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President's View - Stephen Davies QC welcomes the new ILA website

21/01/10

It has been a long time coming. It is the product of the vision and hard work of the ILA Council driven by my three immediate predecessors, Ken Baird, Louise Verrill and Ian Field. Within the ILA, the nuts and bolts of the new website have been assembled by a team of hard-working volunteers led by Council member, Justin Bickle working in conjunction with our website providers, Sears Davies.

It is not by chance that the launch of this website coincides with the birth of RILN, The Restructuring and Insolvency Lawyers' Network. The launch reception of RILN in Lincoln's Inn on 21 January 2010 is the first step in an overall plan masterminded by a so-called "junior" committee of the ILA chaired by Ryan Beckwith of Freshfields to find and nurture the next generation of restructuring and insolvency lawyers. Broadly, the RILN members will be of less than 8 years' post-qualification experience or 10 years' call to the Bar (you might say that we are looking for candidates who might compose the 30-year report in 2019). Ryan has an ex officio seat on Council to ensure that RILN grows alongside and feeds into the ILA. We are all very excited by this development.

Through this new website, Council also wishes to attract more fellow practitioners from overseas. I am extremely grateful to Council members, Chris Mallon and Justin Bickle for agreeing to be responsible for this initiative with energy and enthusiasm. There is a global insolvency crisis requiring global expertise and we have every intention of persuading more of our international colleagues to join us in recognition of that fact. Many of the 50-60 technical bulletins sent out to members annually have an international theme and we are looking forward to sending them to an increasing body of overseas members.

Whoever it was who said that we should hold every man a debtor to his profession understood a thing or two. The vision and exuberance of the subscribers to our original constitution in 1989 have resulted in the ability of the ILA, 20 years later, to act as an important channel for the exchange of information between us. This, in turn, leads to the heightening of technical knowledge and understanding and the shaping of opinion on a range of issues affecting our practices. In all of this, the know-how section in the members' area of our new website will be our most important tool. The production of technical bulletins during 2009, which now appear in substantially greater numbers than previously and within a short period after the judgments, has in large part been due to the recruitment of and assistance provided by Inga West and Wendy Braithwaite as consultants to the Technical Committee. Whilst Wendy has now returned to practice, we are delighted to have been able to recruit Jonathan Middleton as a consultant to the Technical Committee.

Finally, none of this can be achieved without financial resource. In that respect, our sponsors, Law Debenture, have been and continue to be very generous and we hope to work with them into the foreseeable future.

Stephen Davies QC
President