Margrave Celmins is a member of Lawpact, an international association and network of business law firms. Lawpact held its 2018 fall meeting in Santiago, Chile. I traveled there in October for the general meeting, which was attended by member firms from Canada, U.S., Mexico, Central America, Europe and a growing number of South American firms. At one of the general sessions, someone offered that Lawpact has now reached the point where our association of smaller-sized, business-oriented law firms has 60 member firms in number with over 600 lawyers in 24 countries. We have found that being a member of this Association enables firms such as ours to offer assistance to clients on a global basis, while still retaining the smaller-firm feel.

One of the major benefits of our Association is the ability to share and learn from member firms how similar types of law firm issues are dealt with. In addition, we had presentations on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations dealing with social media privacy rules that can even impact companies in the U.S. in some respects and on the expanding role of blockchain technology, which is the technology of bitcoin.

2019 meetings will be held in Vancouver, Canada and Brussels, Belgium where we should be receiving a good briefing regarding the impact of the success or failure of Brexit both on the U.K. and its trading partners.

While this was my first trip to Chile, I only had time to see a few areas in the central part of the country. It is quite a long and narrow country with much to see. So it was quite easy with Santiago as a base to travel to Valparaiso on the Pacific coast to high up in the Andes, with a visit to a winery or two as well. But I missed the opportunity to visit the Atacama Desert in the north and Patagonia in the south, as well as Easter Island due to the five hours flying time to the west.

Michael W. Margrave