International Projects

Rule of Law / Goal IV

The American Bar Association Section of International Law's Rule of Law Activities are supported by the Section Support Fund through the ABA Fund for Justice and Education, which is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. These activities fall under the ABA's fourth goal, "to advance the rule of law," which was adopted in 1983. The Section has actively contributed to this vital initiative since it undertook its first overseas project in 1986 and, in the more than twenty-five years since, the Section has implemented numerous short- and long-term legal capacity-building projects around the world. The Section’s Rule of Law Officer oversees the Section’s activities in coordination with Section staff. Members are encouraged to support and participate in the Section's exciting rule of law endeavors.

International Legal Resource Center

The Section's flagship project is the International Legal Resource Center (ILRC), which was founded in 1999 to enhance access to worldwide pro bono legal expertise for technical assistance projects. The project represents the common commitment of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Section to advocate for good governance and the Rule of Law on a global scale. In the more than ten years since its founding, the ILRC has complemented UNDP’s on-the-ground efforts and worked with country offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific, paving the way for attorneys, judges, and law professors from around the world to contribute thousands of pro bono hours. Registration with the ILRC is encouraged for legal professionals of all nations with the knowledge and commitment necessary to advance the rule of law around the globe.

Task Forces and Special Projects

The Section has a variety of Task Forces and Special Projects which are created to focus on specific, current international legal and Rule of Law issues. Task Forces produce programming, ABA policy recommendations, and publications and often collaborate with other bar associations or ABA entities in their work. The Section’s Task Forces and Special Projects include:

Task Force on Financial Engineering for Economic Development (FEED): Provides resources to countries with emerging markets to assist in creating the framework for functioning capital markets.

International Legal Exchange Program

The International Legal Exchange Program (ILEX) was created under the proposition that a worldwide exchange of ideas and programs will lead to a heightened lvel of learning and understanding for all. Since 1968 this concept has motivated ILEX’s programs and allowed the creation of new projects in response to current world affairs. Through ILEX, the ABA arranges briefing trips throughout the world, facilitates entry into the U.S. by foreign attorneys who have training programs at U.S. law firms, strengthens the Section’s outreach to lawyers’ associations outside of the U.S., and arranges programs and meetings for prominent foreign lawyers, judges and scholars with legal professionals in the U.S.

Coordination with Bar Associations

The Section works with several bar associations and international legal organizations to facilitate joint programming, publications, policy initiatives and projects. The Section has Cooperating Agreements with several foreign bar associations to facilitate joint projects as well as liaisons to over 130 foreign bar associations, international legal organizations and other ABA entities who are managed by the Section’s Liaison Officer and External Relations Committee. 

The Section also works with outside bar associations as exhibitors and cooperating entities of Section seasonal meetings. The Section has developed a Global Bar Association Database which houses contact, meeting, and leadership information for over 700 bar associations around the world.