Below is the address Paul Lefebvre, Chair of IADC's International Committee, made during the 2018 Midyear Meeting International Dinner.
It will soon be 10 years that my family and I have been attending the IADC meetings, and as many international dinners, to our great enjoyment. Over those past 10 years, things have changed considerably. From a largely U.S. dinner with a touch of “internationalism,” the event has evolved to a truly international dinner, gathering members from five continents. This shows the vision of an organization that wishes to construct a worldwide legal network as its’ answer to the challenges of internationalization. This is a wise approach. It is never wise to lock yourself up in your own comfort zone. History shows that civilizations that turn into themselves are doomed to vanish and disappear. Think of the Chinese wall that eventually heralded the end of the Chinese empire. Think of what happened to the Romans, when they started to build walls and retrench behind rivers. The only way to control internationalization is to embrace it.
The smart way to embrace internationalization is peacefully, through fair international trade and business. To ensure this fair trade, the routes of international business and trade must be protected by the rule of law and that is where the lawyers come in. In order to effectively protect those routes, the lawyers of business companies that are active internationally need a network of befriended lawyers: people they can rely on to do the best possible job for their clients. How to establish such a network? There lies the heart and core of the IADC, both present and future.
The aim of the IADC is to bring together, not only lawyers from all over the U.S., but from all over the world in order to create a level playing field and a network of highly competent lawyers through which professional relationships can blossom and build upon the best of both legal worlds: the Common Law and Civil Law Systems.
If the Olympic committee can enhance the relationships of mankind through the ethics of sports, I see no reason why we lawyers should not be able to build a better international business and trade law based upon the best parts of those two legal systems. Indeed, if the spirit of the Olympics can even bring together North and South Korea, then surely the values that our IADC cherishes and promotes can unite us all and bridge the differences between our legal systems.
Internationalization will continue. I am glad to be a part of an organization that is embracing internationalism and building networks and relationships that will help us forge better and more integrated legal systems and laws that will facilitate growing international business while promoting the rule of law and equal playing fields throughout our world. We live in an ever changing world. Only the weather, as it was today in beautiful Palm Springs, should remain the same.