Digest 73

June 14, 2017 Subscribe


Distinguished participants and partners of the Forum shared their impressions on the VII St Petersburg International Legal Forum ►

LF Academy

Over 40 new lectures by the leading lawyers of Russia, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA were recorded during the three days of the VII St Petersburg International Legal Forum in the Open Studio of the LF Academy, an informational and educational portal for lawyers.

These lectures cover a wide range of topics: artificial intelligence, regulation of innovation, bankruptcy, international commercial arbitration, legal department management, antitrust regulation, law firm management, etc.

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“Hope we will continue to collaborate”

Guo Dongbai

CTO of AliExpress, Alibaba Group

It was quite a pleasure to attend the conference and it was honor to talk to the Prime minister and other guests.  Hope we will continue to collaborate and contribute more to the general welfare of all Russian people.

Best regards!

“It is one of the best conferences I have ever been to”

John Flood

Professor of Law and Society, Griffith University Law School

I would like to say that the conference was stimulating and rich. I came away with new ideas and having met a wide range of people. It was a marvelous experience. And I must thank you especially for taking care of the arrangements and handling them so well. It is one of the best conferences I have ever been to.

“I would describe the latest Forum by two capitalized words: Scale and Responsibility”

Marina Gassiy

General Counsel at SUE Vodokanal of St Petersburg

Good afternoon, dear colleagues, thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in such an interesting and high-profile event. As before, to me the St Petersburg International Legal Forum is a big professional festive occasion, which gives its participants – Russian legal experts and our foreign colleagues – with a unique opportunity to address the most complex and interesting issues from the world of law in live discussions and in the most comfortable setting possible.

This Forum was particularly noted for its scale and originality of the proposed topics. Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev had set the tone of many discussions in his speech at the plenary session when he touched upon the prospects of emergence of new technologies in a lawyer’s life and their influence on the future of the legal profession.

Panel discussions addressing the issues of implementation of artificial intelligence in the work of legal departments and other technical novelties aimed at making lawyers’ lives as easy as possible proved to be really interesting and unusual!

Moreover, this Forum was not only interesting for me, but very important as well, since our institution was entrusted with holding an important and meaningful satellite event on public/private partnerships in water supply and sanitation. As moderator of this event, I had a chance to hold a discussion that was complicated not only and not so much from the standpoint of legal regulation of such projects, but because of an ambivalent attitude of society to the involvement of private investors in this socially sensitive area of economic operations.

I would describe the latest Forum by two capitalized words: Scale and Responsibility.

“The Forum has rightly established itself as one of the major international legal events and has become a milestone event for the legal community”

Andrei Popov

Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs and the Property Complex, head of the Department of Legal and Corporate Affairs at Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation

First of all, I am glad to see that the Forum continues to develop, as proven by the large number of guests from around the world that come every year. The Forum has rightly established itself as one of the major international legal events and has become a milestone event for the legal community. This is something to be proud of.

The highest merit of the Forum is its fascinating sessions. These were so many of them this year, but I must particularly mention the discussion about the artistic image of a lawyer; it was a very unusual take on our profession.

Rosatom also held a panel discussion; we traditionally join distinguished lawyers to share our experience there. Our panel addressed specificities of hi-tech export with some case studies from Rosatom’s practice. The topic attracted a lot of interest among the Forum’s participants.

The hallmark event of the Forum – the Legal Street reception – was undoubtedly a smashing hit, as always.

By the way, even the weather in the Northern Palmyra favoured the lawyers that day.

See you next year!

“SPBILF is one of the ‘must-see’ events”

Vladimir Nazarenko

Head of Legal Aid Department, Legal Directory, State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank)

This was the first time I participated in such a high-profile forum and I have only good impressions, both professional and personal. SPBILF is one of the “must see” events. In my opinion, the Forum’s organization and performance was absolutely superb. Undoubtedly, the VIII SPBILF will also be a thrilling and useful event where Russian and foreign experts will share their experience and views to contribute to the resolution of the most topical issues.

