IBA 2021 Aptissimi Award Acceptance Speech

Thursday 7 October 2021

ESADE Aptissimi Award for Contribution to the Legal Sector and Society

IBA Vice President

Acceptance Speech

Thank you very much ESADE. This recognition is a great honour for the International Bar Association, and it is a privilege for me to receive it on the IBA’s behalf as its Vice President.

It is an important award for the IBA for three reasons.

The first is for coming from such a prestigious academic institution as ESADE, which has a magnificent law school oriented at business law. Its motto, “Do Good- Do Better”, expresses its commitment to contribute excellent professionals to society. The IBA, and I personally, are very convinced of the “Do Good”, of the power of actions, deeds, that it is the sum of individual commitments what brings about improvements to society. The IBA is not only relevant in terms of its members and jurisdictions, it is relevant for its actions. The IBA deploys enormous activity via its more than 70 committees and the IBA’s Human Rights Institute. The IBA influences the development of international law reform, facilitates networks of lawyers, assists in the establishment of bar associations and law societies and reflects on matters of relevance for the legal profession, such as the report issued by the taskforce Future of the Legal Profession in 2017, where we had the pleasure to collaborate with ESADE.

Secondly, because the focus on constant improvement –Do Better-, fits perfectly with the objective of the IBA since its creation in 1947. The IBA’s founding is weaved into the tapestry of institutional change wrought after the chaos of two world wars, taking its place alongside the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the great legal conventions. It was formed under the conviction that an organisation initially made up of bar associations and later with the direct inclusion of potent business law practitioners, can contribute to stability, to global peace, to progress, to innovation and ultimately, to the protection and promotion of the rule of law. Since then, the IBA has gone from strength to strength, helping to build a solid legal sector in which business law practitioners have a principal role. ESADE, as one of the leaders in Spain in legal education, makes an important contribution in this field.

Thirdly, because this award is for all the legal profession. The IBA is an association of volunteers, of professionals, such as I, such as so many of you here today, and throughout the world. We work with the great support of an executive team led by Mark Ellis, who could not be here today with us and to whom I dedicate a special tribute. I, therefore, accept this Award on behalf of legal professionals everywhere who have demanding schedules and workloads (honestly, how do we do it?) but nonetheless make time to dedicate many hours and much effort to further the work, reach and values of the IBA. We have the conviction that together we weave a global network of contacts, of knowledge and of ethics, and that we can – and we must- use our strength for the betterment of our profession and of society. The IBA is the common platform that we choose to channel our endeavours and aspirations for the profession. We know that collectively we strengthen the Association and amplify its voice, which is valued by the IBA.

This prize grants further power to that voice.

Therefore, on behalf of the IBA, on behalf of the international legal profession,

Thank you ESADE.

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