authorities to immediately take any and all appropriate steps to annul the convictions and sentences against arbitrarily detained lawyers, including Nasrin Sotoudeh; to ensure their immediate and unconditional release; and to put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against lawyers in Iran.
Leaders of international lawyers’ organisations remind of the importance of self-regulation and the independence of the legal profession
02 July 2019
‘Self-regulation and independence of legal professionals ensure the trust and protection of citizens, and provide guarantees for the rule of law.’
The message comes from the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA), the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe (CCBE) and the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) in response to the growing deregulation movement and immediate threats to lawyers’ independence. During their latest L5 meeting, they analysed the current status of the legal profession, particularly lawyers’ safety and independence and self-regulation as an essential safeguard of the rule of law. Together, they concluded that deregulation poses serious threats to public interest and democracy. Any reform leading to deregulation risks hampering the quality and integrity of the delivery of legal services and above all, citizens’ access to effective justice and legal protection.
The meeting was held in Barcelona in June and organised by AIJA. It also included contributions from two other members of the L5, namely the International Bar Association (IBA) and the American Bar Association (ABA).
‘“No Lawyer, No Justice”. The role of lawyers and the practice of law may be changing and adapting to the current times but deregulation and loss of independence are not the solution. Our citizens and our democracies need independent and self-regulated lawyers. Regulation should focus on fostering innovation and improving access to effective justice’, says Xavier Costa, AIJA President and Partner at Roca Junyent (Spain).
During the discussions, the leaders of the three international lawyers’ organisations also recognised the role of bar associations in steering the legal profession into the future and the importance of ensuring high professional standards in the delivery of legal services to citizens.
‘The capacity of lawyers to regulate themselves and remain independent is today at stake. The role of the bar associations will be to find new ways for lawyers to show their value and ensure that the public interest remains a priority’, adds José de Freitas, CCBE President and Partner at Cuatrecasas (Portugal).
‘Lawyers are advocates for citizens. And the purpose of regulation is to protect their fundamental and basic rights to effective justice. Without the right regulatory environment, the biggest impact would be on them and their trust in the legal services market’, concludes Issouf Baadhio, UIA President and Avocat à la Cour (Burkina Faso).
During the meeting, the three leaders also issued a common statement (in English, French and Spanish) to express their concerns about the sentencing and continuing arbitrary detention of several Iranian lawyers, including promiment Iranian and award-winning human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.
About the L5
The so-called ‘L5’ is the annual meeting held by the leaders of the main international Associations of Lawyers and Bar Associations (in alphabetical order: ABA (American Bar Association), AIJA (International Association of Young Lawyers), CCBE (Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe), IBA (International Bar Association) and UIA (Union Internationale des Avocats). During the meeting the leaders update each other on the main developments on the legal profession and discuss how to best ensure and promote the rule of law.
For more information, download the full statement.
Ensuring sustainability through the legal profession
31 May 2019
by Xavier Costa, AIJA President 2018/2019
Sustainability can mean many things for different people. Very often sustainability is referred to under terms such as sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, resilience, sustainable consciousness, etc. What is sure – we all want it or, at least, we all need it.
My personal favourite definition comes from the 1987 UN Brundtland Commission* and says that sustainable development is ‘meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. Generally speaking, this implies that we should care for our planet, resources and people. Sustainability goes far beyond environmental
and corporate social responsibility concerns. In business, sustainability is about better decisions, cost reduction, improving productivity, innovation, reputation, and creating a long-term positive impact on all stakeholders. Such is the case for the legal profession, too. As more and more companies consider sustainability into their business strategies, lawyers must be prepared to properly advise them. To do that, being a simply knowledgeable lawyer is no longer enough. Lawyers should be able to offer advice on legal compliance, but also strategic guidance on opportunities that sustainability can provide for companies. Whether related to environmental practices, labour standards, cybersecurity, health and safety, immigration, human rights, tax or other areas of practice – undoubtedly, every lawyer will be asked more and more by their clients to help on sustainability-related issues.
As an international association, AIJA continuously seeks to share best practices through education and training events that enable collaboration, mentorship, peer-based learning and the sharing of innovative ideas for young lawyers across the world. These events follow thematic areas that are slightly changing from one event to the other. While 2018 was all about globalisation, the main focus of 2019 is on sustainability. One of our largest events, the International Young Lawyers’ Congress will showcase in particular the ways
in which lawyers around the globe can take actions to make the business of their clients more sustainable. From 3-7 September, more than 700 international professionals from private and in-house practices, as well as government, UN experts and members of the
G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, will join us in Rome.
In 2019 as in all years, we will not rest. Our work is far from finished. Drawing on expertise available within its membership, AIJA – in cooperation with international bar associations and other business partners such as the International Bar Association, American Bar Association, Union Internationale des Avocats, Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, Inter-Pacific Bar Association, LAWASIA or the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance – will continue to strengthen the sustainability profile of the legal profession and ensure that the present and future generations of lawyers are well equipped for clients’ every need. As international young lawyers, we must feel empowered and play an important role in ensuring a sustainable future for our fellow citizens and clients. We owe it to people everywhere, to our planet and to the future generations.
The article was featured in the AIJA Yearbook 2018/2019.
*Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development
The future of the legal profession - it's now
15 April 2019
by Wiebe de Vries, AIJA Immediate Past President 2018/2019
The future is now for the legal profession. With automation, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, the rise of non-lawyers in the legal profession and the generational shift in the workforce, change is happening faster than in the past. While it’s not without challenges, law firms are slowly forging a path of their own in this rapidly evolving world.
Demystifying technology for lawyers
Many qualified experts feel that technology would replace most of today’s workforce, including lawyers. But none of these experts have come up with a widely accepted replacement to date. The approach to technology should however be different, more positive. Let’s not fear that technology could eventually replace us but look proactively at how we can integrate it into our business model.
As lawyers, we should be looking at how to make good use of it to improve our services and build trust with clients. Our solutions are no longer assessed based on our legal expertise only, but more broadly. Clients expect a greater understanding of their business, faster response time and efficiency. Often the legal aspects are only a part of the solution to clients while the rest doesn’t even involve legal knowledge. We are shifting from the day-to-day practice of law to a more business-oriented model where legal services are profoundly embedded in the business of clients. The good news: technology can help with this shift.
Even better: lawyers start to develop a positive attitude towards technology. But we’re in for the long haul. The International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA), with the help of the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe (CCBE), conducted a survey among international lawyers between the ages of 25 and 45 years old. The findings reveal that compared to 2016, lawyers are less fearful of technology replacing them (decrease of 43%). They also show that almost half of all respondents (42%) are confident that their firms are taking the necessary measures to integrate tech such as artificial intelligence (AI) tools, automation or the cloud into their workflow. However, implementation of technology remains still low.
So, we could say that law firms know what they need to do. And lawyers are most definitely willing to embrace technology. But again, we don’t know yet how to do it. From this perspective, technology providers could do more for the legal profession. And there are plenty of opportunities. According to the same survey, only 3% of respondents agree that the training of lawyers is sufficiently adapting to the changing landscape of the legal market. More training seems required to adapt accordingly and ensure that lawyers know how to use the latest innovations in technology to the benefit of their clients and business.
Working with other legal service providers
As the market for technology-enabled innovations continues to grow, so does the market for non-traditional legal service providers. 86% of lawyers see this as a threat to their profession and believe that firms are more likely to employ non-lawyers to service clients in the name of cost-efficiency and making use of new technologies, according to the survey.
This can be in fact an opportunity to expand the legal service markets of our law firms. The same for interdisciplinary partnerships. There is untapped potential there. Law firms should look more at the industries that are already leading the digital revolution.
Unlocking the mystery of millennials
Another driving force of change in the legal profession is the generational shift in the workplace. Much more impatient, more demanding and keener for flexibility, millennials are here to stay. By 2025, they will account for 75% of the global workforce according to global research. Millennials will soon take over leadership positions and partnerships in law firms. But then how can law firms best manage millennials, a tech-savvy and dynamic generation?
This younger generation is generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with digital technologies. They usually seek organisations that foster innovation, develop their skills and make a positive contribution to society. These features are generally difficult to manage in law firms which are often quite heavily driven by hierarchy.
It was a very different environment in 2005 when I started. In my early days as a lawyer, hierarchy, paperwork, and – maybe - a predominant fear for change and innovation were driving the organisational structure. A four-eyes principle meant that four eyes had to read the same piece of paper and even as a trainee, we needed to sign off on every piece of (printed) e-mail, letter and fax that crossed our desks.
Happily, times have changed. We see law firms slowly but surely adapting to the latest innovation trends in the workplace. The younger generation can be a huge opportunity in this evolution process. Millennials can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas which can have a positive impact on the business and the relationship with clients.
Senior-level lawyers are here to stay for a little while, too. This is why, firms should be looking for ways to ensure collaboration between the generations and create a space for their younger lawyers to grow. Reverse mentoring, for instance, can facilitate a better understanding between the generations. Younger lawyers and their more seasoned colleagues can teach one another about the business and practice of law. This is how law firms can predict the likes, dislikes, ways of working of the next generations and ensure a thriving work environment for all their employees, regardless of their age. However, it seems that it will take some more work for law firms to adequately equip themselves for the younger generation, through such orientation and mentoring programmes or even more flexible working conditions. But I believe that we will eventually get there.
It probably goes without saying that the traditional law firm won’t stand a chance against the numerous changes in the legal profession: boutique firms allow their employees to have access to stellar legal tech innovations on a subscription now and can compete with global firms. The need for big teams to perform a due diligence or discovery is no longer there, which still is one of the driving elements of a traditional law firm business model. What is sure, firms that take a long-term perspective and proactively seek opportunities to embrace innovation will ensure their profitability and sustainability of their business in the future, both towards their clients and their future leadership. As we are so used to solving challenges for our clients, it’s now our turn to solve our own and create a more sustainable future for our profession.
AIJA calls for release of Iranian human rights lawyer and defender
15 April 2019
Prominent human rights lawyer and defender Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to a total of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes following two unfair trials. The charges against Mrs Sotoudeh stem solely from her peaceful human rights work, including defending women’s rights and her outspoken opposition to Iran’s mandatory hijab (veiling) laws.
Mrs Sotoudeh had received the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov Prize in 2012 for her work on high-profile cases, including those of convicts on death row for offenses committed as minors. She had previously spent three years in prison after representing dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009 against the disputed re-election of ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In an open letter to His Excellency Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, AIJA joins the international community in urging Iran to respect and safeguard human rights and fulfil its mission to implement the law in accordance with international legal and human rights standards, in light of the recent detention of Mrs Sotoudeh.
In many countries, human rights defenders still face continuous and systematic threats and abuses by government authorities. This is part of a worrying pattern rapidly developing worldwide, and which ultimately undermines the long-term stability and sustainable development of our society. The international community must take immediate actions against this ongoing intimidation of human rights advocates and make a stronger, more compelling case for human rights and rule of law – both in Iran and around the world.
Show your support
To join the global campaign for her release, you can sign the following petitions:
- Amnesty International petition
- Conseil National des Barreaux (The French National Bar Council) petition
- Observatoire International des Avocats (The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger) petition
For more information, please contact AIJA's Human Rights Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Amnesty International, Centre for human rights in Iran
AIJA and INSOL EUROPE organise 2019 seminar on insolvency
11 April 2019
The legal sector will benefit from two industry perspectives under one roof at the AIJA – INSOL EUROPE joint insolvency seminar this year.
AIJA and INSOL EUROPE have joined forces to organise the seminar in Mallorca, from 13-15 June. The event will see lawyers and insolvency professionals offer multilateral views on the different issues lawyers, clients and insolvency experts can face during insolvency proceedings, under the theme ‘Make twilight a new dawn: defensive and offensive strategies in insolvency matters’.
Bringing AIJA together with INSOL EUROPE - which is the leading European organisation of professionals in insolvency, business reconstruction and recovery - is hopefully the start of a long-term collaboration. Through events, the two organisations can benefit from an invaluable platform where they can exchange on the complex area of cross-border insolvency together with their members who are highly knowledgeable about this area.
‘We’re very excited about the partnership between AIJA and INSOL EUROPE’s Young Members Group. It’s a natural synergy, as both organisations focus on helping young practitioners to network, learn and advance their careers. Mallorca will provide AIJA and INSOL EUROPE members with the opportunity to get to know each other better in a beautiful and relaxed setting, with plenty of occasions for discussion. Moving forward, we hope there will be other occasions where AIJA and INSOL EUROPE members can be brought together at our events’, say members of the AIJA Organising Committee Elaina Bailes (Stewarts), Armando Perna (Pozzi & Partners), and Philippe Sylvestre (Etude Max Mailliet).
