ALMOST 1,000 lawyers from around the globe converge on London this week for the 39th Annual Congress of the Union Internationale des Avocats.
The congress, running at the Grosvenor House Hotel until 7 September, examines the way the legal profession should deal with changes in the run-up to the 21st century.
Representatives from each of the 300 Bar associations and Law Society members of the Paris-based UIA are attending, alongside individual delegates.
Speakers including Lord Slynn of Hadley, former Law Society president Mark Sheldon and Bar chair Peter Goldsmith QC will talk at sessions on competition issues and professional practice. Other speakers will address subjects including human rights, financial services and fraud.
The congress - the first to be held in London for 25 years - will also host meetings of the 40 permanent commissions and working groups of the UIA.
Congress president Christopher Jackson said the London event would give lawyers from other jurisdictions an insight into the UK legal profession and enable British practitioners to promote themselves to the international marketplace.
"The prospect of hosting a UIA congress in London for the first time in 25 years is a great honour for the UK and its lawyers," said Jackson.
"The congress presents the UK legal profession with a tremendous opportunity to promote itself as a world leader in the provision of legal services."
Founded in 1927, the UIA is one of the oldest international organisations for lawyers and lawyers' associations.