Carsten Venemann, Associate at Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek and Vice-President of AIJA's European Law Commission

AIJA (L'Assocation Internationale des Jeunes Avocats) is an international organisation for lawyers under the age of 45 years. Brussels Legal asked Carsten Venemann, an associate at Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek and current Vice-President of AIJA's European Law Commission, about the organisation.

BL: What is AIJA?

CV: AIJA is a global association for private practice lawyers and in-house counsel aged 45 and below. It organises a number of meetings, seminars and law courses to promote professional cooperation, development and friendship among young legal professionals throughout the world.

AIJA is sub-divided into groups, or so-called Commissions; each dealing with a particular subject or activity. The Commissions are headed by a President and Vice-President and operate "virtually" around the world.

For international lawyers in Brussels, two Commissions may be particularly interesting: the Antitrust Commission and the European Law Commission (focusing on all European law other than antitrust aspects). AIJA members can be members of more than one Commission.

BL: How many members does AIJA have in Brussels and what is AIJA's attraction for lawyers in Brussels?

CV: Currently AIJA has approximately 95 members in Brussels and about 2000 worldwide.

The fact each Commission's events take place in various locations all over the world means proximity to other members is not critical. AIJA's global nature means a lot of activities are not specifically intended for only Brussels-based members. For example, my Commission, the European Law Commission, had a 3 day conference in Luxembourg earlier this year. Members from Brussels and other parts of the world attended. AIJA also holds a big congress every year in August. Here lawyers from all nations and all Commissions meet. This year we will meet in Toronto. Next year's congress will be held in Paris. An AIJA administrative office is located in Brussels, but for most Brussels-based members that is not so significant.

What is more significant for international lawyers in Brussels is AIJA is a truly bi-lingual organisation, providing all documentation and conferences in French and English. Both languages have equal status and that gives the organisation a truly international reach.

Also AIJA is making a membership push to attract more in-house counsel. Both private practitioners and in-house counsel benefit from the increased exchange of ideas and experiences that AIJA membership provides.

BL: If someone would like more information about AIJA who should they contact?

CV: The AIJA website (www.aija.org) is the best source for more information in the first instance. It contains information on membership, fees and contacts.

BL: Good luck.  Thank you for your time.