26 May 2017

International Bar Association meet attracts more than 400 experts to Belfast

More than 400 lawyers descended on Belfast for the International Bar Association's Bar Leaders' conference and mid-year meetings.

Leonid Andronov

The events were attended by most of the world’s law societies and bar associations, as well as leading international lawyers. The Law Society of Northern Ireland, the Bar of Northern Ireland and Invest NI worked together to attract the IBA to Belfast this year. During one of the most prestigious events in the international legal calendar, representatives from Invest NI showcased the region’s legal technology and innovation expertise while representatives from the Law Society and the Bar contribute as speakers in a number of sessions.

‘Fitting that the conference takes place in Belfast’

Ian Huddleston, president of the Law Society, said: ‘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, said: ‘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.’

Global LegalTech center

A number of global law firms have their legal tech and innovation centers based in Norther Ireland. Allen & Overy’s global IT hub is located in Belfast and the firm’s innovative online legal risk management solution is also developed and delivered by a specialist derivatives compliance team based in the city. Axiom’s Belfast Centre of Excellence leverages the company’s IRIS™ technology to deliver commercial, derivatives and regulatory projects for Fortune 500 clients, while Herbert Smith Freehills’ tech-enabled Belfast operation is the central pillar in the firm’s global alternative legal services offer.

International services

Similarly, Baker & McKenzie’s Global Merger Analysis Platform (GMAP) – a new antitrust and merger data control tool – is delivered from Belfast and used by the firm’s team of anti-trust and competition lawyers world-wide.

Blockchain expertise

PwC’s Belfast facility hosts the largest group of blockchain specialists in PwC worldwide and the only Google Innovation Lab in Europe. Deloitte in Belfast - which will be home to the largest Deloitte office outside London - is developing 20 blockchain-related prototypes in areas such as digital identity, digital banking, loyalty and rewards and cross-border payments, as well as investment management and insurance sectors.