“I think it is exactly the sort of event that benefits the legal profession. But it does more than that”

Marc Firestone

Sr Vice President and General Counsel, Philip Morris International (Switzerland)

This is my first time at the Legal Forum in St. Petersburg. I think it is terrific. I think it is exactly the sort of event that benefits the legal profession. But it does more than that. And that was so unusual. There are many legal conferences around the world and they tend to focus on very specific current legal topics or questions about law firm billing or the structure of an in-house law department… And all that is fine. But having a forum with so many people from so many places talking about so many different topics it is an absolutely different story. I looked at the booklet and reveled the topics from ‘what is the future of robots’ to a lecture by a physicist from the Max Planck Institute on physics and the law, to abstract questions of international law and to more concrete topics. I have never seen that range of topics in such a large forum. And I have never seen forums with such abstract topics at which you have so many government officials and other very prestigious people who spend their time to talk about these topics.

I think it is wonderful because it is forcing us to step back and engage in self-reflection: what do we do? how do we do? The world is changing -- can we perceive those changes and can we change in response? That’s essential. Here in a very wonderful setting so many people can step back for two or three days and think of the things that we would not normally do. So, I think it is fantastic.

“SPBILF is an embodiment of law”

Aleksandra Nesterenko

President of the non-commercial partnership Russian Corporate Counsel Association

President of the non-commercial partnership Russian Corporate Counsel Association

The main forum for lawyers – SPBILF 2017 – has united legal professionals from around the world for the seventh time. And for the seventh time, Russian Corporate Counsel Association has become its strategic partner.

The Forum is a living organism, always looking for new forms, both in essence and in design. Every year, just like children on New Year’s Eve, we expect surprises, and they do happen! Wonderful, creative and erudite Olga Motenko is the one responsible for this miracle; she has assembled a team that makes this celebration happen alongside her.

It is impossible to attend all panel discussions you would have wanted to, as so many important and useful events are held simultaneously, such as the first International Insolvency Forum under the auspices of SPBILF, discussions of the development of the law, etc.

As science fiction writer William Gibson said, “The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed.” If he were to participate in the VII St Petersburg International Legal Forum, he would have agreed that the future has already come to the SPBILF.

During its annual conference preceding SPBILF, Russian Corporate Counsel Association leaped a hundred years into the future to discuss futurology in jurisprudence with judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and representatives of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia and Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation.

We tried to figure out how Russian lawyers can take the lead in promotion of Russian legal ideas and deliberated on the concepts of freedom, equality and responsibility. It was quite a conference! Judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation Gadis Gadgiev and Vladimir Yaroslavtsev, deputy heads of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia Anatoly Golomolzin and Andrei Tsiganov and department head Aleksandra Dronova answered the question of how to turn Russian legal ideas global. Russian lawyers must clear the legal barrier and become leaders of international legal thought development – this is the conclusion drawn by the members of the Association. New proposals on promotion of Russia legal concepts were put forth by such wonderful speakers as Ruslan Ibragimov from MTS, Anna Kostyra and Artemy Ivanyushin from EY, Dmitry Gorbunov from Goltsblat BLP, Viktor Naumov from Dentons, Vitaly Kalyatin from Rosnano and Aleksei Ivanov from the Higher School of Economics/Skolkovo. In the follow-up to the conference, the Federal Antimonopoly Service journal will publish an article by Anatoly Golomolzin. Press release and photo gallery have already been published at the Association website https://www.rcca.com.ru/news/action1.shtml?id=827&grid=2

From this SPBILF satellite event we “threw a bridge” over to the Association’s session at the Forum, where we debated challenges that corporate lawyers will have to face because of breakthrough technologies. Ruslan Ibragimov, Igor Kondrashov and Olga Teplova, heads of legal departments of MTS, Sberbank and Google, spoke about the invasion of innovation in the previously conservative life of lawyers. Yuliya Bondarenko, adviser on legal issues of the commercialisation of new products in Latin America and Canada at Philip Morris International and moderator of the session, noted exponential growth of new technologies used by lawyers and said that they should be able to keep up with technical innovations to be able to control them rather than being controlled by them instead.

