January 13, 2021

Chair's Column

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Welcome back! What a privilege to welcome the return of International Law News, our very own ILN.  Hard times make us stronger and wiser.  When the Section suspended publication of ILN, it was determined to enhance the value of the publication as an information asset and eliminate the recurring financial losses.  While I have the privilege of writing this welcome, many others took the laboring oar in surveying the audience (our section members) to learn what we wanted; in evaluating costs and publishing models; and, in re-inventing the operating model, including former Section Chair Lisa Ryan, former Publications Officer Clifford Sosnow, current Publications Officer Caryl Ben Basat, and new ILN Editor Alan Gutterman. We are all indebted to them for their good work and determination to realize a renewed ILN.

ILN began in 1972 as the Section’s newsletter, one year after the Section changed its name from “Section of International and Comparative Law” to “Section of International Law,” reportedly to become more relevant to the “new world of transnational business.”  ILN began seven years after the Section’s then new scholarly periodical, The International Lawyer.  Although, ILN may have started as a newsletter, we can all agree that it became much more.  Perhaps, we can describe it as the Section’s magazine – offering thoughtful and rigorous articles that were equally accessible and to the point.  In recent years, we saw editions of ILN devoted to specific topics like data privacy.

When the Section asked members in a survey what kind of ILN they would most appreciate, the overwhelming response was to continue to offer the kind of informative and timely articles we had all gotten used to reading in ILN.  And so it goes with this first issue of ILN after its brief, but too long, hiatus.  I think that you will find that ILN has not skipped a beat in quality, timeliness, and accessibility.  For this first issue, our Editor-in-Chief offers a combination of different articles – a capriccioso – that brings to your attention some impacts from the pandemic, issues related to human rights, and a blockchain application.  There is an article on the evolving expectations that businesses have responsibilities for human rights and how Section members led a collaborative effort to submit comments to the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.  (Those comments also provide a practical example how Section committees/members can effectively repurpose content and simultaneously communicate their activities to the rest of the Section).  And, if you have not yet heard, there is a new European Public Prosecutor’s Office, the EU’s first supranational authority responsible for investigating and prosecuting criminal offences affecting EU financial interests, including fraud, cross-border VAT fraud, money laundering, misappropriation and corruption.

In the end. ILN is the Section’s gift to itself.  ILN is what the Section makes of it – the articles we submit, and edit (ok that Alan edits), and read.   ILN presents an open invitation to you to write and submit articles that allow you to demonstrate and share your expertise with a wider audience.    Now that we have it back, let’s use it fully.