MIPIM 2010 Blog: Wednesday 17th March

Hordes of real estate lawyers are in Cannes this week for MIPIM, but what are they really getting up to? Find out in our MIPIM blog all week. Latest: Rhodri Pazzi-Axworthy, real estate partner, Nabarro

10.15: Tim Webb, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig Maher

I retired quite late last night. Actually much later than anticipated. But then MIPIM was ever thus. And I am not certain a late night blog is “best practice” but here goes.

Having arrived at MIPIM, it’s difficult to discern whether its bigger or smaller than last year. Instinct tells me its smaller. And the absence of two landmark hospitality suite’s are mourned; the Drivers Jonas (Deloitte) cafe and of course the DLA walk in bar/cafe. RIP. But maybe they will be back?

I spent most of the afternoon seated at Bar Roma (I so know that looks bad on paper). Justin and I met with a succession of clients and contacts. All crossing over/mingling with each other, a sense of anticipation that this might be another good MIPIM. [MIPIM stalwarts will say that a small MIPIM is generally a good MIPIM and remember fondly the early MIPIM years].

After drinks and supper as a guest of Robert Bourne I ended up back on the Croisette at about 11.00. Deserted maybe an overstatement. Quiet may hit the mark.

So here I am faced with options. Roma and Majestic are at one end of the Croisette, Carlton in the middle, Martinez at the far end. Where to start?

I am with a good pal from Abstract and we head to the Carlton. Mistake. Empty. A quick drink and we are heading down to the Majestic bar. DT of DLA is holding court with the good folk from Bilton Estates and a revealing conversation about the Russian property market ensues.

It’s easy to forget how vast and deep the property world is. There are parts of the UK property world that are stalked by niche players secure in their brand and offering. I was sitting on a rather delightful yacht earlier, chatting to two partners from Virtus – a specialist consultancy advising UHNWI from Russia and eastern Europe on UK investment. Fascinating I thought. And who should do the legals? But of course Mishcon’s – who else ?

And so to the end of my first evening. There is an inevitability about the pull of the Martinez. Its like plunging into ice cold waters with a piece of concrete strapped to your feet – there really is no escape and the experience can be quite painful.

And so at the end of a very long Tuesday, having arrived in a hurry wanting to be “more” productive, was the race to MIPIM really worth it? I was too late for lunch, I had the hassle of getting across to Heathrow, 2hr check-in, the soul sapping hell that is security, compact three seats in a row airplanes, plastic food, baggage collection (!!) And the queue for taxis. Not to forget the extra cost of the flight and increased carbon footprint.

You know, on reflection my old crew may just have it right. Next year – I might just be back on that train.

Click here for Tuesday’s Blog