As we bring another dynamic and productive year to a close, I would like to congratulate and thank our busy Committee Co-Chairs and Vice Chairs, steering groups, and members. Our Committees are the lifeblood of the Section, and their activity these past few months has been impressive. Thanks, too, to Section Vice Chair, Gabrielle Buckley, and our excellent team of Division Chairs -- Ingrid Busson-Hall, Laurie Foster, Albert Garrofe, Melida Hodgson, Paul Lalonde, Victor Mroczka, Kevin O’Gorman, Anders Etgen Reitz, Fiona Schaeffer, Marcy Stras, Mo Syed and Erik Wulff -- who oversee our Committees. Division Chairs are some of the “unsung heroes” of the Section. Each of them successfully chaired a Committee before becoming a Division Chair. In addition to serving on the Section’s Council, they are a critical resource to each Committee in their respective Division.
As many of you know, I became active in the Section by working on a Committee—the China Committee. Committee work can be highly informative and rewarding. Some of the best thinking on practical international law issues is done through the Section’s Committees. Committees can be places where you make lasting professional contacts, and where you can build your network and your professional brand at the same time. Section members can join as many Committees as they wish; in order to get active on a Committee, join the Committee’s Steering Group by contacting the Committee’s Co-Chairs and volunteering.
Our joint program, on December 7, with the Law Society of England and Wales titled “Capital Markets in the 21st Century” was a great success: 150 people registered, filling the Law Society venue to capacity. Attendees represented 55 law firms, 15 financial institutions, many regulators (such as the Financial Services Board of South Africa), and several trade organizations (such as the International Swaps and Derivatives Association and the Association for Financial Markets in Europe). The program’s content was cutting-edge and the speakers were excellent. Our thanks to program Co-Chairs Adam Farlow and Dorothee Fischer-Appelt and the planning group—they are already planning for next year’s event.
Among the many member benefits generated by the Committees are the articles for the Section’s annual “Year in Review” issue of our flagship publication, The International Lawyer. For the upcoming issue, more than forty Committees have submitted pieces covering the entire spectrum of international law. We thank all of the Committee leaders who were tasked with meeting the strict deadlines for submission. It can be a real challenge for the Committees to fit the articles within the word count established by the Section, but in the process of condensing and honing the articles to 7,000 words, the Committee YIR editors produce a volume that is densely packed with useful information for busy practicing lawyers’.
Congratulations also to the Committees who have sponsored programs, teleconferences and webcasts this past Fall. One of the key goals outlined in our new strategic plan is to provide our members with cutting-edge, timely programs with world-class speakers and materials on issues that will enhance professional and practical skills. Our Committees have risen to the challenge and are already planning terrific programming through 2012.
I also want to thank my fellow Section officers for their continuing dedication and commitment. Without complaint, they have participated in dozens of conference calls and scores of e-mail communications over the past months. I appreciate all the time and effort they have devoted to the good works of the Section, as well as their friendship and collegiality.
As we close out 2011, I want to wish you a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to your involvement and participation in the coming year. I hope you will make a New Year’s resolution I guarantee you won’t regret. Mark your calendar now to attend ’the 2012 Spring Meeting in New York from April 17-21. I can assure you that you’ll be happy you decided to attend.
Michael E. Burke
Reminder: Send items for “member news” to Steven Richman (email@example.com), Communications Officer, for inclusion in upcoming issues.
Thomas Buergenthal, former judge of the International Court of Justice in the Hague (and recipient of the Section’s Louis B. Son Award in 2006), was awarded the UN Association of the National Capital Area’s Louis B. Son Human Rights Award for his life-long contributions, on December 8 at its annual Human Rights Luncheon on Capitol Hill. Aileen Pisciotta, Chair of the Section’s International Models Project on Women’s Rights (IMPOWR) Task Force and nominated by the Section, was recognized by the UN Association of the National Capital Area for her leadership in creating the IMPOWR Research Database (www.impowr.org) on women’s rights under the law. Congratulations!
In response to its Annual Plan for the next fiscal year, the ABA Board of Governor’s Program Evaluation and Planning Committee gave the Section its highest ranking (A-1) and commended the Section on “its impressive work and the breadth of activities in which the Section is involved. PEP applauds the Section’s collaborative efforts on joint programs and activities with sections, divisions and forums, state and local bars and international bar associations.”
The Section leadership has assigned working groups to assess progress on our Strategic Plan. Working groups will report back during a strategic planning session at the Midyear Meeting in New Orleans in early February. The working groups will focus the following questions: (1) Do we have the right/best Committee mix for our members needs? How do we improve access to, and deliverables from, Committees?; (2) What can we do, or do better, to increase the Section’s profile within the Association?; (3) What is the most effective way to develop and deliver content that our members really want?; (4) How do we improve our “policy voice?”; (5) How do we attract, maintain and increase a vibrant, diverse membership from around the world?; and (6) How do we generate non-dues revenue? If you have thoughts to share with any of these working groups, please send an e-mail to Section Director Leanne Pfautz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for a full list of upcoming Section and co-sponsored programs.
The Section is proud to announce its first ever conference in Mumbai! “U.S. and India: Key Legal Aspects of Cross-Border Business” will be held January 19-21, 2012. Please visit the conference website for more information and to register.
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN FOR THE 2012 SPRING MEETING! The meeting will be held April 17-21, 2012 at the Grand Hyatt New York. For more information and to register, please click here.
On January 9, 2012, the Law Society of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Bar Association will hold events celebrating the Opening of the Legal Year in Hong Kong. ABA President Bill Robinson will attend and then embark on a two-week tour of Asia visiting Hong Kong, Hanoi, Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo. With the assistance of Section leadership, President Robinson plans to meet with law students and professors, judges, local lawyers and law firms, and several bar leaders including from the Beijing Bar Association, Korean Bar Association, All China Lawyer’s Association, Japan Federation of Bar Associations, and International Bar Association.
Pathways to Employment in International Law
Rona R. Mears Student Writing Competition & Scholarship Award
The deadline to submit an essay is Friday, January 20, 2012. First Prize is $1,000 for First and Second Place Winners and a $1,000 travel Stipend for each winner to attend the Section’s Spring Meeting in New York City, April 17 -21, 2012.
To find out essay guidelines and submission details please go to www.americanbar.org/intlaw
Upcoming Committee Programs
Tuesday January 10th 2012, 11 AM – 1 PM. “Sex Trafficking from the Boardroom to the Classroom: Prevention, Intervention & Prosecution”
Wednesday January 25th 2012, 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM “Financing Trade of Renewable Energy Products”
Tuesday January 31st 2012, 12 PM. “Unwrapping DG COMP’s New Procedural Package: What’s in it for You?”
Thursday February 23rd 2012, 12 PM – 2 PM. “2nd Annual Live from the L”
Committee Leadership Nominations for Next Fiscal Year 2012-13
International Law News
The International Lawyer
Individual articles from the Year in Review 2010 are now online. To view a copy of your committee’s submission to the YIR, please click here.
Program Support Fund
ABA Center for Human Rights launches new Justice Defenders Program
To learn more, visit the JD program’s new website.
J-1 Visas for Visiting International Lawyers
World Bank: Law, Justice and Development Week 2011: Innovation and Empowerment for Development
Michael Burke highlights Section initiatives at the panel on “Achieving Sustainable Development: The Lawyer’s Key Role.” Panelists included Section members and representatives from the ABA Rule of Law Initiative and the World Justice Project.