Harrogate digital lawyer becomes Estonian – virtually

Paul Berwin shows off the e-residency card that will enable him to open a bank account, digitally sign documents and even set up a company in Estonia. (S)
Paul Berwin shows off the e-residency card that will enable him to open a bank account, digitally sign documents and even set up a company in Estonia. (S)

Harrogate-based technology lawyer Paul Berwin has become an e-resident of Estonia in preparation for leading Berwins Solicitors’ first trade mission to the Baltic state.

The initiative, which is backed by European Union and Department of International Trade funding, will take place later this month.

“Already worth €37.7bn, Estonia is one the fastest-growing and most advanced digital economies in Europe” said Mr Berwin.

“It’s a society which is outward-looking and keen to make the most of trade opportunities for technology businesses with the UK – something which could have far-reaching implications not just for Berwins’ firm reputation as commercial law specialists but also for the Yorkshire region, particularly as the UK works its way towards a Brexit settlement.”

Berwins will be presenting an important event in Tallinn on May 23, discussing the impact of Brexit and the opportunities in the North of England. Also present will be the UK Government Fintech Envoy to the Northern Powerhouse Dr Chris Sier; both are set to give keynote addresses.

Dr Stier said: “We’re seeing a real appetite among businesses and entrepreneurs across Estonia to trade with the UK and more particularly with our great northern cities.

“Initiatives such as this, which are set to delve into some of the issues surrounding Britain’s ‘Brexit’ settlement and explore opportunities, are a valuable tool in delivering economic growth for our region.”

Estonia prides itself on being the world’s most digital society, and considers internet access to be a human right.

Its pioneering e-residency programme, launched in 2015, allows holders to complete a range of tasks, including opening a bank account, digitally signing legal documents, and even establishing a company in Estonia, but Mr Berwin has no plans to de-camp just yet.

“At this stage, we’re looking at a ‘pop-up’ office which builds ties with a vibrant digital community,” he said.

“At its heart, Berwins remains a proud Yorkshire firm and, with so much energy and talent in the region, we have no plans to change that!”