When he became chairman of the practice group, Sjoerd Tilman had to decide what the group’s goals would be, including key questions such as: Where to focus on? How to work within the practice group? “I knew, we should not have a strictly legal focus, but should be open for more,” he tells us. Now, the group’s main aim is to be a platform for the exchange of ideas, of knowledge, and of experience. “We discuss recent developments of national law-systems, and personal experiences,“he gives an example. The group follows an open approach and seeks to look beyond their own nose. Mr. Tilman emphasises: “We need to intellectually interact inside the practice group, as well as outside the practice group. Just as inside Eurojuris and outside Eurojuris.” Thus, the group invites guest speakers and organises joint sessions with other practice groups. “It definitely takes some effort to get high-quality people to come. But it is worth the effort,“ he says.
Up until now, meetings have taken place in Vienna, Nice, Brussels, Sevilla, Sorrento, Prague, and Porto. The next meeting will be held during the upcoming Eurojuris International Congress in Brussels, from October 12th to 15th, 2017.
Last year, for example, during the Practice Group Days in Marseilles, a joint session with the Corporate & Tax Law practice group was organised. Since members also deal with the other group’s field, at least partially, presentations were held on the group’s respective topic – and vice versa. Accordingly, Mr. Asendorf, chairman of the Corporate & Tax Law group, held a presentation on Mergers and Acquisition. Equally, Mr. Tilman presented on “Pre-Insolvency Instruments for Restructuring”, which is of interest for the Corporate & Tax Law group.
In Prague, during the Eurojuris International Congress, the group arranged a visit to the UniCredit Bank in collaboration with the group specialising in Real Estate Law. There an exclusive talk on real estate investment banking was given by one of the bank’s employees. “We had a very open and active discussion with the bank representative, “Mr. Tilman notes. In addition, Dr. Ernst Giese, from Giese & Partner, one of the leading law firms for banking law, real estate law, and insolvency law in the Czech Republic, was invited to speak. During his presentation, he provided an overview of the national real estate law, as well as the current insolvency banking practice, illustrated by a case study.
Following this, Mr. Tilman continues with an example of his personal practice: at the moment he is collaborating with one of the other members of Eurojuris. The subject is an international case concerning an international cash pooling agreement. A cash pool is a banking structure, which allows the balances on a number of separate accounts to be treated collectively. This can be applied to accounts held in the name of separate legal entities, it can be arranged on both a domestic and cross-border basis. Even multi-currency cash pools can be established.
Mr. Tilman outlines the matter for us: the case deals with an Austrian company, that went into bankruptcy. Before the bankruptcy, a considerable amount of money was transferred by the company to the Dutch holding company. Right now, proceedings are active in Austria. This September, witnesses, both Austrian and Dutch, are going to be heard. This example shows how people from different practice groups work together. Furthermore, it demonstrates, that “we are not on the professional island of insolvency banking and restructuring,” stresses Mr. Tilman.
Overall, Mr. Tilman finds it crucial to bring in new topics and issues. Up to now, there is no specific topic, that comes back again and again. The subject always depends on the meeting, on the speaker, and on the experience of a speaker,” he explains. Certainly, it is challenging to determine subjects, that are of value for everybody. “But that stands for every professional,” he clarifies.
“At large, we need to have a broader understanding of the field than only our specialisation. If we are only strictly focusing on one part of the law and forget about the other parts, then we are not good specialists. Therefore, we should keep an open mind about what other colleagues are thinking and working on, as well as about the developments beyond our field of activity,” he concludes.