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