Letter From The President Of The New York City Bar Association

2009-03-31 01:00

A Big Bar For A Small World

Supporting persecuted lawyers and judges in Pakistan; curbing gender-related violence in Rwanda; defending the right to counsel in China and India; educating U.S. lawyers on Islamic law; encouraging the development of young commercial lawyers in South Africa; identifying implications of global warming legislation for international trade: these are just some of the recent activities the City Bar has undertaken around the world. While we are the New York City Bar, we have always taken a world view of the role of the Association. Much of this stems from the extensive involvement of our members in international and global law practice, but we also hold a core belief in the importance of assuring that the rule of law and basic human rights are established around the world.

Having long understood that the world is indeed small and that injustices, no matter where, should not be tolerated, the City Bar has taken the lead in a number of areas to bring together lawyers from around the world to explore and address common concerns. The largest international group of lawyers, the International Bar Association, was founded in our building in 1947. Over a half-century later, in 2001, we convened the first conference of leaders from bar associations of the world's major cities. That group has been meeting ever since.

The Association has a special consultative status at the UN through the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which involves us in many of the major world conferences hosted by the UN, and we're pleased to host an annual reception of legal advisers to member states of the United Nations and UN legal staff. We are also active in the Union Internationale des Avocats, the other major international lawyer organization.

At least 15 City Bar committees have a primary focus on international issues, including the Council on International Affairs, chaired by Michael Byowitz, which coordinates the work in this area. Our committees address international law, trade, security and human rights, and we also have committees that focus on particular regions and on issues, such as immigration and military affairs, that have major international aspects. These committees provide opportunities to hundreds of members who want to become involved in our international efforts.

Please visit the Association's website, www.nycbar.org, for more details on the varied activities that the Association committees are undertaking.


Patricia M. Hynes

This letter has been adapted from the March 2009, Vol. 24, No. 3 Issue of 44th Street Notes published by the New York City Bar Association.