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Merger Review, Dodd-Frank and Global Financial Crisis on Tap at ABA Section of International Law Meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 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.  This year’s meeting will be held 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 of International Law will present a showcase event with actor Michael Douglas, featuring a dialogue about international law and policy.  Douglas 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 of business programs especially relevant to New York:

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.

Breakfast at the Bar with a Leading New York and National Developer — The Georgetown Company’s Adam Flatto will speak about the current real estate investment climate in New York and other U.S. cities during this breakfast meeting.
April 18, 8 – 8:50 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 Assistant Secretary 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 for his defense of the international rule of law by opposing the White House policy of interrogation that disregarded the Geneva Convention.
April 18, 12:45 – 2:15 p.m.

Third-Party Funding of Litigation and Arbitration — A Solution for Rising Costs or Ethical Quagmire?
Third-party financing of litigation and arbitration has recently moved to the forefront as a mechanism for permitting corporate and individual parties who otherwise might not have the financial resources to pursue claims to obtain access to the judicial system and pursue remedies.  A panel of experts will review the developments and the trends in third-party financing and examine recent laws and regulations in the United States, England, Australia and other jurisdictions.
April 18, 2:30 – 4 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, and 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.

The New York Advantage: The Creation of Special New York Court Dockets to Streamline and Resolve International Disputes — This program will examine the establishment of a special New York State Commercial Division and/or federal court docket in New York City to hear international litigation cases and/or international arbitration matters.  This issue was raised in the report of the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on New York Law in International Matters.  Do these initiatives make New York the forum of choice for adjudication of international litigation and arbitration?
April 18, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Internal Justice at the United Nations — What Does it Look like and Does it Work? — Have you ever wondered what internal justice at an international organization like the United Nations looks like?  In July 2009, the U.N. General Assembly implemented an entirely new system of resolving disputes within the U.N.  For the first time within the international administrative tribunals, a two-tier system of formal adjudication was established and judges from all over the world have been called to adjudicate disputes. 
April 18, 4:30 – 6 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 financial reform measures taken by other nations. 
April 19, 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Importing Cultural Objects into the United States — Curators, collectors, dealers and even souvenir buyers want to bring art works and cultural objects from other countries into the United States.  However, they should know that Customs and Border Protection is on the lookout for culturally important artifacts that may be entering the United States illegally.  A legal framework, composed of both general and specific customs laws, now regulates the importation of cultural artifacts. 
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.

Leading a Law Firm in Turbulent Times — Over the last few years, law firm leaders in many different jurisdictions have had to cope with a very unpredictable market for legal services.  This has caused many of them to re-examine their fundamental strategy and priorities and seek to reposition their firms as more “agile” organizations.  Have these experiences led to fundamental shifts in the market for legal services, particularly in smaller jurisdictions or niche markets?  Questions in this area will be addressed by a panel of law firm leaders from a range of different types of jurisdictions and size of practice.
April 19, 2:30 – 4 p.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.
April 20, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Post Lehman — Will Financial Markets Be Regulated Through the Back Door of Competition Policy?  — After the second wave of crisis in global financial systems, there is a perceived need for significantly more and tougher regulation of financial services.  At the same time, recent high-profile probes into financial sector conduct highlight the ongoing scrutiny of this sector by antitrust agencies.  A panel will consider whether and how efforts of competition regulators in key jurisdictions align or conflict with the regulatory solutions proposed or implemented by financial authorities at the national and international level.
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.

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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