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Aftermath of Financial Crisis, Merger Review and Piracy Among International Legal Issues to be Explored at ABA Meeting in New York

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 10, 2012 — The American Bar Association Section of International Law will host one of the world’s largest annual gatherings of international legal experts during its 2012 Spring Meeting, to be held in New York April 17-21.  The conference takes place at the Grand Hyatt New York, Park Avenue/Grand Central.

Special Showcase Event: A Dialogue with Michael Douglas:  On April 19, 10:45 a.m. – noon, the section will present a showcase event with actor Michael Douglas, who will be speaking about nuclear non-proliferation.  Past speakers for the showcase “fireside chats” have included Jane Goodall, Theodore Sorensen, Robert McNamara and Bob Geldof.  Jonathan Granoff, of the Law Office of Jonathan Granoff, will moderate.

Additional speakers will include:

  • Ben Ferencz, the sole surviving American who served as a prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials of Nazi war criminals;
  • Robert Khuzami, director of the Division of Enforcement, Securities and Exchange Commission;
  • John C. Coffee Jr., Columbia Law School;
  • Pierre N. Leval,  judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit;
  • Robert A. Katzmann, judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (What Can the Legal Profession do to Increase Access to Competent Counsel? Immigration as a Case Study);
  • U.S. Treasury Department’s Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Cyrus Amir-Mokri; and
  • Award-winning journalist and author of “Under an Afghan Sky,” Mellissa Fung.

More than 1,300 international law practitioners, scholars, corporate counsel, government and regulatory lawyers, and representatives of nongovernmental organizations from some 50 countries are expected to attend the 2012 meeting.  The agenda includes more than 70 programs on international business, energy and the environment, and international rule of law and development.  

The following are among the highlights in the international business arena:

Reverse Merger Listings:  Is the Backdoor Shut for Chinese Companies? — In recent years, a number of small private Chinese companies have listed on the NASDAQ and other stock exchanges through reverse mergers with public shell companies.  This activity is now subject to significant regulatory scrutiny.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has revoked the registrations of eight China-based companies since December 2010, and a number of Chinese companies have disclosed auditor resignations and other accounting issues during the past year.  A panel will review the state of reverse merger activity.
April 17, 2:30 – 4 p.m.

Fighting Online Piracy by Going after the Middle-Men — New Perspectives on ISP Liability Under EU, US and UK Copyright Law — While software piracy is not a new phenomenon, the widespread availability of broadband access enables large-scale and everyday piracy of software and even movies in high definition.  Additionally, search engines offer services such as summarizing the latest news headlines with corresponding third-party photographs.  Copyright holders often face insurmountable problems in tracking down the individuals misusing their material.  The question arises whether Internet service providers should be obliged to prevent access to sites hosting pirated materials, or whether search engines can be prevented from making available third-party images.
April 17, 4 – 5:30 p.m.

Establishment of a Special Anti-Piracy Tribunal:  Prospects and Reality — Two hundred years ago, piracy was recognized as the first “international” crime.  Recently, piracy has re-emerged as a major problem for international commerce.  Prosecuting pirates involves knowledge of international treaties, criminal law, maritime law and unusual evidentiary gathering rules, which is challenging and even dangerous.  This panel will provide a basic understanding of the legal issues, and how the many parties involved are trying to resolve this continuing international dilemma. 
April 17, 4 – 5:30 p.m.

The Market in Contingent Capital — Contingent capital securities are expected to make financial institutions more resilient and avoid future financial crisis by internalizing bank failure costs.  The European Union and certain European countries have proposed, and in some cases enacted, rules on CCS.  However, other banks in Europe and the United States are hesitant to issue CCS without additional regulatory guidance.  This program will review the market and regulatory environment for CCS and related open issues and uncertainties.
April 18, 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Merger Review in the BRIC Countries — Antitrust and Foreign Investment/National Security Restrictions:  Where are the BRIC Countries Compared to the United States? — A panel will address the treatment of antitrust issues and foreign investment/national security restrictions in horizontal mergers subject to review by competition law authorities in Brazil, Russia, India and China — the BRIC countries.  The panel will analyze a transaction in each jurisdiction, identifying similarities and differences among the antitrust authorities in these countries and the United States.
April 18, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Cyrus Amir-Mokri — U.S. Treasury Department’s Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Cyrus Amir-Mokri will be the featured speaker; while William Howard Taft IV will be presented with the Francis Shattuck Security and Peace Award.
April 18, 12:45 – 2:15 p.m.

Sovereign Debt Crisis — Causes and Repercussions — The sovereign debt crisis has been examined under a number of economic theories, as observers worry that sovereign default will spread like a contagion and threaten the global economy.  The speakers for this break-out presentation will provide an update on the sovereign debt crisis, examine its underlying causes and its repercussions, including a discussion of the types of disputes that are expected to arise following the crisis.
April 18, 4 – 4:30 p.m.

Update of the Implementation of Key Dodd-Frank and EU Financial Market and Bank Reforms in the Wake of the Financial Crisis — The financial regulatory system has undergone extensive change.  The United States has passed the Dodd-Frank Act, and several new legislative measures were taken in the EU and its member states.  The vast majority of rulemaking is far from completed.  An expert panel will examine the content, status and challenges of implementation of key parts of Dodd-Frank and of various other financial reform measures taken by other nations, as well as the restructuring and resolution of systemically important financial institutions, credit rating agency rules and other current topics. 
April 19, 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Pierre N. Leval — Judge Pierre N. Leval, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, will present remarks, with the section’s Louis B. Sohn Award for the Public International Law being presented to Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.
April 19, 12:45 – 2:15 p.m. 

The Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis — A Focus on Insider Trading and Developments in Securities Law: Part I —   This two-part showcase program will focus on four key areas of law arising from the global financial crisis: insider trading and Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement actions against hedge fund managers and criminal actions; civil litigation against financial institutions and individuals arising from the financial crisis; the extraterritorial reach of U.S. securities law; and the essential court-made law developing in decisions such as Matrixx Initiatives Inc. v. Siracusano, Erica P. John Fund v. Halliburton Inc., and others.  The speakers include John C. Coffee Jr., Columbia Law School; and Robert Khuzami, director, Division of Enforcement, Securities and Exchange Commission.
April 19, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

The Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis — A Focus on Insider Trading and Developments in Securities Law: Part II
April 19, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

The Use of IPOs in Emerging Markets to Finance Projects — A diverse panel of experts from Europe, and South and North America will discuss the use of initial public offerings in emerging markets.  With the difficulty of obtaining financing from financial institutions in emerging markets, more investors and developers are looking to use IPOs to finance projects.  This is a different use than what is commonly done in the United States and Europe.  What are the similarities and differences in the use of IPOs in different markets?
April 20, 9 – 10:30 a.m.

New York Law in the International Competition for Governing Law — New York law is said to be one of the most frequently chosen laws to govern international business, trade and financial transactions.  A panel will explore what it means to choose New York law as a governing law, the characteristics of New York’s contract and commercial law that make it attractive for international legal advisors and their clients, how New York law compares with the laws of England, Germany, France and China, and the major international “restatements” of the law of international commercial contracts.  Former New York State Court of Appeals Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye will be among the panelists.
April 20, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Mellissa Fung — Award-winning journalist and author of “Under an Afghan Sky,” Mellissa Fung, who was abducted on the outskirts of Kabul on her second tour of that country in 2008, will be the featured speaker.  In addition, the Mayre Rasmussen Award for the Advancement of Women in International Law will be presented to Professor Hope Lewis of Northeastern University School of Law.  Working as a human rights scholar, Lewis has brought the impact and import of economic, social and cultural rights to the forefront of academia and practical debate.
April 20, 12:45 – 2:15 p.m.

What’s Wrong with U.S. Class Actions?  Rethinking the Class Action Device from a Global Perspective — For the better part of the last decade, the European Commission has debated sanctioning “collective redress” procedures to encourage private enforcement of European law.  Although Europeans are decidedly fractured over what form of collective redress should ultimately be adopted, there appears to be a unanimity of opinion against adopting the U.S. system.  Panelists will weigh in on whether various policy objectives of Rule 23 have been met after 50 years of litigation and what other jurisdictions can learn from the U.S. experience.
April 20, 2:30 – 4 p.m.

Employees in Dangerous Places:  Legal and Practical Issues Around Earthquakes, Revolutions and Crime on International Assignments — The world has seen a series of uprisings throughout the Middle East and Africa recently.  At the same time, natural disasters in Japan and elsewhere created their own, no less urgent, kinds of crisis.  Employees stationed or traveling overseas to carry out assignments may often be in positions of personal risk; risk that also may put their employer at risk, to the extent that the employees are vulnerable to injury. This program will feature discussion on the legal and practical issues presented by these problems, and considerations to be taken when sending employees abroad.
April 20, 2:30 – 4 p.m.

The Evolution of International Criminal Law: Problems and Perspectives — This program will feature a conversation with Ben Ferencz, the sole surviving American who served as a prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials of Nazi war criminals.  Ferencz was chief prosecutor for the United States in The Einsatzgruppen Case, which the Associated Press called “the biggest murder trial in history.”  In addition to speaking about these experiences, Ferencz will discuss Nuremburg’s implications for the rule of law and the international criminal court.
April 20, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Wither Wall Street? — The Impact of Technology and Globalization on International Financial Markets — Globalization and rapid technological changes are having considerable impact on traditional financial exchanges.  The proliferation of alternative trading systems, such as electronic communications networks and dark pools, coupled with the explosive growth of Asian stock exchanges such as Hong Kong and Singapore pose serious competitive challenges to traditional stock exchanges such as NYSE Euronext and the London Stock Exchange.  How the traditional exchanges react to these changes and maintain their market share in new listings and trading activities may help determine the continuing effectiveness of exchanges in establishing corporate governance standards and performing their role as “gatekeepers” for investor protection.
April 20, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Market Access for Foreign Lawyers:  Distilling Positions in Search of the Truth —  This program will take a hard look at the issue of allowing lawyers from one country to work in another country without necessarily qualifying to practice in that “host” country.  This presentation will focus on two countries at the front line of that debate: India and Brazil. 
April 20, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Additional information about the 2012 Spring Meeting can be found online.

For media credentialing, please contact Patricia Gaul at  This event is free and open to members of the press.

ABA International was founded in 1933 and leads the development of international legal policy, the promotion of the rule of law, and the education of international law practitioners. It is the only ABA entity that focuses exclusively on international legal issues. ABA International has over 23,000 members in 90 countries, including 1500 in-house counsel. The section has more than 60 committees, task forces, and working groups devoted to substantive legal issues or focused on geographic areas all over the world, monitoring and disseminating information on international policy developments that effect international legal practice.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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