Around the Section of International Law - March 2019

ABA International Members,

Welcome to the blustery month of March, gateway to spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Over the next few weeks the Section of International Law will provide you with some amazing opportunities to catch up on the latest legal issues, build new business relationships, and have a great time doing both.

April Conferences in D.C.

Washington is warming up; the cherry blossoms should be in full bloom by April 9, blanketing the D.C. landscape with a brilliant pink hue. This year we are offering three events during the week for our Annual Conference participants to get a spectacular treat – high-level content-packed programs combined with networking events at our Annual Conference, OAS Day and ABA Day on the Hill, all set against the backdrop of internationally-acclaimed cherry blossom celebrations!

Our Annual Conference will be at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. from April 10-12, and feature cutting-edge programming and unique networking events. Everything from digital currency, human trafficking, international cybercrime, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Vitamin C case, antitrust in the age of big technology, GMO agriculture, financing start-ups and a whole lot more is on the agenda. There will be receptions at the District Winery and Decatur House, and fascinating luncheon speakers including the oldest daughter of Malcolm X and other pioneers of the U.S. sit-in era, plus the authors of a book on the underground that opposed Hitler and a book on those who were behind the scenes on the Iran Deal. For details, click here. Register online or complete our fillable PDF registration form and return it to .

In conjunction with our Annual Conference, you can also attend OAS Day on the afternoon of April 9. The program will be composed of two panels at the OAS in Washington, D.C. The first panel will focus on private international law, addressing the Inter-American Juridical Committee’s efforts to harmonize international commercial contracting with a set of recognized guidelines and best practices now reflected in the Guide to the Applicable Law on International Commercial Contracts in the Americas, on which our Section submitted editorial comments. The second panel will focus on public international law in the region, with a spotlight on the Democratic Charter, the environment and cybersecurity. The location is one of the most impressive buildings in DC, and is well-worth the visit – in addition to the content. Best of all, Annual Conference registrants can attend for free. You must, however, register here. This half-day conference is the result of the Cooperation Agreement signed by the Section and the OAS in October of 2017 to promote the law of rule and develop international law within the Americas.

ABA Day on the Hill is a third reason for you to join us in D.C. This is the annual day to meet with Members of Congress about critical bar association initiatives. It will also take place from April 9-11. For more information and to register, click here.

More Opportunities to Build Your Knowledge and Networks

Our exciting events do not end once the cherry blossoms have finished blooming. The line-up continues throughout the spring and into the summer. This year our International Legal Exchange (ILEX) delegation will visit Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus between May 18 and May 26, 2019.  Christopher Kelley and Bob Lutz are organizing the tour, which will include high-level meetings with officials and leading practitioners, in a region that is undergoing major changes in the legal arena.  

The Oxford Conference on Leadership in Law and Practice will take place between June 30 and July 2, 2019 at the Oxford campus in England.  Speakers will include supreme court justices from the U.S., U.K. and Ireland, four ABA presidents, presidents of the Law Society of England and Wales and the Law Society of Scotland, as well as highly respected leaders in business, law and government.

The Law Society of England and Wales will be sponsoring “The Power of Gender Equality to Transform the Business of Law: An International Symposium” for approximately 500 participants at the Hilton Bankside in London on June 20-21, 2019.  For more information on speakers and registration, click here.

Belt and Road Initiative Task Force

The Section has established a Task Force to review certain aspects of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and develop proposals that could help ease concerns of some potential BRI aid recipients and contribute to the success of the infrastructure development projects. There are three Working Groups. The first will examine best practices in international infrastructure financing for a potential set of model lending documents. The second will evaluate the joint development agreement for countries bordering the South China Sea to shift the focus toward cooperative development. The third will consider ways to increase the responsiveness of regional lenders, including the Asian Development Bank, to borrowers’ needs and to help identify other infrastructure financing options in Asia. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the Task Force and its Working Groups should be sure to attend the panel on this subject at the Annual Conference, which will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11.

Member Awards and Honors

Congratulations to Christopher Kelley, who received the Golden Statute Award from Dean Balashenko of Belarusian State University for his years of collaboration with the Faculty of Law and his contributions to the development of Belarusian-American relations! In addition to his work with Belarusian State University, Christopher is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law, a Professor at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv Law Faculty and SIL’s Co-Chair of the International Legal Education and Specialist Certification Committee. He is also an organizer of this year’s ILEX trip.

ABA Connect

This is just a quick reminder for those who have not yet logged in to the new ABA website to create a profile and select or confirm your Connect communities – please do so as soon as possible at Our SIL listservs have now been discontinued and we don’t want to lose touch with you! If you need instructions, once you have logged in with your ABA website credentials (you will need to create a new password the first time you log in), a navigation bar will appear at the top of the page with a “Support” dropdown menu. You can access both a user guide and video tutorial from there.

SIL on Social Media

Our Section has a well-established presence on social media. We encourage you to join the groups and add to the conversations, contributing your thoughts, announcements and expertise! We have forty-two groups on LinkedIn. The largest, with over 28,000 members, is ABA International. The other groups were started by or for our SIL committees. Most of the names begin with “ABA International:” or “ABA International II:” followed by the name of committee (such as “Africa Committee”, “International Environmental Law”, “Europe”, “International Tax”, etc.). Since some of the groups were formed when the committees had slightly different names (such as “Commercial Transactions, Franchising and Distribution”, instead of “International Contracts”), keep looking if you do not find an exact match. We are also active on Twitter@ABAInternatl – and on FacebookABA Section of International Law – where we encourage you to like and follow our groups.

Meet Our Section Staff

Our Program Associate Dorcus (Shea) Logan started with the Section in August 2018.  A Chicago native, she transferred from the ABA Chicago Office, where she previously worked as Meetings Assistant for the Business Law Section.  Shea has worked for the ABA for a combined total of thirteen years. When she’s not at work, she enjoys spending lots of time with her family watching movies, playing with their new cat, Bucky, and discovering her new state of Maryland.  Crab cakes are a new favorite food, but a Chicago deep-dish pizza is very special to her. Shea works on the Meetings Team and focuses on providing support for programming, speakers, and brochure information.  She can be reached at 202-662-1667 or


I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Conference. Please be sure to introduce yourself, if we have not already met.

Robert L. Brown
Chair, Section of International Law