Straight ahead! The Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Spring Conference set up by the member law firm Junge, Schüngeler, Wendland, Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft was a total success with 150 participants including six guests and 25 partners! Sixty member firms and four guest firms were on hand. Of special importance was the election of a new Advisory Board.
The program offered participants a balanced mix of good eating, culture, and naturally a festive reception in tasteful framework. All events gained an enthusiastic response and made this meeting an impressive experience.
The earlier arriving participants met on Wednesday (27 April) for the now traditional "Early Arrivals Dinner“ at the Restaurant “Stapelhaus”. The renewal of acquaintance with good friends along with an excellent dinner created a good atmosphere and a happy beginning for this meeting.
Officially the conference started on Thursday (28 April) with meetings of the MSG, the Advisory Board (the Board met for last time in its old composition) and with a get together of the “Young Lawyers” group.
In the evening the hosts invited participants to a festive welcoming reception in their impressive office building and the Rotonda Business Club.
On Friday (29 April), the AGM 2011 took place in the well-equipped assembly hall offered by the Cologne’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The chairman of the Advisory Board, Gerd Ziegenfeuter, and Irmtraud Wendland, partner in the host law firm and deputy chair of the Board, opened the meeting at 9 am along with Alfred Schultz, a member of the Cologne City Council. Mr. Schultz’s presentation explained the importance of Cologne in North Rhine-Westphalia and in Germany, and he thanked the Consulegis Management for selecting Cologne as its meeting site.
After welcoming the guests, the newly accepted members were introduced. They are:
- Gutiérrez, Waugh, Jimeno & Asenjo, Abogados, headquartered in Santiago (Chile) and
- Dr. Astrid Dorfmeister, Legal, Tax & Commercial Consulting, in Barcelona (Spain).
Subsequently, Mr. Ziegenfeuter reviewed the past four years of his term in office as chairman of the decision-making Advisory Board. He thanked all members for the loyalty to the Consulegis network and offered particular gratitude to people who had realized individual projects – especially those committed to specialist and other working groups. Gerd informed the plenary that Jonathan Wood has stepped down as the chairman of the MSG. He thanked Jonathan for his important commitment to marketing Consulegis inside and outside the association. His task was passed over to Fernando Hernández Gómez, Mexico.
Dr. Roland Ermini, managing director, carried out the statutory business. The Advisory Council and business management were relieved without opposition, and the 2011 budget was also accepted unanimously and without discussion by the plenary session.
Selection of the new Advisory Council was the most important agenda item. 12 members stood as candidates. The 63 members present and entitled to vote (including proxies), elected the following persons to the Advisory Council:
Sidney Bluming, Joost Bruins, Julian Cockain-Barère, Fernando Hernández Gómez, Michael Newman, Harald Nickel, Pedro Pais de Almeida, Elin Pinnell, Irmtraud Wendland, and Gerd Ziegenfeuter.
During a special session the Board elected (with unanimous vote) Gerd Ziegenfeuter as chairman. Fernando Hernández Gómez and Pedro Pais de Almeida were elected as deputy chairmen, and Dr. Heinrich Schleifenbaum as ombudsman. The new Board’s term of office began on 1 May 2011 and will end on 30 April 2015 in conformity with the statutes.
The statutory AGM ended with a well-attended presentation by the guest speaker, Dr. Herrmann H. Hollmann, LL.M, a business management member of Ford Werke GmbH in Cologne on the topic „Challenges and Opportunities of the Automotive Industry – The One Ford Strategy“.
On Friday afternoon the following presentations and reports filled out the program:
„Liability of Internet Service Providers (ISP)“, an overview overlapping state boundaries (Jeffery Daar and Dr. Helmut Redeker), „Electronic Discovery, a new world in Litigation“ (George Rooney), an overview on the status of the ”Young Lawyers’ Inititative (Elin Pinnell), as well as a brief status report on our efforts to find new members in Latin America and Eastern Europe (Fernando Hernández Gómez and Harald Nickel).
After the meeting, participants were invited to a private tour through the Cologne Cathedral with a closing half-hour organ concert. Especially the organ concert was a moving and impressive experience for the participants. This eventful day ended ideally with an opulent meal and much beer (Kölsch) in the traditional Brauhaus Früh.
The following specialist groups met on Saturday morning:
Aerospace, Business Generation, Corporate and Tax Law, IP, Entertainment and IT, Litigation and Arbitration, and Sports Law.
The International Labour group has received a new coordinator, Ms Soma Ray-Ellis, Toronto. Formation of another specialist group,International Real Estate, is under consideration. Those interested should contact Harald Nickel in Hanau/Germany.
A city sightseeing tour briefed a large group on the city of Cologne, while another group visited the world-famous Ludwig Art Museum. 10 participants measured their skills at a golf tournament in the very scenic „Golf and Landclub Bad Neuenahr“.
This successful and very well-attended gathering closed with an outstandingly beautiful gala evening in the Restaurant Bastei.
We thank Irmtraud Wendland, her partners and collaborators for this excellent and very successful
Dr. Roland Ermini