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May 26, 2020

ABA international law conference goes virtual with programming over 38 days

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2020 — With the theme of “Empowerment,” the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association International Law Section begins today and continues through July 2, featuring more than 45 online programs covering a range of international law and empowerment issues.

2020 Virtual Annual Meeting
of the ABA International Law Section

May 26 – July 2 (various times)


The focus of the Annual Meeting, originally scheduled for April in New York, was how the legal industry — in unprecedented ways — is being disrupted, including new, non-traditional players in the market, the introduction of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), and changing dynamics in multiple areas. With the COVID-19 pandemic upending business as usual, the section retooled its plans to present a comprehensive look at industry disruption virtually as well as to explore the means for lawyers to empower themselves to deal successfully with the changing landscape of the legal profession.

During the six weeks of programs, leading experts will offer insights on cutting-edge strategies and trends across the hottest topics in both public and private international law, including dispute resolution, finance, AI, corporate social responsibility and governance, mergers and acquisitions, FinTech, migration/immigration, white collar criminal, individual rights, cybersecurity, trade, environmental and national security. Depending on state requirements, as much as 84.6 credit hours for Continuing Legal Education are available.

Program highlights during the next three weeks include:

  • Tuesday, May 26, 4-5:30 p.m. ET
    “Ethics? AI? And the World? AI and Algorithm Development and New Frontiers of Professional Responsibility.”
    — This ethics panel will begin with an overview of an approach to AI that is workable for practitioners, with a focus on certain types of Machine Learning Algorithms. The program will then detail and use a specific ML Algorithm as the context to evaluate a variety of international legal and ethical frameworks to better understand where AI and attorney professional responsibility meet.
  • Wednesday, May 27, 1-2:30 p.m.
    “A Dialogue on Matters That Matter between U.N. Under Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu and Moderator Jonathan Granoff”
    — A longtime U.N. official, Nakamitsu recently warned that the struggle for progress in nuclear arms control and disarmament is “going backwards.” In her role at the U.N., she joined Secretary-General António Guterres in calling for “a new vision” for disarmament and arms control.
  • Thursday, June 4, 4–5:30 p.m.
    “How Diversity Impacts the Bottom Line for Corporations and Law Firms: The Case of General Motors.”
    — Using General Motors as an example, this panel of in-house legal staff will demonstrate how private-sector corporations can be the driving force for diversity and inclusion changes within law firms. Diversity and inclusion were key factors when GM reduced the number of external law firms with which GM headquarters will work from a few hundred to just 19.
  • Thursday, June 11, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
    “Ethics and Non-Lawyer Ownership... Non-Lawyer Ownership of U.S. Law Firms: A Train that Can’t Be Stopped?”
    — This ethics panel will address non-lawyer ownership of U.S. law firms and how ABA Model Rule 5.4 relating to lawyer independence in terms of fee sharing and non-lawyer ownership applies to alternative business structures in the legal services industry. With increased attention focusing on the justice gap and the advent of new technology, and the integration of global law firms, traditional ideas regarding the justification of non-lawyer ownership have come under challenge in the U.S. and abroad. Recently, Utah moved forward toward recommending non-lawyer ownership, and other jurisdictions, such as California, have been studying the issue.

For a complete list of Virtual Annual Meeting programs and other section events click here. Media can register for the meeting by emailing Bill Choyke at [email protected].

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers 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 online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews