II BGI Annual Conference 1999 - Vienna, Austria

The Second Balms Group International Conference took place between 14th and 16th May last in the beautiful city of Vienna. On Friday 14th May, the wives of Dr. Neumayer and Ulrich Walter, Angelika and Ulla, respectively, offered themselves as hostesses and picked us all up at the Hotel Hilton and, since the weather was fine, we all strolled over to the offices belonging to Neumayer & Walter. Once there, our colleagues in Vienna showed us around their law firm and each of its departments.

Date 23/05/1999

We were offered a welcome drink (a typical Viennese cocktail: orange juice and champagne). Once our colleagues from Budapest had arrived (they took a little longer to join the group having driven from Hungary to Vienna), we were all assembled, and so we went on to a marvellous Viennese "Heuriger" called Schreiberhaus located on the outskirts of the city.

As our host, Dr. Johannes Neumayer offered us a few words of welcome and then we enjoyed a marvellous free buffet and sampled some Austrian wine amidst the lively conversation. And finally the long-waited day of the Second Balms Group International Conference arrived.

We arrived at the beautiful Palais Auersperg good and early. Then a series of papers presented by representatives of each firm were delivered and these were received with considerable enthusiasm by all the participants. We would like to record here our gratitude to the guest speakers:

Dr. Gunther Griehsler, President of the High Court of Vienna, and Dr. Rober Walter, a Professor at the University of Vienna. We might also point out that special mention was also made of our colleagues in Colombia, Lewin & Wills Abogados, and Hong Kong, W.K. To & Company. We very much hope we shall have the pleasure of their company next May in London at the Third B.G.I. World Conference.

The companions of the conference participants joined us for lunch, which took place in one of the marvellous inner courtyards at the palace itself. The whole event was, as you might imagine, magnificent. The deployment of technical resources (video cameras, slide projectors, computer equipment) and human resources (translators, photographers, secretaries and palace staff) was extraordinary, whilst the location for the event, the Palais Auersperg, constituted an ideal venue, with the palace grounds serving as an incomparable setting for the official photo featuring all of the members present in Vienna. On the front page.

In the evening, after a well-earned rest at the hotel, we returned to the Palais in order to enjoy a magical evening. Our superb hosts, accompanied by their wives, welcomed us one by one. The evening was full of touching details; for example, the ladies were offered a beautiful red rose each. Everyone was beautifully dressed and elegant (the men wore morning coats and the women wore ball-gowns) and we shared a cocktail before entering the hall. We were 350 people in all, counting the clients and friends of our Viennese colleagues.

The dinner, which featured a large variety of different delicacies, was enlivened by an orchestra and a jazz band and our hosts surprised us with a display of their traditional Viennese waltz, nineteenth-century-style. See the photograph. We all danced and chatted until the early hours of the morning, which is when we sampled a typical "goulash". The evening ended with a typical parting waltz. We would like to express our gratitude to Neumayer & Walter, our members in Vienna, and to their wives, Angelika and Ulla, respectively, for the warm welcome and marvellous stay that each and every member of BGI was offered in Vienna.

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