On the schedule
Today’s world is a global marketplace, with international trade and foreign investments rapidly growing. This growth sees more and more companies developing global businesses with assets and capabilities in more than one country. Consequently, the insolvency and restructuring market has also become more international. In this era of globalisation, a lawyer with a multilateral approach to insolvency matters is able to offer the right advice to his clients, and turn crisis into opportunities or, at least, roll with the punches to limit the damage. Typically, national insolvency regulation also needs to be considered, as it’s generally internally oriented and can overlook what other regulations can provide, for instance in liquidation of assets. Against this backdrop, the seminar will seek to present tools for participants to set up the best strategies to approach insolvency from a different – and most importantly, international - perspective.
‘We opted for an academic programme including traditional panels and debates to encourage open discussions and an active participation of the audience. We’re confident that this format will shift the programme into a higher gear, with new and practical solutions to insolvency issues and plenty of international perspectives from our colleagues joining from all around the globe’, say INSOL EUROPE representatives Anne Bach (Görg Rechtsanwälte) and Georges-Louis Harang (Hoche Avocats).
Participants will be able to stay at the seminar venue, Blau Privilege PortoPetro Beach Resort & Spa, a seafront hotel close to the picturesque port of Porto Petro and the Mondrago Nature Reserve. The seminar will start with a welcome reception at the hotel on Thursday, 13 June. The social programme will also include a dinner at the Mhres Sea Club, a restaurant well known for its location and Mediterranean dining experience, on Friday, 14 June. An optional tour and a tapas dinner at the Winery José Luis Ferrer are foreseen for those staying until Saturday evening.
To find out more about the event and register, visit the dedicated webpage. Early bird fees are available until 30 April. See you in Mallorca!
The curious case of lawyers - by Xavier Costa, AIJA President
25 February 2019
Human beings have a natural tendency to resist change. Lawyers are no different. Probably because we are trained to be risk-averse and more conservative than any other profession. Our day-to-day work mostly involves finding our way around difficult situations and turning these to our favour or our client’s.
Today, technology is one of the main drivers of change in the world. And it seems to be shaking up the legal market, there’s no doubt. The good news: lawyers seem to be slowly developing a positive attitude towards technology.
The International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA), with the help of the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe (CCBE), recently conducted a survey among international lawyers between the ages of 25 and 45 years old. The findings reveal that compared to 2016, lawyers are less fearful of technology replacing them (decrease of 43%). They also show that almost half of all respondents (42%) are confident that their firms are taking the necessary measures to integrate tech such as artificial intelligence (AI) tools, automation or the cloud into their workflow.
So, we already know what to do. And we are most definitely willing to embrace technology. But we don’t know yet how to do it. There are so many technology providers on the market, so many different options that choosing between these can be quite daunting. This can rightfully bring some anxiety that may prevent technology adoption from happening faster. The implementation remains low still.
One way of boosting adoption can be for law firms to involve their lawyers in the digital transformation of their law firms. Sometimes this might be done through training or active participation in implementing these tech solutions, but also encouraging them to join professional networks. It is not uncommon for law firms and lawyer associations to set up think-tank groups or committees dedicated to monitoring of the so-called new law and of the legal tech solutions available. At AIJA, for instance, we seek to shape relations between our members from the legal world and tech industries. This is one of the many ways we try to contribute to a more active involvement of lawyers in the digital change. In this regard, our annual congress in Rome this year will also be open to legal tech industries willing to showcase their products and tools in front of a crowd of international lawyers from all over the globe. We invite the industry to join us there and encourage international lawyers from all around the world to come, test and bring the knowledge back to their respective firms.
Other legal service providers – a case for competition?
As the market for digital or digitally-enabled technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and blockchain – continues to grow, so does the market for non-traditional legal service providers (ALSD). 86% of lawyers see this as a threat to their profession and believe that firms are more likely to employ non-lawyers to service clients in the name of cost-efficiency and making use of new technologies, according to the same survey.
But we should remain positive. Perhaps the rise of ALSDs comes from certain unmet client demands for more efficient, cost-effective and interdisciplinary solutions. Their growth can be in this case an opportunity to expand the legal service markets of our law firms. The same for interdisciplinary partnerships. There is untapped potential there. Law firms should look more at the industries that are already leading the digital revolution.
So, there is no case for competition there or at least, it shouldn’t be. The increased availability of different services and experts should not lead to more competition in the legal marketplace but to more strategic collaborations to better serve our clients. This type of partnerships will allow lawyers to create more complete and compressive products for their clients and, without any doubt, this is good for their business.
Law firms may have to continue to move away from the traditional model focused on the firm’s capabilities and develop a more business-oriented model where attention to the client is at the absolute centre of every step in their practice. Clients are now looking for greater understanding of their business, efficiency, faster response time and best uses of technologies. Sometimes we give overall solutions to the client and often the legal part is a part of this while the rest does not even involve legal knowledge.
The business customer-centric approach, together with some solid digital proficiency, a proper international network, good management skills and openness towards innovation are essential skills for today’s and tomorrow’s lawyers. Lead to innovate or be left behind.
Article published originally at www.artificiallawyer.com
Become a specialist in International Family Law at University of Carlos III of Madrid
19 February 2019
AIJA is happy to support once again the Master in International Family Law, a programme 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 22 February 2019. For more information, visit the dedicated website.
AIJA Insider: All about the real deal in M&A – Utrecht, 4-6 April
14 February 2019
From 4 to 6 April, Utrecht will host AIJA’s seminar on ‘The real deal in M&A: All about transactions involving real estate property’. To learn more, we asked our organising committee to share some highlights and tell us more about the topic of the seminar.
Q1: What should participants expect?
Sjoerd Mol (Partner, Benvalor): The seminar promises to offer a very interesting academic programme, with the latest on transaction structuring in M&A real estate deals, due diligence, tax in real estate deals and case studies from industries such as hospitality, retail and industrial. The sessions will be held in a historical place, an old cloister that dates to 1348 and now houses the five-star hotel Karel V.
The programme will kick off with a welcome reception on Thursday, 4 April in the St Michael’s chapel of the 112 meters high Dom Tower which used to be the private chapel of the bishop of Utrecht. Participants will be invited to climb all 464 stairs to the top!
Another highlight of the social programme will be the Friday night dinner and party afterwards. We are planning a four-course dinner including drinks, as well as a DJ and GT bar afterwards at The Court Hotel. Here we can party all night long, catch up with people we know and make new AIJA friends.
Saturday, 6 April (and the last day!) will offer participants a canal boat tour to enjoy Utrecht’s famous wharves and canal houses. The day will end with a dinner in an amazing restaurant located in an old water tower.
Q2: Real estate M&A will be the main topic of your discussions. In your view, what are the main challenges in this area?
Michaela Pelinka (Partner, bpv Huegel): By nature, M&A transactions bring some challenges. One is to formulate clauses on warranty and potential guarantees in a correct manner. Careful consideration should be given especially to the characteristics that the purchased object must or must not have. Court decisions in this area are made case by case and are difficult to predict. In this case, we should also be looking at the conflicting interests of buyers and sellers.
Another challenge would be to manage the increasing complexity of regulatory requirements across different areas of public law, such as construction law, preservation orders, land use plans or land transfer law. These must be carefully considered, particularly in cases where the buyer wants to make structural changes to the property as they may act as deal breakers. Sometimes, even expert attorneys on real estate law might have to consult with their colleagues from the public law department.
To overcome these challenges, we must consider some do’s and don’ts of an acquisition in real estate:
Q3: Real estate seems to be on of the hottest sectors for M&A in the coming years. What are the main trends to follow?
Michaela Pelinka (Partner, bpv Huegel): Investors, particularly European investors, are becoming more careful as a result of geopolitical tensions. They are seeking secure, long-term revenue. Brexit has left them quite insecure about the future.
At the same time, investments into areas which have previously been considered ‘alternative’ niches, such as co-living-Projects, student residences or data centres, have proven successful, whereas more ‘traditional’ segments such as offices are showing a certain decline.
Legal tech is already a reality, and it is disrupting the way real estate transactions are being processed. The potential applications are manifold and may greatly facilitate larger due diligences.
Register to find out more.
Early bird fees until 19 February. See you in Utrecht!
AIJA Insider: Berlin to host seminar on start-ups, smart cities, tech and work 4.0
25 January 2019
Smart mobility. IP issues for tech start-ups. Updates on the application of the GDPR. Data ownership and control. Workplace 4.0 and the future of work. Smart Up Berlin is shaping up to be a promising seminar, with a wide range of topics of interest to law practitioners as well as representatives from the start-up and smart city scene. One of Europe’s most vibrant cities, Berlin will be on this occasion the host of our discussions from 14-16 March.
Smart cities need smart laws
The academic programme will kick off on Friday, 15 March with some in-depth talks on smart mobility, particularly on the exchange and control of information and data between road users, vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure.
‘It is a very exciting time to be a lawyer working in this area. It really challenges us to think about the difference between what technology can enable and what, as a matter of privacy, it should permit’, says Sven Preiss, head of legal commercial, Scout24 Group.
‘Smart mobility changes the way that we, as lawyers, think about transportation in a number of ways. For instance, smart cars transform a product into a system that relies on the maintenance of software – and this requires a continued integration of software and hardware. In terms of public transportation, the use of smart cards and other techniques to gather data on the individual’s use of transport, as well as to aggregate data to use big data increases the importance of data and threatens to impinge on individuals’ privacy – forcing transportation and town planning to consider the GDPR and data ownership’, he adds.
These changes require lawyers to work collaboratively across different disciplines – transport, planning, technology, commercial, intellectual property (IP).
IP for start-ups
The second half of the day will be dedicated to IP and ‘Industry and Employment 4.0’.
One of the topics will address the most common IP issues for tech start-ups. Starting a business is a daunting task. Some grow and achieve great success, others fail. And sometimes failure comes right from the start, particularly when a business fails to protect one of their most valuable assets – their intellectual property.
‘There are some general rules to follow to avoid such failures. First, entering (mutual) NDAs before sharing the initial business idea and creating a paper trail of all presentations and meetings. Second, talking to the people in the company about who owns the IP and again, making sure to write this down. Thirdly, businesses should register their domain names and trademark early on’, says Sven Preiss.
Work 4.0. and Labour Law: new challenges and opportunities
Another highlight of the day will be the discussions on the future of the workplace.
Today, mobile labour has become the new normal. Home office models, co-working initiatives and mobile working technologies redefine the limits between work and personal life as the workplace becomes more and more digitalised. Thanks to modern technology employees can work anywhere and at any time. Co-working spaces are rising in popularity and often, individuals can carry most of their lives and work with them on their phones.
Opinions vary as to whether this is positive, especially in relation to the different employment and labour laws. ‘Employers and employees face huge challenges when it comes to compliance with mandatory labor law. They need to find the balance between compliance with maximum working hours, employees’ personal data protection as well as industrial and health safety provisions on the one hand and offering flexible and attractive working methods on the other hand’, says Sachka Stefanova-Behlert, attorney-at-law, KPMG Law.
‘Further to this, the new personnel structures raise questions regarding co-determination and the need to strengthen the role of the works councils. Mandatory laws have often come under serious attacks for not being timely’, she adds.
Finally, who owns the data?
On Saturday, 16 March, the day will move on to revealing the latest on the application of the GDPR and data ownership, access and control.
Compliance with the GDPR can still be challenging for some organisations. While small companies struggle with allocating the necessary resources, bigger companies have more resources and at the same time bigger amounts of data to process in a compliant manner. Consumers and employees are also becoming more aware of their rights and have started to regularly file access requests and complaints with the authorities.
‘Meanwhile, who owns the data remains a difficult legal concept in most countries. There is little law governing this. Data protection laws mainly serve to protect data subjects and not owners. Trade secret rules may provide some tools, but we should reflect on whether this is really enough’, concludes Silvia van Schaik, attorney at law, bureau Brandeis.
This is just a small sample of what participants can expect to learn during the seminar. Join us in Berlin to find out more! To register, click here.
Silvia, Sven and Sachka are part of the organising committee of the seminar and/or the Intellectual Property, Technology, Media and Telecommunications or Labour Law commission of AIJA. Meet them at the seminar from 14-16 March.
AIJA Insider: Third annual T.R.A.D.E. conference to focus on trade, distribution and e-commerce
24 January 2019
Set to take place from 11-13 April in Athens, the third annual T.R.A.D.E. conference will feature an extensive programme focused on the latest legal developments in trade, distribution and e-commerce. Sessions are expected to bring practical and diverse points of view, with key presentations and discussions by high-profile professionals from private practice and in-house.
