When good opportunities arise we hold special training encounters or a series of training events in The Salon in the form of a commercial service. We hope to live up to the interest that leading attorney and members of corporate legal departments have in receiving continuing education in demanding specialist issues. Unlike ordinary commercial training events, the intention is to form a small and ideally homogenous group for further training in a subject that the members of the group themselves choose and determine. At the same time events of this kind also have a collegial and social dimension leading to increased contacts between attorneys and between general counsel, but in particular between attorneys and general counsel. We are still at the experimental stage and will only hold these events if those involved have signaled their interest and take an active part in determining their form and content.
For example we describe the recurring event: Professor Arthur Miller of Harvard Law School.
Special Workshops with Prof. Arthur Miller, Harvard Law School from Friday, January 26th to Friday, February 3rd 2007 – High-end issues in international litigation involving the United States directly affecting leading Swiss Law firms and legal departments of leading Swiss multinational enterprises in actual cases and actual strategic planning activities
After six months of preparation, the above series of colloquia were held on an experimental basis between 26 January and 3 February 2007 in The Salon
The sponsoring law firms were Bär & Karrer, Lenz & Stähelin, Homburger, Niederer Kraft & Frey, Schellenberg Wittmer, Vischer und Nater Dallafior. The sponsoring corporate legal departments were UBS, Novartis, Roche, Nestlé, Swiss Re und ABB.
The concept of the workshop had certain characteristics arising out of specific enquiries as to the interests of possible interested parties. It was concerned with high-end issues affecting specialists in Switzerland.
The concept provided for a small number of participants, so that there would be just two participants from each company and the total number in each colloquium would be no greater than between ten and fourteen participants.
The preparations were unusual and minimal. After definitive confirmation was received from the sponsoring law firms and enterprises, we assembled and catalogued the questions that were of interest to the lawyers taking part. After extensive preparation Prof. Arthur Miller replied mostly to these questions. He also had “carte blanche” in respect of 25% of the time allotted for the colloquium to add his own short contributions of particular interest. There were no papers, no minutes. The whole working week was recorded on video and the recordings were supplied afterwards to each participating law firm and corporation and to those lawyers who had been individually invited. This was part of the commercial service rendered.
The working week consisted essentially of the following modules:
One general workshop, “litigators of law firms”; one general workshop, “general counsel and litigators of legal departments”; one combined workshop, “litigators of law firms, general counsel and litigators of legal departments”; one special workshop, “arbitration” and a special workshop, “attorneys on boards of public companies and legal consultants of boards”. Each module lasted for four hours.
At the request of the law firms concerned we held specially tailored events at Bär & Karrer, Homburger and Nieder Kraft & Frey. Along with invited guests from universities we held a special workshop: American Legal Culture Club and Guests from Participating Sponsors “9/11 and thereafter” and a dinner.
The costs were shared pro rata between the sponsoring law firms and enterprises; additional amounts were levied for the holding of the various intensive events at The Salon.
The event at The Salon was evaluated using responses to a detailed questionnaire. This forms the basis for possible future events. The evaluation has shown that it was particularly the following factors that contributed to a positive assessment: small number of participants, specialist problems, few papers, immediate exchange of ideas, all events in private rooms and sufficient time for talking between colleagues and friends. Of course the broad knowledge and legendary communicative and didactic skills of Prof. Arthur Miller were of central importance.
The plan was to repeat this encounter in the first quarter of 2009.