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Copenhagen 2018 - Post Conference Review

World Link for Law Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark (April 26–28 2018)
 

The 2018 World Link for Law (29th) conference was held in late April. It was attended by over 70 delegates with the highest number of member firms participating ever.
 
Copenhagen is a principal and historic Nordic city. It is open, easy to walk around and lively, with a great combination of history, art, and a stylish developing urban culture.
 
Our conference was held at the waterside Admiral Hotel which is full of character, as it is a former warehouse with wooden beams dominating the property. It is a short walk to the Royal Palace and in the other direction within 400 metres of the popular Nyhavn area and start of the main shopping area.
 
It was generally noted that the conference was memorable for including many very informative presentations, panel sessions and discussions; and also for the quality of the Danish food at all events and functions, which was of very high quality.
 
Additionally, there were meetings of the Special Interest Groups for Arbitration and Tax on Friday 27th April and an inaugural meeting for an M & A Group. Before the conference, on Thursday afternoon, 26th April, there was a North American regional meeting and a ‘LATAM’ meeting.

The conference business programme
 
The main meeting was held on Friday and Saturday (up to lunchtime) in the ground floor meeting rooms overlooking the canal side, with its pre-function lounge area for coffee breaks, with lunches in the main hotel restaurant. The configuration of the beams in the meeting room (known well before) required some creative manoeuvring of room layout at various times to accommodate various meeting styles, in particular an in- house counsel panel session followed by converting the area into two breakout meeting rooms.
 
The first presentation was made by Professor Roman Beck of the Business IT department at IT University of Copenhagen. He is Head of the Technology, Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship (TIME) research group and Head of the European Blockchain Center and Blockchain Summer School. He discussed the current and future blockchain-based research trying to answer the question of how we can engineer new markets and economies using blockchain.  Nigel Brahams, partner of Collyer Bristow, UK, complemented Professor Becks’ presentation talking about legal and regulatory issues acting for Blockchain providers and ICO issuers.
 
Chris Tsovolos of Bartier Perry, Sydney, then presented about Blind Trusts, followed by a joint presentation from Steve Suneson, of Coan, Payton & Payne, Colorado, USA and Peter Kirpensteijn, of Kiveld International Lawyers, Netherlands on the commercial and tax implications of “when your client is contracting with a foreign entity”.
 
On the Friday afternoon there was an in-house lawyer panel session involving, Kirstine Aachmann Bethe, Novo Nordisk; Michael Rene Reved, Danske Bank; Remonda Kirketerp-Møller, Muinmos - chaired by Lars Espersen of member firm Adv. Espersen, Denmark. The group had agreed to share their opinions on some pre-advised legal and business questions raised by World Link members. For example, what challenges do they face currently in their roles? What opportunities or obstacles do they anticipate in the future?; how is technology impacting on their internal service obligations?; how are they managing an increasing level of compliance?; what recent and potential regulatory and legal changes concern them most?; how do they work with and select their external lawyers? It was a dynamic session and we are very grateful to those that participated.
 
The conference then separated into two sessions. The International Arbitration session was led by Cristiana Stoica of Romania, introducing guest speaker Henrik Thal Jantzen of Kromann Reumert, Copenhagen, presenting and discussing the challenges of setting up an international arbitration court. Henrik’s presentation focused on the issues in setting up the Nordic Maritime and Offshore Arbitration service.
 
The Tax Group followed up from Steve Suneson/Peter Kirpensteijn's earlier presentation and discussed in more detail the impact of the subjects raised in their own jurisdictions of those anti-tax avoidance measures on contracting and tax planning; and also there was a discussion on individuals and their data in the light of new and forthcoming legislation and regulation e.g. GDPR.
 
On Saturday morning after the Annual General Assembly of World Link for Law, there was a presentation about Brexit by the Gareth Garvey, the CEO of the British Chamber of Commerce in Copenhagen. It was light hearted, anecdotal and informative as clearly the future scenario is not yet determined, but there were some interesting questions and observations particularly from the North American members present.
 
Before lunch, there was a panel session and discussion moderated by Neil Montgomery of member firm, Montgomery & Associados, Brazil. The subject was 'Buying a business overseas and labour law/transfer of undertaking matters: a comparison between different jurisdictions'.  The contributors were Darren Gardner, Bartier Perry, Australia; Rodolfo Dolce, Germany & Doriana de Luca, Dolce Lauda, Italy; and Rosa Posada, Bryan Gonzalez, Mexico. Subsequently a useful synopsis paper was prepared and circulated to delegates and other members.
 
We thank them and all presenters for their hard work and contribution.
 
   
 
                                               

Post conference comments by some of the delegates

“This was my first World Link conference, but my firm has been a member for many years. I really enjoyed contributing by making a presentation on the law and regulation around crypto currencies and Blockchain and was impressed by the level of participation throughout."
Nigel Brahams, Collyer Bristow LLP, London, UK
 

“Thank you to all for the excellent organization of the Copenhagen conference. I think we had very interesting discussions and wonderful days and evenings together, which will help to make our network stronger and work better. As one of the founding members of our association, I must say, that the response from the members to this conference was extremely positive; and I was very encouraged about the enthusiasm for new initiatives discussed”.

Greg Blewitt, Bartier Perry, Sydney, Australia

 
“A great event, extremely useful, and good to meet so many other member lawyers to discuss and share similar business ideas, while also learning more about international legal issues. Looking forward to welcoming members to Dubai in 2019”
Hassan Elhais, Al Rowaad & Advocates, Dubai, UAE
 
 
“A really enjoyable conference with some very interesting topics and discussions.”
Kersti Kägi, Aavik & Partners, Tallinn, Estonia

 
 

Thursday – pre-conference dinner (26th April)
 
Before the conference, on Thursday evening there was a pre-conference drinks reception and dinner, with wine pairing, in a waterside room at the Admiral Hotel, looking across to the magnificence of the Copenhagen Opera House. After the dinner Finn Altschuler of our Copenhagen member firm made a short presentation and welcome to Copenhagen. On Saturday after the General Assembly Lars Espersen of Frederikshavn, Denmark also made a presentation thanking delegates for their participation.

 

 


Friday – (27th April) – group dinner at the ‘Odd Fellows’ Palace
 
On Friday evening we walked a short distance to the historic Odd Fellows Palace (a former Royal household) but now a venue for Rotary Clubs, business events and a culinary school. 90 attended the dinner; followed by the famous World Link for Law quiz and a short walk back to the hotel.

 

 


Saturday –excursion (28th April) – Royal Palace and canal cruise
 
On Saturday afternoon there was a private group tour to the nearby Amalienborg Royal Palace (in two groups); followed by a canal cruise to see the main waterside sights of Copenhagen including Christianshavn and the Christiansbourg Palace.
 
On Saturday morning there had been a spouse/guest walking food tour of Copenhagen which was well received as it also comprised eating and cultural insights into architecture and local history on route.

 

 



Saturday – dinner (28th April) – Koefood Restaurant
 
On Saturday evening about 50 of us went to Koefood for an excellent 6 course tasting menu, comprising fresh local food and state of the art presentation.


 
See you in Dubai, March 14-16, 2019
 

The Burj Khalifa at night time; and the view from the Sofitel Jumeirah Beach Hotel, which will be our conference venue. Various group dinners are planned in and out of the hotel, a Dhow cruise; visit to the ‘old town’ or to the top of Burj Khalifa; and with other personal social activities organised through our appointed travel agent.
 
 

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