Looking back on my three days in Amsterdam with lawyers from all over the world, the one thing that strikes me the most is how similar we all are. We may speak different languages. We may live on different continents and in different countries. We may each have our own cultures and legal systems. But, we all share the same values as people and as lawyers.
LawPact is an international association of independent law firms of which BFV is proud to be a member. We come together a couple of times a year to learn, share ideas and collaborate on how to best serve our clients. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend LawPact’s fall conference in Amsterdam in mid-October. With members in 23 countries, LawPact allows BFV to serve our clients’ needs not only in Atlanta, the Southeast and the U.S., but also in many parts of the world.
Spending time with lawyers from Belgium, Canada, Hungary, France, Italy, Mexico, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands (Holland), Malta, Spain, England, Chile and Colombia and of course, nine major cities in the U.S. was insightful. It helped me remember just how amazing these lawyers are and how lucky we are to have some of the best lawyers in each of these countries to help us serve our clients when the need arises.
Seminars on the complexity of the European Union (EU) were fascinating. The system of European laws which now co-exist with the laws of each individual member country is not easy to navigate, especially when some EU laws are paramount, some equal to the law of the individual countries and some are simply advisory. There are certainly some comparisons to be made to our dual system of state and federal courts, but there are more differences than similarities to our system. After all, we are one nation, while the EU is made up of 27 nations, all with very different cultures and legal systems (not to mention the history of thousands of years of warring against each other).
While the EU has significant advantages (or disadvantages depending on whether you are talking to someone from Germany or Greece), it has made doing business in Europe treacherous for the unwary. I certainly have a much greater appreciation for how critical it is to have excellent lawyers from the EU to help advise our clients when they decide to do business in Europe or to conduct business with European companies.
While I am proud to be a part of such a distinguished group of professionals, I also truly appreciate the camaraderie and friendship among such a diverse group. Our common ideals and demands for professional excellence bring us together, but our bonds of friendship developed at these conferences are what give us the comfort to introduce our clients to our fellow LawPact members when the need arises.