The conference will kick off on Friday, 12 April with several sessions looking at the challenges and opportunities for brand owners, platforms and resellers in a digitalised world. The ruling in the Coty case and its impact on e-commerce and the future of selective distribution will be one of the highlights of the day. This is followed by discussions on dynamic and personalised pricing, geo-blocking and legal trade (EU Regulation 218/302). On Saturday, 13 April, sessions will focus on the impact of the GDPR on distribution and franchise networks, digital transformation leading to new forms of cooperation between brand owners and resellers, and finally, optimised general terms and conditions for cross-border e-commerce.
In addition to a rich academic programme, participants will be able to explore an ancient but vibrant metropolis, Athens. A city with many cultural and culinary highlights ready for discovery.
This is just a small sample of what participants can expect. We also asked the organising committee (OC) to share more about some of the topics covered by the conference in the context of international trade. Here are the top three insights from two members of the OC, Babak Tabeshian (partner, LFR Laukemann) and Brian van Egmond (attorney-at-law, Conway & Partners).
Q1: What are the main challenges and opportunities for brand owners, platforms and resellers in a digitalised world?
Babak Tabeshian: The growth of e-commerce in the last decade significantly increased price transparency and price competition. Alternative distribution models such as online marketplaces became very powerful and are considered as key players in the retail business. Under growing pressure of price transparency and price competition, brand owners are seeking to exert more control over their distribution networks and show more presence at the retail level.
These developments have a huge impact on the business of ‘traditional’ resellers. While selling online allows for easy, worldwide market access with low investment costs, the growing (intra-brand) competition with manufacturers at the retail level and the loss of market shares to marketplaces create new challenges.
Despite growing price competition, brand owners have a lot to gain from digital trade. E-commerce allows brand owners to reshape classical distribution networks, target consumers directly, collect data to offer best possible services to their consumers, and finally, use technologies to sell for best possible prices.
Navigating clients through these challenges requires high business and technological understanding as well as the adoption of legal strategies to adapt to a fast-changing legal environment.
Q2: What are the potential impacts of dynamic pricing on distribution and franchise networks?
Brian van Egmond: With dynamic and personalised pricing being the latest pricing trends, we see that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is more and more incorporated into trade processes. These pricing methods based on algorithms enable sellers to adjust prices automatically at any moment based on specific markers set by the retailer. Objectives for setting their markers vary from offering products at a lower price than the competition, to maintaining a certain minimum level of pricing for luxury products as well as influencing price perception. In cases of AI-based personalised pricing, a certain unit is sold to a consumer at another price than another consumer, depending on what the specific consumer is willing to pay. When used in the right manner, dynamic and personalised pricing may lead to increased revenues and growth for sellers.
These new pricing methods also bring us legal challenges as they impact distribution and franchise agreements. Especially when it comes to minimum prices and competition law. Besides this, contracts between franchisors and franchisees may need to be amended or re-drafted to incorporate a mechanism of dynamic pricing. In cases of personalised pricing, challenges regarding price discrimination can be expected.
Q3: What does the new geo-blocking regulation mean for the future of e-commerce?
Brian van Egmond: The new geo-blocking regulation is a step in the right direction. It has the potential to open the e-commerce market even further by bringing down geographic barriers. Especially for services such as hotel accommodation, sports events, car rental, and entrance tickets for music festivals or leisure parks, the regulation provides more equality. Besides, there may be questions about the practical value of the regulation for these services. Buying tangible goods from other EU-countries may still be impractical in most common situations where a seller is not targeting markets of other EU-countries other than its own.
For traders, this regulation will most likely result in challenges under franchise and distribution agreements, as the regulation directly impacts stipulations regarding territorial exclusivity.
Legally, it would be interesting to look at consumer rights and see the developments there, e.g. the jurisdiction regarding consumer transactions under the Brussels I bis regulation. The future will also teach us a lot more about the enforcement of this regulation, particularly about what type of sanctions will be imposed on those violating this. Since the sanctions are left to the individual member states, a wide variety of sanctions may be the outcome of enforcement of this regulation.
Join the conference to find out more! To register, click here.
AIJA appoints new Association Manager
23 January 2019
AIJA new Association Manager, Viktória Kéri, will officially start on 4 February, succeeding to Giuseppe Marletta, who moves into the role of Managing Director, Europe with ACC, Association of Corporate Counsel.
Viktória joined AIJA in October 2017 as Events Coordinator. Since then, she has been working with the different Commissions in the association to successfully organise more than 20 seminars.
‘I am thrilled to take on this new position and further support the growth of the association internationally. Together with the Bureau, Extended Bureau and the membership, we will ensure that AIJA remains a reputable network for knowledge sharing and professional networking for international lawyers aged 45 and under.’
Viktória brings an excellent track record of international event management, as well as significant external relations experience. She was previously Communication and Event Manager for seven years at GIRP, the European Healthcare Distribution Association. During this time, she has been leading on all their conferences, workshops, networking events and company visits. She also worked with the association and its members to implement a new corporate identity and communications strategy.
AIJA would like to thank Giuseppe for his dedication and efforts in the last six years. His professionalism and commitment have been a source of inspiration for the team and members. With this leadership change, the association hopes it gains a new partner in the future as Giuseppe will be leading the expansion of the ACC European presence across the continent. He can be contacted at this email.
To learn more about the AIJA team and membership, please go here.
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 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 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.
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 email@example.com.
- 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)
- 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)
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
Newly appointed Commission Officers (for a complete list of commission officers, please click here)
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
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
Vice-President: Marine SIMONNOT
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
President: Jessica KEMP
Vice-President: Guadalupe DIAZ-SUNICO
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Here's what some of our sponsors are saying about this year's Congress:
"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
"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
"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
“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.
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).
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!
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.
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
"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
"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
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: email@example.com. 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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:
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.
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.
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:
- Recognition and strengthening of regional systems such as the African and Inter-American systems to enhance global engagement with human rights issues.
- 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.
- 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
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).
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).
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
Calle Madrid, 135
Game of Funds: The HYC Programme Review
08 January 2018
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
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
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.
Knowing Me, Knowing EU
30 November 2017
What do you really think about the EU? When AIJA was asked by ERA (Academy of European Law) to give a presentation at their Jubilee Congress about the future of the EU, we decided to ask our members just that. The survey results made for a very interesting presentation and debate.
Respondents to the survey were asked what the primary achievement of the EU has been since its existence. The majority (52%) said long lasting peace in Europe, followed by creating a common market (24%) and open borders between member states (14%). Only 5% felt the single currency was its greatest achievement.
Asked to pick one of five potential future scenarios as the most likely direction for the European Union, the top choice (40%) was Member States forming a closer union, with common policy areas such as defence, internal security or taxation. Current examples of this include the EURO zone and the Schengen zone. The next largest group (23%) believed the EU would simply continue on its current form. While only 12% felt the EU would reduce its remit and “do less more efficiently”.
In recent years critical voices of the EU have been successful in referenda or elections in a number of Member States while pro-European parties have suffered electoral losses. When respondents were asked what could have caused this, the most popular answer (35%) said “a lack of recognition of the benefits of the EU” was the main cause followed by a lack of selling power and leadership by pro-European parties regarding the benefits of the EU (30%). Others believed it was the exaggeration of the burdens of the EU (19%) or non-delivery of the promise of European integration (9%).
While immigration is the number one issue raised by anti-EU parties at the ballot box, only 13% of the respondents cite this as the biggest threat to the EU; rather, they say, it is “Lack of solidarity between Member States” (49%) followed by “its democratic/leaderships image” (19%).
So what will the EU look like in 15 years time? That is, of course, anyone’s guess. And the respondents to the survey are roughly split into two camps. Just under 40% believe the EU will either be broken up into smaller pieces, or will actually cease to exist. While almost 56% believe the EU will be broadly similar to its current form or even stronger. But bearing in mind the ‘Brexit’ referendum was carried with only a 48% to 52% split, then 40% versus 56% is a landslide victory for positivity within AIJA for the EU.
AIJA Takes to The Slopes
30 November 2017
Holding a special winter event is fast becoming something of an annual AIJA tradition. And this January will see a double seminar held in Valbella, one of the biggest ski areas in Switzerland. First Roger Federer chose it as his Swiss residence; now AIJA has chosen it for its special winter event.
Jointly hosted by the AIJA M&A and the Private Clients and Litigation Commissions, this will give a chance for a valuable exchange of views. “One often speaks about M&A in general terms and not necessarily making reference to the specific industry sector where a transaction is carried out”, explains Pascal Hubli, Partner of Schellenberg Wittmer and organising committee member. “We are convinced that this seminar will bring some new fresh visions on the subjects. To give an example, the IT and the Fintech sectors are exposed to changes and evolution almost on a daily basis, the legal M&A advice has to adapt and follow this evolution. We are sure there will be very interesting discussions on this!”
Meanwhile the private clients practice and litigation practice related to estate matters “is always a major field and we saw that AIJA had not been offering an exchange on these subjects between the two commissions for quite a long time, so this was a good moment to organise such an event.”
The social program will show the best that the Swiss Alps have to offer. The winter sports on offer in this region are truly amongst the best in the world. The ski region Arosa Lenzerheide offers 225 km of perfect slopes and has one of the highest number of sunny days compared to other Swiss resorts. The OC could negotiate very competitive rates in its first-choice hotel together with substantial reductions on ski passes.
“All dinners during the event will be included in the registration fees and we will offer something new and fresh every night”, says Hubli. “Participants will enjoy local food in typical Swiss places and the charming atmosphere. “The unique combination of mountains, snow, interesting subjects with high-level international speakers and attendees and - of course - some ski makes this an event not to miss”, says Hubli. “This is key for this great event and no doubt this will motivate people to share experiences in the most relaxed and enjoyable way.”
The seminar will commence on the evening of Sunday 21 January 2018. The seminars‘ scientific programs will take place between Monday 22 January 2018 and Wednesday 24 January 2018 in the mornings, with the afternoons reserved for skiing, networking, or a bit of both.
For more information about the event, click here
And The AIJA 2018 Annual Congress Host City Is…?
30 November 2017
With memories of the Tokyo Annual Congress still as fresh as sushi, our thoughts now turn to the host city for the 2018 Congress. And here’s a culinary clue: this time it has more of a ‘Moules et Frites’ flavour. That’s right, it’s Brussels, in Belgium.
Given its central location at the heart of both Europe and the EU seats of power, Brussels is also where AIJA is headquartered.
“The International Young Lawyers’ Congress will reflect the spirit of Brussels”, explains Marie Brasseur, Vice President AIJA Corporate and M&A Commission. “Brussels inhabitants are easy-going people who like to meet with friends and enjoy a good meal. Without changing the fundamentals of an AIJA Congress, our goal is to render the scientific program more attractive for all participants during the whole Congress and to have as much time as possible for participants to interact during the social events.”
Attendees will experience life in the very centre of Brussels with plenty of time to interact with peers in a whole series of settings, including working sessions, the café culture, in the Grand-Place, or one of the city’s many famous public parks.
While the 2018 Congress sees AIJA coming home, the focus of the programme will remain very global in outlook. In fact, the topic of ‘globalisation’ will run throughout the seminar programme.
Given the recent rise of populist, anti-establishment politics in various countries, the entire structure of free trade, free movement and globalisation is being called into question. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law appear to be under threat in many places around the world.
With all these topics in mind, the AIJA Annual Congress 2018 will seek to develop a scientific programme that examines these emerging trends and discusses where we are heading: is it towards greater integration, international co-operation and cross border trade, or in the opposite direction?
“These topics are of crucial importance to young, career building lawyers from around the world”, says Brasseur. “We think that Brussels, as the de facto capital of the EU and a truly international city, is the perfect place to address them.”
The attendees of the Brussels Congress will therefore “have a great opportunity to learn and discuss the challenges we may face in our professional lives in the coming years”, says Grégoire Ryelandt, member of the AIJA Antitrust Commission. “The focus will be on cutting edge international legal developments, with great networking opportunities.”
Keep up to date at http://brussels.aija.org.
Brussels Congress Programme: Is The Dream of Globalisation Over?
30 November 2017
The central theme for the AIJA Annual Congress 2018 in Brussels will be globalisation – but how exactly will that be addressed within the wider scientific programme? According to Andreas White, past president of the AIJA Labour Law Commission, “When we started to plan the scientific programme, it was against the backdrop of global upheaval and uncertainty. So we arrived at the following working title: ‘Imagine all the people: is the dream of globalisation over? Are we heading towards or away from international integration?’”