Participants showered the panellists with questions. For example, today a lawyer needs several years to gather enough experience to be able to give a sound legal evaluation of a situation. How will a robot with artificial intelligence be able to do it? Is it possible to instil human wisdom and ethics along with experience into a machine?

This discussion was continued at the Baker & McKenzie business lunch where, among other topics, participants addressed the issues of liability of robots. Who is liable in case of a robot-driven car accident: producer, seller or driver? These issues urgently require regulation and a country that does it first will gain competitive advantage and attract investments, members of the Association think.

The Forum gained wide media coverage. For example, the LF Academy project that celebrated its first birthday has filmed many interviews and impressions about the Forum. It is heartening that while still an infant, the project gains significance and popularity and that 6,000 daily users visit this website, a source of knowledge and information. By the way, I will love to watch at the LF Academy website those panel discussions I was unable to attend in person.

Russian Corporate Counsel Association expands its cooperation with LF Academy and sees it as a tool to develop corporate counsels’ competences. For example, Association members came up with automation initiative of corporate legal work. In their opinion, areas that most require computerization are contracts, litigation, local normative acts, followed by compliance, IP, GR, etc.

Corporate counsels particularly need experience sharing in this sphere, as well as information on implemented technical solutions and data on reliable and unreliable suppliers. Legal work automation requires new IT knowledge from lawyers: they must know how to write up terms of reference for IT experts so that the solution would satisfy the lawyers using it. LF Academy might help corporate counsels in developing these and other competences. This is one of the instances where on-line education is necessary for corporate counsels regardless of their experience and qualification.

However, the Forum was distinguished not only by its smart and lively discussions. All of the Forum’s events culminated in a spectacular gala reception for several thousands of participants, marking the end of the St Petersburg legal week.

Olga Motenko came up with an idea to host a gala dinner at Vitebsky railway station, an architectural masterpiece of the early 20th century. The freshly renovated Art Nouveau railway station was captivating. As in bygone times, the beautiful halls were full of travellers dressed in costumes of that era, a baker was giving out bagels, an orchestra played wonderful music, there was dancing and laughter everywhere. Most importantly, the celebration was thought through to the last detail: there were several comfortable halls, a platform with a real steam engine, an antique staircase and enchanting lighting that all created a special atmosphere encouraging communication between the participants who had become friends during the Forum.

Beyond any doubt, this is the main goal of the Forum: to unite in friendship lawyers from all over the world, so that there would be more smiles, happiness and knowledge in the universe! Thank you, SPBILF 2017 and... let us start preparing for SPBILF 2018!

“SPBILF is a very convenient and advanced platform for discussing legal and insurance issues”

Andrei Kigim

Chairman of the Fund of Social Insurance of the Russian Federation

Distinguished colleagues, St Petersburg International Legal Forum is a very convenient and advanced platform for discussing legal and insurance issues arising in our day-to-day work.

This year we had a comprehensive and productive discussion during the session Social Aspects of Bankruptcy: Protection of Employees, Debts Collection and Personal Bankruptcy.

I liked the new feature: polling before and after the discussion of each issue for real time evaluation of both the power of conviction of the speaker and readiness for dialogue of the rest of the panellists.

Another pleasant surprise was an opportunity to conduct meetings with foreign experts. As you probably know, not long ago a bulk carrier flying Panama’s flag was wrecked in the Black Sea. At the Forum, together with representatives of the International Social Security Association and the Republic of Panama, we discussed the algorithm of actions of state bodies during investigation of such incidents and delivery of benefits to the victims. Meeting with the chairman of the Supreme Court of Panama allowed us quickly, literally within an hour, to establish necessary contacts and clear many questions. This form of communication is a very convenient way of maintaining dialogue with people who are not only well-versed in the discussed issues, but also participate in the adoption of relevant laws and control of their implementation.

