Of unicorns and ants
Interact Law’s Brussels meeting highlights
Nearly three intense days of meetings in the European Union capital, last 6-8 November. We chatted of unicorns and ants, yes, but mostly we worked and networked. Here are the highlights, so you don’t feel bad you didn’t come.
The presentations in Brussels treated Interact Law members to:
– Expert advice on helping clients with acquisitions
– The latest in applied artificial intelligence
– What big data can do for internal processes
– Client and internal data protection best practices
Guests, attendees and key contacts in the Brussels Conference accessed the presentations’ files via mail and Microsoft Teams. If you would like to receive any of the files, please send us an email.
New members, ECIJA’s new Chinese partner and more
In addition to the presentations, meetings and networking opportunities, those who went to Brussels also met Interact Law’s newest members: Bennani & Associés, who have offices in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Ivory Coast; Maheshwari & Co., who are based in India, but also offer a German and an Eastern European desk; Tonucci & Partners, who have seven offices in Italy and a solid presence in Romania, Serbia and Albania.
ECIJA presented its newest expansion plans, announcing their partnership with China’s Grandall Law, while Adam Hugill, of Hugill & Ip in Hong Kong, gave a presentation on his firm’s social responsibility policies, a growing topic among firms and clients alike. In addition to the new member presentations, Interact Law’s practice groups also got together to share the latest developments in their areas.
A fitting welcome to a special group of friends and professionals
A great champagne cocktail: there is no better way to say welcome. Our host at the Interact Law conference, Stéphane Bertouille from Everest Law greeted us with an extraordinary toast in their Brussels offices on Thursday 6 November. At Interact Law, we like to call ourselves a special group of friends, so meeting one another in person again reaffirmed our close working collaborations and our bond of friendship. All in attendance in Brussels praised Everest Law for the outstanding welcome to the Belgian capital.
Not too early after a champagne evening cocktail, the Friday morning breakfast panel inspired everyone with ING economist Philippe Ledent, Trusted Counsel’s M&A lawyer Mike Siavage and Vijay Rawat, an investment banker at Growth Point Technology Partners.
On the subject of unicorns, the three agreed that they are called unicorns for a reason: They are difficult to find and there are not too many of them out there. However, as the global economy slows down, the panellists find a silver lining in the abundance of cash in the market, the current low cost of debt and the fact that innovation require investments. This scenario would most likely benefit, you guessed it, lawyers working on deals.
Adapt or die
Adapt or die. That’s the message from darts-ip and Clocktimizer, two innovative companies that use data in the legal industry. Their presentations in our Brussels conference helped to show how legal tech is used in practice now, not in a sci-fi future scenario.
Rik Minoodt of darts-ip showed how his company uses the data of more than 5 million intellectual property cases to support prosecution and litigation, up to predicting outcomes of specific cases. Pieter van der Hoeven in turn showed how Clocktimizer uses a wide range of data to help firms with everything, from identifying efficiencies to succession planning. Clocktimizer’s proprietary algorithms, for example, build accurate fee quotes based on historical data and a budget management feature that avoids write-offs.
Ants, or how to better collaborate
Lawyers are not always the best at teamwork and collaboration. Some have their own small shop in the shop, others just miss the big picture altogether. In the Brussels meeting, however, the network just proved itself again a great springboard of business through collaboration with the announcement of the partnership between ECIJA and Grandall Law and the Interact Law group of experts on data privacy and digital services.
In another great example of collaboration, Adam Hugill explained how everyone at Hugill & Ip contributes to the firm’s social responsibility stance, which ultimately adds value to their bottom line. ‘At Hugill & Ip we believe that social responsibility is a necessary ethical stand, in which individuals fulfil their civic duty. One person’s actions should benefit the whole society. Just last week, Hugill & Ip launched the Wills of Concern campaign to raise funds for the Hong Kong AIDS Concern foundation. The goal is to raise awareness in the local community about legal issues related to estate planning, LGBT rights, discrimination, data privacy and confidentiality. Until the end of 2019, in addition to directing donations to AIDS Concern, Hugill & Ip will be drafting wills free of charge as well.
The Brussels meeting wrapped with a workshop on how to raise referrals together, including topics such as improving knowledge of each other’s work, developing professional friendships and finding opportunities for clients. Working together like ants, in a group but heading towards a common goal. That’s how we ended a productive couple of days of team building in Brussels.
If you would like to receive any of the presentations, please send us an email.