Martin Šolc assumes presidency of the IBA and outlines key objectives of tenure

Martin Šolc is the new President of the International Bar Association (IBA) and the first person from the Czech Republic to assume the role in the Association’s 70 year history. His tenure will run for two years, from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2018.

A founding partner of the law firm Kocián Šolc Balaštík in Prague, Mr Šolc commented: ‘It is with enormous pride and a great sense of responsibility that I have taken up the position of President of the International Bar Association and I intend to build on the good and important work of my predecessors, the most recent being David W Rivkin. Thinking back to the spring of 1990 when I attended my first IBA meeting, I did not envisage that one day I would have the privilege of presiding over this august body. However, what I did know was that I respected enormously the work of the Association and its members’ dedication to its founding principles, particularly the underpinning ethos to bring together people from across continents regardless of heritage, religion or ideology. I knew then quite certainly that I would be a life-long member of the IBA and would contribute as best I could to this unique organisation.’

Prior to assuming the presidency Mr Šolc held many senior positions in the IBA, including Vice-President (2015–2016), Secretary-General (2013–2014), Co-Chair of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (2009–2010) and Chair of the Public and Professional Interest Division (2007–2008). He has been a member of the IBA Management Board since 2003 and a member of the IBA for more than a quarter of a century, initially representing the Czech Bar Association on the IBA Council. He held the presidency of the Czech Bar Association in 1994 and was a member of its Management Board from 1990–2002.

In an opinion poll conducted by the prominent Czech legal commentary website, Mr Šolc was voted ‘Most Respected Lawyer’ in the Czech Republic in 2015, and in a competition organised by the Czech Bar Association and under the auspices of the Czech Ministry of Justice and other legal professional bodies of the Czech Republic, he was elected ‘Lawyer of the Year in Commercial Law’ in 2011 and 2007. Also, the international legal rating directory Chambers Europe describes him as one of the leading mergers and acquisitions (M&A) lawyers in the Czech Republic, with the Legal 500 index classing him as a leading Czech expert in corporate law, M&A and restructuring.

In his new role, Mr Šolc outlined how he intends to conduct his presidency and the key issues on which he will focus: ‘I aim to serve not only IBA members during my term, but the global legal profession in general. The world is always in flux, but presently it seems to me – more so than in times past – that there is a pressing need to promote and protect the rule of law and guard hard-won liberties. Also, there are a number of issues shaping our world adversely that need to be addressed by legal professionals across the globe, including: growing divisiveness; the rising tide of populist movements, particularly in the United States and Europe; corruption; cybersecurity; and inequality between genders, generations and lineage. With regard to these issues, I believe that the role of the IBA is to deepen the general understanding of the importance of the values that make for more equal societies, to contribute towards closing the disparities that exist and to cultivate a culture of greater inclusivity.’

He added: ‘Also, the future of legal services is changing dramatically, partially as a result of advancements in technology. Change is inevitable, and it is essential that lawyers, law firms and bar associations prepare for it and stay abreast of technological developments. In this respect, the IBA will assist through a number of initiatives. Certainly, there is much work to be done, but I am looking forward to working with IBA Officers and committee members to meet the challenge!’


Notes to the Editor

  1. The 2017-2018 IBA Management Board:
    • President Martin Šolc, Czech Republic
    • Vice President Horacio Bernardes-Neto, Brazil
    • Secretary-General James M Klotz, Canada
    • LPD Chair Jaime Carey, Chile
    • LPD Vice-Chair Jon Grouf, USA
    • IBA Treasurer/LPD Secretary Treasurer Peter Bartlett, Australia
    • IBA Asst Treasurer/LPD Asst Treasurer Carola van den Bruinhorst, Hong Kong SAR
    • LPD Representatives
      • Almudena Arpón de Mendívil, Spain
      • Daniel Del Río, Mexico
      • Gianmatteo Nunziante, Italy
    • SPPI Chair Stephen Denyer, England
    • SPPI Secretary Treasurer Sarah Hutchinson, England
    • BIC Chair Claudio Visco, Italy
    • BIC Vice-Chair Péter Köves, Hungary
    • BIC Immediate Past Chair Margery Nicoll, Australia
    • Bar Association Representative Chunghwan Choi, South Korea

  2. Click here to read Martin Šolc’s profile.
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  3. The International Bar Association (IBA), established in 1947, is the world's leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Through its global membership of individual lawyers, law firms, bar associations and law societies it influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world.

    The IBA's administrative office is in London, United Kingdom. Regional offices are located in: São Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Washington DC, United States, while the International Bar Association's International Criminal Court and International Criminal Law Programme (ICC & ICL) is managed from an office in The Hague, the Netherlands.

    The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.

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