August 21, 2018 ILN

Meet Budget Officer Bill Mock

As the Budget Officer, what are some of your responsibilities?

The job of the Budget Officer, in the broadest sense, is to help the Section be fiscally responsible. More specifically, the Budget Officer works with the incoming Chair and our staff, taking point on crafting the Section’s Annual Budget in a way that works within the ABA’s overall budget guidelines and technical specifications and in a way that is useful to the Section’s various officers. The Budget Officer is also responsible for monitoring expenditures and income throughout the year to keep the Section as financially sound as possible. Ideally, the Annual Budget should be balanced and used as much as possible as a planning tool for Section leaders, rather than merely as a reporting tool.

What are your goals for this year?

The first and most important goal that I had for 2017─2018 was to work with Chair Steven Richman to produce an Annual Budget that was as close to balanced as possible. In recent years, the Section has drawn down its reserves sharply, as have many ABA Sections, Divisions, and Forums. As a consequence, the ABA implemented rules that required SLD officers to create budgets limiting their draw-down to no more than 5 percent of reserves. For the first time in recent memory, the Annual Budget I submitted and the Administration Committee approved came within that limitation. A second goal was to get the Section officers and staff increasingly to use the Annual Budget as a planning tool by consulting the budget when planning programs, publications, membership drives, and the like. That has been moderately successful.

How did you get into international law?

I have been involved with international law since I was in law school, where I was a research assistant for Don Wallace, a former chair of the Section. Immediately after law school, I got a job doing international trade law and international antitrust law in Washington, D.C. Some of the cases I worked on went to the U.S. Supreme Court, including the huge Japanese TV antitrust case of the 1970s and 1980s, Zenith v. Matsushita. To this day, my students can find this case in their casebooks.

What is a memorable moment that you enjoyed with the Section?

This is a tough question, as I have been involved with the Section, off and on, for more than 35 years. More particularly, I have been a member of either the Administration Committee or the Executive Committee for seven years, so I have plenty of memories.

One strong memory that embodies much of what the Section stands for occurred a few years ago, during the Section’s ILEX trip to Myanmar and Cambodia. When we arrived by bus in Myanmar’s capital city, recently build in that country’s remote jungle, we found a gleaming city of soaring marble buildings, obviously built at great national expense and designed to impress visitors such as ourselves. Closer inspection, however, revealed these governmental palaces as largely empty. Some of the government staff asked whether they could have some ABA pens because there was no budget for writing implements. Some members of the opposition party informed us that parliamentarians aligned with the ex-military rulers of the country were assigned to lovely, air-conditioned villas, while opposition politicians were assigned to much smaller homes lacking air conditioning. For me, that day of architectural elegance and governmental dysfunctionality embodied why the Section of International Law works so hard to support the Rule of Law around the world.

William B. T. Mock, Jr.

William B. T. Mock, Jr.

Budget Officer

William B. T. Mock, Jr.

William B. T. Mock, Jr., is a Professor of Law at The John Marshall Law School and is the ABA Section of International Law Budget Officer for 2017─2018