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About the Standing Committee


The Task Force on GATT Negotiations Regarding Trade and Services Applicable to the Legal Profession (later referred to as the Task Force on GATS Legal Services Negotiations) was created by the Board of Governors in 2003, to be composed of six presidentially-appointed members, four of whom were to be designated representatives from the following ABA entities: Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice; Section of Business Law; Section of International Law; and Section of Litigation. The other two positions were for at-large members. In August 2003, the Board increased the size of the Task Force from six members to eight members, in order to “to ensure that appropriate diversity is created and maintained among the current entity membership.”

In February 2007, the Board approved changing the name to the Task Force on International Trade in Legal Services (ITILS), to more accurately reflect the range of issues and initiatives that the Task Force was being asked to address in relation to multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations that impact the U.S. legal profession. In June 2009, the Board approved then President-Elect Carolyn Lamm's request to revise the jurisdictional statement of the Task Force to increase its membership from eight members to twelve members. The additional seats were designated for the president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, a liaison to the Commission on Ethics 20/20, and two state bar association presidents. This constitutes the current structure of the Task Force. In addition, because of the global professional ethics and regulatory issues inherent in the matters under study by the Task Force, the Center for Professional Responsibility has been and continues to be an invaluable partner in the work of the Task Force.

In 2016, the Task Force became a Standing Committee.

Purpose of the Committee

The primary purpose of the Standing Committee is to: monitor the GATS negotiations and the negotiations of other international trade agreements that involve the United States and the provision of legal services; educate and engage in outreach to interested entities relating to the status of the GATS and other international trade agreement negotiations and provide those entities with a mechanism to provide their input to the Association for consideration and study; and to serve a coordinating function for ABA entities on issues and activities related to trade in legal services.