As members of the International Bar Association (IBA), Vietnamese lawyers participated in the IBA Annual Conference 2023, held at the Paris Convention Center from October 27 to November 5, 2023.
The Vietnamese lawyers attending this year’s annual conference included Lawyer Dr. Phan Trung Hoai, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Bar Federation, and the Head of the Federation; Lawyer Duong Van Thanh, a member of the Lawyers’ Federation from Quang Binh Province; Lawyer, Dr. Nguyen Thanh Viet, member of the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association; Lawyer Truong Hoai Phuc, member of the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association and Lawyer Phan Minh Hoang, member of the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association. Besides, there were also members of ASL LAW, as well as lawyer Nguyen Ngoc Phong and lawyer Minh Duong – Asia Counsel Law Firm in Ho Chi Minh City.
Throughout the conference program, Vietnamese lawyers actively participated in numerous events and sessions. Notable topics included discussions on trends and factors significantly impacting the legal profession in 2023, focusing on the development of advanced technology, survey results on factors influencing the future of legal services, encompassing issues related to education, resource management, talent attraction, and ensuring the quality of services provided to clients.
Vietnamese lawyers also engaged in conference programs related to disputes in the fields of environmental, social, and corporate governance, trends and strategies in Civil Law and Common Law courts, risk management, regulations related to climate change, sustainable development, and global human rights. Another interesting theme addressed cultural issues and the issue of remuneration applied in law firms, covering topics from rigid policies to the application of soft skills, changes in evaluation mechanisms for client development, and reassessing success metrics with financial and non-profit factors.
Besides, Vietnamese lawyers also participated in IBA Committee meetings, and Council meetings to approve activity reports, financial reports, and personnel changes. They also attended several events organized by the Paris Bar Association and the Embassy of Japan in collaboration with the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
Key programs in the IBA Annual Conference 2023
On October 29, 2023, the official opening ceremony of the annual conference took place with over 5,000 attendees in the conference hall. The opening ceremony was presided over by Ms. Almudena Arpon de Mendivil, President of IBA for the term 2023-2024. During the opening ceremony, participants from around the world paid attention to a video speech by French President Emmanuel Macron.
The IBA President, during the opening ceremony, expressed opinions on the Annual Conference, which featured in-depth discussions aimed at addressing current challenges in the legal field. The IBA conference program was organized around key themes that are central to the legal profession’s concerns. This included issues related to artificial intelligence and factors significantly influencing client advisory activities, as well as the internal structures and processes of law firms, particularly with the participation of women in crucial positions and the importance of gender diversity.
Following that, Michel Barnier, the former Chief Negotiator of the European Union from 2016 to 2021, addressed the challenges facing Europe. He discussed the impact of Brexit and the consequences of the UK’s departure from the European Union, answering a series of questions from lawyers from around the world.
Conference participants had the opportunity to hear from outstanding leaders in various fields. The IBA President specially invited prominent individuals such as Lech Walesa, former President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize laureate; Zack Kass, former Director of OpenAI, a technology and general artificial intelligence expert; Christopher Stephens, Senior Vice President and Chief Adviser of the World Bank Group; as well as Helle Thorning Schmidt, Co-Chair of the Meta Oversight Board and former Prime Minister of Denmark, who participated in special sessions each morning.
The gala dinner celebrating the IBA Annual Conference was then held at Les Salles du Carrousel, Du Louvre. At this event, the Vietnamese Lawyers had the opportunity to meet and connect with many international colleagues. Notably, they had a meeting with Laurence Wong, Director of the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC); and Junichi Matsuda, the current Vice President of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
ASL LAW also participated in this event to network with lawyers domestically and internationally, aiming to accomplish a part of their plan involving 60 meetings with colleagues and partners worldwide.
On the morning of October 30, 2023, the Vietnam Bar Federation participated in the session on “Trends in the Legal Profession in 2023” hosted by Mr. Paul D. Paton, Dean of the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University, California, USA. This session included top experts from the Business Structures Committee on Legal Innovation and Reform, as well as the Issues Committee of the Bar Association. Speakers discussed the organizational structure of the legal profession in developed countries, Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
Later in the afternoon of October 30, 2023, members of the task force participated in the discussion of the IBA Legal Services Future Committee. Speakers in this discussion presented hotspots reflecting the results of surveys, identified important developments that will impact the future of the legal services industry, and provided updates on projects being undertaken by the IBA. The committee aims to ensure that the IBA remains a leader in legal industry development and supports its members and the legal profession in general in identifying, evaluating, and responding to ongoing changes and advancements.
During the session on the motivation between domestic and international interests in international arbitration activities on October 31, 2023, with the participation of the International Trade Committee on Legal Services, chaired by the Bar Association Issues Committee (BIC), the discussion focused on the impact of the international dispute resolution process on the commercial legal services sector. It emphasized the formation and development of international commercial courts and regional arbitration centers.
Speakers focused on discussing the coordination between lawyers, international arbitration organizations, and local lawyers in the international arbitration process, highlighting the role of local Bar Associations in this collaboration. Lauren Wong, in his sharing about Singapore, mentioned the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC), established in 2015, with the goal of becoming the most neutral and fair international arbitration center.
On the afternoon of October 31, 2023, the speakers continued to discuss the theme of culture and treatment in law firms: Increasing challenges in defining, evaluating, and praising an “ideal partner.” Currently, there is no doubt about the difficulty of finding and defining the role of a partner in the law firm environment.
On November 1, 2023, the Leadership Forum of the BIC Bar Association continued to organize to update representatives from national member organizations on the status of IBA projects, understand planned work, and propose themes and programs for the future activities of the BIC. On behalf of the BIC, Committee Chairman Ken Murphy commended the significant contributions of BIC leaders.
The last session of the IBA Council on the afternoon of November 2, 2023, marked the most important event in the framework of the IBA Annual Conference in Paris this time. In the opening part of the session, the IBA President expected recognition from members of the organization for the achievements that the IBA has made and the actions taken in the past year.
According to the predetermined schedule, during the participation in the IBA Annual Conference 2023 in Paris, the Vietnamese lawyers participated in some welcome events organized by the Law Society of England and Wales, the Paris Bar Association, and the Embassy of Japan in Paris. These are sideline events, providing opportunities to meet and exchange with leaders of bar associations from many countries around the world, and also an opportunity to learn more about the culture, customs, and important diplomatic ceremonies.
During the participation in the IBA Annual Conference 2023 in Paris, Vietnamese lawyers from law firms such as ASL LAW, Asia Counsel, Rajah & Tann LCT Lawyers… had many opportunities for networking and exchange.
Participating in the IBA Annual Conference is a crucial opportunity to expand international relationships, enhance understanding of global law, and address challenges in the process of integration and development. Through active participation, Vietnamese lawyers can contribute their perspectives to the overall development of the international legal profession.