Around the Section of International Law - April 2019

ABA International Members,

Washington’s April landscape for our SIL Annual Conference was an Impressionist’s dream of blooming cherry blossoms, dogwood trees, tulips and other flora. The reception venues provided a taste of the old, with Decatur House’s early 19th Century décor, and of the new, with spectacular Potomac views from the deck of the trendy District Winery in The Yard entertainment area. We had an extremely successful day at the Organization of American States (OAS), and a rich assortment of high-quality programs providing something for everyone in the international legal arena. If you were there, I hope you enjoyed it. If you missed it, stay tuned for upcoming networking and educational opportunities described below.

Law of the Sea Challenge

This year, the Louis B. Sohn Award for Public International Law was given to two extraordinary international lawyers. Lucinda A. Low served as Chair of both our Section and the American Society of International Law and Ambassador (ret.) Hans Corell was the former Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel of the United Nations (1994-2004) and is a current SIL Council Member. In his acceptance speech, Hans commended Louis B. Sohn’s influential role in the development of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). He also recounted his own experiences, first as a Swedish diplomat and later as Legal Counsel of the United Nations, in bringing UNCLOS to fruition and establishing the infrastructure to administer it. The United States has yet to ratify this important convention. Hans issued a challenge to the audience and the ABA to help make U.S. ratification of UNCLOS a reality. One of those who heard his call and stepped forward was Andrea Natale. For more information on things you can do to help meet this challenge, contact Andrea at The written version of the remarks Hans delivered can be found here.

More Opportunities to Build Your Knowledge and Networks

As spring turns into summer the opportunities to learn, meet and mingle with your fellow Section members continue in various venues throughout the world.

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 leading 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 Oxford in England.  Speakers will include four supreme court justices (from the U.S., U.K. and Ireland), four ABA presidents, three bar presidents (from the Law Society of England and Wales, the Law Society of Scotland and the Bar Council of England and Wales), as well as highly respected leaders in business, law and government. Click here for more information and to register.

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.

Please also save the dates for three late summer and fall conferences now on the horizon. The NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center in San Francisco will be the venue for our Section’s International Start-Up Forum on September 12-13, 2019. Our Leadership Retreat will take place immediately after this forum, from September 13-15, 2019, in Sonoma County, the heart of California wine country. Then, on October 24-25, 2019, we will hold an Asia-Pacific Forum in Hong Kong on Cross-Border Deal Strategies.

Celebrating Our Exceptional Committee Newsletters

Many of our committees have been publishing thought-provoking newsletters on important legal topics. Each month we will showcase one of those newsletters. This month we encourage you to read the truly exceptional committee newsletter produced in the winter of 2018 by the Art and Cultural Heritage Committee.

ABA Connect User-Friendly Assistance

Tools are now available to answer questions and help members transition to ABA Connect, the new system of online communities. For those who have yet to set up a profile or who have other basic questions about ABA Connect, a good place to begin is with the ABA Connect FAQ document. In addition, a new tutorial video about ABA Connect can be found here. Finally, the full guide to using ABA Connect is available here.

Referral Success Stories

The Section is committed to encouraging strong relationship building among members that leads to profitable results, in the form of client or job referrals or project collaborations. Do you have a story about a successful referral from a Section colleague that you are willing to share?  Or perhaps you have an idea for a networking event or project? Please feel free to send them to Angela Benson at

Where Are They Now?

The Section held a breakfast for former Chairs at the Annual Conference, enabling our past leaders to reconnect, network and identify ways to use their knowledge and experience for the benefit of SIL, the ABA and the greater international legal community. Among the ideas discussed was the appointment of a Task Force to engage judges and other members of the legal community in promoting the positive aspects of the legal profession. A similar effort is currently underway in the U.K. The group decided to continue convening at future Annual Conferences and to hold conference calls every four months to continue their dialogue. Below is a taste of some of the current activities of this talented group of former Section leaders.

Don Wallace, Jr. (1978-79): Don is teaching at Georgetown and is Chairman of the International Law Institute.

Jay M. Vogelson (1994-95): Jay flew up from Dallas to attend the meeting. In addition to serving as an arbitrator in complex business cases, he is continuing to act for an international software company that he has represented for many years. Jay may also have had the most interesting avocation. He just stepped down as a rodeo rider.

Lucinda A. Low (1996-97): Lucinda finished her term as President of the American Society of International Law last year. She is still active in the practice of law. As a Steptoe partner, she heads the firm’s Compliance, Investigations, Trade and Enforcement Department and co-chairs the FCPA/Anti-Corruption Practice. She received the Louis B. Sohn Award for Public International Law at the Annual Conference, along with Ambassador (ret.) Hans Corell, former Legal Counsel of the United Nations.

