The Autumn Conference 2013 in Warsaw was set up by the member law firm RGW ROCLAWSKI GRACZYK I WSPOLNICY ADWOKACKA SP. K.
A total of 92 participants representing 41 member firms, including partners and guests, attended the conference, which was again a success in terms of program and interrelationship between members!
This year’s CONSULEGIS Autumn Conference took place in Warsaw. Warsaw, known in Polish as Warszawa, is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly 260 kilometres (160 mi) from the Baltic Sea and 300 kilometres (190 mi) from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population is estimated to be 1.711 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 2.666 million residents, making Warsaw the 9th most populous city in the European Union. The area of the city covers 516.9 square kilometres (199.6 sq mi). The Autumn Conference 2013 was held at the Hotel SOFITEL in the centre of the city. The conference started with the traditional “unofficial” early arrivals dinner on Wednesday, with over 20 participants. The restaurant “Mielżyński Wine Bar” offered excellent food and great wine. This was a great start to some wonderful conference days.
The traditional Welcome Reception on Thursday October 10th 2013 was hosted by the member firm RGW ROCLAWSKI GRACZYK I WSPOLNICY ADWOKACKA SP. K. and the participants met after a short bus tour to the impressive Palace of Culture and Science. The Welcome Reception started on the rooftop of the Palace with an amazing view over the city of Warsaw. The rest of the evening was held a few floors down, at more pleasant temperatures. After W. Roclawski and Pedro Pais de Almeida had welcomed all delegates everyone enjoyed the wine and finger food on offer. The start to the conference was a complete success.
The official start of the conference was the Advisory Board meeting on Thursday, October 10th 2013. Due to a very comprehensive agenda the board meeting lasted a whole eight hours.
The venue for the Autumn Conference on Friday October 11th 2013 was the Hotel SOFITEL. Newly elected chairman of the Advisory Board, Pedro Pais de Almeida,opened the meeting at 9:00h and welcomed the members and guests present. He thanked Wojciech Roclawski and Piotr R. Graczyk for organizing and hosting this year’s Autumn Conference.
The two guests, David Archer (Pitmanns LLP) and Paul Willen (Hermes Law LLP), as well as our new member, Kazuhiko Nishihara (Umegae Chuo), were welcomed and each presented themselves with a short speech.
Around 9:30h, four potentially new members gave a short overview of their law firm:
- HütteLaw AG: Martin Hütte (Cham/Switzerland);
- Hlw Keeble Hawson: Paul Trudgill (Sheffield/UK);
- Brian Kahn Inc.: Jonet Crone (Johannesburg/South Africa); and
- WEG Law Offices: William E. Gens (Boston/US).
Afterwards, Mrs. Iva Colom Toro, our first potential in-house lawyer, presented the French company with whom she works, Collecte Localisation Satellites SA, the worldwide leader of satellite-based environmental data collection, location and ocean observations by satellite (www.cls.fr)
At around 10:00h, the key note speaker, Prof. Kulesza, an expert in criminal law and Professor of University of Lodz in Poland “Crimen laesae iustitiae”, held a lecture entitled “Criminal responsibility of judges and prosecutors for court crimes according to Nuremberg, German, Austrian and Polish law”. The lecture was held in Polish, with a simultaneous translator informing all participants. Following the one-hour lecture of Prof. Kulesza all attendees had the chance to regain strength during a coffee break.
After this short break the Dr. Thomas Marx Award 2013 was the next item on the agenda. This year’s winner was Michael Partridge from Marx Siebert Rechtsanwälte Hamburg. Mr. Partridge was given a symbolic cheque and a bottle of Champagne, as well as a certificate. Michael Partridge presented his subject matter to the audience, but first dedicated the award to Dr. Thomas Marx, founder of Marx Rechtsanwälte. For this honorable gesture Mr. Partridge earned a warm round of applause.
Duncan Macintosh from Capital Law presented a short movie and gave a preview of the AGM & Spring Conference, May 1st to 4th 2014 with the title: “See you in Edinburgh”.The following 20 minutes were dominated by the marketing topics, which have been implemented over the last few months.
Pedro Pais de Almeida moved on to the agenda of this year’s Spring Conference. In a few words Florian Schell presented the concept of the new Specialist Group, called “Public Regulations”. Anke Brauns presented the dates and costs of the next European Regional Meeting in 2014, which will be held in Rome. This was followed by Anja Wendland, who presented the new strategy and concept of the Young Lawyers Initiative. The aim should be to build a strong network for the young CONSULEGIS lawyers with a regular exchange within the network. She invited all of the participants to join the kick-off meeting held on the same day. Immediately after the traditional group picture was taken, Pedro Pais de Almeida invited everybody to lunch.
The following Specialist Groups met on Friday afternoon from 14:15 to 16:00h:
Corporate & Tax Law; IP; Entertainment & IT; Litigation & Arbitration; Labour & Employment Law; and Sports Law.
The workshops ended with a new CONSULEGIS tradition, the get-together with a short report of each Chair of the Specialist Groups. Afterwards, the Young Lawyers Group kick-off meeting was held to discuss further steps, with more than 20 participants in attendance.
On Friday night the group walked over to the cathedral of Warsaw. On site, all participants were given some details about this impressive cathedral before everyone enjoyed listening to the chant of eight Gregorian singers. Still impressed by the performance, the group made their way to the evening location. In a typical Polish restaurant all delegates had the chance to review the day with a delicious glass of wine and a traditional dinner, while enjoying pleasant conversations and music.
On Saturday morning’s agenda at 9:00h was the Business Generation Workshop at the Hotel SOFITEL. Following a short presentation of the marketing tools, which will be offered by CONSULEGIS in the future, the active part for the 60 or so participants began. Small groups discussed various subjects before presenting the results to the entire group as a whole.
After the workshop all participants had the opportunity to go on a guided sightseeing tour, either by foot or by bus, to explore the beauty of Warsaw.
The traditional farewell dinner took place in the wonderful gala room at the Polonia Palace Hotel. Excellent food and an impressive and outstanding band made this an unforgettable event. The conference ended with the traditional “passing on” of the CONSULEGIS flag from the hosts in Warsaw to Duncan Macintosh, who we will meet for our Spring Conference 2014 in Edinburgh. To get all participants in the mood, Duncan took the flag wearing a traditional kilt (which Pedro had referred to as a “skirt”) and called for all the men to wear a kilt during the Spring Conference. With a smile he asked Anke Brauns to take care of this matter.
We thank Wojciech Roclawski and Piotr. R. Graczyk for hosting this wonderful meeting and unique experience in Poland.
The next CONSULEGIS Spring Conference 2014 will take place in Edinburgh May 01st to 04th 2014.