LawExchange International (LEI), a global network of independent law firms founded by Hewitsons, marked its 25th anniversary at a conference in Prague.
More than 60 delegates from 32 of LEI’s member firms, in 22 countries, attended the group’s 2019 spring conference, hosted by Czech LEI member Rada & Partner at the city’s Four Seasons Hotel on April 12 and 13.
Experts from various member firms gave presentations and took part in panel discussions throughout the two days. Emma Shipp, from Hewitsons, gave a paper on Brexit and its implications for lawyers and their clients. There was also an informative presentation by Roman Chiupaty, a Partner and Global Strategist at boutique consultancy Save & Capital, on ‘Doing Business in the Czech Republic’.
Guy Lewin Smith, formerly a partner with a magic circle firm in London and now a university lecturer on management, gave a keynote paper on leadership. Another keynote address, under the heading ‘A View From The Other Side’, was given by Eitan Israeli, General Counsel with Wix, an Israeli company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Eitan is an old friend of LEI, having formerly been a partner with LEI’s original member firm in Tel Aviv, before going ‘in house’.
Hewitsons Consultant Lewis Isaacs, Founder and Secretary of LEI, said: “As LEI’s first conference of 2019, the spring event was a great way to mark the start of our 25th year. It is always good to see so many representatives from LEI firms together, sharing information and expertise about important legal topics. Through these conferences, our members have formed strong, lasting relationships – some now spanning a quarter of a century – which are at the heart of LEI’s efficacy.”
LEI was founded in 1994 by law firm Hewitsons, which today has offices in Cambridge, London, Milton Keynes and Northampton. Since then, the group has grown to comprise 34 member firms, together employing some 1,700 lawyers in 30 jurisdictions around the world.
The group’s purpose is to enable member firms to connect clients with trusted solicitors in other jurisdictions. This way, clients who are seeking to do business abroad can quickly receive expert advice from a reputable and familiar firm that understands the relevant jurisdiction’s laws, procedures, politics, economic environment and cultural practices.
In turn, LEI firms benefit from fellow members’ referrals. Hewitsons, which has teams specialising in a wide range of legal practice areas, currently enjoys more LEI referrals than any other member. All LEI firms go through a rigorous selection process to ensure they meet the highest standards of professional competence, reputation, integrity and commitment to exceptional client service, among other criteria. As such, LEI includes some of the top commercial firms serving middle-market and entrepreneurial businesses worldwide.
Delegates meet regularly at LEI conferences in the Americas, Europe and the Asia Pacific region, which feature lectures, break-out groups and discussions, focusing on different legal topics each time. Current LEI initiatives include setting up an ‘LEI Help Desk’, through which the group’s largest firms will help smaller members with IT, finance and marketing.
Connecting the internationally recognised academic and research powerhouses of Cambridge and Oxford by way of new infrastructure links across the region and ramping up digital connectivity between individuals, organisations and businesses occupying the zone is all part of the ambition.
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