Established patterns of international trade and commerce, and the national and supranational legal rules that underpin them, appear to be under threat from developments around the world. The seminars currently being finalised by the various commissions will therefore cover the following key topics: cross border transactions and disputes, restrictions on transactions (including antitrust and local regulatory restrictions), the modern international family (from a private client, tax and immigration perspective), global retail (from a real estate and commercial perspective), global employment mobility, the perspective of emerging economies with respect to globalisation, global human rights standards, fake news, and parallel imports.
“At the Brussels Annual Congress 2018, a number of Commissions will be teaming up to organise joint sessions, offering a multidisciplinary view of relevant topics” says Karen Ruback, member of the AIJA Antitrust Commission. “Also, given that globalisation is the basic theme for the Congress, the sessions will likely contain greater emphasis on a comparative analysis of legal systems of different jurisdictions, and discussions on the main challenges when different legal systems apply to a specific matter.”
“We are encouraging AIJA’s 20 scientific (sub)commissions to team up with each other to organise slots on current topics of interest to more than one commission”, says White. “We also encourage them to get as many members as possible actively involved in the preparation of their slot.”
The Voice of the Profession seminar focused on human rights and the joint ABA SIL session are all highly anticipated, and are once again expected to be highlights within the scientific programme.
The plenary session organised by the SCILL Commission, on the last day of the scientific programme, “will offer valuable content to the participants, aiming at developing or improving their skills and identifying the tools to develop a global network and get new clients”, adds Jean-Rodolphe Fiechter, Vice President of the AIJA SCILL Commission. After all, the spirit of AIIJA is not about retreating behind national borders and protectionism – our strength lies in our international network.
Keep up to date at http://brussels.aija.org.
Collaborations and Reflections from the AIJA President
30 November 2017
Being an AIJA President requires a large amount of international travel and this means a lot of hard work, insists Wiebe de Vries, AIJA President. “We maintain very warm ties with the most important international legal organisations”, he says. “We do so by attending their annual conferences and other events where we can, and we meet each other on a variety of occasions throughout the year. During all these meetings we try to have some time to talk about our cooperation in terms of joint events, exchange of panellists and presentations to each other’s members on what our organisations do.”
It also gives de Vries a useful yardstick with which to rate AIJA compared to other legal associations. “If you look at the crowd attending our events obviously this is a different crowd compared to the people attending most of the other associations, as our age limit makes sure we have young people in the rooms”, he says. “Not only in the participants but also the speakers and panellists, though very knowledgeable in terms of content, are relatively younger than the speakers at an event of Union Internationale des Avocats, the International Bar Association, the American Bar Association, or the Inter Pacific Bar Association, to name just a few of them.”
But that doesn’t mean AIJA is seen as less of a ‘heavy-hitter’ – far from it. “AIJA over time has grown to be seen as a serious player” by the other organisations, says de Vries. “We provide quality events, we play our role in the international legal scene if you look at our initiatives and cooperation to defend human rights and the rule of law, and we manage to attract members from all over the world making us rise above our image as a Europe only association.”
His experiences of representing AIJA as its President, at events all over the world, serve to remind him that “first and foremost our mission is to provide the best in terms of events to our members”, he says: “Quality in content and training, with reputable speakers.”
Close ties with other associations also give AIJA members a “soft-landing” when they exceed the AIJA age limit too. “With our natural age limit it is essential that we also give our members some guidance on where they should go next”, says de Vries. “We promote the quality of our members and events to those organisations, and they in turn are interested in getting our members on board and getting them in active roles quickly.”
New AIJA President Wants To “Spice Up Your Life!”
27 October 2017
Newly elected AIJA President Wiebe de Vries may have grown up in the family bookshop but the 2004 graduate from the University of Amsterdam plans to shake things up in his upcoming presidential year.
AIJA needs to be “more global” and maintain its “quality”, says de Vries. In the coming year, he intends to: “challenge our members to keep our high quality as a standard which sets us apart from other international organisations. I have been to a couple of events hosted by other organisations in my year as First Vice President, and in comparison we are really doing a very good job. We must however remain ambitious, critical and keep an open eye for improvements.”
One improvement he has in mind is to make AIJA more accessible to members around the world. Having recently returned from the IBA conference in Sydney, “it was clear that we should be able to service members in Australia, New Zealand and anywhere in that region much more”, he says. “Tokyo was a great move in that direction and I believe through holding such kind of events we attract membership and share the AIJA life with more people around the globe. Obviously this also applies to the Americas, and maybe the most challenging of continents for AIJA to grow: Africa.”
Due to the 45-year-old age limit, says de Vries, “We are the only international legal organisation that loses members every anniversary, which means that we must continue to improve, innovate, keep being attractive to current and new members and make sure we as AIJA members are all ambassadors for AIJA.”
Born and raised in Haarlem, between Amsterdam and the Dutch coast, de Vries moved to Leiden to study civil law, later combining with tax law in Amsterdam. He first worked as a tax lawyer with a big four firm, before joining Dutch law firm Van Doorne in 2005. He attended his first AIJA seminar in 2008, and soon joined the organising committees of a tax seminar in Amsterdam and the annual congress in Amsterdam in 2011.
“The best part of AIJA is that there is actual real interest in each other”, he says. “I always see it as a small village that is built up wherever we go… Both professionally and personally members are aware what is going on and help each other to further their professional careers and enjoy life together.”
That has certainly been de Vries’ experience. In 2014, he left Van Doorne to set up his own successful tax boutique firm. Now AIJA President, his message for members is: “Spice up your life, both professionally and privately, and come to AIJA as much as you can!”
‘Sayounara’ Tokyo, and Thanks for the Memories
27 October 2017
The biggest AIJA event ever held outside of Europe recently came to a close: the annual congress in Tokyo. Unsurprisingly it attracted a huge number of members, eager to visit arguably the world’s most advanced megacity. And the 500 participants in Tokyo were further immersed in technology with the overarching theme of the Congress: AI and Innovation.
The AI theme, covered by every commission, “was a new element of the Congress”, explained Giuseppe Marletta, Association Manager at AIJA. “Usually every commission organises a session independently on hot topics in their legal practice. But this new way of organising it ended up being a real success. It was useful to ‘tell the story’ and give the whole congress an integrated content, looking at the same issue from a number of perspectives.”
Other highlights included the Japanese food hospitality dinner (“the best way to discover Japanese culture from the inside”, said Giuseppe), an e-book project looking at how young lawyers perceive and work with AI today, and top-rated sessions including ‘The Smart Lawyer Leverages AI: Practical Thoughts and IT Tools For Lawyers’. The Congress mobile app was also rated as ‘very useful’ by most attendees.
As ever, the number one reason for attending (cited by 85% of attendees who responded to the Congress Survey), was ‘networking and exchange of views’. The global friendships and contacts made in Tokyo will benefit members’ careers for many years to come. The general organisation of the congress was rated excellent or good by 96% of attendees, while almost 99% said they would be likely to attend another AIJA Annual Congress in the future.
The Tokyo Congress also signalled AIJA’s intention to grow globally, and attract Asian members. “A strong presence of Japanese lawyers as well as Asian participants confirmed a strong interest for AJIA in Asia”, confirmed Giuseppe.
“A special thank you goes to the Japanese hosts who made us all experience Japan in an amazing way”, continued Giuseppe. “Everybody was so impressed and the location gave this congress a very unique flavour. I’d also like to thank all participants for their active participation and the AIJA team who worked hard two years prior to the event and during a busy week in Tokyo and ensured a smooth and enjoyable event for everyone (always with a smile!).” And given they had all the delights of Tokyo – and the AIJA congress – at their disposal, there was a lot to smile about.
Sail Away with AIJA to Bilbao
27 October 2017
Is your knowledge of marine & energy companies insolvency ‘all at sea’? Then the recent cross-commission seminar in Bilbao could have been for you. The Seminar is the result of the shared efforts of three different AIJA Commissions – Transport Law, Insolvency Law and Energy Law – and was devoted to the topic marine & energy companies insolvency.
Following the financial crisis in 2008, both the maritime and energy sectors have been seriously and adversely affected, resulting in remarkable cross-border insolvencies of large or leading corporations in the field.
“The international legal practice has been shocked in the last few years with international insolvency cases that have affected both energy and maritime companies around the globe”, explains Javier Zabala, Member of the Organising Committee. “The implications, difficulties and need of professional advice are huge and the different approaches that we are seeing from the different jurisdictions require an overview to provide legal practitioners the full picture of what is going on and how to better assist either the debtors or the creditors´ needs”. The Organising Committee has therefore put a lot of effort into booking speakers, both from the private practice and from the industry, who have the relevant experiences with in-depth knowledge.
The modernisation of the Bay of Biscay makes Bilbao - a metropolis of more than one million people - a very suitable setting for this seminar. “In the heart of the Basque Country, Bilbao is a cosmopolitan, open, welcoming, lively, elegant and modern city just a few kilometres from the sea”, says Javier. “It is a natural destination for congresses and conventions thanks to, amongst other things, its international reputation in trade, shipping and industry.” The event was also strongly supported by different Basque institutions such as Deusto University, the Basque Government, the Port Authority, and many others.
Alongside a “truly interesting scientific program” there was also be “an epic bunch of social activities that left all participants with a smile from ear to ear on their way back home”, enthuses Javier. This included a cocktail reception at the Port Authority Palace, a ‘pintxos’ food tour of the city, a river cruise, and a guided tour of the amazing Guggenheim Museum.
Dinner at the “Sociedad Bilbaina”, a well-known and respected English social club in the city, was also followed by a live rock concert in the club´s discotheque. If the maritime topic failed to leave you with ‘sea legs’, then Javier’s hospitality certainly didn’t!
Career Barriers for Women Highlighted in Tokyo
27 October 2017
For many who attended the Tokyo conference, the prestigious Voice of the Profession session on Women in Law & Innovation was a stand-out event.
The impact of innovation on the future of the legal profession and gender equality in leadership positions is a topic of crucial importance to young lawyers who are building careers and families simultaneously. With many firms experiencing intake rates of 50% women or more, limiting their career advancement would cause a distinct competitive disadvantage.
The keynote speaker Tsukiko Tsukahara, vice-president of Catalyst Japan, a leading global non-profit organisation accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion, covered everything from how the gender landscape differs in the US versus Japanese Law firms to how inclusion predicts rates of innovation (clue: there is a strong link). She also provided her top takeaways for audience members to advance their career, including “be an inclusive leader, challenge stereotypes in yourself and others”, and “make this everyone’s problem to solve.” Additionally, Tsukiko pointed out that “gender diversity is not only women’s issue but an issue for creating innovation.” Regarding how inclusive leadership behaviours could result in innovation, she believes “inclusive leadership behaviours realize psychological safety in people’s minds that enable people, team, citizenship and individual innovation. Everyone, not only the people at the very top of the organisation, can role model as an inclusive leader, yet you can start with EACH behavior to influence people and create an inclusive workplace.”
In the following interactive debate that was moderated by Orsolya Görgényi, Immediate Past President of AIJA, Partner at Szecskay in Budapest, some strong views exchanged regarding gender inequality. Sara Sandford, Immediate Past Chair of International Law and Owner Garvey Schubert Barer, US, commented on her previous experiences of working in Japan: “When I first worked in Japan, I definitely experienced different treatment than men. In fact, I was told they wanted to hire me but needed to get permission from others to hire a woman, because they had recently hired two other women and maybe the partners didn’t want so many women.”
While being clear that women are no more or less innovative than men, “I absolutely believe that adding diversity increases the quality of what we do because more people with varied perspectives bring varied ideas”, said Sara. “Also, diversity of our firm’s lawyers and staff allows our firm to relate to different clients, bringing greater understanding of a clients’ goals and objectives.” During the debate Hilarie Bass, President of the American Bar Association, Partner of Greenberg Traurig in Miami spoke on the unconscious bias and the ABA's initiatives in gender issues.
The second keynote speaker of the night, Dana Denis-Smith, added: "in the US and the UK, countries with a longer history of women being allowed to practise law, the challenge is one of leadership... Leading by example and getting women involved with the regulators, in the international debate and generally with policy making is important in order to shape the future landscape of the profession.”
Taking inspiration from the surroundings, Dana believed that maintaining equality and diversity is akin to tending a formal Japanese garden: “equality can easily fall out of shape at the drop of a stone. So we must continue to pursue equality but recognising its fragility."
AIJA’s Half Year Conference (HYC) to Visit the Land of Game of Thrones
27 October 2017
The AIJA November Half Year Conference (HYC) will deal with two striking topics “Crowdfunding & Alternative Financing” and “Film Industry Law”, in an equally striking destination: Girona, Spain.
