Even the most outgoing personality cannot not be criticised for feeling anxious when they think about travelling alone to Chiang Mai, Thailand to meet 29 other Delegates and 4 Faculty Members for the 2019 Multilaw Academy, which takes place over 6 days and 7 nights. That anxiety was soon dispelled when I met everyone on the Sunday evening over welcome drinks and dinner, and every single person was welcoming and friendly.
Following a quieter evening where most people were jet lagged (one person took 4 flights over 30 hours to get to Chiang Mai!), we met over breakfast and then proceeded to the main conference room to begin the 5 day Academy, which was brilliantly set up like a United Nations Conference – I couldn’t make up my mind if we were going to resolve Brexit or climate change. After an introduction to Multilaw from Henry Shi, the Chancellor of the Multilaw Academy, we discussed the differences between civil law and common law jurisdictions, structuring an international transaction, due diligence and client expectations in an international context. The day was extremely interactive and we all got to know each other during various breakout sessions held throughout the day.
At the end of the day, some of the delegates made short presentations on anything that was of interest to them – we heard about a wide range of topics, from discussions about the culture and history of delegates’ countries, the pronunciation of names in China, the number ‘three’ and why a certain American football team is the best in the world (although Christi Campbell, one of the Faculty Members certainly didn’t agree) – google the Green Bay Packers and ‘cheese hats’ and you will see some entertaining photos of these crazy fans!
The Academy was off to a great start after the first day, but nothing could have topped it off better than our visit to the Cuisine de Garden restaurant in Chiang Mai. We had a nature inspired, 12 course gastronomy journey served to us, cooked by famous Michelin star Chef Nan, who had flown up from Bangkok especially for our booking! We ate everything from snail prawns, a chicken nest and ‘fallen leaves’ to a lychee frozen in dry ice, which was spectacular and a great picture opportunity when the dry ice came out of our noses!
On reflection, it was an amazing first day and I am not sure that it could have gone much better (apart from perhaps the deluge of rain easing off a bit…). Multilaw is 90 law firms, 100 countries and 10,000 lawyers – but we are one global team and after our first day as delegates at the Academy, it is clear that we really are one global team, and a great one at that!