Around the Section of International Law - May 2019

ABA International Members,

We have had a fascinating, fun and substantive series of international legal interactions around the globe over the past few weeks with more to come in June, July and into September and October. Below are some brief highlights of where we have been and where we are going; I hope you will join us in the coming months!

ABA Day at the UN

A high-level delegation of ABA and Section leaders, including President Bob Carlson and President Elect Judy Perez Martinez, joined an exciting and informative day of exchanges and off-the-record briefings at the United Nations on April 29, 2019. Morning sessions began with remarks by Miguel de Serpa Soares, the U.N. Legal Counsel and Secretary General of the Law of the Sea Conference, on the topic of conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity areas beyond national jurisdiction. His remarks were followed by presentations from Deputy Legal Counsel Stephen Mathias and other staff members on a variety of hot topics, including the Venezuela U.N. credentials issue, U.N. accountability mechanisms for addressing war crimes and crimes against humanity and issues generated by the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation. Other speakers included the Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, addressing prevention and resolution of conflicts around the world, the U.N.’s Victims Rights Advocate for Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and a Deputy Executive Director of U.N. Women. Amina Mohammed, the U.N. Deputy Secretary General, honored us with remarks on the U.N.’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda during a private lunch in the Delegates’ Dining Room.

The day continued at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations where Legal Advisor Mark Simonoff was our host. Cherith Norman Chalet, Ambassador for Management and Reform of the U.N., welcomed our delegation and briefed us on the current U.N. budget and management reform initiatives. Another U.S. Mission representative described developments in the U.N. Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly and the Minister Counselor for Political Affairs explained key political developments in the Security Council and the General Assembly.

More Opportunities to Build Your Knowledge and Connections

There are many more opportunities over the coming months to learn, meet and mingle with your fellow Section members around the world. For the next few weeks, London and the surrounding countryside will take center stage with three conferences sponsored or co-sponsored by the Section or the Law Society of England and Wales.

The first is Bringing It All Back Home – Asia and the City of London, a special one-day seminar hosted by the In-House Community at the Law Society of England and Wales in London on Monday, June 3rd to address business opportunities and legal risks of deals in Asia, the Middle East and Africa in a post-Brexit world.  The key note speaker is Christina Blacklaws, President of the Law Society of England and Wales. Other speakers include Sir William Blair, Chambers In London and Centre for Commercial Law at Queen Mary University; Mei Sim Lai OBE, Chairman of the China Interest Group Institute of Directors (IoD); Stefan Gannon, Commissioner, Hong Kong Monetary Authority; Stephen Denyer, Director of Strategic Relationships, Law Society of England and Wales; Charles Qin, Managing Partner, Llinks; Gautam Bhattacharyya, Partner & India Business Team Head, Reed Smith; and Patrick Dransfield, Co-Director, In-House Community, to name just a few. The Section is a Co-Sponsor of this seminar..

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.

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.

As summer turns into fall, the Section will head to the U.S. West Coast for the International Start-Up Forum at the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center in San Francisco on September 12-13, 2019. Then you won’t want to miss our Leadership Retreat, taking place from September 13-15, 2019, about an hour north in Sonoma County, the heart of California wine country.

Continuing west across the Pacific Ocean (or east, depending upon your frame of reference), we will hold an Asia-Pacific Forum in Hong Kong on Cross-Border Deal Strategies from October 24-25, 2019. Stay tuned for more information and registration details on this upcoming conference.

Exceptional Committee Newsletters

This month, we are featuring the Spring 2019 edition of the Anti-Corruption Committee’s Newsletter.

News About International Law News

International Law News (ILN), once our Section’s flagship quarterly news publication, was initially designed to reach a diverse global readership of legal practitioners, scholars, professionals and students with information on current topics of interest in both the public and private international law arena.  However, recent trends show a burgeoning number of publication vehicles, including committee newsletters like the one featured above, are delivering content on international law topics to more targeted audiences within the Section.  Additionally, we highlight conferences, key policy developments and other events including awards and honors percolating from the Section each month through this publication, Around the Section.  In light of the growing number of channels disseminating information on significant international law topics, we are addressing the question of how the Section can refresh ILN to distinguish it as a unique but key communication vehicle.  Section Publication Officer Clifford Sosnow, Vice Chair Joe Raia, Administrative Committee Senior Advisor Lisa Savitt and Immediate Past Chair Steven Richman along with current ILN editor Renee Dopplick are taking the lead to examine how ILN can deliver exceptional, interesting and robust content that complements rather than duplicates other Section publications.  They are slated to provide a report for consideration by Section leadership over the next 90 days with the goal of implementation for the upcoming ABA year. In the meantime, watch the Section’s web portal for a brief survey on the value of ILN, which should be posted soon.

Bar Associations in the Forefront of the Fight for Human Rights

Ambassador Hans Corell (Ret.) has just published an article entitled “The Role of Bar Associations in Promoting the Rule of Law and Defending Human Rights,” which is included in Liber Amicorum Anne Ramberg, a book primarily in Swedish, edited by Stefan Lindskog, Tomas Nilsson, Christer Danielsson and Marie Billing, published by Jure Publisher (2019) (pages 97-110). The article was prepared as a practical tool to assist bar associations in charting paths to strengthen the rule of law in their countries. It ends with an appeal to all national bar associations to analyze the status of the rule of law in their respective countries and decide about ways in which they can contribute to improving the situation.

Robert L. Brown
Chair, Section of International Law