International Bar Leaders Symposium

“Who’s perfect? The human factor in the legal world”

The first international German Bar Association (DAV) conference was held in June 2018 in Heidelberg on the subject of “Who’s perfect? The human factor in the legal world

The International Bar Leaders Symposium was initiated by the German Bar Association in order to seek exchange with different bar and lawyers' organizations throughout the world on the topic of error management culture.

The conference was organized as an international opening event as part of the annual “DAV Annual Conference” (Deutscher Anwaltstag) - undoubtedly the most important event of the year for German lawyers.

After a greeting word of Dr. Claudia Seibel, Vice-President of DAV, the Symposium was opened with short lectures from three external experts, which were chosen because of their non-legal background and therefore being able to provide a different professional view compared to the audience (lawyers.)

Professor Dr. Jan Hagen, associate professor at ESMT and aviation expert presented his experiences of error management culture within the specific field of aviation. His conclusion was: "In order to achieve a functional error management culture, reporting channels must be adhered to without strictly obeying to hierarchical levels. An error must be reported as quickly as possible and dealt with objectively”.

Dr. Marcus Rall, founder of the Inpass Institute for Patient Safety and Team Training), agreed to this statement and added that strict hierarchies and a lack of communication also abets errors in the medical field.

Patrick Wagner, co-founder and manager at FuckUp Nights Berlin, approached his audience with his lecture on the world of failure. Wagner, a passionate musician, has been moderating the Berlin "FuckUp Nights" for three years, which he himself describes as a counterpart to the exemplary TED talks. The most important thing, he says, is not to equate professional failure with a personal one.

In the afternoon, a panel discussion followed by Q & A sequence focused on dealing with mistakes - in particular within the legal profession. In addition to moderator Markus Hartung (DAV professional rights committee), the in-house counsel Maria Segimon and Michaela Kay were part of the panel. They discussed with the independent lawyer Dr. Frank Diem and ombudswoman Martina Peskoller-Fuchs the possibilities of how the earlier findings from other sectors could influence the work of lawyers and law firms. A fruitful, lively exchange that encouraged unexpected ideas and inevitably broadened the participants' horizons.