It was a splendid event to remember!
With more than 150 persons representing 52 firms, this Autumn Conference was again a big success. Participants coming from Europe, the Far East, and the Americas enjoyed good weather, a charming city, and the warm hospitality extended by our host, Morvilliers Sentenac Avocats in Toulouse, its law partners, and other members of the firm.
Up to that moment, most participants didn’t know Toulouse. They found an elegant, cosmopolitan, and very lively and joyful French city, thanks to its many students. Toulouse is the center of France’s predominantly rural southwest as well as one of the top centers for Europe’s aerospace Industry. This mixture makes any visit an unforgettable event.
Consulegis members could choose between three hotels:
- The official conference hotel, the Crowne Plaza Toulouse, a modern four-star hotel in the heart of Toulouse;
- The traditional le Balcon Grand Hotel which in earlier times was «home» of the famous airmail pilots such as Saint Exupérry (yes, the writer of «le petit prince»!), Mermoz, and Daurat;
- The Holiday Inn, which offered rooms at a very reasonable price.
When preparing the program, our hosts found the perfect mixture of business, culture, and entertainment. All program elements were designed to allow for both the exchange of know-how and the cultivation of personal relationships – ingredients which are instrumental for the success of Consulegis and its members.
The conference started with the traditional welcome cocktail and buffet on Thursday evening in the basement of the Renaissance-style Hôtel d’Assézat, which today houses an impressive art collection of the Bemberg Foundation.
On Friday, our conference day, participants were brought to the Conference Center of the Airbus industry, a modern and truly impressive industrial complex. Highlights of the conference were guest speakers Phillippe Bayle and Géròme Rolland from Midi Pyréné Expansion (Regional Development Agency), Christophe Vassal, the CEO of Collecte Localisation Sattelites SA and Novacom Services SA (Mr. Vassal gave a fascinating insight into the high-tech industry which was developed jointly within the Airbus and French Aerospace industry), Oliver Furtak, senior vice-president and general counsel of Airbus SAS, who attracted the attention of the participants when disclosing details of Airbus’s legal contacts with China and other fast-growing countries. A completely different topic but nonetheless very impressive was the presentation on Avocats sans Frontières given by François Cantier, lawyer and co-founder of the worldwide non-profit organization Avocats sans Frontières.
After the conference, participants were offered a guided tour of the A380 assembly line. It is hard to imagine that the hundreds of tons of raw material neatly laid out on the floors will turn into a truly huge airplane able to seat and transport more than 300 people from one continent to the other!
In the evening members and their guests were invited to a regional dinner with speakers (round-table coordinated by Jean-Christoph Giesbert) and a local band at the modern Mediatèque overlooking the center of Toulouse. After the dinner the younger crowd gathered for some enjoyable dancing in Toulouse’s disco scene.
On Saturday morning the following specialist groups met for exchanging know how and professional news: Aerospace, Business Generation, Corporate and Tax Group, Intellectual Property, Entertainment Law and IT, International Labour and Employment Law, International Litigation and Arbitration and Sports Law.
Tours during lunch time and early Saturday afternoon led participants on either a walking tour through the center of Toulouse or to a most impressive visit of the Saint Sernin Basilica (a famous pilgrimage church on the way to Santiago de Compostella), which was followed by a magnificent organ recital in the basilica. The earthier participants booked a cooking class and lunch (which they cooked!) and were very happy with the results (at least that’s what they said…).
Finishing the conference with a gala dinner is mandatory. This time more than 110 members and guests met in the ancient Hòtel Dieu, a 12th- century palace, which today is a museum for medieval art. The organizers turned one of the many noble salons into an elegant dining and dance location, where guests dined beneath rare masterpieces of the early and late Middle Ages. During dinner a popular music band played medieval tunes (with antique instruments!) followed by a modern combo animating the guests to dance and enjoy a truly splendid evening.
Gerd Ziegenfeuter, chairman of the Board, thanked the hosts and their organizers for this outstanding event and officially closed the conference with the traditional handing over of the Consulegis flag to Pedro Pais de Almeida. Together with his partners, he will host the AGM and Spring Conference 2010 (29 April – 2 May 2010). It will take place in Funchal, capital of Madeira (Portugal) one of Europe’s most beautiful islands.
We thank Nicolas Morvilliers and Guy-Alain de Sentenac and especially Julian Cockain-Barère for this excellent and well-organized event. It was another successful conference, this time in a place unknown to most participants which became a fond memory for all. Many participants expressed their intention to visit Toulouse again!