Manchester, cradle of the Industrial Age and today one of Great Britain’s most modern cities, served as the meeting place for Consulegis’ 2009 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and spring conference.
The visitors expected a city dominated by factories, smokestacks, and gray walls. Instead Manchester presented itself as an open and friendly center with attractive streets and squares as well as many young and upbeat people. The good weather did its part to confirm this positive impression.
More than 120 people representing 23 countries came to Manchester at the invitation of our hosts, the law firm Linder Myers, which was represented by Bernard Seymour and his partners. Counting the local coworkers, more than 130 people took part in this conference.
Bernard Seymour, backed up by Carol Parren and Colin Dean, presented an interesting and varied program.
On Wednesday evening (29 April) the early arrivals met as planned at a typical English dinner with beer and wine at Sam’s Chop House, a good restaurant with a convivial and unpretentious atmosphere.
The first official event took place on Thursday evening (30 April). Special Consulegis buses (see photos) drove us to the impressive football stadium of Manchester United, where we received guidance on the club’s secrets and a peek behind the scenery. A pleasant evening meal in the VIP area rounded out this successful soirée.
The full assembly of more than 120 delegates met on Friday (1 May) at the conference hotel, (the Radisson Edwardian Hotel). Gerd Ziegenfeuter (chairman of the board) and Bernard Seymour (senior partner at Linder Myers) greeted the participants and guests present. The meeting opened with an address by Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of the Manchester City of Council. Sir Howard’s exciting summary described the city’s rebuilding from the poverty and devastation after World War II. He pointed with justified pride to the attractive Manchester of today.
The following obligatory agenda items were adopted without discussion and in the manner proposed by the Advisory Board. Horst Becker from Becker & Partner was reelected unanimously to the post of auditor.
In connection with an replacement election for Howard Palser, who had resigned, the General Assembly selected Elin Pinnell, partner in the firm of Capital Law / Cardiff, Wales, to the Advisory Board. Thus the Board is back to full strength.
Jeffrey Lindenbaum (Collen IP, Ossining-on-Hudson, New York, USA) gained the 2008 Dr. Thomas Marx Award in recognition for his paper „Fifteen minutes of fame can generate fifteen decades of royalties“. Six candidates had taken part in contesting the year’s prize. Details as well as the works submitted can be retrieved at www.consulegis.com/ Dr.Thomas Marx Award 2008.
In the name of the Consulegis Advisory Board, the chairman, Gerd Ziegenfeuter, greeted the following new members:
Clive Beer c/o Savills (L&P) Ltd., London/UK; Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli, Houston, TX, USA; Hedman Partners, Helsinki, Finland; and Meister Seelig & Fein LLP, New York, NY, USA. The new members were welcomed into the assembly with heavy applause.
Our hosts succeeded in enlisting as guest speaker Dr. Conor Gearty, a very well known professor of human rights in England and director of the Centre for Human Rights at the London School of Economics. Prof. Gearty spoke about the status of the human rights movement and its judicial and political underpinnings in today’s world. His pithy and thoroughly realistic presentation attracted great interest and was commented upon during a lively lunch discussion.
The afternoon was devoted to Consulegis’ internal topics. Reports were provided by: marketing activities (Jonathan Wood), the Chinese European Arbitration Center project, CEAC (Dr. Eckart von Bodenhausen), practical advice on marketing related to law firms (Gery Delfgou), possibilities for collaboration with Savills L&P Ltd. (Clive Beer), another Consulegis Handbook as a new project (Jeffery Daar), and another new project ”Young Lawyer’s Group and Exchange in Consulegis“ (Irmtraud Wendland). All presentations were extremely interesting and opened new opportunities for Consulegis members. Details can be retrieved at www. consulegis.com.
The evening meal took place at the world-renowned Museum of Science & Industry. This event ranked as a highlight for any technical freak through operation of outstandingly maintained steam engines from the outset of the Industrial Revolution, a short ride in a train with a steam engine reconstructed in every detail from the 19th century, as well as a relaxed dinner in the midst of important milestones for European aviation.
The already traditional working groups met on Saturday morning (2 May). Details can be downloaded from the Consulegis website.
Afterwards the participants could choose between a football match (Manchester City versus Blackburn Rovers, a match Manchester City won), an excursion to the impressive Tatton Park, a guided tour of the city, or an in-house Consulegis golf tournament at the Dunham Golf Club.
All involved met in good spirits afterward for a wonderful final evening in the splendid ballroom of the Manchester City Hall. It featured the traditional handing over of the Consulegis flag to the hosts of the next conference, Messrs. Guy-Alain de Sentenac and Julian Cockain-Barère of the law firm Morvilliers Sentenac Avocats of Toulouse, France.
Gerd Ziegenfeuter closed this extraordinarily good, carefully organized, and interesting conference with the words: „We thank Bernard Seymour, his partners, and their coworkers for a wonderful conference and look forward to the coming fall conference on 15-18 October 2009 in Toulouse!“ So be it.