The figures below are a true testament to the success of the CONSULEGIS AGM & Spring Conference in Milan from 4 to 8 May 2016: A total of 135 participants (including partners and guests) representing 50 member firms on site attended the conference and accepted the invitation of the two law firms, Izzi-Toniatti-Pini-Perron Cabus-Ziliani-De Lodi Law Firm, Lawyalty Avvocati Associati and CONSULEGIS!
As per tradition, the unofficial part of the conference kicked off with the Early Arrivals Dinner on Wednesday evening. However, despite the fact that the evening was not part of the regular conference program, 54 participants attended and enjoyed a typical Italian aperitivo. Following a brief explanation and introduction by the two hosts, the motto – easy living, Italian eating and talking – had soon become second nature to the participants.
The Thursday, which in the past was used to recover from the often long journey, was already an active working day for the advisory board members, the ombudsman and the MD. At the board meeting, many decisions, projects and future directions were discussed and approved.
By Thursday evening, almost all of the participants had arrived and met up to attend the official Welcome Reception in a typical Italian bar. During the walk there, the participants had the chance to enjoy the surroundings and the impressive buildings in beautiful spring weather. But the evening's highlight was the destination, where the Italian way of living at its best was celebrated! By the end of the evening all 130 participants had sampled the Italian delicacies to the full.
The next day saw the start of the AGM & Spring Conference 2016. In addition to numerous presentations, the focus in the morning was on the replacement of Sidney Bluming on the advisory board. First, however, the two candidates were put on the rack and Irmtraud Wendland welcomed the guests and the new member law firm HORIZONS from Shanghai. Then managing director, Anke Brauns, took to the microphone, and, as has become the tradition, in her usual swift manner completed the statutory business part of the meeting. All points that were put to the vote were unanimously approved. Then all parties interested in a membership introduced themselves to the members present. Then, finally, the two candidates for membership in the advisory board had the opportunity to address the participants eligible to vote with a short speech in order to perhaps tip the scales in their favour. During the extended coffee break the participants already speculated about the outcome of the vote. The votes were counted under close supervision and in secrecy. In order to get people excited about the upcoming meeting, Anke Brauns talked about the plans for the autumn conference in October in Shanghai. Then Mr Nicola Cortese presented the topic in an impressive way: "The football world and its secrets: How to manage a professional football club and professional football players". Afterwards, Anke Brauns briefly outlined the changes and innovations that have been implemented or are being planned with regard to marketing. After that, Anja Bischopink invited the participating members and guests to the Young Lawyers Speed Networking Session. Last but not least, Bas Besseling from the Netherlands talked about his successful project of establishing a relationship between his law firm and in-house lawyers for the long term. He encouraged the participating law firms to make adaptations in their respective countries. We are excited to see how this project will pan out in the future. Then, finally, the result of the vote was announced and the members listened to Irmtraud Wendland's report: Martin Hütte of HütteLAW will be the 9th board member for the period from May 2016 to May 2017.
After the announcement, the members had the chance to indulge in the culinary treats. Afterwards, the specialist groups had their meetings, and following an interesting and informative 2 hours the specialist group sessions came to an end. The very well attended Speed Networking Session of the Young Lawyers Group was held in the hotel – and at the end everyone agreed: the time went by far too quickly! The aim of the informal get-together was to get to know each other better using Set Cards and for the younger members and the long-time members to find common ground. And it truly was a great success, and people found out new things even about the members they had known for years.
In the evening, everyone had dinner at the Trattoria Non è Peccato. After an evening of stimulating conversation and good food, some members went back to the hotel and others decided to enjoy the nightlife instead. Despite the short night, the business development meeting the next morning was quite well attended. At first, Anke Brauns presented the details of the new website features and how to use them. There then followed a live presentation of the database and the intranet. Then the specialist groups introduced their topics under the motto of: "Developing hot topics and following the trends". The reports of the specialist groups were accompanied by lively discussions.
2 hours later, the tour was on the itinerary – a visit to the Milan Cathedral and its breathtaking views! The tour ended with a very unusual activity. A ride on a historic tram allowed the participants to enjoy the city's highlights while the sun was shining.
In the evening everyone met for a farewell dinner at Restaurant Doriani. After a brief introduction to Italian cuisine, the guests thoroughly enjoyed the culinary delicacies. And the calories were burnt immediately afterwards on the dance floor. The mild spring night provided the perfect setting for a party under the stars. The official part of the evening was concluded in between the dancing. Then, almost at the end of the 2015 spring conference, Irmtraud Wendland thanked the hosts Alberto Ziliani and Gad Matalon and the entire team for organising an unforgettable conference in Milan. It took the team a lot of time and effort to ensure that the participants had an unforgettable time! The evening ended with a much loved tradition – the CONSULEGIS flag was handed to Anke Brauns, the next conference host in Shanghai.