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Athens: Impact in Action

George S Kounoupis


  • Being a member of the Lawyers Abroad Committee (LAC) offers various benefits, such as networking, business opportunities, and, most importantly, contributing to the advancement of legal practices globally. 
  • LAC organized “GREECE: THE PATH FROM A GREAT PAST TO A GREAT FUTURE, The Role of Economics, Rule of Law & Best Practices,” a conference held in Athens with1000 attendees. 
  • A subsequent event, "Mediation and Arbitration in Greece" led to tangible changes in Greek law.
Athens: Impact in Action
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When considering why to be a member of the Lawyers Abroad Committee (LAC), many different reasons may come to mind. Networking. Business opportunities. Sorting out how to access services that are blocked by firewalls. Getting the most of your ABA dues.

Another reason, however, is aiding in the improvement of the practice of law, both in our domestic jurisdiction, as well as in those places where we practice.

We share in this piece one example of how a program presented by the ABA Lawyers Abroad Committee has impacted and improved the legal practice in one such place.

On June 16-17 of 2015, the ABA International Law Section Lawyers Abroad Committee organized and presented as a stand-alone program, a major legal conference in Athens, Greece.

The Conference took place at the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens and was attended by over one thousand people. The Conference was titled “GREECE: THE PATH FROM A GREAT PAST TO A GREAT FUTURE, The Role of Economics, Rule of Law & Best Practices.” The Conference was organized by the ABA International Law Section’s Lawyers Abroad Committee and was co-sponsored by the American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Athens. The conference organization was led by LAC member George S Kounoupis, along with LAC co-chairs and others. ABA President Paulette Brown, the Honorable Myron T. Steele, former Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, and The Honorable Delissa Ridgway were among the featured speakers. Chair of the ABA ILS, Marcelo Bombau, also attended.

The President of Greece, the former Prime Minister of Greece, the Greek Justice Minister, several Greek Supreme Court and appellate judges as well as some of Greece’s most prominent law professors and lawyers gave keynote addresses.

In 2015, Greece was highly criticized globally for nontransparent and burdensome business and litigation practices often characterized by lack of predictability, unacceptable risk and extensive delays in litigation and administrative matters. As a result, the Conference programs focused on presenting the latest in best practices and international procedures and systems in a comparative law fashion.

For example, the USA federal litigation procedures were compared side by side with the Greek litigation procedures. Justice Steele spoke about the type of predictability and fairness that attracts companies to Delaware.

Subsequent to this 2015 Conference a follow up conference was held in Athens, which was titled “Mediation and Arbitration in Greece”. Due to these presentations, changes to Greek law are being made. Some of the changes adopt proposals included in the discussions in both the 2015 program and the follow-on conference.

Among the changes that have been implemented in the Greek system, there is now more efficient pleading, simplified notice, trial and service expedited procedures, reduction in judge shopping, limitations on continuances and the introduction of mandated mediation in certain cases.

This type of concrete improvement from the exchange of ideas and information improves the Rule of Law globally and is one reason to be a member of the ABA International Law Section’s Lawyers Abroad Committee.