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From the President, March 2013
We will meet in Seoul.
My tenure as the President of the IPBA will end on 20 April 2013 in Seoul, Korea. The year of presidency coincides with my 50 years in the legal profession - I started as a lawyer in 1962.
I had a hectic period as the Chair of the Host Committee for the Annual Meeting and Conference in New Delhi, and I visited Singapore, Osaka, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Hong Kong, Dubai, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto to promote the IPBA and the New Delhi Conference. During my tenure as the President, I visited Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Washington, Dubai, Singapore, and Paris. These visits did promote the IPBA and the Seoul Conference. Within India, considerable promotion for Seoul has also been done.
During my term as the President of the IPBA, we had a Regional Conference in Paris on "Corporate Social Responsibility and Fair Competition: A Comparative Approach between Europe and Asia", which was very successful thanks to the efforts of Jean-Claude Beaujour, Anne Durez, and Patrick Vovan. Two other events of great significance were:
- a conference in Tokyo on "Competition Laws in the Asia and Pacific Region", organized by Harumichi Uchida and the Japan Competition Law Forum;
- a conference in Hong Kong on "Latest Trends in Project Finance and Procurement of Construction Projects", organized by Christopher To and Allan Leung.
Past President Ravi Nath, a committed leader of the IPBA, was extremely helpful and he personally participated in various events in India and in the Paris Regional Conference.
The most visible face among IPBA officers was that of Caroline Berube. I saw her in New Delhi for an event and thereafter in Paris as well - a dedicated leader of the IPBA.
As against 15 events in 2010 and 23 events in 2011, the IPBA supported 24 events in 2012 with two to three still in the pipeline. The membership stands at 1,430.
I have been informed by the Secretariat that the financial standing has considerably improved after the New Delhi Conference and I am sure it would be further strengthened after the Seoul Conference.
Through interaction and personal meetings, we maintained good relations with the leaders of IPBA, UIA, AIJA, LawAsia, and bar associations of several countries. International leadership will be well represented in Seoul as well.
I received full support from the officers at the IPBA, particularly from Alan Fujimoto and Yap Wai Ming. The two gentlemen possess a great quality - clarity. In their safe hands, nothing can go wrong. Christopher To and Allan Leung were of great help in fixing the venue for 2015 and for the Seoul Conference. So have been Ado Ko and Sylvette Tankiang as the Committee Coordinators. Caroline and maxine Chiang are doing wonderful jobs in the Publications Committee.
I reiterate what I said in the Auckland Meeting that the Membership Committee (presently under Suresh Divyanathan), the Publications Committee, the Program Coordinators, and Committee Coordinators are "the backbone of IPBA".
IPBA is fortunate to have an excellent and efficient Secretariat - so prompt, so thorough, and so committed. Midori, Rhonda, and Yukiko - the three gracious and charming ladies, form the Secretariat of the IPBA. Under the guidance of Alan Fujimoto and Yap Wai Ming, the IPBA is bound to become more strong and visible.
One new initiative I introduced in the Auckland Mid-Year Council Meeting was to invite comments/suggestions/observations/questions from all Council Members after the items in the agenda were over and before concluding the Meeting. This resulted in good interaction and useful inputs have been received as evident from the minutes of the Auckland Meeting.
I would strongly recommend to my esteemed successors to encourage this interaction.
The help and guidance from the Past Presidents has enabled me to develop a vision for the IPBA. I particularly refer to Shiro Kuniya and Suet-Gern Lee. They are amazing people - always lending a helping hand in terms of guidance and giving constructive suggestions.
My vision is to make the IPBA a stronger and more vibrant organization. Below are my views:
- We are venue-centric. The Presidents and other officers below are selected/elected based on the venues for the Annual Meetings and Conferences. The venues should be de-linked from the Presidents. Many outstanding leaders get left out because of the venues.
- Committees should be encouraged to promote more activities and local programs. Twenty-five per cent of the profits of the Annual Meetings and Conferences should be earmarked to subsidize local and regional events.
- There is a need for Officers to meet at least once at the Headquarters in Tokyo. Many issues remain pending as the Officers only meeting during the Annual Meeting or the Mid-Year Council Meeting.
- There should at least be two Regional Conferences in different regions and the responsibility should vest with the President and the Vice President as the President-Elect would be occupied with the arrangements for the Annual Meeting.
- There are no assigned roles for the President, the Vice President, and the Immediate Past President. I found that I was very busy as President-Elect but I had no role at all as President except to approve some co-sponsored events (which is only a procedural formality) and to preside over the Mid-Year Council Meeting. Practically, the President starts fading away as soon as he is so elected.
I have set up a Strategic Long-Term Planning Committee (duly approved by the Council) consisting of Secretary-General Alan Fujimoto; Deputy Secretary-General Wai Ming Yap; Membership Committee Chair Suresh Divyanathan; Past President Suet-Fern Lee; and past Secretary Gerald Sumida to look into the aforesaid, among other issues, so that the IPBA may grow from strength to strength.
The Annual Meeting and Conference in Seoul and Vancouver would also add to the IPBA's strength. The Host Committee of President-Elect Dr. Young-Moo Shin has ensured a memorable conference. We wish him and his team all success. And we have to start looking beyond Seoul to Vancouver. William Scott, the Vice President and Chair of the Host Committee in Vancouver has already taken giant strides to give us a GREAT EVENT. The Vancouver Conference will find answers to various issues on Sustainability as set out by the Host Committee and I quote one of those issues:
"Sustainability of Legal Services. As lawyers, we practice in a business environment in which are clients are demanding increasingly efficient ways of work. They want better value for their money. Legal futurists such as Richard Susskind say that this is leading to the commoditization of legal services. How do we reconcile this trend with our desire to provide carefully thought-out, bespoke services to clients? Are responses such as legal outsourcing fulfilling their roles in the manner we initially thought they would? What is happening with the outsourcing of legal servcies worldwide? How are new business models for law firms impacting the delivery of legal services?"
Let us all join hands to make Seoul and Vancouver the biggest success stories of the IPBA, to be followed by Hong Kong in 2015