The seminar programme, jointly hosted by the Banking, Finance and Capital Markets Commission the Intellectual Property, Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Commission and the M&A and International Business Law Commission (among others), tackles innovative topics and emerging trends.
“The economy is changing on an ongoing basis, and the models of economy and sources of financing are not an exception”, explains Cristina Hernandez-Marti, Co-chair of the OC. “Nowadays, alternative financing including crowdfunding is an essential topic to discuss and understand.” The seminar will include sessions on fintech and regulated financial entities, angel investors, and accelerators vs incubators.
The Film Industry Law seminar will focus on cinematographic rights, from an IP perspective and private law intricacies governing the copyright of the audio-visual work. “We intend to deal with the latest court decisions and new laws, not only from a European perspective”, says Hernandez-Marti. “We thought Girona would be a great venue for hosting this topic after Game of Thrones was filmed in this city.”
But Game of Thrones is far from Girona’s only claim to fame. Rich in history, gastronomy and medieval architecture, it is an experience not to be missed. Girona is home to one of the best restaurants in the world and some of Spain’s wildest coastal scenery is just half an hour away (la “Costa Brava”).
“The HYC is one of the most cherished AIJA experiences for members”, enthuses Pablo Vinageras, Co-chair of the OC. “It has a great scientific program but also highlights the substance of AIJA: networking opportunities through an enriching gathering of young lawyers.”
“We are excited about showing Girona to AIJA and eager to show all the charm Girona has to offer to its visitors”, says Vinageras. The social programme certainly aims to do just that, starting with a cocktail dinner at the private club “Casino of Girona” in the centre of Girona, founded in 1848. On Thursday, dinner will be served in Mas Marroc, owned by the world-renowned Roca Brothers (of Celler de Can Roca, the third best restaurant in the world). On Friday, local attorneys even open their houses to AIJA attendees to sample the local hospitality – “this is one of the best moments of the HYC, says Vinageras, “where a diverse melting pot of young lawyers get to know each other tasting local gastronomy and sharing AIJA’s spirit”. And finally on Saturday the closing dinner will be held in the breath-taking San Gregori Castle.
You don’t have to be a Game of Thrones fan to enjoy this one! With around 200 lawyers expected to attend from around the world, the HYC in Girona will truly live long in the memory.
To register, please visit: www.aija.org/en/event-detail/361
Open Your Own Law Firm and Let It Grow
27 October 2017
A recent joint seminar in Ljubljana, organised by the Skills, Career, Innovation, Leadership and Learning Commission (SCILL) and the Corporate Council Commission (CC), aimed to attract lawyers who like the idea of opening an independent practice. The location itself also attracted lawyers from Central and Eastern Europe and from ex-Yugoslavia, and purposefully mixed older alumni members with the younger AIJA intake.
“The programme was structured to provide business knowledge – preparing the business strategy, developing the market, etc. – with practical insights and the steps one needs to take”, informs Maks Prokop, Local Organising Committee member.
The inclusion of older Alumni members also proved an unexpected bonus for some of the younger members, says Maks: “the main point of the seminar turned out to be the exchange of views and experiences and the sharing of tips and tricks. It was an interesting panel that, in my opinion, brought something useful to every participant.”
For Agnès Proton, Alumni Member and AIJA Honorary Secretary General, this was the first AIJA seminar she had attended since 2015. “I realised how much I missed the very special atmosphere of the AIJA seminars where a maximum 50 people attend. They are more intimate, so you get to meet and exchange with all attendees”, she says.
Those in attendance were able to share topics of interest, such as when and how to form a partnership, building up a clientele, attracting new potential clients while keeping current clients satisfied, and setting up an efficient network (both local and international). “Regarding networking, as a solo practitioner myself”, says Agnès, “I made the point of demonstrating that ‘solo’ does not mean ‘alone’ and that networking is crucial. From that perspective I, along with other “oldies” who were speakers at this seminar, confirmed that joining AIJA had been the best move we had ever made in our legal careers!”
The mingling between young members and alumni made for a special event, says Agnes. “It really felt like there was no gap between newcomers and older members (like me), and I could see that everyone enjoyed equally the high quality of the scientific and social programs, the beautiful venue, the perfect organisation, and the warm welcoming from the locals.” An optional food tour on the Saturday also proved a big success, she says.
“People visibly enjoyed the programme”, agrees Maks, adding that friendly debates continued even throughout the coffee breaks. The location was a hit too. “People were positively surprised with Ljubljana and its energy – for a majority of attendees, this was their first time in Ljubljana. The atmosphere was great, and the whole group was very connected.”
AIJA Supports Syrian Lawyers with English Courses
27 October 2017
For the past two years, AIJA has proudly sponsored English classes for Syrian refugees from the legal profession. The classes in Turkey are organised by ILAC, an association co-founded also by AIJA, aiming to empower lawyers, judges other legal professionals who had to flee their country because of the war.
“After the circumstances that took place in Syria, many lawyers and judges left Syria because of many tough reasons”, explains Mazin Al-Balkhi, ILAC Syria Team Leader. “The idea was to start an English language course that to help many Syrian lawyers and judges to cope with the difficult circumstances, find new jobs in their fields, and ultimately contribute to rebuilding the legal system in Syria.”
The location of the school - Gaziantep in Turkey – was chosen because of its high concentration of lawyers and judges. The participants were nominated by ILAC according to their legal qualifications in the field and a recruitment process for teaching which saw Ammar Abu Hemeda successfully apply.
“The results are good and we have achieved positive progress”, informs Abu Hemeda.“The number of students is increasing and we have had strong numbers until now. The goal is to reach an intermediate level by September 2017 so that we can begin with a new more advanced level providing advanced grammar and texts to achieve the mission of the program successfully.”
The participants, aged between 20 and 49, and a mix of both men and women, are all lawyers, judges and legal activists. The course is divided into two main parts: general and academic English, and legal texts.
“The course helps the participants in improving their jobs and communicating and reading legal texts in English as much as they can”, says Abu Hemeda.“The course also helps them in keeping them up to date with the latest news in English language. The participants are keen to learn English in order to read more about European law hoping that they can participate in hammering out new laws in the future.”
Amongst the many inspirational stories, the most remarkable one is Mr. Al Hassan’s story, says Al-Balkhi. “Mr. Nasser Al Hassan is a judge from Homs, Syria, and he is 49 years old. He attended the classes regularly and showed great commitment to learn the language, although he has not dealt with it for 25 years! Amazingly he coped with the difficulties and achieved great success. He got a new and appropriate job in the legal field”. He made it, he says, thanks to AIJA.
Girona is open for registrations
19 September 2017
Have you heard that the Girona November Conference is now open for registrations? Make sure you register soon to take advantage of early rates!
It promises to be another AIJA great event.
New Appointments 2017/18
18 September 2017
Dear AIJA Members, Dear Friends,
thrilling days of our Annual Congress are now over and a new AIJA year has just begun.
It is therefore with great pleasure that I officially communicate the results of the recent elections held during the General Assembly, which took place in Tokyo last September 1st, together with the new appointments in the different bodies of our Association approved by the Executive Committee during the meeting on the same day.
Let’s welcome together the outstanding commitment and essential contribution of these newly elected Officers!
- Wiebe de Vries, President
- David Frølich, Immediate Past President
- Xavier Costa Arnau, First Vice President (elected by the General Assembly)
- Lara Vivas, Treasurer (elected by the General Assembly)
- Emiliano Ganzarolli, Secretary General.
- Anita Gerdin, Co-Chair
- Justus Jansen, Co-Chair (newly appointed)
- François Barré, Co-Chair (newly appointed)
Law Course Committee
- Ned Beale, Co-Chair
- Cristina Hernandez-Marti Perez, Co-Chair
- Kristine Zvejniece, Co-Chair (newly appointed)
Forum of the Commissions
- David Diris, Co-Chair
- Pablo Vinageras, Co-Chair (newly appointed)
- Ulku Solak, Co-Chair (newly appointed)
Human Rights Committee
- David Frølich,, Chair Coordinator
- Christian Presoly, Co-Chair
- Gülsüm Aslan, Co-Chair
- Nicolas Thieltgen, Co-Chair
Newly elected Executive Committee Members (in alphabetical order)
- Mariella Bade-Landell
- Ricardo Gama
- Catrice Gayer
- Nicolas Herren
- Moritz Maurer
- Giovanni Patti
- Julia Pekkala
- Clara Poglia
- Ioan Radu
- Pierre-Yves Samson
- Johannes Struck
- Pieter Van Den Broeck
- Jorge Vigil
- Donata Von Enzberg
- Gustavo Yanes
They will join the other Executive Committee members elected in the past years who are still in office.
Newly appointed National Representatives and contact persons (for a complete list of National Representatives and local contacts, please click here)
Arthur Stussi Neves
Juan Ignacio San Martín
- Czech Republic
- Slovak Republic
Emelie Svensater Jentorpa
- Switzerland (Regional)
Aurelie Conrad Hari
- United Kingdom
- United Arab Emirates
Omar Al Heloo
Jose Miguel Algorta
Antonio Villa (as contact person)
Newly appointed Commission Officers (for a complete list of commission officers, please click here)
Eva Bonacker, President
Sophie Gilliam, Vice-president
Pauline Le More, Vice-president
- Banking Finance & Capital Markets Law
Jennifer Maxwell, President
Natalia Danilova, Vice-president
- Corporate and M&A
Moritz Maurer, Vice-president
Marie Brasseur, Vice-president
- Corporate Counsel
Elina Girne, President
Maks Prokop, Vice-president
- Environment and energy law
Daria Capotorto, Vice-president
Jeroen De Coninck, Vice-president
- Insolvency Law
Sophia Rolle-Kapousouzoglou, Vice-president
Arpad Gered, President
Silvia Van Schaik, Vice-president
Pascal Boehner, Vice-president
- International arbitration
Eduardo De La Peña Bernal, Vice-president
- International Business Law
Milena Prisco, President
Bruno Guarnieri, Vice-president
- Labour and Employment Law
Jan-Ove Becker, President
Caroline Barbe, Vice-president
- Skills, Career, Innovation, Leadership and Learning (SCILL)
Orsolya Görgény, Vice-president
- Tax Law
Johan Myren, President
Aliasghar Kanani, Vice-president
- T.R.A.D.E. - Trade, Retail, Agency, Distribution, E-commerce
Benedikt Rohrßen, Vice-president
- Transport Law
Javier Zabala, President
Lucas Marques, Vice-president
Jeremy Herschaft, Vice-president
Cherry Almeida, Vice-president
Please join me congratulating them for their appointment and with a warm welcome to their new AIJA positions!
AIJA Secretary General
Letter to the Polish President
20 July 2017
On behalf of AIJA – International Young Lawyers Association – I would like to express our great concern with recent legislative changes of the judicial system in Poland, passed by the Polish Parliament on July 12, 2017, i.e. the act on the National Council of the Judiciary and the act on Organization of Common Courts. This concern also extends to the legislative plans concerning composition of the Polish Supreme Court.
Independent judicial system is a foundation of rule of law. Only independent courts may provide effective protection to basic human
rights, including right to fair trial. The system, which apparently has been created by recent legislative changes, and those only contemplated, in which the legislative (parliament) and executive power (Ministry of Justice) shall have direct influence over appointment of judges, is a denial of independence. In fact, the system so created will be entirely depended from the executive power. If these laws enter into force, it means that individuals in Poland will no longer have access to independent courts within the meaning of Article 6.1 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which reads:
In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public
hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.
AIJA, as a global organization gathering young lowers from all over the world, is committed to defend and take active part in promoting core legal principles, such as the rule of law and human rights. In this capacity, we urge the President of Republic of Poland, to use all powers vested to you by Polish Constitution, including the veto right, to provide effective protection of basic human rights in Poland and prevent entry into force of the legislative changes which will deny the protection of human rights.
David Frølich, President of AIJA
AIJA and e-voting
20 June 2017
AIJA is a living association, where the commitment of each member is crucial to the success of the whole organisation. And nowhere is this more evident than during our elections.
Once a year at the Annual Congress, the General Assembly of Members is called to elect two very important bodies for the management of AIJA: the Executive Committee and the Bureau. In previous years this had to be done on paper, in person. But early in 2016, when AIJA launched an extensive online survey, members called for a stronger and more effective participation in the life of the association and in particular an e-voting system.
“After a long reflection last year we have changed our statutes to allow remote voting to the General Assembly”, explains Emiliano Ganzarolli, AIJA Secretary General. The full e-voting will be in place by next year (2018) but this year already the proxy allocation will be done electronically.
