Written by Bryan C. Haynes and Ian C. Michael
It is not often that a group of lawyers gets an update in geopolitics from a senior military leader on exchange to the U.S. Pacific Command—but we had this privilege at a recent legal conference in Hawaii.
Air Commodore Phillip Champion spoke to the Pacific Rim Advisory Council (PRAC) in Honolulu about what is happening in the region and potential economic and political impacts. This was just one of the highlights of the 63rd PRAC conference, where we joined lawyers from 20 Pacific Rim countries to share perspectives on business and providing legal services.
Key business and legal takeaways from the conference are:
- There continues to be tremendous outbound investment opportunities in the Pacific Rim and Asia, and Canada needs to make its presence felt. We are respected as a country—but are not as prominent to many key players in the region as Canadians might think.
- The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) can create new investment opportunities for Canada, including in services and infrastructure. The CPTPP gives Canadian services suppliers improved protection, predictability and transparency, and the infrastructure needs in some member countries are enormous.
- More and more law firms are using or piloting artificial intelligence to improve client service delivery and provide greater predictability on pricing and outcomes. This includes improving how firms analyze data to provide value-based pricing models and greater efficiency. Bennett Jones is piloting a number of AI initiatives in its quest to continue to provide tremendous value to our clients.
- Numerous Pacific Rim countries have upcoming elections that could impact trade and foreign policy in the region. These include general elections in Malaysia (May 9, 2018), India (April/May 2019) and Argentina (October 2019). Closer to home, Mexico’s presidential election will take place on July 1 and has the potential to bring significant political change.
Bennett Jones is a proud member of PRAC, a unique strategic alliance within the global legal community representing 28 law firms and 12,000 lawyers. PRAC helps us provide clients with unparalleled expertise on the legal and business issues facing Asia and the broader Pacific Rim region. PRAC also enables Bennett Jones provide seamless, efficient and top notch legal advice to domestic clients wishing to invest internationally.
Bennett Jones will be hosting the next PRAC international conference in Calgary from September 15–18, 2018—where we will look at how “Change Happens Everywhere: Embracing the Evolving Nature of Business and Law”.