Chair’s Welcome Message (2005-2006)

John H. Rooney, Jr.

ILS Chair (2005-2006)

I want to thank each of you for giving me this opportunity to serve as Chair of the International Law Section for the 20052006 term. Our Section, year after year, has built on the efforts and accomplishments of a dedicated team of volunteers committed to raising the profile of Florida as a venue for providers of international legal services. You have worked tirelessly to provide an impressive array of quality programs that permit each of us to acquire needed skills and to stay current in our chosen areas of practice. I would be remiss in not pointing out one of those accomplishments: The new ILS section webpage, which can be found at www.internationallawsection.org. Take a look at it and let us know what you think.

Much work remains to be done if we are to accomplish our goals. I see this year as one dedicated to consolidation of our accomplishments and strategic planning for the future. An important first step will be the sections Annual Retreat, which will be held at the Don Cesar Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Friday, August 26th from 12:00 noon to 6:00 oclock p.m. During the Annual Retreat, we will review the plans and agendas for the Section and its committees. We will discuss long-term goals, and in general exchange opinions and information regarding how our Section can respond to the needs of its members, increase membership and identify members willing to commit time to help our Section grow in numbers and quality. This years retreat will be held in conjunction with the retreat of the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar, which provides an opportunity for us to show to the Board of Governors the level of commitment and dedication that characterizes our Section.

 

During our 2005 Annual Meeting, I outlined some goals that I believe are important for us as a Section. We should recognize the economic development aspects of the work that we perform in Florida as international practitioners, and reach out to the non-legal community for partners to increase that impact. I also think it is very important that that our legal infrastructure, that it to say, our laws and regulations, be in accord with international standards and models to the extent consistent with good policy and practice. As a Section, we should assume responsibility for reviewing, analyzing and formulating positions on whether model legislation drafted under the auspices of international organizations, such as the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and UNIDROIT, should be proposed for adoption in Florida. We also need to become more active in identifying national and international developments that can affect our practice. In particular, we need to put in place a structure for monitoring developments at the federal level, as well as international conventions and treaties proposed for ratification by members of the world community.

 

With respect to continuing legal education, we need to make every dollar entrusted to us count and assure that our programs are well conceived, brought in on budget, and most importantly deliver a quality product. International Law sponsorship should say to the community of attorneys in Florida and beyond that the program will be a quality experience for the attendee, will improve his or her knowledge base, and permit productive interchange with members of our profession of similar interests and practice areas. To help achieve this goal, I hope to put in place a structure and procedure for the evaluation of proposed programs, and for the evaluation of programs that are approved and carried out. Transactional law is an area where we need to improve participation and develop quality programs. Anyone interested in assisting with this task should contact me by e-mail, which is listed below.

 

As the International Section of the Florida Bar, it is important that we reach out to other associations of lawyers, both in the United States and abroad. We should review the cooperative agreements presently in place with foreign bar associations and see how we can maximize benefits from these relationships. We also should be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to cooperate with associations of like interest and inclination. Building on an excellent proposal made by past-Chair David Willig and implemented by the Executive Counsel during his term, we should maintain and give priority to the development of the Faculty Council, and propose that the Council be enlarged to include law schools not just from Florida, but also from other states and countries. We should not underestimate the importance to our mission of the involvement of learned persons who have devoted their professional lives to study an advancement of law as an academic discipline.

 

As I mentioned above, I take very seriously the trust you have placed in me to chair our Section for the 2005 2006 term. As my students at the University of Miami know, my door is always open for comments, suggestions and, where appropriate, complaints. Please feel free to contact me at any time regarding Section business and activities. My direct line is (305) 347-7338, and my e-mail is jrooney@shutts-law.com. I look forward to working with each and every one of you, and hope to make the 2005-2006 term as successful for the Section as have been prior terms.