“This change will allow all our members to actively participate in the most important meeting of the year: the meeting where the Officers of the Bureau and the Executive Committee are elected, the meeting where all the bodies of AIJA report to the members on the activities carried on in the past year and where the plans and projects for the development and expansion of our association are launched. I am confident that many members will take the opportunity of being personally involved and express their opinion, thanks to the new system.”
Before the Annual Congress in Tokyo all members will be allowed to assign a proxy electronically: this is a very first step towards the complete electronic casting of votes.
After the Congress in Tokyo, AIJA will start testing the software with its technology partners, for fully electronic voting to be in place for the 2018 Congress.
However, the reasons for attending the Annual Congress in person are only enhanced, not reduced. “Young lawyers from all over the world gather during the Annual Congress for the experience of sharing knowledge, enthusiasm, energy, ideas, for meeting old friends and making new ones”, says Ganzarolli. “Our members will never stop to take a plane to enjoy the full experience of an Annual Congress”.
Make sure your vote counts this year. Any member with voting rights is eligible to become a Member of the Bureau or of the Executive Committee, and all members are entitled to vote, either directly or by proxy.
AIJA Human Rights Committee Update
20 June 2017
The Human Rights Committee (HRC) – the AIJA body committed to supporting human rights and advocating the independence of lawyers and the rule of law – has been very busy of late.
Already in the past year, the Voice of the Profession at AIJA’s 2016 Annual Congress in Munich – organised in cooperation with the Deutscher Anwaltverein (DAV) and Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) – talked about the role of lawyers in relation to refugees in Europe, the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
The HRC continued its efforts to raise awareness about the situation of refugees in Europe by organising a session titled “The Mediterranean Sea: a big refugee graveyard – is Italy the only one trying to stop this?” for AIJA’s 2016 November Half Year Conference in Verona. “Thanks to the valuable insights provided by Italian human rights experts”, explains Gülsüm Aslan, Co-chair Human Rights Committee, “the session highlighted the perspective of Italy as one of the immediate destinations of most Mediterranean refugees, the rights of refugees at sea and their rights once they set foot in Europe.”
The latest session organised by the HRC for this year’s May Half Year Conference held in Riga was titled “Fake news: an insidious threat to human rights?” to discuss the problem of fake news in connection with the right to information and the freedom of speech.
In addition to awareness-raising, the HRC also puts its money where its mouth is. Thanks to donations made to AIJA´s ‘SOS Avocats’ fund, AIJA donated EUR 10,000 to ASF in February of this year in support of ASF’s work to defend endangered lawyers and human rights.
“The right of every individual to a fair trial and effective access to legal representation is central to the HRC programme”, explains Aslan. “For this purpose, the HRC cooperates with both AIJA members and other organisations in supporting initiatives and activities related to these topics with funds that are made available through AIJA’s ‘SOS Avocats’ programme.”
One of these organisations, of which AIJA is a proud member, is the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) that plays an important role in supporting post-conflict countries. Since 2015, AIJA has collaborated with ILAC in providing targeted English courses to Syrian lawyers and judges who were forced to flee to Turkey due to the conflict. The English courses are supported by AIJA’s ‘SOS Avocats’ fund.
In March 2017, the HRC had the honour of being able to participate in the “ILAC Syria Program Meeting” in Istanbul to discuss the development of a road map and strategy for the implementation of ILAC’s Syria program for the 2017-2020 period.
Currently, the HRC is preparing for the Annual Congress in Tokyo, which will include a session on human rights in the automation age. There will be plenty of fun events too, says Aslan: “the HRC will organise the traditional Human Rights Run through Tokyo and is working on realising a flashmob – also a tradition - in Tokyo!”
Winner of the Best International Future Lawyer Award announced
19 June 2017
It was difficult for the Jury this year to decide on the winner of the second edition of the Best International Future Lawyer Award.
A number of good essays on "The impact of technology on the law and/or on the legal profession" were received.
The essay "Will the increasing use of technology in law invigorate or diminish legal professionalism as the nature of information in the Digital Society changes?" by British citizen Ms Lorraine Chimbga has been chosen by the Judging Panel 2017 as the best essay of this edition.
Lorraine Chimbga's essay explores the often-overlooked historical development and relationship between technology and the legal profession, rather than the various technologies themselves that have been earmarked as causing disruption to the legal sector.
She focuses on the nature of information and how as we move from a world where value is held in the physical (atoms) to living in a 'digital world' where value is held in bits, it calls for a re-thinking of the grand bargain that society has struck with the profession as the 'gatekeepers' of legal expertise. She demonstrates that in the same way that the printing press revolutionized legal practice, the increasing use of technology does not diminish the legal profession where it actively develops, adapts and harnesses technology in order to once again define and set the parameters of what legal professionalism as a public good entails in the Digital Age.
Lorraine graduated in July 2016 from University College London (UCL) Laws with an LLB. She also attended the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where she took a module in Information Technology Law and developed her interest in technology and what it means for the legal profession.
Lorraine also sits on the advisory board for the Society of Computers and Law, the leading UK organisation focusing on the development of IT-related law, helping to raise awareness and fostering the understanding of Information Technology law as a subject and giving the next generation of lawyers an awareness of Information Technology law as a legal specialty."
According to the terms of the award, Lorraine will be awarded with:
- Free AIJA membership until 31 December 2017
- Publication of her essay through AIJA website and social media
- An invitation to attend free of charge, travel and accommodation included, the International Young Lawyers' Congress taking place in Tokyo in August 2017
At AIJA we are all very excited to offer these great benefits to Lorraine, and about the overall increasing attention over the Best International Future Lawyer Award.
Call notice for new Commissions Presidents and Vice-Presidents
16 June 2017
We hereby inform and remind you that as from the Tokyo Congress (August-September 2017) a number of presidents and vice-presidents of Commissions will be stepping down, be it because of the end of their three-year term, be it for other reasons.
Any active member of AIJA is eligible to present his/her candidature for the Commission he/she is interested in. It is of course advisable to have already been active in that Commission and it is preferable to discuss in advance a candidature with the relevant Commission’s president.
We will pay a lot of attention to the quality of the action plans that are to be filed with any application and we will consider the opportunity to interview the candidates.
The presidency as well as a vice-presidency of a Commission is a position that gives a lot of visibility within AIJA and to the outside, and we encourage you to take the challenge and assume the responsibility. It is a serious undertaking and includes presence requirements for the Annual Congress, the half-year Conferences and seminars initiated or co-organized by the Commission for three years.
Please send your application with your action plan (focusing on the scientific projects, promotional activities and dynamic actions you envisage for the Commission for the three years to come) by 4 July 2017 to the attention of:
- Martine Hoogendoorn: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Xavier Costa : email@example.com
- David Diris : firstname.lastname@example.org
with a copy to the Commission President.
The positions open as of the Annual Congress 2017 are available HERE.
AIJA’s 55th Birthday Celebration and Launch of the Alumni Club
11 May 2017
AIJA is about to turn 55, and that will be celebrated in style in Amsterdam! Kicking off on Friday 23 June with cocktails and "Bitterballen" (traditional Dutch snacks), the Saturday program will include a seminar and an AIJA-style Gala Dinner. Together with the Bureau, a small team of active members of the OC Amsterdam 2017 has set up a nice program.
To mark this historic event, AIJA will also be launching its Alumni Club – a platform for all former AIJA members to stay in touch and up to date even after moving on in their careers. For that purpose, everyone who has ever been a member is invited to sign up for the Alumni Club by clicking HERE.
“AIJA will always remain an association for young lawyers but we recognise the potential of keeping older members informed and part of the network”, explains the new AIJA Alumni Coordinator, Michiel Groenland. “The Alumni Club gives AIJA an elegant possibility to keep connected with its alumni, whilst securing the age limit. Our Alumni are AIJA's best ambassadors and supporters to bring in young colleagues to AIJA. It is also a good way to value the great contributions the AIJA members have given over the years, building the AIJA spirit to what it has become today… This birthday party is the first step in reaching out to this large alumni group.”
Celebrating AIJA's birthday every fifth year has become something of a tradition, and indeed will happen again in 2022 for the 60th anniversary celebrations. Each party therefore aims to be one to live long in the memory. As well as the cocktails and dinners, the Amsterdam event will include, “a scientific program, organised by a great team of working coordinators, about the strategic key issues on digital transformation and law firm management”, explains Groenland. “This topic will be of great interest for both AIJA’s alumni and members, and there is plenty of time to meet old friends within the program, in an inspiring environment – the museum district is in walking distance.”
But the overall aim of the event – and for the newly launched AIJA Alumni Club – is a celebration of the AIJA family and its ability to build long-lasting, global friendships, even as the years go by. AIJA values all its members, including its alumni, who together have helped build up the association to what it is now.
“I am sure that this Network will generate a lot of energy from the participants and that in itself will make Amsterdam a must-attend”, says Groenland. “It brings back and facilitates the old friendships as experienced during their time of active membership. Of course there is a flavour of nostalgia too, which may certainly renew old connections”. And there is a big benefit for the existing ‘class of 2017’ too – the chance to strengthen connections with senior lawyers, who truly share and understand the value of the AIJA experience.
Join us in Amsterdam on 23-24 June to celebrate AIJA’s 55th Birthday and the launch of the AIJA Alumni Club. Please share with alumni colleagues.
For more information and to register, click HERE
AIJA, Shortlisted for the Best Association Award at the Association Excellence Awards 2017
04 April 2017
AIJA was shortlisted for the Best Association Award at the Association Excellence Awards 2017.
Unfortunately the Award went to another association, but it is certainly a privilege for us to be admitted to the “Olympus of International Associations”.
AIJA received gratifying comments from the judges, including:
“This is an exciting organisation which has great prospects for growth and influence. Is clearly making an impact”
“Good support for members. Imaginative meetings and events”
“A global membership organisation with a reach of approximately 450,000 young lawyers around the world. Excellent twitter campaign on matters of global importance such as human rights. Key achievement this year is a Brussels head office.”
Young Lawyers Prepare for the 55th International Young Lawyer’s Congress 2017
21 March 2017
Young Lawyers Prepare for the 55th International Young Lawyer’s Congress 2017
Places for this year’s AIJA Annual Congress, held for the very first time in Tokyo, are booking up fast. And with good reason. The 55th Annual Congress, held from 28 August to 1 September, promises to be the best one yet.
The scientific programme spans all legal areas from human rights to banking law. But this year will include a major focus on Artificial Intelligence. Technology and AI are no longer simply science fiction, but are increasingly entering the world of law firms and their clients. The current and future delivery of legal advice is rapidly changing, as shown by digital attorneys, capable of mining facts and drawing conclusions from over a billion legal text documents in a second. AIJA Tokyo 2017 will enhance your understanding of how these shifting external environments impact on your own practice areas. The focus will be on how you, as lawyers, might lead your firms and clients through these rapid changes.
Where better to understand and embrace the emergence of AI and the rapidly changing technology market, than Tokyo: arguably the world’s most dynamic technology centre? At the 2017 Congress, you will meet many Japanese attorneys, in-house counsels and business leaders and have the opportunity to learn directly about the challenges and opportunities of doing business and law in Japan and across Asia.
Aside from the scientific programme, “attendees should not miss the Voice of the Profession Session,” advises Christine Masure, the Congress Events Manager. “This year it will focus on ‘The impact of innovation on the future of the legal profession and gender equality in leadership positions’. In terms of social programmes, the Tokyo Congress will feature a mixture of high tech and traditional events with the Opening Ceremony showing the technology aspects of Tokyo, while the Gala Dinner will highlight the more traditional aspects of the Japanese culture. The Day Out on Thursday afternoon will allow participants to visit in a fun and interactive way key areas of Tokyo and discover remarkable sites of the city.”
“We have so far a very good rate of 200 pre-registered participants. We are expecting 450 to 500 delegates from all over the world. Special rates will be offered for lawyers under 35, in-house counsellors, speakers, local Asian lawyers,” said Masure.
For first time visitors and returning travellers alike, Tokyo offers an amazing cultural experience. Home to the most Michelin starred restaurants in the world and birthplace of popular culture sensations such as Anime and Manga, with ancient traditions such as kimonos and Shinto temples never too far away – this would truly be an experience you would never forget. Explore the full agenda and event schedule of the 55th International Young Lawyer’s Congress 2017 in Tokyo. Register now to take advantage of the special registration rates! Visit http://tokyo.aija.org/.
