Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Back from Prague

We had an absolutely wonderful trip. The city is beautiful, very walkable, and it was a nice way to spend a few days. (Hard to believe it was just 4 days.)

I was there to give a presentation to TerraLex, the second largest network of law firms in the world. The idea behind TerraLex is that mid-sized firms form a loose association so that when they have a legal issue arise in a jurisdiction where they don’t practice, they have the name and number of someone they can engage who they know and trust. The purpose of this meeting (their annual meeting) was to give members the ability to network, learn about emerging issues in new markets (Asia and Africa are both significant growth opportunities), and assess where TerraLex is right now.

TerraLex exists as an alternative to the mega-firm: instead of engaging one firm with thousands of attorneys and offices all over the globe, as a client you can work with a local firm who has access to the resources of hundreds of firms with thousands of lawyers all over the globe. Hourly rates are often more reasonable dealing with smaller firms, and your ability to access senior leadership in the firm is often far higher.

I’ve dealt with a few of these networks over the years, and I was amazed at the collegiality of the member firms, and the genuine admiration they have for each other. These are all highly capable lawyers in their own markets, and the total lack of ego in the room was a refreshing change from many room-fulls-of-lawyers I’ve been in in the past.

The highlight of the trip was, without question, the private tour of the Prague Castle that included a whole wing of the castle closed to the public. That was followed by a spectacular five course meal on the grounds of the Castle while a 12 piece orchestra played in the background. Definitely a memorable evening.

If you want to see some of my pictures, they’re over on Flickr.

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