The Center for Competition and Commercial Law and the Communication and Mathematics in Management and Law team hosted EULETA’’s 10th Anniversary Conference.
What do you get when you put lawyers and language teachers in the same room? A surprising relationship which makes logical sense: International competition and trade cannot occur without precise fluent communication. In September, the European Legal English Teachers Association (EULETA) and SML joined together to bridge the gap, ensuring all stakeholders are successful in their endeavors!
Diverse and International Audience
Meeting in Winterthur for two days, language teachers, translators and editors, paralegals and lawyers melted together to achieve a common goal; crossing borders more effectively with clear communication. Participants, presenters and keynotes, originated from all over the world. Hosting such a diverse group of people at one event reflects the importance of interdisciplinary cooperation in the business world and its roots in education. Whether a lawyer was sharing interesting cases that arose and how they were dealt with, or a language teacher discussing tips on how to get one’s main point across accurately, the interaction was the strongest aspect of this event. For the teachers, translators and editors, it was a perfect chance to discuss best practices with potential stakeholders, and for the legal practitioners, it was a chance to discuss communication challenges they have faced and ways to deal with them.
The Importance of Language Skills in Various Contexts
The keynote speakers hit hard with highly relevant topics. Prof. Dr. Patrick Krauskopf stressed the fact that being a successful lawyer depends nearly 80% on communication and the serious consequences of unsuccessful communication in competition and trade law. Renzo Simoni, CEO of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd presented an in depth look at the Gotthard base tunnel. In particular he addressed the cultural and linguistic challenges that the realization of the world’s longest railway tunnel posed. Prof. Dr. Urs Schenker explained why English is a critical success factor for practicing Attorneys and stressed the need for constant learning. Pinpointing the evolution of both law and language, he argued the necessity of senior councils to never stop developing their legal and communication competencies and why problems arise quickly if they do not. He further went on to discuss the change from the 60s when English proficient lawyers were quite exotic, while this has completely flip-flopped to the exceptions now being lawyers who don’t speak English extremely well. Richard Norman, LL.M, Solicitor at AGON Partners UK, was carefully discussing the Brexit and its implications. He concluded with examples of how this could have an impact on all participants, not just the British conglomerate. Finally, Dr. Mark Spittle from the University of Wales, presented the far reaching implications of intellectual property rights in Europe and beyond. He focused on the relationship between competition law and European patent law, and finally tied his topic to Brexit and its repercussions on specific aspects of patent law that depend on Britain.
Paper Presentations included topics far and wide, allowing for the diverse presenters to share their professional interests, catering to participant’s needs. A commonality was the exchange among participants, being specifically seen when legal experts were gaining knowledge about ways to communicate better. Additionally, language specialists were gaining vital knowledge of the ins and outs of international law to be better prepared to cope with teaching communication in very technical contexts. All left the event with their minds full of new ideas and valuable new connections.