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WLN Delhi conference report, 13-16 Feb 2017

28 February 2017
Stuart Miller

(Click on photos opposite to enlarge) 


WLN's recent Business Mission to India, hosted by our local member firm India Law Offices (ILO is led by Gautam Khurana & his wonderful team) was in many ways a first for our network.  It was a first conference outside Europe.  The format was different to previous events, both in content and in leadership.  We were joined by guests (clients, lawyers, even a banker) throughout and spent more time networking with local business than perhaps we have ever done  previously. 

On Mon 13 Feb, we met as WLN with guests, spending the day discussing opportunities for our clients to do business in India, the investment climate, challenges ahead for the EU, Brexit and what it means to be a WLN member from the Irish and US perspectives.  We thank our guest speakers (who spoke about...):

  • Harsh Jajoo (Chairman of Can-Pack India) about practical experience of a Polish group investing in India;
  • Michał Popiołek of mBank about funding & services for investors;
  • Michał Schmidt & Anna Jastrzębska of Kamet SA about their ambitions to export to the Indian transport industry;
  • Hardeep Singh Puri, retired Indian Ambassador and former representative to the UN, about the macro-challenges ahead that might affect the investment climate.


We heard fascinating introductions from some guest lawyers too:

We were so pleased that all three firms could spend the rest of the week working with us!

Thanks also to WLN members who spoke - Jennifer van Doren (USA), Ronan Hannigan (Ireland) & Marcin Gorazda (Poland). 

From my vantage point, I can say that one of the most remarkable aspects of this first day was that all our speakers held the attention of the entire room throughout!  This is a testimony to the great care and entertainment value that they all brought to the event.

Of course, Tue 14 Feb would not have been complete without a little romance - so for Valentine's Day, we downed tools and spent the day as tourists visiting Agra - the Taj Mahal & Red Fort were fabulous highlights.

On Wed 15 Feb, we were guests at an event "Corporate Matching Programme" co-hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and ILO.  Well over 100 companies were represented and we were fortunate to have the opportunity for WLN members to speak - namely Gautam Khurana (India), Marcin Gorazda (Poland) & John van Loo (Netherlands).  The event was widely covered in the local press (see example links, page below right) and included an extensive opportunity for one-to-one introductory meetings with local companies. 

If I mention that our evening social activity included a little practical lesson in Bollywood dancing, am I breaking the "What goes on in...." rule?  Too late, it's done.  Such fun!

Finally, we had one more event on Thu 16 Feb, this time at the offices of the PHD Chambers of Commerce, where we were joined by about 35 local SME businesses and were able to introduce the work of WLN's members as well as a B2B session.  That afternoon, several of our colleagues visited Old Delhi with a guide, and came back with stories & photos of a most challenging, intense and vibrant experience.

Our thanks go to the organisers at both CII and PHD for making us feel extraordinarily welcome at their events. 

Above all, our thanks go to Gautam Khurana, his wife and the rest of the ILO team - so, if I mention Neha Marwaha, Promila Dhar, Abhishek Hans, Dr. Chandra Shekhar, Anupama Srivastava, Rajiv Bansal, Shailender Bajaj and Ritu Chhabra, then I am only too aware that other names have been missed (sorry, mea culpa!).  All contributed to the most wonderful conference and social programme, both in business and cultural terms.  A simple thank you is not enough, but nevertheless.....

And a word of thanks to the WLN members who committed such a lot of time to fly the flag for the network.  I reckon you will all agree that our colleagues who stayed at home missed a most memorable, ground breaking few days.  Please don't hesitate to tell them just how good it was (i.e. "You should have been there!") - that should make you really popular!

And so to the future - please mark your diary for conferences ahead:

• WLN Next,  27-30 April 2017 – fixed & booking now in Budapest, Hungary;
• WLN main conference– Autumn 2017 we return to Kraków, Poland  – 28-30 September 2017, full details to be released very shortly;
• WLN main – Spring 2018 in Dublin, Ireland - anticipated April 2018 (dates tbc);
• WLN main – Autumn 2018 in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina.

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