Artificial Intelligence: One Overarching Theme for AIJA’s Tokyo Congress 2017
21 March 2017
Artificial Intelligence: One Overarching Theme for AIJA’s Tokyo Congress 2017
So, how will the single theme format for this year’s annual Congress work exactly? How will the programme differ from previous years? Work Coordinators responsible for arranging the Tokyo Congress, Alex Fox, Stefanie Tack, and Takahiko Itoh, are happy to bring us up to speed: “Day 1 will be focused very much on creating the foundations of knowledge with regard to AI, including top industry speakers and interactive sessions. Day 2 will focus more on commercial/M&A issues and Day 3 on contentious matters. Throughout Days 2 and 3, there will also be specialised sessions on your dedicated legal disciplines and how AI can best interact. Therefore, if you want to understand how e-money works, why robots are environmentally well disposed off or how technology is going to impact at the point of death, etc., there will be something for all of you.”
As this is the first AIJA Congress that will have an over-arching theme running through out all the sessions, incorporating AI into the overall program has been a challenge for the conference organisers, but one that has been embraced by all. “As with all changes, it has taken sometime to communicate the changes and implement them in a structured manner,” said Stefanie Tack of the organising committee. “It is very interesting that some representatives have been demanding ‘where are the rules?’ While others have come up with more elaborate ideas to present as the August Congress approaches. All these ideas have been incorporated as far as is practicable.”
The single theme format is not the only change to the Congress this year. The keynote external industry speakers will also be much more involved and the workshop formula is set to establish an interactive “community” to this Congress from the start.
“As we come towards Tokyo, prepare for the unexpected,” advises Alex Fox. “We are here to learn techniques and concepts that will be unfamiliar to you, but ones on which you will be able to apply both within your law firm, but also with your clients as their business grows alongside and with the benefit of AI. Tokyo is the place for technology and AIJA is the place to find out more with regard to working with AI.”
If you are not already part of the Tokyo Congress Whatsapp Group (mobile number +447779232234), please ask and you will be put on to the community which is already discussing AI developments and how this may be articulated at the Congress and beyond. Interesting articles are periodically posted, as are discussions and questions. Get involved, and get prepared for the most technological advanced Congress to date! Visit http://tokyo.aija.org/.
Surveying the Impact of AI on Today’s Young Lawyers
21 March 2017
Surveying the Impact of AI on Today’s Young Lawyers
Are you afraid of robots taking your job? With the subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI) providing the central theme for this year’s Annual Congress in Tokyo, AIJA thought it would conduct a survey to ask what the main AI concerns – and perceived opportunities – are amongst members.
Aurélie Conrad Hari, President of the AIJA Litigation Commission and Partner at Bär & Karrer Ltd, who led the survey together with Eleni Polycarpou, Special Counsel and Co-Head of Arbitration at Withers LLP, explained: “When AI was given as the topic for the Tokyo congress, all the commissions were very enthusiastic because AI is such a hot topic at the moment across the board in various industries. And yet, whilst being aware of the existence of AI, most lawyers probably still think they will not be so easily replaceable by robots. But the world is changing and lawyers, like everyone else, are surrounded by expanding volumes of data.”
Having a single theme running through all subject areas and commissions at the AIJA Congress has never been done before. However, when the scientific programme for Tokyo was being put together, it quickly became clear that a common theme was emerging, said Hari, including: “The liability for the robots or self-driven cars, e-disclosure, AI assistance in sorting out documents or information.” So we wanted to start to raise awareness of AI among the legal community and find out what was happening on the ground, and what members wanted to know more about. This was the purpose of the survey.”
In-keeping with the interactive approach taken by the Congress organisers, the AIJA survey reached out to members and find out more about AI in their various jurisdictions and practice specialisms. The answers will then be used to feed into each of the practice areas at the Congress. The initial findings, informed Eleni Polycarpou, who will present the results of the survey at the Congress, show that, “some firms are much more advanced in their use of AI than anticipated, and have formed special groups which are currently piloting fascinating AI technologies such as ROSS and other AI machine learning technologies such as Neota Logic and RAVN. We look forward to hearing from the lawyers at those firms at the Tokyo Congress about the practical experience in this new world.”
Be part of AIJA’s upcoming Tokyo Congress 2017 and learn more about how AI is impacting the legal environment. Visit http://tokyo.aija.org/.
International Young Lawyers’ Congress shortlisted at the European Association Awards 2017 for the Best Association Conference
09 December 2016
A prestigious panel of judges, experts of community and association management, have included the highlight of the AIJA year, the annual International Young Lawyers’ Congress, among the top events in the association world.
Giuseppe Marletta, AIJA Association Manager, says that “The International Young Lawyers’ Congress is not just another annual event of one of the many associations out there. It is an innovative concept that changes every year and adapts to the needs of the membership base”. An elaborated puzzle of informative sessions, together with an outstanding social programme, make this event a must-attend for the international young lawyers’ community. Giuseppe adds that “all those extras, like home hospitality at locals’ houses, flashmob and sports activities, a top-notch mobile application, coaching sessions…are all direct benefits to attendees who find the best networking opportunities all under one roof”.
The award ceremony will take place on 24 February 2017 in Brussels at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel.
Another AIJA story, François Barre - the new National Representative of France for AIJA
24 October 2016
His compatriot Edith Piaf may have famously sang “Je ne regrette rien”, but François Barre, the new AIJA National Representative of France, does have one regret, he says: “It’s not joining AIJA earlier in my career.”
“AIJA is a long-term gold mine,” he enthuses. “When I attended my first conference in Barcelona, it was very impressive. Everybody seemed to know everyone, talking on a first name basis, laughing and hugging. When I asked some of them ‘how long have you been here’ and they answered ‘I started a couple of years ago’, it blew me away! I couldn’t believe you could connect so quickly and easily with other lawyers. AIJA makes it easy.”
Barre was appointed along with other incoming National Representatives at this year’s AIJA General Assembly (all the national appointments can be found here. Having previously worked in the UK for several years, Barre has long known the value of international connections. “An international network is mandatory if you want to help a client throughout his business,” he says. “Whilst checking out the international associations available in France, AIJA was always my preference as it was focused on ‘young’ lawyers.” Now an Attorney at Azamdarley Associes in Paris, he is a regular face at AIJA events. “Behind every drink, every social event, every glittery gala, hides an inexhaustible source of knowledge, held by smart, brilliant, proactive lawyers from around the world,” he says. “AIJA makes you smarter. You start thinking globally, you exchange on various topics and realise how little you know regarding your fields of intervention, you draft a map of international issues in your core specialty – whilst having fun and developing a precious international network of top quality professionals.”
However, he also believes that “you can’t limit AIJA to just a networking organisation. It goes much deeper. This experience is always hard to describe to newcomers, family, or even to your firm! People welcome you with open arms. You travel the world to meet young friends, sharing privileged moments.”
As France’s National Representative, François’ role is to recruit new members, be the liaison with local and national Bars, and be an ambassador of AIJA. All of which clearly comes naturally to him. His message to potential new members is simple: “Join us. NOW! You’ll travel, you’ll learn, you’ll have fun, you’ll meet tons of interesting people, discuss mind-blowing topics, establish durable contacts and start doing serious business.” And you’ll regret it if you don’t.
Opportunities on Being an AIJA Scholar
30 September 2016
[caption id="attachment_7658" align="alignleft" width="165"] Tatiana Abarca[/caption]
Did you know that AIJA sponsors international scholarships? The AIJA scholarship programme allows young lawyers with limited financial resources to attend the annual congress and other events free of charge. In order to be considered for the AIJA scholarship, applicants need to submit an application which demonstrates how attending the AIJA events will benefit them, the absence of alternative financial means, and how their participation would serve the overall objectives and goals of AIJA.
In 2016, scholarships were awarded to Tatiana Abarca of Costa Rica, and Brenda Mwango Kemunto from Kenya.
Tatiana Abarca worked in corporate and labour law in Costa Rica before retraining in environmental law, completing a two-year Masters degree at the Australian National University (ANU) on an Australian Awards scholarship. Currently undertaking a legal internship at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, she describes her experience as an AIJA scholar as “an enormous privilege”. “Upon arriving to the Annual Congress in Munich, I felt immensely grateful – the opportunity to network with over 500 lawyers was invaluable not only from a career perspective, but to also understand some of the latest initiatives and advancements that are being made in my field,”
Brenda Mwango, a State Counsel at the Kenyan Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice attached to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, is currently undertaking a Master of Laws in International Trade and Investment Law at The University of Nairobi, Kenya. “Being a scholar was a rewarding experience,” she said. “I met inspirational people, people of different cultures and traditions from all over the world, I was offered great hospitality, and had stimulating discussions on European Law.”
For both young lawyers, the scholarship offered invaluable international experience. Brenda described it as an “educational adventure”: “AIJA gave me the opportunity to visit Switzerland and Germany for the first time – it has given me a perspective on the advanced infrastructure especially in the transport sector (road, air and rail), compared to what is available in Kenya.”
[caption id="attachment_7657" align="alignright" width="235"] Brenda Mwango Kemunto[/caption]
Tatiana believes that, “as globalisation intensifies, the reliance on expertise from different jurisdictions is becoming a fundamental component of work in the legal space, especially in environmental and maritime law. I have maintained contact with many of those I was lucky enough to meet and hope to collaborate further in the future.”
“For me, President Gorgenyi's opening speech was the highlight of the event. Her words about the work AIJA is doing to help young professionals in more disadvantaged societies were incredibly uplifting and reinforced the power the legal community has through associations like AIJA,” she said.
For more information on the scholarship programme and how to apply, please visit: /scholarships
AIJA goes to Verona, Italy
30 September 2016
For this year’s 2016 Half Year Conference, AIJA is exploring its romantic side. Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, is playing host. And it promises to be a truly spectacular location.
A Roman colony in the first century BC., it remains a well preserved Roman town - including the Arena, one of the most famous Roman amphitheatres that is still in use today. Visitors can also take a walk through the Medieval city, with the beautiful Basilica of San Zeno (one of the masterpieces of Romanesque architecture in Italy) and Piazza dei Signori, leading to the elegant Venetian-era palaces Palazzo Canossa and Palazzo Maffei.
Awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO, Verona was an easy choice of venue, explains Atty. Roberto Luzi Crivellini, Partner at Macchi di Cellere Gangemi, and Chair of the Organising Committee at the Conference: “following the success of the AIJA Half Year Conference in Parma in 2010, we wanted our AIJA friends to have a chance to discover another little Italian jewel,” he says. “We could not find a better candidate, as Verona is located in a strategic position, its airport is well connected with the main European hubs. It is also close to Milano and Venice, which can be reached with a 1-hour fast train ride.”
Participants will be immersed in a truly Italian experience. The conference venue - Hotel Due Torri at Piazza Sant’anastasia – is in the heart of the old city, surrounded by masterpieces of Roman, medieval and Venetian heritage, all within walking distance. AIJA dinners will be hosted in some of the most prestigious 17th century buildings, including one with a special theme. “The theme for the gala dinner on Saturday is ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ”explains Atty. Giuseppe Cristiano, also a member to the OC, partner at De Berti Jacchia . ”Verona is the city of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, and this is a fun opportunity to meet other lawyers and experience the best traditions of AIJA.”
For those more interested in Italian fashion, there are also seminars on the industry during the conference. “Italy is worldwide known for its fashion industry, but must compete in times of globalisation,” explains Manuela Cavallo, Partner at Portolano, Cavallo. “This seminar programme focuses on the different aspects and trends in the sector, with some important in-house counsels who shall share their insights”. Legal issues range from protecting IP in fashion contracts, to arbitration clauses and awards.
The second seminar running during the conference will be on enabling and securing international business: “we will offer a complete overview on the topic of secured transactions in the international commercial arena. In house counsels and international attorneys will discuss about the different types of securities, liens and priorities rights in a cross border context”, says Giuseppe Scotti, counsel at Macchi di Cellere Gangemi.
So whether you’re into Roman architecture, Venetian palaces, Shakespearean romance, stiletto heels – or simply want an ‘Overview on conflict of laws regarding international securities’ (Thursday, 11.30am) – then the AIJA 2016 Half Year Conference in Verona is the perfect place for you.
For more information and a full conference programme, please download the conference programme HERE
31 August 2016
Un courriel de Louise Lévêque nous a appris un matin triste de janvier le décès d’Avery GLIZE KANE qui avait courageusement lutté contre la maladie.
Depuis quelques mois je ne recevais plus de courriels d’Avery et je m’inquiétais de son silence.
AVERY était une grande Dame de l’AIJA elle rehaussait nos congrès et réunions avec son sourire, sa bonne humeur, sa classe naturelle et sa bonne éducation.
Elle prenait le micro à la fin de nos diners festifs et chantait notamment New York New York avec talent.
Elle savait nous réjouir avec un verre de champagne à la main.
Sa maison de Cannes était toujours ouverte aux amis en particulier de l’AIJA
Elle nous avait formidablement aidés pour organiser un bureau élargi de l’AIJA à Cannes à l’hôtel MARTINEZ avec un mémorable diner dans la villa du peintre Domergue sur les Hauts de Cannes devenue propriété de la mairie.
