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24 May 2017

Belfast Hosting International Law Conference

More than 400 lawyers will visit Belfast this week to participate in the International Bar Association’s ‘Bar Leaders Conference and Mid-Year meetings’. Taking place at the Waterfront Conference Hall from the 24th – 27th May 2017, the events will be attended by the leaders of the majority of the world’s Law Societies & Bar Associations and prominent international lawyers.

The International Bar Association (IBA) is the world's leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies, and is hosting its 12th Annual Bar Leaders' Conference in Belfast as a result of extensive lobbying by the Law Society of Northern Ireland, the Bar of Northern Ireland and Invest NI.

All three organisations took a proactive joint approach to raise the profile of the services and support that the legal profession in Northern Ireland can offer businesses, legal firms and the international legal market generally.

In what is highly regarded as one of the most prestigious events in the international legal calendar representatives from Invest NI will showcase the region’s legal technology and innovation expertise during the event, while representatives from the Law Society of Northern Ireland and the Bar of Northern Ireland will contribute as speakers in a number of sessions.

Those attending will discuss a number of timely issues including the opportunities and challenges of Brexit and those of artificial intelligence and use of ‘robot lawyers’.

Commenting the President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland, Ian Huddleston said:

“It is my very great honour to welcome the delegates of the International Bar Association (IBA) Bar Leaders’ Conference and Mid-Year Meetings 2017 to Belfast. The Law Society’s support for the IBA Bar Leaders’ Conference and Mid-Year Meetings is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to international engagement and to establishing global links. We are therefore delighted to welcome so many of our international colleagues to Belfast at an important point in the timeline of global business, politics and law”.

Liam McCollum QC, Chairman of The Bar of Northern Ireland added:

“On behalf of my colleagues at the Bar I am delighted and honoured to extend a warm welcome to all the delegates of the IBA Bar Leaders’ Conference. We are looking forward to enlightening discussions from knowledgeable speakers. The topics of the conference include Brexit and artificial intelligence which reach across international boundaries and will present significant challenges and opportunities for various sectors in the years ahead. It is fitting that the conference takes place in Belfast, a centre of legal excellence comprising a strong independent bar and excellent solicitors who combine to provide a comprehensive legal service of quality and expertise. A conference of this calibre mirrors our ambitions and gives us the opportunity to market our legal services abroad.”

Mark Ennis, Chairperson of Invest NI, commented:

“Invest NI has been driving an internationalisation strategy for the legal sector which has resulted in it becoming one of the fastest growing sectors in Northern Ireland. This impressive growth is fuelled by the increasing export focus of our local lawyers, the attraction of major international firms and the region’s growing reputation as a global hub for legal technology, applied research and innovation. The IBA mid-year conference, in Belfast this week, presents an ideal platform to proudly showcase the region’s world-class capabilities and to further promote business connections with the international legal community. We are delighted that such a prestigious global organisation has chosen Northern Ireland to host its mid-year event and offer a warm welcome to all delegates.”

Mark Thompson, Head of A&L Goodbody's Belfast Office who are the principal sponsors for the Friday night Social event said:

“We are delighted that the IBA has chosen Belfast as the venue for this prestigious event, where the future of the global legal profession will be discussed and shaped, and we hope that delegates get to sample some of the many delights the city has to offer.

For many decades A&L Goodbody, in both Dublin and Belfast, has worked closely with the international legal and business community in relation to their business activities across the island of Ireland and we have forged strong links with the IBA during that time also. We very much look forward to welcoming our IBA friends to Northern Ireland and strengthening our relationships with the global legal community”.

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