I am convinced that this format of communication is both useful and productive. Therefore, we will prepare even more carefully for the next forum, which will be held in 2018! We will analyse the list of participants and get ready for bilateral meetings. I would like to thank the organizers for the topical agenda, interesting meetings and productive work!

“High level of professionalism of speakers and participants is Forum’s hallmark and its seal of excellence”

Andrei Gorlenko

Senior Administrator at the Arbitration Centre of the Autonomous Non-profit Organisation Institute of Modern Arbitration

This year the scale of St Petersburg International Legal Forum was particularly impressive: an unprecedented number of participants from dozens of countries, sessions dedicated to many pressing issues, workshops, business breakfasts, moot courts and moot arbitration proceedings.

During this Forum I had the privilege of moderating a session on corporate disputes arbitration that brought together ten leading experts on corporate law and dispute resolution from around the world. High level of professionalism of speakers and participants is Forum’s hallmark and its seal of excellence

I would also like to commend a lecture series as part of the LF Academy, among which I particularly remember the lectures on quantum physics, countering international organized crime and regulation of collectors’ activities.

I would like to thank all participants of the Forum for great discussions and exchange of knowledge and opinions and organizers of the Forum for their exemplary work and excellent result, as always!

“Every participant could easily find topics to discuss and things to do according to their mind, their heart and their field of professional interest”

Maksim Grigoriev

Partner, Head of Special Projects, VEGAS LEX

This year’s forum was particularly useful and informative for me. There was lots of networking, lots of new people and very lively debates on a broad gamut of topics. The core programme and the cultural part (including events managed by law firms independently) were extremely eventful and versatile. Every participant could easily find topics to discuss and things to do according to their mind, their heart and their field of professional interest. The forum was overall very intense, upbeat, driven. There was all this extensive sharing of opinions, ideas and expertise. New legal realities, phenomena and issues, as well as the areas, trajectories and trends of further development for the applications and institutions of law, were addressed in a deep, serious and intellectually engaging fashion. Also of note is the distinguished mix of participants this year. I just wished I could attend all the panels I wanted, but no such luck, as many of them were scheduled concurrently.

I joined my colleagues from Minpromtorg of Russia, Siemens and Geropharm for a great business breakfast on May 18, where we discussed localization and the application practice of purpose-specific investment contracts as used by industrial enterprises. I thank all those who attended this event and expressed sincere interest in the subject later on. 

I happened to note excellent event management level throughout the forum. To make a long story short, SPBILF was a great success across the board this year.

“As a certified computer engineering expert, I am interested in the topic of IT promotion, because this is the future”

Ilya Nikiforov

managing partner at Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners law firm

I am glad that the main national legal event, SPBILF, is taking place in my home city. In the 2017 programme I was particularly interested in the presentations made by experts from other fields: economists, financial and industry experts. As a certified computer engineering expert, I am interested in the topic of IT promotion, because this is the future, and the way it will be regulated is a separate and quite exciting issue. It is great that the Forum has hosted so many fascinating discussions about this topic. I wish the organizers creative success and new interesting topics!

“Global discussion was held within the first International Insolvency Forum”

Maxim Stepanchuk

Partner, Delcredere

The Forum was as always organized on the highest level. Global discussion was held within the first International Insolvency Forum. Russian legal system needs effective and well-established insolvency procedures to ensure healthy and competitive economy. Their development is promoted by wide discussion of actual insolvency problems at the Forum.

Moreover, the Forum let Delcredere gather famous litigators and organize a fruitful dispute on the questions of Russian procedural law development. We hope that this discussion will continue here next year.

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