Annual Report




Among the Society's achievements over the past year were the creation of new strategic partnerships and the strengthening of existing ones. After self-publishing its journals for 110 years, the Society entered into a five-year agreement with Cambridge University Press to publish the American Journal of International Law, AJIL Unbound, International Legal Materials, and Proceedings of the ASIL Annual Meeting, beginning in January 2017.

This exciting new partnership will benefit the Society and its members in many ways—ensuring that its journals remain the gold standard in the field while reaching an ever wider global readership. The enhanced platform will offer authors and subscribers a truly dynamic and integrated digital experience, and access to the capabilities of one of the world's preeminent academic publishers.

Engaging our Partners – The year 2016 was also a milestone in ASIL's efforts to grow and strengthen its strategic relationships with its Law Firm Members, Academic Partners, and Colleague Societies across the globe.

Midyear Meeting – In November, the seventh annual Midyear Meeting took the Society to Seattle, Washington, providing an opportunity to broaden its relationships with both the corporate and the academic communities in the region. The three-day event combined the long-established Research Forum, held on the campus of ASIL Academic Partner University of Washington School of Law, with a new "downtown" component geared toward business and law firm practitioners—a seminar focused on international trade and hosted by K&L Gates LLP. Midyear Meeting sponsors also included Microsoft, Perkins Coie LLP, Seattle University, and Thomson Reuters.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Richard Tallman and M. Margaret McKeown discuss international law in domestic courts during the Research Forum in Seattle.

Collaborative Programs – In May and June, the Society cosponsored a two-part series hosted by ASIL Leadership Circle Law Firm Member Sidley Austin LLP on the proposal by the European Union to create a permanent investment court. Featured speakers included former International Court of Justice President (and one-time ASIL Executive Director) Stephen Schwebel and a distinguished panel of experts. The events were held in cooperation with the ABA Section of International Law.

Inspiring the Next Generation of International Lawyers – In April, ASIL Leadership Circle Law Firm Member Fresh Fields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP joined forces with the Society to launch a series of "Young Arbitrator Debates." The ongoing series is held at Tillar House, the Society's headquarters, and is co-sponsored by ASIL's Howard M. Holtzmann Research Center for the Study of International Arbitration and Conciliation.

The Society's Academic Partner schools continued to engage in collaborative programs and to take advantage of ASIL's portfolio of career and professional development services, hosting 24 on-site consultations and mentoring services for law students conducted by ASIL's Director of Education and Research.

The Society also continued its efforts to support careers in international law through its fellowship and mentorship programs.The Society inaugurated two new resident fellowships, selecting its first Detlev F. Vagts Fellow in Transnational Law and its first BASIL (Blacks of the American Society of International Law) Fellow, and awarded Arthur C. Helton Fellowships to recent law school graduates to work with non-governmental organizations in Turkey, India, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Uganda.

Nurturing Relationships with Colleague Societies around the World – In July, the Society participated in the sixth biennial "Four Societies" Conference, which brings together the international law societies of the U.S., Canada, Australia/New Zealand, and Japan. This year's conference, on "International Law, Innovation, and the Environment," took place in Waterloo, Ontario, chaired by the Canadian Council on International Law and hosted by the Centre for International Governance Innovation. Representing the Society were vice president Edward Kwakwa, former vice president Chantal Thomas, and executive director Mark Agrast.


Nuremberg Dialogues – For 10 years, the Society has cosponsored and published the Proceedings for the International Humanitarian Law Dialogs (IHL), an annual event held at the Chautauqua Institution in New York, that brings together leading experts in international criminal and humanitarian law, including most of the current and former chief prosecutors for the various U.N. tribunals created to address war crimes and mass atrocities. In September, the Dialogs were held in Nuremberg, Germany, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the closing of the International Military Tribunal.

The opening ceremonies took place in Courtroom 600 of the Nuremberg Palace of Justice – the very room in which verdicts were handed down in the trial of major Nazi war criminals in 1946. Among the speakers were Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch, who paid tribute to the judges and lawyers at Nuremberg. Recalling her own service as a special counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, she declared, "Let us never forget that within these walls, evil was held to account and humanity prevailed."

110th Annual Meeting – The 2016 Annual Meeting, co-chaired by Tendayi Achiume, Dawn Yamane Hewett, and Ina Popova, featured over 40 substantive sessions organized around the theme, "Charting New Frontiers in International Law." Attended by over 1100 participants from more than 50 countries, the conference included a number of milestones, including the rst ever Assembly and Gala Reception, with remarks by Associate Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court; the first address to an annual meeting by a sitting head of state—the Grotius Lecture delivered by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet; the inaugural Detlev F. Vagts Roundtable on Transnational Law, convened by Catherine Rogers; and the first major policy address by the newly-con rmed legal adviser of the U.S. Department of State, Brian Egan.

Annual Meeting sponsors included American University Washington College of Law; Arnold & Porter LLP; The Centre for International Governance Innovation; the City of The Hague; Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; Foley Hoag LLP; Hein Online; George Washington University School of Law; the Hague Institute for Global Justice; the International Law Students Association; the Law Library of Congress; the Royal Netherlands Embassy; Steptoe & Johnson LLP; and White & Case LLP.


U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch addressing the opening ceremonies inside Courtroom 600.


The inaugural Gala reception, following the Society's rst ever Assembly, took place at the National Building Museum.


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Looking Ahead

The year 2016 came to a close amid deepening anxieties about the future of international law in the wake of the U.S. elections. The Society recognized that it must respond to this situation, and that to do so effectively, it must draw on its special strengths as a convener of the international law community and a trusted resource on international legal issues.

And so, as the new U.S. administration began its first hundred days in office, the Society launched a new initiative on "International Law and the Trump Administration," to deliver fact-based information and thoughtful, balanced analysis to policymakers, the media, and the public on the issues and values that are at stake. This ongoing effort demands that the Society reach beyond the community of learned professionals it is accustomed to addressing, to embrace new means of communication, and engage with new audiences.

At the 2016 Midyear Meeting in Seattle, the Executive Council adopted a new strategic plan for the Society, and authorized the creation of three new committees to oversee key elements of its implementation.

The Program Committee, chaired by vice president Sean Murphy, the Strategic Initiatives Committee, chaired by Catherine Amirfar, and the Committee on Public Engagement and Technology, chaired by Kal Raustiala, are hard at work on creative and effective ways to meet this challenge, and their efforts are having an impact.

  • Left to right, Michael Goldhaber, Catherine Amirfar, and John Bellinger in front of the camera for the rst webcast in the "International Law and the Trump Administration" series.