Against a background of global geopolitical, economic and technological challenges, the 2023 Annual Conference of the International Bar Association (IBA) will take place in Paris, France from 29 October to 3 November. It is the 75th year in which the IBA has brought together people from around the world to discuss, support and advance legal reform and social justice. This year, for the first time in two decades, the Event will be held under the presidency of a woman, Almudena Arpón de Mendívil, who has the aim of highlighting the legal profession’s contribution to society.
Speaking about the upcoming Conference, IBA President Arpón de Mendívil commented: ‘I am thrilled with the opportunities that the IBA [Annual Conference] 2023 in Paris will bring. A conference with the clear purpose of gathering the profession from all over the planet, enhancing dialogue and cohesion amongst its members as well as seeking solutions to common challenges. This can only result in intellectual growth, and improved business relationships, for the benefit of delegates’ professional development in their own area of expertise, adding the possibility of getting acquainted with other practices. Further, exchanges at the Conference will help the rule of law globally, which is at the core of the legal profession and thus, of the IBA. With Paris renowned as the epicentre of enlightenment, with a rich legal legacy, it is the perfect location for this year’s Annual Conference.’
In keeping with Ms Arpón de Mendívil’s vision, and the efforts of many of the dedicated Committees that constitute the IBA, a large portion of the IBA’s 2023 Annual Conference will be devoted to topics in relation to which the legal profession currently faces significant challenges and will likely continue to do so over the next five years. These primary concerns form the IBA Priorities for the term 2023- 2024, which were identified by the President in consultation with leading international and national law firms and in-house counsel and the Management Board.
• Artificial intelligence (AI), consistently identified as the most important issue, in terms of substantive law developments, the challenges posed to the legal profession and to society as a whole;
• Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues will have a substantial impact on law firms’ work for clients as well as on firms’ internal policies and structures, with female inclusion at senior roles and ethnic inclusion remaining major challenges;
• Preparing the legal profession for the future as well as talent attraction and retention is a growing challenge for the current law firm business model as a result of factors such as different life priorities and the younger generation’s search for purpose;
• Enhancing the contribution of the legal profession to society and the perception of the same. Despite strong client service culture, commitments to pro bono work and other contributions to society perception often remains low; and
• Promoting and defending the rule of law, which needs to be more actively promoted and protected by the legal profession
In addition to discussions on these priority topics, delegates will hear from leaders in different fields invited by President Arpón de Mendívil to participate in special sessions each morning from 0930. They include Lech Walesa, former President of Poland and a Nobel Peace Prize winner; Zack Kass, former Director of OpenAI, technology futurist and specialist in generative AI solutions, Christopher Stephens, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group; and Helle Thorning Schmidt, Cochair of Meta’s Oversight Board and former Prime Minister of Denmark.
Also, this year’s IBA Showcase: The new female leadership of law firms: a game changer? will be chaired by President Arpón de Mendívil, Myra Garret, Chair of la IBA Public and Professional Interest Division (William Fry, Ireland) and Carola Van den Bruinshort, Chair of the Legal Practice Division (Loyens & Loeff, The Netherlands). They will be joined by a stellar panel that includes: Farmida Bi, Senior Partner, Norton Rose (UK), Aedamar Ita Comiskey, Senior Partner and Chair, Linklaters LLP (UK), Marie-Aimée De Dampierre, Chair, Hogan Lovells (France), Maria-Pia Hope, CEO and Managing Partner, Vinge, Stockholm (Sweden), Paula Surerus, Managing Partner, Veirano Advogados (Brazil), Christopher Watson, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang (UK); Co-Chair, IBA Diversity & Inclusion Council, and Linda Yang, Executive Chairwoman of Global Board at Yingke Law Firm (China).
Against the backdrop of continuing conflicts in Europe and the Middle East, disruptions to the energy market and the climate crisis, the value of a robust legal community cannot be overstated. The IBA, a close-knit global network of more than 80,000 individual members, serves as a stronghold for the defence and advancement of the rule of law in these times and this makes IBA 2023 a must-attend event for international lawyers. The purpose of the event is to increase legal professionals’ awareness of their ability to make significant contributions while attempting to harmonise legal tradition with current issues. The IBA will continue to uphold the principles that have guided the organisation since its founding in 1947: the rule of law, democracy and human rights.
IBA 2023 takes place from 29 October to 3 November at the Palais des Congrès de Paris, 2 Place de la Porte Maillot, 75017 Paris, France.
For information on the IBA 2023 Annual Conference follow the below links: