IBA Global Showcase presents diverse range of working sessions and expert interviews
Between 25–29 October, the IBA ran the Global Showcase – a series of high-profile expert sessions that discussed some of the biggest issues and challenges facing the global legal profession today.
This free-to-attend series highlighted the diverse work and achievements of the IBA’s membership in many key areas of policy and practice. The line-up included sessions specifically designed for key groupings within the membership. This was enlivened by a mix of interviews and discussions with leading commentators as well as plenty of opportunities for IBA members to network. In total, more than 2,300 registrants from 133 jurisdictions participated in the Global Showcase.
The expert sessions included a Legal Practice Division showcase on ‘The role of corporate and government leadership in managing cyber risks’, which provided insight into the work of the IBA Presidential Task Force on Cyber Risks. Meanwhile, a session on ‘Lessons learned from Covid-19’ presented a constructive and vital assessment of Covid-19’s impact in key legal policy areas.
The IBA’s series of ‘A conversation with…’ interviews returned once more at the Global Showcase. Interviewees this year included Fawzia Koofi, the leader of a newly established political party called Movement for Change in Afghanistan, and The Rt Hon Lord Patten of Barnes CH, Governor of Hong Kong between 1992-1997.
Four annual IBA awards, supported by LexisNexis, were presented during the Global Showcase: the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award; the Pro Bono Award; the Outstanding International Woman Lawyer Award; and the Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Legal Practitioner to Human Rights.
IBA Covid-19 Legal Policy Task Force releases report on optimising pandemic management
In late October, the IBA Covid-19 Legal Policy Task Force released a report detailing the pandemic’s impact in key legal areas and providing concrete, actionable recommendations to improve pandemic management in the future.
The Task Force examined the impact of the pandemic on international legal systems, recognised the successes and failings of those systems in dealing with the outbreak and made practical guidelines for reforming existing laws or promulgating new legislation to improve the global response to pandemics.
Almudena Arpón de Mendívil, IBA Vice-President and a partner at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo in Madrid, co-chaired the Task Force. ‘At a time when more than five million people across the world have died from Covid-19, our new report goes beyond politics and makes suggestions to encourage the world’s policymakers to join forces to manage current pandemics and avert future ones’, she says. ‘Undoubtedly, as with many things in life, at the centre of a global response is law.’
Harry Rubin, Chair of the Technology and IP Transactions practice at Kramer Levin in New York, initiated the project. He says that ‘pandemics must be treated for what they are: border-defying existential global threats of the highest order. As such, they require a globally coordinated collaborative legal policy effort.’
Podcast: Focus on COP26
With the urgent action needed to address the climate crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic delaying 2020’s talks, the COP26 environmental summit in Glasgow in November was under close scrutiny. Shortly before the event, the IBA released an insightful podcast assessing the priorities, what might constitute ‘success’, and the long-term roles of both the state and the private sector in combatting the climate crisis.
The podcast featured David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment; Kay Harrison, Climate Change Ambassador for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade; Rick Saines, a partner at Pollination, a specialist climate change advisory and investment company; and Kelley Kizzier, Vice-President for Global Climate at nonprofit environmental advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund.
The IBA’s annual Section on Public and Professional Interest awards for exceptional contributions in the legal profession were virtually presented to the recipients during the Global Showcase event in October. The four awards are sponsored by LexisNexis.
The Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, in recognition of William Reece Smith Jr, was this year bestowed upon Michael Polak, a barrister at London’s Church Court Chambers and Director of Justice Abroad; the Pro Bono Award was presented to Geoff Budlender, a founder of the Legal Resources Centre, the first public interest law centre in South Africa; the Outstanding International Woman Lawyer Award, in recognition of Anne-Marie Hutchinson, was given to Beth Michoma of Kenya, who was recognised for her work advocating for the rights of women and girls and people with disabilities; and the IBA Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Legal Practitioner to Human Rights was jointly given to lawyers Ludmila Kazak and Maxim Znak of Belarus.
In November the IBA announced law firms Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance, IMMMA Advocates and DLA Piper as 2021 winners of the IBA Group Member Awards for Europe and Africa. The awards were given in recognition of these law firms’ exceptional support and contributions to the work, projects, key objectives and aspirations of the IBA.
Baker McKenzie executed an extraordinary internal campaign promoting the IBA, highlighting the Association’s work in advancing the rule of law and tackling access to justice issues, Clifford Chance incorporated the findings of the IBA report Us Too? Bullying and Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession into an internal diversity and inclusion campaign across its global network of offices, and IMMMA Advocates and DLA Piper co-sponsored and supported IBA events in Africa on harassment and sextortion, in particular raising awareness that sexual exploitation is a global issue woefully lacking representation as a criminal practice in law.
The awards were presented at the 4th London Law Firm Management Conference on Thursday 18 November 2021 by IBA Deputy Executive Director Tim Hughes.
New IBA report sets out principles for dealing with mental wellbeing crisis in the legal profession
In late October, the IBA published Mental Wellbeing in the Legal Profession: A Global Study, a report identifying worrying mental wellbeing trends across the profession and which provides ten principles for legal workplaces and organisations to help address the crisis.
The report follows the first-ever global surveys examining the mental wellbeing of legal professionals at both an individual and institutional level. It draws on data collected from almost 3,500 surveyed legal professionals and more than 180 legal organisations.
The findings confirm, for example, that the mental wellbeing of legal professionals is a cause for global concern, and that the crisis has a disproportionate impact on women, young people, those who identify as an ethnic minority and those with disabilities.
The co-chairs of the Task Force that led the project – Steven Richman, a member at Clark Hill PLC, Princeton, and Deborah Enix-Ross, a senior advisor in the International Dispute Resolution Group at Debevoise & Plimpton, New York – stated: ‘The report is a call to action. It is our hope and intention that it will be used around the world to further the work of implementing practical solutions to what is a global crisis.’
The Task Force thanked the work of the IBA Legal Policy & Research Unit in conducting the international surveys behind the report.
Podcast: Sustainable mining
In this episode of the IBA Legal Policy and Research Unit’s (LPRU) Sustainable Law in Action podcast series, Jonathan Hoch, Head of Legal and Commercial at mining company Anglo American, speaks with the LPRU’s Sara Carnegie and Maria Pia Sacco about how Anglo American has become a leader in sustainable mining, with sustainability increasingly becoming a competitive advantage.
The conversation continues with IBA President, Sternford Moyo, who sheds light on the link between poverty, human rights and natural resources, highlighting the importance of engaging with local communities and rightsholders. Finally, Stéphane Brabant and Maria Angelica Burgos talk about the role lawyers can play in promoting ESG factors, the importance for CEOs in obtaining a social licence and the link between corruption and human rights violations.