Eurojuris News


Congress makes for a spectacular reunion

The sun was out, the streets of Paris were welcoming, discussions were stimulating, the football was fun, and the 2021 Eurojuris Congress had the spirit of a family reunion, staged across a series of stunning, landmark venues.

That was the message from members who travelled to meet friends and colleagues at the first major in-person event for the network following the global lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

While fewer in number than previous years, with travel restrictions still affecting many countries, more than 100 members and partners joined the event. 

A busy agenda included welcome drinks on Thursday evening in the opulent surroundings of the Paris Hilton in the Opéra quarter, followed by a visit to the Tribunal de Commerce on Friday to learn about the workings of the international court from two of its judges.  Saturday’s full itinerary for congress and the practice groups was rounded off with a magnificent gala dinner.  For those wishing to work off the French cuisine, there was the regular golf tournament organised by Thierry Clerc, the inter-network football match and early morning running through the city.  

For the first time, some sessions were held simultaneously in-person and on-line, allowing all members to take part in the plenary and management session.  The joint session of the Corporate Group and the Insolvency Group was streamed on Friday, and on Saturday the German Desk meeting.  

Describing his pleasure in welcoming members to his home city, Eurojuris president Olivier Vibert said: “It has been an emotional moment to see everyone together, recognising that we have lost a lot through the pandemic.” 

He added: “A lot of energy comes out when we are together.  We harnessed some of that to encourage idea-sharing and feedback about where members would like the network to go in future.  The congress was a first step towards some kind of normality, but the future is not the past, and we must be responsive and break new ground for the network to flourish.” 

Appropriately, the venue for Saturday’s gala dinner was the spectacular Cercle De L'union Interalliée, which was founded in 1917 as a destination for exchange and knowledge between international allies, and to provide a ‘haven of peace in a tormented world’.   

Some of the members taking part in the congress shared their experiences and personal highlights from the agenda. 

For New York-based Moritz Schumann of Schumann Burghart LLP, his trip from the United States included a visit to Portugal and a night at the Paris opera before joining the congress.  “The practice group sessions are always very instructive and the International Litigation, ADR and Contracts group was a really great session.  I have met with many old friends and enjoyed the fantastic weather.” 

Partners and associates from one of the network’s newest member firms came to their first congress.  The representatives of Guleryuz & Partners joined practice groups in their specialisms, with associate Barış Ülker taking part in the litigation session.  He said:  “I found many new friends and Thierry Clerc was an amazing leader for the group.”  And partner Tarık Güleryüz described the welcoming environment they found at their first face-to-face with network members, saying:  “We have met wonderful people, who have made us feel there is no nationality in Eurojuris, everyone is alike as they come together.”

Past-president of Eurojuris, Michael Proksch of Austrian-based Proksch & Partner Rechtsanwälte OG also felt the sentiment in coming together.  “This is a very special association and it was very touching to see old friends; it really was an emotional moment. 

“What makes Eurojuris unique is that all our firms are of a similar size and structure, with similar clients.  It is a family-like network, where most of the members attend regularly, so you can really get to know people well and be confident when referring clients.”

From Prague in the Czech Republic, Stepan Holub of Holubova advokati sro said:  “It was great to be here and meet real people, not their video avatars, and to network, share, and learn something new.  Paris was a very good destination and I was fascinated to see how the calm the city felt.

“I really appreciate how Eurojuris is developing and growing its presence. It is important to have a strong network, and when combined with members being active and raising our own visibility, we all benefit.” 

Claus Heide Andersen of Danish firm IDEAL Advokatfirma P/S travelled to Paris via Luxembourg where he joined a hearing at the European Court of Justice.  Arriving at congress was “like coming home” he said, “or perhaps a school reunion, although it felt like we had never left.” 

Claus also took part in the intellectual property practice group, which discussed ways to develop activities in future.  Ideas include client visits as part of future meetings, allowing members to raise awareness of the prowess and professional skills available within the network with their clients. 

From Valencia in Spain, Miriam Porcar Valverde of Alvaro Porcar Abogados highlighted the value of being proactive in the network and the importance of knowledge sharing.

She explained:  “When I joined my firm, I saw an opportunity to use Eurojuris to gain international exposure for our services and our clients.  It takes a little time and effort but being helpful and reciprocating really pays off.  

“The real estate group focused on a catch-up and sharing what is happening for each of us.  There is no international legislation, and so it is very important to find out what is happening in other countries.  The pandemic has disrupted life, but investors are still wanting to invest.”

She added: “At congress there is always something to inspire, and it has been great seeing everyone and very motivating.  Also, it has been good to see that business has not stopped for us all.  It may have shifted, but there are lots of international business opportunities.”

And finally, Richard Phillips, partner with UK-based VWV, described how Friday’s inter-network football match summed up everything that is good about Eurojuris.  “There are so many ways to network, but it all comes down to personal relationships.  Playing football with each other, and getting to know each other through teamwork on the pitch, is as important as discussing corporate governance – although I did that too during the weekend!”

He added: “It was amazing to be together again in person.”

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