From Budapest: 38th World Congress of IIS (edit: Santana)

I'm at the 38th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology in Budapest. It's a glorious city and my hotel room overlooks the Danube and the Szechinyi Bridge (sorry no accents here) and I can see the castle in the distance.

My paper, with Peter Lederer, is "Becoming a Global Lawyer". I have discussed my research with Peter before. The argument of the paper, briefly, is that globalization has become a taken for granted concept that appears to have been inevitable. There has been an over-reliance on structural explanations. Even though Giddens and Held emphasize the contingent aspects of globalization, implicitly it appeared to follow a template because of economic forces.

I want to re-introduce ideas of agency. Who were those who created globalization? Peter Lederer was the 17th partner to join Baker & McKenzie, one of the largest law firms in the world. Being trained in US and German and Swiss law and directed to the law firm by Max Rheinstein of Chicago Law School, Peter was the ideal candidate to run the Zurich office for Baker.

At that time even the idea of an "international lawyer" was a highly contested concept with some saying that it was meaningless. But the vision of people like Peter and Russell Baker were able to overcome the doubters and develop entirely new fields of practice.

Edit: Although this is not to do with academia or lawyering, Santana played tonight in Heroes Square, Budapest. His free concert clashed with the conference dinner and a small group of us (3) decided Carlos was the more substantial fare. For me this was terrific as I had only seen him at the O2 (Millennium Dome as was) the week before. His London gig was one of the best concerts I've ever attended. Budapest made it that bit sweeter.

Turns out Carlos is two floors above me in my hotel. I've already had to complain about the bloody noise level. Can't he lay off that guitar for a bit and turn it down? It's all the same with these rock musicians....

At another time I will explain why Santana was actually one of the most formative experiences that convinced me law was a subject worth studying. I was in Morocco when I had this conversion.