Why, cynics might ask, do Midland property market movers and shakers feel the need to jet to glamorous Cannes every year to discuss issues and deals that are much closer to home?
Joel Kordan, a commercial property partner and veteran of five Mipim excursions, will be part of an eight-strong property expert team - half of them from Birmingham - that national law firm Shoosmiths is sending to this year’s self-billed not-to-be-missed gathering.
And he is a firm believer in the value of being there, and the opportunity the change of environment presents to talk to clients and others about important issues in a convivial, yet fast paced, atmosphere.
While it is too early to have an itinerary detailing their every move during their four days at the French seaside, the lawyers’ diaries are filling up, having already been invited to a blur of cocktail parties, formal and informal get-togethers, while Shoosmiths is planning its own lunches for invited guests.
So no scaling back its presence at Mipim. Shoosmiths is ramping it up, with eight being the largest team it has ever sent.
And Mr Kordan, who set up Shoosmiths’ Birmingham operation in 2003, and which will soon number more than 50 people in the property team alone, knows what to expect. He is a commercial property specialist who focuses on regeneration and development work, and who has large-scale corporate occupier experience in the automotive and manufacturing sectors.
Going with him from the Birmingham office will be partners Jason Jackson and Vaqas Farooq, and solicitor Helen Martin.
Mr Jackson works directly with several national property developers, including Nurton, along with major banks, financial institutions and investors.
Mr Farooq specialises in providing commercial real estate advice for major developers such as Crosby Lend Lease and Mountcity Investments, and acts for a number of major corporate occupiers, among them Marston’s, while Martin - a member of Shoosmiths’ construction team - advises property clients, contractors, sub-contractors and other professionals on contentious and non-contentious construction law.
But it is the Mipim environment and atmosphere they will operate in which Kordan believes is the crucial factor here.
"It really isn’t too difficult to build a strong case for going to Cannes to talk to a very wide range of contacts. People will often say, ‘Why are you meeting someone you could easily hook-up with locally?'" says Mr Kordan. "Yes, that is patently true. There is, however, something different about getting-together overseas at a location where so many property players are also present, and where the everyday pressures of having to be back in the office by a certain time, run-off to the next meeting or simply deal with domestic matters largely do not intervene.
"Yes, business carries on, and we all have to check in with the office from time to time and, inevitably, respond to ongoing matters, while the ubiquitous BlackBerry always makes its presence felt.
"So despite the pull of the office, there really is nothing quite like being in the Cannes milieu during Mipim week, and cementing existing relations while making new ones.
"Simply being away from the home environment brings something almost intangible to the equation, and the growing popularity of the event is testament itself, as if it were needed, to its runaway success, year-on-year.
"After all, it’s often during those more relaxed, informal encounters Mipim seems to throw up, that the most valuable and constructive discussions are to be had."
Mipim 2007 saw 26,000 delegates, representing 83 countries, in Cannes, and the numbers are expected to grow this March, backing up Kordan’s argument that attendance is crucial if Shoosmiths is to maintain its presence at the heart of Midlands property deals.
Indeed, regional development agency Advantage West Midlands began preparing for Mipim 2008 last October, launching a marketing and advance planning campaign, which includes a dedicated West Midlands Mipim 2008 website, and promotes the idea of a Team West Midlands.
Shoosmiths has close links with AWM, and it was Mr Kordan who acted recently for developer Langtree, when he led Shoosmiths’ multi-disciplinary team on the recent £120 million AWM/Langtree asset-backed joint venture deal.
"With all that goes on at Mipim, and with the people it involves, I’d certainly feel a little nervous if we weren’t there," says Mr Kordan, who is able to cite several examples of client work won on the back of Mipim attendance, and of working relationships forged there that are still going strong today.
"I strongly believe that the cementing of existing relationships and the making of new connections in the whirl of lunches, receptions, informal drinks, dinners and presentations are on a different level - not higher or lower, just different – to those made during the rest of the year and in the normal course of day-to-day business.
"There seems to be a certain esprit de corps among the delegates, and it is something you all bring back with you, and which I think helps in future dealings."
So Mipim looks like remaining a Shoosmiths calendar fixture for quite some time to come, even though law firms that attend increasingly find themselves having to operate in and around the margins of some of the events’ official gatherings.
"There have been attempts by the council in Cannes to restrict the ability of visitors to join in at Mipim without signing up for and attending the more formal aspects of the conference at the Palais des Festivals," says Mr Kordan. "However, the popularity of the fringe events, rather like the Edinburgh Festival, have now all but eclipsed the official one."
Which is why Shoosmiths has planned a number of its own get-togethers, including a series of lunches at the up-scale Restaurant Félix on the beautiful people’s favourite Boulevard de la Croisette, and at the nearby Le Méditerranée hotel.
"Our own events let us set the tone and invite the people we really want to get closer to, or those with whom we want to develop existing relationships," says Mr Kordan. "We might even indulge in a little matchmaking, bringing together people from businesses and organisations which could benefit from an introduction."
So while Cannes might be 969 miles from Birmingham, for Mr Kordan and the team, going there brings the Midlands property world closer to Shoosmiths.