Daniel B. Magraw (2000-01): Dan is teaching International Environmental Law at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and Human Rights and the Environment at the University of Miami Law School.  He is also leading the creation of an online Museum of International Law and Justice aimed primarily at law students and educated laypersons. The Museum will be freely available around the world and will hold an annual or biannual virtual conference on an important international issue capable of resolution with the aid of international law and institutions.

Robert E. Lutz (2001-02): Bob is teaching private and public international law at Southwestern Law School in the fall semester and currently enjoying his Fulbright Scholar Award in Moldova in the spring where he teaches and conducts research (which will help with this year’s ILEX trip to Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus). He is Co-Chair of the Section’s International Legal Education Committee and a member of the Board and Executive Committee of the California International Commercial Arbitration Center, which he co-founded.  He also serves the greater ABA on the Standing Committee on Professional Regulation and the Standing Committee on International Trade in Legal Services. 

Don S. De Amicis (2002-03): Don is teaching in the Georgetown Law School LLM program, which has over 700 students. He is also engaged with the International Law Institute, the Inter-American Development Bank’s Commission on Corruption and its counterpart at the European Development Bank and the U.S. Department of Commerce law development program. He is also a member of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI) Board of Directors.

Jeffrey B. Golden (2007-08): Jeff is joint head of chambers in London, the first non-barrister and American to hold the position. He will step down in the summer as Chair (and step up(!) as Chair Emeritus) at the P.R.I.M.E. Finance Foundation, which he helped found, and is on the Foundation’s Panel of Recognized International Market Experts in Finance. This institution was established to help resolve, and to assist judicial systems in the resolution of, disputes concerning complex financial transactions. He will receive the Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award at SIL’s upcoming Oxford Conference. Jeff is on the Executive Committee for the conference, which he described as “Incredible and not to be missed”.

Gabrielle M. Buckley (2013-14): Gabrielle recently stepped down as a Shareholder of Vedder Price P.C. to become the Director of the Gannon Center for Women and Leadership at Loyola University in Chicago.  She was recently appointed to the Faculty Council of Loyola’s Baumhart Center, Quinlan School of Business. She continues to teach at The John Marshall Law School as an Adjunct Professor in its LL.M Program on International Business and Trade Law.  She serves as the Section’s representative to the ABA House of Delegates, and is on the Section’s Council.  Gabrielle remains a member of the ABA Working Group on Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors and sits on the Council of the National Immigrant Justice Center. 

Marcelo E. Bombau (2014-15): Marcelo had one of the farthest commutes for the meeting since he lives and practices in Buenos Aires, with M & M Bomchil. He is still active in ABA and Section activities as a Section Council member, a leading influencer in our Buenos Aires City Chapter and a member of the ABA ROLI Latin American Council. Marcelo also teaches at the Buenos Aires Law School.

Lisa J. Savitt (2015-16): Lisa continues to practice at The Axelrod Firm P.C., a woman-owned law firm, and serves as a panelist for the American Arbitration Association. She is Chair of the Board of Directors of A Child for All, a non-profit organization that helps vulnerable children in Mali.  Lisa is Senior Advisor to the Section’s Administration Committee, is on the ABA ROLI Middle East and North Africa Council and is the Section’s liaison to the Commission on Women in the Profession.

Sara P. Sandford (2016-17): Sara lives in Seattle, where she just stepped down from the role she had held for several decades as a Principal at Garvey Schubert Barer (although she remains Of Counsel) to join a nonprofit, the Western Rivers Conservancy. She also serves on the ROLI Asia Council and the Advisory Boards of the Jackson School of International Affairs and the Global Business Institute of the University of Washington School of Law, as well as the Board of the Japan America Society of the State of Washington. 

In Other News...

Congratulations to former Section Chair Mike Byowitz, whose article is being published in The International Lawyer. The article is entitled “Navigating the New Competition Law Frontier: Reviewing Global Antitrust Approaches to Technology Platforms”. The authors include Mike Byowitz (Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz – New York, NY), Jacqueline Downes (Allens – Sydney, Australia), John Eichlin (Linklaters – New York, NY), Elizabeth Wang (Compass Lexecon – Boston, MA), and Pierre Zelenko (Linklaters – Paris, France). It reviews divergent approaches in applying competition law to acquisitions and conduct by large, multisided technology platforms (such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, among others). 

The Section has recently inked two new Memoranda of Cooperation (MOC’s). One is with the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) based in Tokyo, Japan and the other is with the Canadian Bar Association National Section on International Law based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. We look forward to long and fruitful relationships with both of these bar associations.

Robert L. Brown
Chair, Section of International Law