April 17, 2017

ABA international law conference features Justice Samuel Alito, Valerie Plame, Panama Papers

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2016 — The American Bar Association Section of International Law will convene its Spring Meeting 2017 in the nation’s capital April 25–28 with scores of programs, including a luncheon featuring U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito and a discussion with Valerie Plame, the former CIA covert officer outed after her husband criticized the George W. Bush administration.

Spring Meeting 2017
Sponsored by the ABA Section of International Law

Tuesday – Friday, April 25–28

Capital Hilton
1101 16th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

Alito, who joined the high court in January 2006, will engage in a conversation with Ron Cass, dean emeritus of Boston University School of Law, at 12:45 p.m. on Thursday. He previously served for 16 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He is a graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Government and Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He replaced retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the court.

During her career with the CIA, Plame managed top-secret covert programs designed to keep terrorists and rogue nation states from acquiring nuclear weapons. But her identity as a covert officer was leaked to the press after her husband, retired Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, challenged the Bush administration’s claims regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Plame is the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir “Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House,” which became a major motion picture starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. Her appearance is Thursday from 4:30 - 6 p.m.

Wednesday’s luncheon speaker will be Jennifer Fowler, acting assistant secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Friday’s luncheon will feature John Hamre of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Ben Wittes of the Brookings Institution, focusing on Washington think tanks and what they are “thinking.”

There will be three programs related to the “Panama Papers,” the journalism-driven international project that exposed lawyer efforts to hide the financial dealings and offshore bank accounts of some of the world’s richest and most powerful individuals, including a number in Latin America.

“Panama Papers: Exposing the Powerful” will explore the legal ramifications of the Panama Papers.

Thursday, 9 -10:30 a.m.

“Has the Legal Profession Lost its Moral Compass?” The Panama Papers, Lawyers’ Professional Ethics and Due Diligence Obligations” looks at the release of these papers in April 2016 and a 60 Minutes story a few months earlier on money laundering to explore ethics questions relevant to the role of lawyers and moral obligations to detect and report illicit financial activity by clients.

Friday, 9 - 10:30 a.m.

“Panama Papers Revisited: One Year Later” will review the immediate and ongoing impact of the disclosures that revealed global corruption in the use of offshore companies, entities and accounts. The panel also will discuss ongoing investigations that grew out of these disclosures. Friday, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

There will be five panels on Brexit as well, including:

“Brexit: Implications Nearly a Year Later on International Trade and the Practice of Law” — The panel, featuring Robert Bourns, the president of the Law Society of England & Wales, will provide an up-to-date look at the potential impact of Brexit on trade and for common markets in general, as well as the far-reaching legal, regulatory, geopolitical and business implications for the broader practice of law by Anglo-American firms.

Wednesday, 4:30 - 6 p.m.

The other four panels will cover the effect of Brexit on immigration, drafting agreements, its geopolitical implications and on antitrust law. 

Other program highlights: 

Endangered Species: Protecting Lawyer-Activists in China and Around the World” —This panel explores how the legal community should respond to the crackdown on lawyers and the judiciary around the globe.

Friday, 11 a.m. - 12:30 pm.

“What Lies Ahead For NAFTA: Are Unilateral Changes on the Horizon, or Will Long-Standing, Positive Economic Relationships Prevail?” — With the likelihood of economic and commercial relationships between members of NAFTA (Mexico, Canada and US) changing over the next few months, the session will look at how the mechanics of the law will work and what might happen if the United States abandons the treaty – now more than 20 years old.

Friday, 2:30 – 4 p.m.

The complete Spring Meeting program can be found online. In addition, SIL will present several awards during the meeting and details and a list of recipients can be found here.

MEDIA: Media must pre-register to cover this event. For the program featuring Justice Alito, no video cameras are allowed and recording devices are permitted only for note-taking purposes and not for broadcast. Still photographs will be allowed for up to two minutes at the beginning and the conclusion of the program.

To register, media please contact Bill Choyke at 202-662-1864 or bill.choyke@americanbar.org.

Founded in 1933, the ABA Section of International Law is a leader in the development of policy in the international arena, the promotion of the rule of law and the education of international law practitioners. It is the only ABA entity that focuses on the full range of international legal issues and is involved in a wide variety of substantive legal activities.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews