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Sunscreen, business cards and sensible shoes are all in the bag for Neil Campbell’s first trip to Mipim.
The past few weeks for us will have been no different to anyone else preparing to attend MIPIM. Hours spent furiously trying to arrange meetings, coffees, drinks and lunch or dinner with key clients and referrers, and even more time spent kitting out the wardrobe with some hot new Aves and that elusive blue cravat to set-off the salmon shirt and cream cut-off slacks (a look that’s sure to see me blend in beautifully with the locals).
But whilst on the face of it our preparation won’t be much different to anyone else’s, the objectives of an independent Scottish firm such as us attending MIPIM are probably slightly different to most other attendees. For a start, as well as arranging meetings with – amongst others – our key lender, developer and funds clients, an important part of our week will be making contact with other English, European and American law firms. Providing Scots law advice on cross-border transactions is a large and important part of our workstream and we’re equally as keen to arrange meetings with these referrer firms as we are our existing clients.
But what else might be different for a Scottish firm attending MIPIM? Well, this year sees one of the hottest topics of conversation on the European agenda being Scottish-related: the Scottish independence debate. What would happen if Scotland becomes independent? Would Scotland keep the pound? Would key businesses move their head offices to England/Wales? How might this affect the property market? And what might the reaction be of the capital markets? These are just some of the questions that we’ve found our key clients and referrers asking us over the past few months. Engaging in the independence debate is something that we at Tods have actively done, and where possible we have tried to answer questions on the implications of Scottish independence. As MIPIM approaches we would expect these sorts of questions to be asked of us on the coast of Cannes, and we look forward to debating and seeking the opinion of our various European neighbours on the same questions.
From a personal perspective, as a newcomer to MIPIM, part of my own preparation has been reviewing various “MIPIM self-help” websites and blogs. Thankfully I’ve managed to pick up a few handy tips aimed at MIPIM virgins such as myself: (1) remember the business cards (2) keep an open mind about everyone you meet: the surly chap nursing the glass of Aperol Spritz in one of the many bars on the Croisette might just hold the key to your next big instruction: (3) always carry a bottle of water; (4) try and wear flat shoes where possible (not such a problem for me since I gave up the Sarkozy heels); (5) if you think the next glass of wine might be too much; it probably will be. Nobody likes networking with a boozed-up belligerent; (6) above all, enjoy the experience.
All sound advice.
Neil Campbell is a solicitor in Tods Murray’s banking and finance team