Impact Project: Assessing the socioeconomic impact of the legal profession

Dear IBA Colleagues and Friends,

I am very pleased to share with you The IBA report on the social and economic impact of the legal profession (the ‘Report’), which has just been published.

For the first time, we see evidence of the legal profession’s social impact (through compelling stories), indirect economic impact through the contribution to the Rule of Law (under threat in many places) and direct economic impact (with the latter measured at US$1.6tn, or 1.7 per cent of the world’s GDP).

The facts are clear: lawyers have a significant positive impact on society, and the work of the more than 12 million lawyers across the globe impacts, directly or indirectly, the lives, health and well-being of citizens all over the world. Our contribution to the Rule of Law helps to generate wealth, promote innovation and education, limits the overreach of governments, tackles inequality and accelerates environmental sustainability.

We now have the big data to address – and we must do so – the gap between the scale of the positive impact the profession has and the sometimes-negative public perception about the role that lawyers play in society.

The Report also identifies the areas that deserve more attention and action if we are to enhance the impact of the profession even further: increased access to legal representation; advocacy on issues of the utmost relevance to peace and progress; education and communication on the Rule of Law and the role of lawyers; and ethical stewardship. As you will no doubt be aware, the IBA already dedicates significant efforts to these areas, but we will need to do more.

This has been the most ambitious and challenging project among the IBA priorities for the term of my presidency. The Report is the result of more than a year of sustained collective effort at the IBA, and all parts of the Association have been involved in a variety of ways. I extend my gratitude to each and every person who has contributed to the Report.

At our Annual Conference in Mexico, on Tuesday 17 September, we will have a special session dedicated to a discussion of the Report’s findings, as well as what needs to be done moving forward. I very much look forward to hearing your perspectives at that time, or beforehand, should you wish to reach out in advance.

Click here for more information and to download the Report.

I hope you find the Report of value and that you enjoy reading it.

Kind regards,

Almudena Arpón de Mendívil Aldama

IBA President (2023-2024)