What a privilege to organise an event to mark the 20th anniversary of the Warwick Legal Network. This network means so much to so many people and has been a constant over the last two decades, despite a global pandemic halting our in-person events for a couple of years more recently! The overall theme for this conference was one laced with joy, unity, and friendship: welcome to the WLN 20 Years Celebration Conference. Our hosts were the fantastic Küng Law team, with conference organisation led by Manfred Küng. Our very special thanks to you Manfred for your dedication to this event and your support with venues and speakers.
It would have been impossible to plan for a conference in Zürich without focusing on finance! Financial topics explored during our business program involved life insurance, M&A transactions, and bank sanctions. It was great to engage in the following presentations and panel discussions:
- ‘Private Placement Life Insurance’: Marc Sola, founder of 1291 Group, explains how the company tailors compliant Wealth Protection Plans for wealthy international families, and how they reduce risk for investment professionals. He also outlined how this can benefit us as lawyers.
- ‘Structuring and negotiating a leveraged M&A transaction’: The panel discussion included members of both our Corporate M&A Focus Group: Carlo Gurioli, Armin Gasper, Scott Ryan; and our Tax Law Focus Group: Peter Van Eysendeyk, David Elvira Benito, and Marcin Gorazda.
- ‘International Sanctions: Challenges in the banking industry’: Olivier Maes and Christian Weber from Deloitte highlighted the standards regarding international sanctions in the banking industry.
- ‘Impact of Anti-Corruption on Business’: Matthias Kuster, lawyer in Zürich, outlined the conventions against corruption and provided examples of what forms corruption can take, followed by preventive measure to take.
Our speakers on Saturday deviated from our finance-filled Friday and provided insight on two relevant topics:
- ‘Next Step: Metaverse for WLN Lawyers’: Fathima Ifthikar, Head of Social Media at AXA Switzerland, presented various use cases on the Metaverse and explored the potential for the future for lawyers.
- ‘Stress Management through Mindfulness’: Fátima Martínez, qualified mindfulness coach at Your Meditation. Having a background as a lawyer in Spain and Switzerland, it was interesting for Fátima to join us to speak about how mindfulness and meditation can impact our personal and professional lives.
We were also joined by Chris Erb who has been a valued member of our network for many years and has recently joined a new firm, White and Williams. Thank you, Chris, for telling us more about your firm and practice; it was great to have you with us!
We thank all our guests and speakers for sharing their expertise in their presentations and encouraging interesting discussions across topics.
Moving onto our social program!
A few keen golfers kicked off the conference with the WLN Gold Tournament at Golf Kyberg on Thursday morning – thank you Manfred for organising! On Thursday evening we got a taste on Swiss history and cuisine, starting with a walk through the Old Town, learning the history of landmarks including the Fraumünster, Grossmünster, and of course the beautiful river Limmat. We enjoyed a beer in the historic Kneipp before moving downstairs to Restaurant Kantorei for dinner. It was great to be
joined by many of our conference speakers for this dinner and wonderful to finally be with so many of our members in person again after many months, or even years for some!
On Friday evening we celebrated WLN moving into our own ‘Roaring Twenties’ era with a Gatsby-style Gala Dinner. Our venue was the impressive Constaffel Room at Haus Zum Rüden overlooking the Limmat. Everyone looked the part – even if some of the bow ties transformed into pearl necklaces by the end of the apero! Our photographer, Jean-Luc, did a brilliant job of capturing us all in our smoking suits and Gatsby dresses – for a few hours it felt like we had been transported back 100 years!
With Raphael Jost and his mighty jazz trio providing all the dancing tunes, it was truly a party to remember.
We shared memories of our time in the network, caught up with old friends – it was great to see Stuart, John, Elena, and Svitlana! – and danced the night away (some apparently also danced most of the morning away – I won’t give names, but I will say that I am impressed
that you did not fall asleep during the meditation session on Saturday). Despite mainly drinking wine throughout the evening, we ended with TEQUILA!
After our formal conference ended on Saturday morning, a group of us travelled to the Lindt Home of Chocolate for their CHOCO-WORLD Private Tour – we were greeted by a ginormous (real) chocolate sculpture upon our entrance but luckily no members of the group dived in (as far as we are aware, anyway). Finally, we finished the evening with wine-tasting and dinner at Restaurant Andulino.
Thank you, Küng Law, for hosting WLN’s celebratory anniversary conference and for making our time in Zürich memorable!
Cheers to 20 years!
Will you join us at our next conference in Spring 2023?
We look forward to seeing you in...