Sep 1

JOINT CONGRESS AEA-EAL / F.B.E.:BRUGES – 21ST-23RD MAY 2009, AT COLLÈGE ‘EUROPE

Tags:

THE FINANCING OF LAW FIRMS
The European Commission, in 2003 and then in 2005, examined the question relative to the validity of the laws and professional rules that restricted the following aspects: the organisation and the ownership of structures offering judicial services, the possibilities of partnership with others professions, especially with chartered accountants and the opening of branch, franchises or chains.

The Commission estimated that all restrictions, which might have a negative economic impact and forbid the existence of multidisciplinary practices, should be completely eliminated. According to the European Commission, only the restrictions allowing the protection of the service providers’ independence or its personal responsibility could be justified.
Nowadays, with the current crisis, what is the European Commission position concerning deregulation?
Since these injunctions relative to the multidisciplinary nature were made, what are the legal evolutions, the modifications adopted by the lawyers and bars in our various countries (possibility to choose a commercial structure, to create joint-stock companies, to call on to shareholders for funds, to list the company on the stock exchange, to develop multidisciplinary practices…) ?
What impact does this have on an eventual control by the bars and what is the impact of these modifications to our ethical rules (professional secrecy, conflict of interest, independence…) ?
The speakers and participants will deal with these questions during the Congress of the European Bars Federation that will take place in Bruges in May, 22nd in the morning session.

THE FINANCIAL SITUATION OF THE BARS
The economic crisis directly affects the lawyers. Bars have to assume their tasks: to represent lawyers, to defend lawyers’ interests, the development and the implementation of the ethical and disciplinary rules, the surveillance of the profession.
What are their budgets?
Where does their income come from? Are the contributions paid by the lawyers their only source of incomes?
Would it be possible to introduce other methods of financing, like sponsoring and partnerships etc?
What are the usual, yearly expenditures of bars?
Are they affected by the crisis and what are the measures planned?
The Presidents of the bars must be concerned by all these questions. Therefore, it will be one of the themes that will be discussed during the Congress of the European Bars Federation in Bruges in May, 22nd in the afternoon session).

PROGRAM
THURSDAY 21ST MAY:
Arrival
Assistance to the Holly Blood Procession (privileged sits)
Welcome Cocktail

FRIDAY 22ND MAY: (AT COLLÈGE D’EUROPE)
8,30 – Registration.
9.00 – 9.30 – Welcome speeches by Presidents and Authorities.

First session:
– THE FINANCING OF LAW FIRMS:
9.30 – 11.15 – Introduction: traditional restrictions to the opening of law firms to external capital.
Deontology and competition. Michel BENICHOU (1st Vice-President F.B.E.).
– Rules of Community Law applied on the subject;
legal resources for defending the positions.
Lucette DEFALCQUE (speaker AEA-EAL).
– Some chosen national speakers.
11.15 – 11.30 – Coffee break
11.30 – 13.00 – Discussion: position of other countries.
– Conclusions.
13.00 – 14.30 – Lunch (buffet)

Second session:
– THE FINANCIAL SITUATION OF THE BARS:
14.30 – 16.15 – Introduction: Compulsory belonging for lawyers. Non required services.
Mirko ROS (2nd Vice-President F.B.E.).
– Rules of Community Law applied on the subject;
legal resources for defending the positions.
Jean-Pierre VAN-CUTSEM (speaker AEA-EAL).
– Some chosen national speakers.
– Discussion: position of other countries.
17.30 – Closing.
20.00 – Gala Dinner at Old Hospital of Saint John.

SATURDAY 23 MAY:
9.00 – 10.30 – Meetings.
11.00 – 12.30 – General Meeting
13.00 – Lunch: Restaurant of Hotel Kempinski
16.30 – Private Guided Visit: Exposition of Charles the Bold.