On September 2-3, 2022, ČAK organized the popular two-day international conference “Czecho-Slovak-German Bar Association”. It is a traditional event of a total of four partners – bar associations. They are the Czech Bar Association, the Slovak Bar Association, the Sachsen Bar Association and the Bamberg Bar Association.
Each year the Forum is organized by one of the bar associations, and this year the organization was again taken over by ČAK, after a two-year involuntary interruption caused by the global covid-19 pandemic. The conference in Prague was originally planned for 2020 – four years after the successful Forum in Pilsen in 2016. This year, the Advocacy Forum also had one of the highest attendances – over 60 lawyers from the entire Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany came to Prague . The first day of the conference started with a social evening and a tour of the Strahov Monastery in Czech and German, followed by a joint dinner for all participants.
The following day was already dedicated to the working part of the program, all the lectures that took place in it were simultaneously interpreted into Czech and German. Each year of the Forum had a different central theme, which was proposed by the bar association that organized the Forum. A very topical issue was chosen for this year – “well-being of lawyers”. It is the first time in history that this (still controversial topic for some) was discussed in the field of the Advocacy Forum.
Considering that well-being is closely related to the issue of diversity and the involvement of women, it was more than symbolic that this year the bar associations were represented exclusively by women. She gave her opening speech for ČAK JUDr. Monika Novotná, vice-president of CAK, which highlighted the importance of the theme of this year’s Forum. She followed Viktória Hellenbart, representative of the Slovak Bar Associationwhich introduced an interesting initiative of the SAK, when throughout last year regular articles were published in the Slovak Advocacy Bulletin on the topic of the well-being of lawyers.
The Bar Association of Bamberg was represented by the chair Ilona Treibert and the president of the Sachsen Bar Association, Sabine Fuhrmann, spoke with greetings. Both representatives agreed that this topic has been ignored and stigmatized for too long and remains a taboo for many even in today’s society. But the debate and public opening of this issue is the first step to improving the situation.
The first speaker was JUDr. Eva Indruchová with the lecture “Introduction to the issue of well-being lawyers”. She presented individual initiatives of bar associations and international organizations and focused on the recent IBA global study “Mental health in the legal professions”. A detailed summary of the results of this global study is available in an article published by Advokátní deník.
This was followed by a lecture by Slovak psychologist and coach Zuzana Reľovská, who introduced the participants to the issue of burnout and the need to build mental resilience as a prevention against burnout. She spoke openly about her own experiences and explained the effects of stress on our organism in a very informative way.
The morning series of lectures was concluded by Ing. Marcela Roflíková, the founder of the Czech Mindfulness Institute, with her very practical workshop, where participants could try out mindfulness techniques firsthand, as a learnable skill, how to direct your attention to the present moment. In this way, the participants tried out how to consciously stop, especially during demanding working days, so that they were able to handle their work without exhausting their mental and physical reserves. Forum participants had the opportunity to share their impressions with each other, and even further discuss the topic during a joint lunch at the Klášterní pivovar in Strahov.
She started the afternoon block of lectures President of the Sachsen Bar Association, Sabine Fuhrmann, which introduced the participants to the current situation in Germany with a contribution entitled “More than just a fruit basket and an eBike – about working conditions and other conveniences” and introduced new trends in Germany using specific examples. The last contribution was delivered by the speaker for the Bar Association of Bamberg, Mr. Christian Semmler, a lawyer from Würzburg, who focused on the possibilities of working from home (home office) and opened many current topics, such as the introduction of mandatory data boxes in Germany (from January 1 this year). , analysis software, or the possibility of online court proceedings.
The day-long series of lectures was officially concluded with short speeches and thanks from the representatives of individual chambers. For those interested, there was also an optional mini-course of Czech-Slovak-German legal terminology for beginners, which was led by lawyer JUDr. Eva Ropkova.
This year’s bar forum was met with an extremely positive response from the participants. “I consider the Answaltsforum to be one of the many meaningful events organized by CAK that I was able to participate in this year. This year (perhaps more than surprisingly for many), the Advocacy Forum did not deal with a legal topic at all, as is usual and as is typical for legal conferences or forums, but focused on an issue that is still generally not discussed much (at least not enough) in society, and “professional well-being”, even though it is such an important issue! All the more, the thematic choice of the organizers, who are not afraid to come up with illegal topics, should be appreciated. Answaltsoforum was very carefully organized, it included a whole series of interesting lectures in relation to the issue of well-being of lawyers, specifically, for example, to the issue of stress, burnout, its causes and its prevention, while it should be appreciated that within the given lectures the emphasis was not placed not only in theory, but also in practice. For example, techniques aimed at calming down and finding mental well-being in often demanding everyday professional situations were presented.” pointed out the Prague lawyer JUDr. Pavel Klima.
At the end of the forum, ČAK handed over an imaginary baton to the Slovak Bar Association, which will organize the Bar Forum in 2023.
JUDr. Eva Indruchová, head of the Department of International Relations of ČAK
Photo: ČAK – Jakub Gajdoš