Around the Section of International Law - February 2019

ABA International Members,

For those in the Northern Hemisphere, some good news – on February 2 Punxsutawney Phil, the famous Pennsylvania groundhog, did not see his shadow, telling us that we will have an early spring!


Our Section scored an impressive victory in its efforts to call worldwide attention to potential rule of law violations with the publication of President Bob Carlson’s “Statement on the Suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria” on the ABA website. Many of our members discussed and promoted the statement, which was published on the eve of Nigeria’s presidential election, the largest in Africa’s history, and the Nigerian press republished it as well. The Honorable Delissa Ridgway alerted Section leadership to the developing situation in Nigeria and prepared both the background paper and an initial draft of the statement, while Rule of Law Officer Mikhail Reider-Gordon and Communications Officer Caryl Ben Basat worked over Presidents’ Day to refine the statement, facilitating a rapid turnaround by the ABA President.


The Section’s Annual Conference at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. from April 9 – 13, 2019 is coming up soon. It promises to be a blockbuster event, with a wonderful array of CLE programming on everything from China’s multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative to offshore energy development, the war against human trafficking, cannabis legalization around the world, cyber threats against democracy, blockchain technology and digital currency, peacocks on airplanes, and much, much more! Make sure to register for the lunches. On Wednesday we focus on Other Voices, our theme, and the students who started the sit-in era. Joining us will be Ambassador Shabazz, an amazing woman in her own right and who is Malcolm X’s oldest daughter. She will be able to add personal experiences. There will also be receptions at unique venues, including the historic Decatur House near the White House and the only operational commercial winery in D.C. Visit the conference website for more information and to register.

You now have two reasons to come to DC in early April. ABA Day on the Hill will take place from April 9-11. Participants will meet with their Members of Congress to support Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

This year, the International Legal Exchange (ILEX) is going to Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus arriving May 18 and leaving May 26. Under the leadership of Christopher Kelley and Bob Lutz (Christopher teaches in all three, and Bob is returning to the area with a Fulbright in Moldova), we have identified leading attorneys in all three countries who serve as country co-chairs. While we have all read about the conflict in the Ukraine, Moldova is facing a similar situation, while Belarus is undergoing an important change in its legal system. This will be a great chance to see law in transition in a key part of the world.

The Oxford Conference is led by Stephen Denyer, Isabella Bunn, Jeff Golden and Adam Farlow, and starts on Sunday (June 30) with a debate at Oxford Union, followed by programming on Monday and Tuesday (July 1-2) on the topic of Leadership in Law and Practice. Speakers include four supreme court justices (Neil Gorsuch from the US, two from the UK and one from Ireland), four present or past ABA presidents, in addition to presidents of the Law Society of England and Wales and the Law Society of Scotland, plus prominent leaders in business (the chair of the Bank of England committee, and former dean of the Business School at Oxford), law (general counsel of Credit Suisse, former Master of the Rolls, and Senior President of Tribunals in the UK) and government (former US Ambassador to Court of St James). Toss in a garden walk and pub crawl on Monday evening and closing dinner at Blenheim Palace (where Winston Churchill was born). And it you don't want to stop, you can return with us to London on Wednesday (July 3) for choral evensong, drinks and dinner at Middle Temple.

A few days before our Oxford conference, the Law Society of England and Wales is sponsoring “The Power of Gender Equality to Transform the Business of Law: An International Symposium” at the Hilton Bankside in London on June 20 -21, 2019. The Law Society expects approximately 500 participants for dynamic programming on this timely topic that will include a variety of high profile speakers.

Section Staff Members

The work of the Section could not be done without the support of our staff. In the coming months, we will feature one each month.

Our Committee Specialist, Lauren Meske, started with the Section in October. Lauren is from Clarksville, MD and earned her BA in Communications from the University of Maryland, College Park. Before working at the ABA, she was the Marketing Assistant for Liberty Property Trust, a commercial real estate investment trust. When she’s not at work, she is either planning her upcoming wedding in June, trying new restaurants or exploring DC and Baltimore. Lauren is also an avid traveler and visited Greece and California this past year and planning a trip to Italy this summer. Lauren provides the day-to-day management and coordination of the Section’s committees and can be reached at 202-662-1668 or

Section Leader Awards and Honors

Former Section Chair Jeffrey Golden was honored in February in The Hague as he relinquished his role as Chair of the Management Board of P.R.I.M.E. Finance, an international arbitration and mediation organization he helped found in the Netherlands in 2012 to settle complex financial disputes. For more information on P.R.I.M.E. (The Panel of Recognized International Market Experts on Finance), see:

Section leader Alexandra Darraby was appointed as a legal commentator in the field of Art Law by Thomson Reuters West for its treatise Darraby on Art Artifact Architecture & Museum Law. Congratulations Alexandra!

Human Rights Calendar

At the suggestion of the Honorable Delissa Ridgway, the Section has developed an international calendar of key human rights dates. We hope the calendar will help us remember and honor those who have fought bravely for human rights. Since this is a work in progress, please let us know if you have dates and events to add.

Robert L. Brown
Chair, Section of International Law