Roughly 160 delegates, guests, and accompanying people from 20 countries responded to the invitation to this year’s Consulegis Annual Meeting and 2008 Spring Conference in Vienna. The law office of Kraft & Winternitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH in Vienna, represented by Dr. Rainer Maria Kraft and Dr. Christian P. Winternitz and supported organizationally by Ms Gabriele Kraft, presented a varied visitor’s program that particularly stressed the traditional attractions of Vienna as a cultural city of world importance.
The meetings took place in the Hilton Vienna (am Stadtpark), which was renovated in its entirety not long ago. The hotel service and especially the technical support behind the scenes were outstanding and organized in an absolutely professional manner.
All this along with Vienna’s attractions and fortunately beautiful and partially warm weather formed the ideal background for a successful meeting.
The group of “early arrivals” met for dinner on 30 April at the Oesterreicher Gasthaus im MAK, one of Vienna’s newest in-places (MAK stands for Museum for Applied Art). Good food, outstanding wine, and a trendy public made the evening a memorable event.
The marketing committee (Marketing steering Group) met on Thursday, 1 May, and the Advisory Board met for the first part of its session in the afternoon. The Board resumed its meeting for an hour on Saturday, 3 May.
The host law firm invited all guests for a traditional welcoming reception during the evening in its new and representative space at Heinrichsgasse 4 in Vienna.
Promptly at 9 a.m. on Friday, 2 May, Dr. Rainer Maria Kraft along with the Board Chairman Gerd Ziegenfeuter, opened the annual meeting. About 120 delegates and guests represented 53 law offices and individual members. The chairman welcomed the guests and introduced the following three new members:
- Libaers & Berquin, collection attorneys, B-2000 Antwerp / Belgium, represented by:
Peter Libaers and Natalie Berquin;
- Vanden Eynde legal, B-1060 Brussels / Belgium, represented by: Johan Vanden Eynde
and Marinus Vromans;
- Mario Ermini, LL.M., CH-8058 Zurich-Kloten, individual member and counsel of the firm
ExecuJet Aviation Group.
Bylaws business was handled without discussion.
After the coffee break, Howard Palser, Cardiff, and deputy chairman of the Board, explained the Consulegis strategy developed by the Board. Main topics are: a strategy of controlled growth, intensified business relationships among members, and a unified standard of quality that should be achieved by all members (for details , see separate document).
Jonathan Wood introduced the ongoing and future marketing and marketing relevant projects (see separate minutes).
Our hosts were able to recruit Dr. Hans Winkler, Austrian Secretary of State for European and International Affairs, as our guest speaker. Dr. Winkler delivered a fascinating and very comprehensive presentation explaining the current relationship of Austria and the countries of the former East Block as well as the tasks and problems resulting from the EU expansion to Eastern Europe.
Jeffery Daar, Los Angeles, opened the afternoon with his explanations about the „Consulegis IP Handbook“ project, a reference work to which more than 30 Consulegis members have contributed. The work will be ready for delivery this summer.
The related comments of Matthew C. Wagner, partner in the US patent law firm Collen IP, on the topic of “Trademark Practice and Protection in the USA”, Recent Studies” stimulated much interest. (See separate documentation)
The afternoon closed with a panel session on „the successful law firm“. Three Consulegis members presented factors and regulations that had led to success in their law firms. It was interesting to note how varied the three law firms were in defining and evaluating their own success factors. Henri Saint-Père, Cabinet Ratheaux in Lyon, France, George Rooney, Roetzel & Andress LPA, Akron/Cincinatti, USA, as well as Dr. Julia Tielsch and Dr. Florian Schell of Schleifenbaum & Adler, Siegen, Germany offered presentations.
Friday finished with an evening meal at the cozy „Gmoa“ restaurant.
The specialist groups (Aerospace, Business Generation, Corporate Tax Group, International Insurance, International Labor and Employment, and International Litigation and Arbitration) met on Saturday morning. Minutes and reports of these special groups will be summarized in a separate document and made available to the members.
The two sightseeing tours started shortly before lunch. The first and smaller group hiked along „Gustav Klimt’s tracks“ and visited the related architectural witnesses of his epoch. The second group took part in a city bus tour.
On Saturday evening the meeting closed with a gala dinner in the Hilton Vienna’s grand ballroom. This evening became a festive event, thanks to an introduction on imperial court manners conducted by actors followed by handing over of the banner to the host of the next Consulegis conference in Hong Kong, Michael Lintern-Smith.
We want to thank the hosts, Dr. Rainer Maria Kraft and Dr. Christian P. Winternitz for this beautiful and enjoyable meeting.