Donald Trump’s swift sweep of the broom to the established political and economic norms is likely to be one of the standout discussions at next month’s Inter-Pacific Bar Association’s annual meeting and conference in Auckland.
Denis McNamara, the president-elect of the IPBA and chairman of the Auckland organising committee, says the Saturday session will discuss filling the gap with the United States’ withdrawal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, putting the 12-nation deal in doubt.
“What the panel will discuss is what has happened this year in terms of the business environment following the election last November of Mr Trump and his immediate cancelling of the TPP. That raises lots of issues, such as whether there is now a vacuum triggered by this.”
Former BusinessNZ chief Phil O’Reilly will lead one debate, on New Zealand specifically, followed by another on the international implications with speakers from Peru and the US. Brexit and its knock-on effects will also come under scrutiny, including the possibility of Scotland breaking away from the UK.
The event is being held at SkyCity in Auckland on 6-9 April and it is the first time it has been held in New Zealand for 25 years.
Mr McNamara says there will be a variety of hands-on sessions.
“There are two sessions in particular that will appeal to New Zealand lawyers, Developing the International Lawyer and another on Shareholder Agreements and Cross-border Investment,” he says.
The former will consider what being an ‘international lawyer’ involves and what legal expertise, practical knowledge and skills need to be developed for a lawyer to merit that title.
And the Shareholder workshop will explore how to use and draft shareholder agreements. The panel will examine when shareholder agreements can and/or should be used in the context of cross-border deals, and the do’s and don’ts and the specificities in the respective jurisdictions.
Mr McNamara says there are currently 740 registrations for the conference.
“Our target was 800 - we probably won’t get to that but we won’t be that far off that figure.
“It’s a lot of lawyers, some might call it air pollution.
“It is very encouraging. In actual fact, two conferences ago, in Hong Kong, there were 1,100 delegates and people were complaining that there were too many. So, around 700 and up is a nice comfortable number, where people get to meet and get to know each other.”
Those confirmed delegates come from all corners, including Cameroon, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Myanmar and Mauritius. Mr McNamara points out that those people may not necessarily originate from there but be lawyers doing business in those countries. So far, there are 48 countries represented.
Japan tops the list with 93, followed by New Zealand (64), Singapore (58), Malaysia (45) and the United States (44).