The inaugural U.S./Ireland Legal Symposium was recently held in Westport, Co. Mayo and was a rousing success.

Hosted by the Brehon Law Society of Philadelphia, in conjunction with the Western Development Commission, Mayo County Council and Temple University Beasley School of Law, the conference tackled critical legal issues faced by Irish and U.S. companies when conducting business at home and abroad.

Attempting to harness the experience of top legal professionals across the global Irish community, the three-day seminar in May aimed to promote both Ireland and the U.S. as top destinations for foreign direct investment.

Attendees included both attorneys and business professionals based in the U.S and Ireland.

Topics discussed during the conference included accessing capital and starting up a business; conducting business/comparative analysis and litigation as well as dispute resolution.

Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny gave a keynote address at the event’s gala dinner where he described the event as a “practical expression of focused engagement on legal and commercial issues.”

“By coming together to rigorously analyze the many complex legal issues that underpin trade and commerce, we collectively are making a worthwhile contribution to overcoming the many challenges that face this country,” Kenny added.

Kenny described Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate as a cornerstone of the Irish political economy, and assured the delegates it was not up for negotiation.

“It’s an integral part of what attracts and keeps investment in Ireland. It cannot be changed without our consent,” he told the assembled crowd.

Kenny added that he was delighted his home county had been chosen as the location for the inaugural symposium, which will be held in Philadelphia in 2012.

“The west of Ireland offers unparalleled opportunities for people and business to contribute meaningfully in an environment that is rich in culture, creativity, and heritage,” he said.

John O’Malley, a Philadelphia-based attorney and the co-chair of the event, described the conference as a great success. Around 40 attorneys traveled from the U.S. and in total around 100 professionals took part in the seminar.

“The main aim was to build on ties between American and Irish lawyers who are looking to do business in Europe and the United States,” O’Malley told the Irish Voice.

“The reaction of everyone who came was excellent. They thought it was a great networking opportunity and they were pleased with the connections they made.

“It reinforced how much we had in common and how many business opportunities there are between the U.S. and Ireland that are underappreciated.”

The co-chairs of May’s legal symposium included O’Malley (shareholder, Volpe Koenig PC); Kevin Dooley Kent (shareholder, Conrad O’Brien PC); and Joseph T. Kelley, Jr. (president, Brehon Law Society).

Founded in 1976 in Philadelphia, the Brehon Law Society aims to foster the profession of law among individuals of Irish ancestry.  The society is comprised of judges, attorneys and law students and currently boasts over 500 members.

Brehon Law Society - Irish symposium a success