The 6th meeting of bar associations and their member lawyers, organized by the Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Madrid—the Madrid Bar Association, was held in Madrid on 24–26 April 2014.
The 6th Madrid Meeting was well-attended by figures from the legal world, bar association officers and members of the bar from Europe and around the world, including representatives of bar associations of cities like Beirut, Frankfurt, Geneva, Istanbul, Milan, Paris and Sofia and countries as far afield as Brazil, Kenya, Mexico and Mongolia. Among the Polish bars, the Warsaw Bar Association was represented at the event by attorney-at-law Monika Szpiganowicz of the association’s Foreign Commission.
No mention of the Madrid bar would be complete without referring to its long tradition, with origins reaching back to 1596. The Ilustre Colegio today is a professionally managed organization with over 67,000 lawyers as members, administering a budget of EUR 51.5 million and employing about 200 people. The association is headed by the charismatic Dean, María Sonia Gumpert Melgosa.
The theme of the 6th Madrid Meeting focused on four main issues addressed during panel discussions with elite members of the legal profession:
- The International Criminal Court: Operations, Process and Access
- Defending the Right to a Defence
- New Challenges for Protection of Privacy in Cloud Computing
- Human Rights and Political and Economic Crisis
During the 6th Madrid Meeting there were numerous discussions with members of the Madrid bar and other bars and legal associations from various parts of Europe and the world on the possibilities for cooperation in different areas (mutual assistance to bar members, recognition of training and other qualifications, conducting training and internships, joint initiatives, exchange of knowhow, and so on). We hope that in time the contacts formed will bear fruit through conclusion of relevant agreements between the bar associations.
In Madrid there was also a meeting with officials from the Department for Promotion of Trade and Investment at the Polish Embassy in Madrid, Mirosław Węglarczyk (First Counsellor) and Kamila Kowalska (Second Counsellor). The meeting included a discussion of the possibilities for entering into cooperation between the Warsaw Bar Association and the Polish Embassy in Madrid, as well as the Department for Promotion of Trade and Investment, which would give the Warsaw Bar Association an additional channel for providing Spanish businesses with information about Polish attorneys-at-law (contact data as well as information about the services they offer).
The Foreign Commission has already begun preparing information about the Warsaw Bar Association which could be placed on the website of the Department for Promotion of Trade and Investment at the Polish Embassy in Madrid. Other initiatives strengthening the cooperation between the embassy and the bar association are also being considered.