Dans cette villa aux magnifiques jardins à l’italienne délibère à présent chaque année le Jury du Festival de cinéma de Cannes.
Elle était l’ambassadrice de l’AIJA sur la Côte d’Azur.
Elle était appréciée par la communauté américaine vivant sur la Côte d’Azur et s’était dévoué à la direction de la « Navy League » qui organisait l’accueil des officiers de marine américains quand les navires de guerre US faisaient escale à Cannes.
Elle était Consul des Etats Unis à Cannes.
Avery tu nous manqueras, toutefois ce n’est qu’un au revoir !
Jean Frédéric MAURO
Avocat au Barreau de Paris
Sharefah Almuhana is the Best International Future Lawyer 2016
05 August 2016
Le Best International Future Lawyer Award 2016 (Prix du meilleur futur juriste international 2016) a été remporté par Sharefah Almuhana pour son essai intitulé « Governing Shared Natural Resources of the International Seabed Area » (Gérer les ressources naturelles partagées des fonds marins internationaux). Le jury, composé de trois membres du comité exécutif de l'AIJA, a considéré à l'unanimité ce document comme le meilleur de la sélection de cette année.
Les recherches de Sharefah Almuhana se concentrent sur l'élaboration d'une stratégie de répartition des produits potentiels de l'exploitation des ressources naturelles présentes dans les zones appartenant à la communauté mondiale, à savoir la Zone internationale des fonds marin (« la Zone ») située au-delà des limites des juridictions nationales et riche en gisements de minéraux précieux comme le nickel, le cuivre, le cobalt, le fer et le manganèse. Les énormes gisements découverts au fond des océans sont commercialement exploitables et l'on estime qu'ils pourraient couvrir les besoins mondiaux en énergie pendant des siècles.
Sharefah Almuhana a obtenu en mai 2016 un doctorat en sciences juridiques de la Case Western Reserve University School of Law (école supérieure de droit) de Cleveland, Ohio, États-Unis. Elle est également titulaire d'une licence et d'une maîtrise de droit de la University School of Law du Kowait. Avant son départ aux États-Unis, elle a travaillé pour le gouvernement koweitien en qualité de chercheur en droit au ministère des travaux publics du Koweit. Elle est actuellement juriste stagiaire dans un cabinet spécialisé en droit américain de l'immigration à Laramie, Wyoming, États-Unis, où elle se familiarise avec cette branche du droit américain et défend des affaires humanitaires liées aux réfugiés, aux demandeurs d'asile et aux victimes de la traite des personnes. Les travaux de recherche de Sharefah incluent tous les aspects du droit public et international.
L'AIJA lance le Best International Future Lawyer Award
14 April 2016
Le Best International Future Lawyer Award est décerné par l’AIJA, l’Association internationale des jeunes avocats, et récompense le meilleur Mémoire sur un thème relevant d’un domaine du droit lié au droit international. Ce prix prestigieux est une occasion unique pour les étudiants de montrer leur potentiel à leurs futurs collègues et employeurs. Il est ouvert à tous les étudiants en droit âgés de 45 ans ou moins toujours inscrits dans une université, dans n’importe quelle région du monde, au moment de la présentation du mémoire. Participer est facile et peut vous mener très loin! Le site de l'Award
Antonio Plasencia, memories of a great AIJA-man
30 September 2014
L'AIJA - notre "école de vie" comme Antonio l'appelait - est et restera impensable sans Antonio PLASENCIA. Egalement Membre de la première heure, il influença profondément - par son sens inné de Justice et de respect pour l'Autre - nos valeurs, notre façon d'approcher notre Profession, voir le Monde.
Antonio cacha sous son air souvent espiègle et moqueur son profond attachement à ses amis, aux êtres humains. La disparition d'Antonio laissera un vide - un de plus ! - dans la vie de tous ceux qui l'ont connu et aimé.
"He was a man, take him for all in all" - plus, bien plus encore: il était un Ami.
Président d'Honneur (1977)
Co-fondateur de l'AIJA "
Le Président de l'AIJA vous invite à Buenos Aires
19 August 2013
Cinquante années de relations internationales aussi intenses qu’exceptionnelles mènent l’AIJA dans ce pays extraordinaire qu’est l’Argentine.
A Stockholm, en 2011, les jeunes avocats et juristes internationaux ont décidé de commencer leur deuxième demi-siècle en Amérique du sud.
La machine AIJA se met, dès lors, en marche. Cinquante années d’huile (de coude) dans les rouages rendent l’attelage de plus en plus efficace.
Les membres s’approprient l’évènement. Les coordinateurs des travaux vont entamer leur marathon pour assurer le lien entre les évolutions du droit, les réflexions des spécialistes et le programme encore en gestation.
Près de 20 commissions scientifiques préparent déjà des sessions sur les thèmes du droit qui vous sont les plus chers. Les Présidents et les Vice-Présidents de chacune d’entre elles cherchent et trouvent les sujets les plus brûlants, les plus intéressants, les plus proches de l’actualité de leurs matières dont ils sont des spécialistes avérés. Ils parviendront à faire venir, pour le bénéfice de leur audience, des intervenants reconnus, avocats, juges, directeurs juridiques et représentants des institutions internationales ou locales les plus prestigieuses sur les sujets choisis. Une fois de plus ces orateurs nous feront l’honneur de nous rejoindre pour nous parler franchement et sans détour de l’avenir, des enjeux, des options à préconiser sur des problématiques partagées par tous ces professionnels.
L’AIJA rappellera son attachement aux droits de l’homme et à leur respect et les actions qu’elle n’a jamais cessé de mener depuis sa création sur des principes que les jeunes avocats et juristes internationaux tiennent particulièrement à cœur.
Le comité d’organisation est déjà sur tous les fronts pour vous conjuguer les verbes accueillir, partager, progresser et émerveiller à tous les modes d’une tradition locale unique.
Le seul objectif est de vous rendre heureux, heureux de décider de venir, heureux d’y être, de participer, d’apprendre de progresser encore et heureux de rencontrer le monde. Heureux enfin de rentrer chez vous avec des nouveaux clients, des nouveaux confrères, des nouveaux contacts et des souvenirs impérissables.
Buenos Aires vous espère,
L’AIJA vous convie,
L’Argentine vous attend.
Des membres de l'AIJA récompensés aux prix de la Femme Européenne en Droit des Affaires 2013
25 July 2013
- Pauliina Tenhunen, Castrén & Snellman, Managing Director et trésorière honoraire de l'AIJA , a encore une fois reçu le Meilleur Prix d'Excellence en gouvernance d'entreprise à l'occasion de l'enquête annuelle menée auprès les femmes européennes spécialisées en droit des affaires et réalisée par Euromoney LMG, qui distingue les femmes avocates exerçant dans les différents domaines du droit. Pauliina a été choisi comme lauréat parmi six autres candidates issues des différents cabinets d'avocats européens.
- Le Cabinet Portolano Cavallo a été récompensé par les femmes européennes en droit des affaires de l' Awards 2012 pour l'Italie. Manuela Cavallo, l'une des membres fondatrices et membre du Bureau élargi de l'AIJA, a déclaré:«cette reconnaissance européenne reconnaît une façon de penser qui a façonné notre cabinet d'avocats dès son début et continue de le faire encore aujourd'hui: avec comme objectif de créer un environnement de travail favorisant l'égalité des chances pour tous nos professionnels et personnels. Aujourd'hui, c'est avec une grande satisfaction,que je peux dire que nos chiffres le confirment: 40% de nos partenaires sont des femmes et 47% des professionnels sont des femmes ".
Le Président de l’AIJA, Thierry Aballéa, a adressé une lettre au Président Obama
17 July 2013
Suite à la dégradation de la situation à Guantanamo, le Président de l’AIJA, Thierry Aballéa, a adressé une lettre à Barack Obama afin qu’il ferme définitivement cette prison unique.
Après avoir rappelé l’estime portée aux Etats-Unis pour leur contribution historique au respect de l’état de droit, Thierry écrit « nous vous demandons de consacrer votre énergie à faire disparaître cette tâche sur la démocratie américaine qu’est Guantanamo que le temps permettra peut-être d’effacer plus vite pourvu que vous agissiez sans délai ».
L’AIJA a peu de moyens à opposer, pas de réseaux, pas de budget, pas de contraintes mais la jeunesse a ce don de toujours croire en un avenir meilleur.
L’espoir de la jeunesse est parfois plus puissant qu’il n’y paraît comme nous avons pu le constater dans le monde ces deux dernières années, c’est donc avec beaucoup d’espoir que l’AIJA a envoyé ce courrier.
AIJA rencontre le CESA à São Paulo, Brazil
15 July 2013
Le 25 juin dernier, Renata Antiquera et Felipe Faltay Katz de Castro, tous deux membres de l'AIJA ont visité le CESA (Centre d'études pour cabinets d'avocats) à São Paulo (Brésil), la plus importante association de cabinets d'avocats au Brésil. Une rencontre des plus intéressante avec plus de 70 avocats pour parler de l'AIJA et de son réseau exceptionnel de 4000 membres. Les participants de la réunion ont été particulièrement intéressés par le 51e Congrès annuel, qui se tiendra à Buenos Aires en Septembre prochain . Nous sommes certains que beaucoup d'entre eux seront des nôtres!
57e congrès de l’Union Internationale des Avocats
15 July 2013
UIA - 57e Congrès du 31 octobre au 04 novembre 2013 à Macao, Chine.
l’Union Internationale des Avocats invite les professionnels du droit du monde entier à Macao en Chine pour la 57e édition de son congrès annuel. Le thème principal de cette année sera L’avocat face à la corruption. Un rendez-vous professionnel à ne pas manquer puisque plusieurs groupes de travail se réuniront simultanément pour traiter plus de 40 autres thématiques. Les congrès de l’UIA rassemblent environ 1200 avocats venus de plus de 70 pays. Inscrivez-vous dès maintenant !
Union Internationale des Avocats 25 rue du Jour - 75001 Paris - France Tel : +33 1 44 88 55 66 - Fax : +33 1 44 88 55 77 E-mail : email@example.com www.uianet.org
AIJA à l'ambassade du Pérou, à Lima
11 July 2013
l'AIJA continue une promotion réussie du prochain congrès annuel, qui aura lieu à Buenos Aires du 17-21 Septembre 2013. Frank Boyle, le représentant national de l'AIJA au Pérou et membre du Comité d'organisation du Congrès, a rencontré plus de 30 avocats péruviens lors d'un cocktail organisé à l'Ambassade d'Argentine au Pérou le 2 juillet dernier. Avec toutes ces initiatives, ce congrès va battre tous les records de participation!
AIJA rencontre le CESA à São Paulo, Brazil
11 July 2013
Le 25 Juin Renata Antequera et Felipe Faltay Katz de Castro tous deux membres de l'AIJA ont visité le CESA (Centre d'études des cabinets d'avocats) à São Paulo (Brésil), la plus forte association de cabinets d'avocats au Brésil. Une rencontre intéressante avec plus de 70 avocats pour parler de l'AIJA et de son réseau exceptionnel de 4000 membres. Les participants de la réunion ont été particulièrement intéressé par le 51e Congrès annuel, qui se tiendra à Buenos Aires en Septembre. Ils seront nombreux à nous rejoindre à n'en pas douter!
AIJA sur les ondes TV libanaise
05 June 2013
Le 5 Juin dernier, Diana Rhayem, représentante nationale de l'AIJA pour le Liban, était l'invité de "Hadiss Al-Hadass" spectacle sur Noursat TV. Diana a parlé de l' AIJA et de son rôle en tant que représentante nationale. Les ambassadeurs de l'AIJA font toujours de leur mieux faire connaître l'AIJA partout dans le monde. Bravo Diana!
AIJA en Asie
29 March 2012
Tokyo, le 15 Avril 2013 Plus de 120 avocats japonais ont assisté à la sessions de présentation de l'AIJA. Nous avons ainsi pu échanger et partager nos connaissances sur comment faire des affaires sur la scène internationale. La session a été diffusée à plusieurs autres Barreaux au Japon et qui ont ainsi pu bénéficier de la présentation. Nous souhaitons remercier la Fédération japonaise des Associations du Barreau qui a accueilli l'événement ainsi que nos ambassadeurs de l'AIJA Kenji Hirooka (pour le Japon), Ramesh Vaidyanathan (pour l'Inde), Leopoldo Pagotto (pour l'Amérique du Sud et le Brésil) et Justus Jansen (pour l'Europe et l'Allemagne).