In the Media

Law Society at ABA conference

PUBLISHED August 1, 2012

Wednesday 01 August 2012 by Jonathan Rayner

Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff is to discuss strengthening links between the UK legal profession and the world's developing and mature economies at a global meeting of 8,000 lawyers.

Scott-Moncrieff, attending the American Bar Association (ABA) conference in Chicago between 2-7 August, will also meet with the ABA Section of International Law, one of the UK's key international partners, and hold one-to-one meetings with the presidents of the Paris, Germany, Mexico, Japan, Australia and Inter-American bar associations.

The ABA annual meeting is the first international engagement for the new Law Society president, who took office in July. She is to participate in the International Bar Leaders Programme and lead a round table discussion on the theme: 'Is support for the rule of law a professional obligation for bar associations or simply commercial good practice?'

Other activities include a webinar with the Chicago Bar Association on diversity in the profession, and a visit a public law centre.

Scott-Moncrieff expects her one-to-one meetings to focus on such issues of mutual interest as the legal aid crisis, the Law Society's diversity initiatives and alternative business structures (ABSs).

A spokeswoman for the president's office said: 'The president will respond to concerns from other countries about the advent of ABSs. She will underline the robust regulatory regime set up around ABSs, the independence of the legal profession as explicitly set out in the Legal Services Act [which allowed ABSs to come into being] and will explain the opportunities that ABSs provide for a flourishing and diverse legal market.'

She added that the Law Society, with more than 6,000 solicitors working overseas, has a membership that stretches far beyond England and Wales. 'It is important that it is represented at events such as the annual meetings of the ABA, Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and International Bar Association so we can connect with other national bar leaders.'

Following the ABA meeting, Scott-Moncreiff will move on to Vancouver to attend the CBA annual conference, 12-14 August, where she will participate in a programme for international bar leaders.

The Law Society is to welcome international bar leaders to London in October for the opening of the legal year.