A few days ago, i was moderator pf the hi-tech panel at Israel's 2nd Foreign Law Firms Conference- a conference of the Tel Aviv District of the Israel Bar Association and Robus Legal Marketing Israel. This is what i said about Israel's Hi-tech industry:
Our panel is focused on the legal aspects of the Israeli high-tech sector.
I don't think there is any other segment of the Israeli economy (and even society) that had such a profound impact on the Israeli commercial legal practice of the last decades.
The evolution of the Israeli high-tech sector since the early 90's, is mirrored in the development of the Israeli legal practice.
We live now in an age where the Israeli high-tech is well established, with over 250 R&D centres of international companies (many of whom following acquisitions of home grown companies), with a steady flow of Israeli companies joining Nasdaq and other international public markets, and with a healthy crop of Israeli tech companies reaching maturity in a broad scope of areas - medical devices, security, biotech, hardware, and on line applications, just to name a few.
In parallel, we have a strong legal community, trained and qualified in international standards, offering the full scope of legal services, required to service the local tech companies in all their needs, and to provide international companies the local support when they come over to Israel to acquire, or develop, a local foothold.
However, the scene was different just shy of 20 years ago.
We can choose different milestones, but I wish to turn to one in specific.
It was November 5, 1995 (a day after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin) that the 1st Israeli technology conference was held at the Hilton Hotel. The Israeli high-tech was still a fledgling, making venture capital investments were known to a select few, and the largest law firm in Israel had just over 30 lawyers.
We have gone a long way since then – crossed the burst of the bubble, the Optical Switching craze, and the Lehman crisis.
Israeli law firms and the local legal market had also developed.
I venture to say that had it not been for Israeli high-tech, perhaps today's conference would not have happened. The Israeli high-tech fuels the Israeli economy and the international interest in our small country.
Hence, the Start-Up Nation.
But where do we go from here?