After much successful collaboration with the American Bar Association (ABA) and the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), representatives from partner organizations in Kosovo were able to see the ABA in action this past August. By attending the 130th Annual ABA Annual Meeting—which boasted 10,000 attendees—in New York City, the delegation from Kosovo was able to gain first-hand experience with a large-scale professional development conference and to attend sessions on ethics, judicial independence and other topics.
The delegation included the former president of the Kosovo Chambers of Advocates (KCA) Rame Gashi, chairman of the KCA’s Ethics Committee, Florin Vertopi,dean of the law school at the University of Prishtina, Have Ismajli and ABA ROLI senior staff attorney in Kosovo, Fatmir Kutllovci. A key benefit of thevisit was the opportunity to meet members of U.S. state bars and to share best practices. The Kosovo delegation also met representatives from bar associations in Australia, Austria, Canada, Israel and Lebanon.
In addition to attending the conference, the Kosovo delegation was able to work again with two former ABA presidents, Martha Barnett and Michael Greco.Both had visited Kosovo during their tenure as president, with Greco initiating bench-bar activities in 2005 and visiting again in 2008 to preside over aroundtable. Barnett, in addition to presiding over a bench-bar conference in2007, co-presided with U.S. Ambassador Tina Kaidanow over the first gathering of women in the legal profession in June 2007.
The Kosovo delegation also participated in a working lunch with members of ABA ROLI’s Europe and Eurasia Council. In addition to Barnett, who currently serves as the council’s chair, the event was attended by the co-founders of the Central Europe and Eurasia Law Initiative, Sandy D'Alemberte and Homer Moyer. During his comments to lunch attendees, Gashi stressed his appreciation for the support that ABA ROLI has given to the KCA during the past nine years, addingthat he was delighted with the cooperation between the two entities. Vertopi expressed his gratitude for ABA ROLI’s help in developing new course work forthe law school and for helping to improve the curriculum.