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September 07, 2022

King Felipe VI’s address opens fall ABA global business conference in Madrid

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2022 – The ABA International Law Section will host a three-day in-person only conference in Madrid, Spain, from Sept. 13-15, featuring the king of Spain, H.M. King Felipe VI de Borbón y Grecia, as the kickoff speaker and a series of panels focusing on doing business in Europe and the Americas.

What: 2022 ILS Madrid Fall Conference: Europe and The Americas — Synergies and Challenges
Sponsored by the ABA International Law Section

When:  Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 13-15 (All times local time)

Espacio Maldonado
C. de Serrano, 104, 28006
Madrid, Spain

King Felipe, the third child of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía, hails from a long line of royalty and will speak from 12:30 to 12:50 p.m. on Sept. 13. He assumed the Spanish throne when his father abdicated in June 2014 and holds the military rank of captain general of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, the country’s highest military rank which corresponds to the supreme commander of the Armed Forces.

King Felipe has a law degree from the Autónoma University of Madrid and a master's degree in international relations from the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University in Washington.

Also on opening day, other keynote addresses begin at noon and run later into the afternoon. Attorneys Brigida Benitez and Miguel Zaldivar, both of Latin American origins with successful careers at two of the most prominent international law firms in the world, will participate in a fireside chat. They will be followed by remarks by U.S. Ambassador Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon at 2:45 p.m.

Benitez, a partner and general counsel of Steptoe and Johnson, serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where she teaches a course on international business litigation and federal practice. She has been recognized by Hispanic Business magazine as a “Woman of the Year” and one of the “100 Most Influential U.S. Hispanics.”

Zaldivar serves as chief executive officer of Hogan Lovells and is responsible for the firm’s overall global direction and strategic leadership. He became CEO in July 2020 and is one of only a handful of Latino leaders of any major global law firm. A frequent lecturer at legal seminars and widely published, he has been called a “diplomat in a lawyer's clothing.”

Ambassador Reynoso was born in the Dominican Republic, emigrating to the U.S. in 1982. Before being confirmed in her current post, Reynoso served as an assistant to the president and chief of staff to First Lady Jill Biden and as the co-chair of the Gender Policy Council at the White House. Previously she worked in the administration of former President Barack Obama, serving in the U.S. Department of State and as U.S. ambassador to Uruguay.

Altogether, the three-day conference will offer more than 30 different keynotes and programs along six tracks, including trade and investment, dispute resolution, specialty practice and human rights. Some of the highlights include:

  • “Investor Legal & Political Risk and Response to Doing Business in Latin America” –– The political landscape has shifted dramatically: Mexico’s Energy Counter Reform may impact dozens of investment treaties; Ecuador has re-embraced the ICSID Convention; and Brazil’s inclusion of specific dispute resolution mechanisms in its Government Procurement Act may bring greater legal certainty. This panel will explore why investors need counsel with specialized knowledge of free trade agreements and investor-state arbitration experience to assess, manage and advise on political and economic risks in the region.
    Tuesday, 3:15-4:45 p.m.
  • “Growing Risks of Environmental Litigation for Businesses and Financial Institutions: Due Diligence as a Key Preventive Measure” –– Companies and financial institutions are facing an increased risk of litigation around the nexus of environmental impacts, climate change and human rights. Accompanying legislative changes such as the EU Taxonomy Regulation have been actions taken by governments to ensure a bolder response to environmental impacts and climate change. This panel will discuss key strategies and tools, with a focus on environmental and human rights due diligence.
    Wednesday, 9-10:30 a.m.
  • “The Ukraine Conflict and Its Legal Implications for Refugees, Sanctions and the Western Response” –– The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has produced human tragedy and the massive displacement of several million people. Many Ukrainian refugees are in neighboring countries but wish to return home as soon as possible. They are overwhelming the capacity of social services in Poland, Romania and Moldova, but also spilling over to other countries in Europe and beyond. The panel will examine what options exist for displaced individuals and how sanctions are applied against Russian individuals and organizations.
    Thursday, 9-10:30 a.m.
  • “Crypto-Assets: A New Market, a New Regulation” –– Experts will explain and differentiate the various types of crypto assets, analyze their legal complexities and discuss the many regulatory challenges that the crypto markets face, including money laundering, intellectual property and risk management issues. They will discuss the current state of mostly deregulated crypto markets, their evolution, and the EU and U.S.’s attempts at regulating them.
    Thursday, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The full agenda of the conference is here; bios of the all six keynote speakers are here.

Media are welcome to attend but must register in advance by 5 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 9, by emailing [email protected]. For Tuesday’s programs, all media must also provide the following information: passport numbers and issuing country, and date of birth. Covid vaccination or proof of recent negative test will be checked onsite.

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.