First Do No Err

Remarks to: Welcoming Noerr Law Firm To London, Mansion House, 11 October 2016, by Alderman & Professor Michael Mainelli

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

Es freut mich, Sie, Ihre Firma und Ihre Gäste im Mansion House zu begrüßen.

On behalf of the Lord Mayor, it is my privilege as Alderman for Broad Street Ward to welcome you, your firm, and your guests to Mansion House. The Lord Mayor extends his very best wishes on your annual reception and wishes that he could have attended.

With a German wife and grandmother, it was a delight to be asked to step in to greet Noerr. I did wonder about the missing umlaut in your name. My first thought was that, just as the Hippocratic oath for physicians begins “first, do no harm”, perhaps you were the first law firm to have a proper oath for your name, “first, do no err”.

The City of London is the oldest continuous democracy in the world, over a millennium old. We share with your forebears the Saxon traditions of government, with the Hanseatic League the power of city states, and with Germany and Europe a shared future of prosperity through trade. The City of London has always welcomed Germans, from the Stahlhof of 1282 until sold to build Cannon Street in 1852, to the Rothschilds and Barings and Warburgs. Even my wife. And welcome we always will. In this time of hard and soft Brexits, that shared history and culture matters more than ever.

I would like to end my greeting with a quote from US President Thomas Jefferson’s inaugural speech of 1801 – “with commerce and honest friendship for all”. The quote is the motto of my Worshipful Company of World Traders. This quote unites our two cultures going forward. The City of London treats all comers equally, and we look forward to greeting our many friends from the continent over the millennia to come. May many future clients exclaim, “first, go to Noerr”.

Ich wünsche Ihnen viel Erfolg. Und heute Abend, viel Spaß.