Kocian Solc Balastik is reporting that, at the International Bar Association conference in Washington, firm Founding Partner Martin Solc has been elected President of the IBA — making him the first Central European ever elected to the global organization’s highest post. His new role will take effect on January 1, 2017.
The IBA brings together 201 national bar associations, including the Czech Bar Association, and, directly or through membership of law firms, more than 100,000 individual members. Solc, who has been IBA Vice President since 2015 (as reported by CEE Legal Matters on February 25, 2015), will take over from the current president, US lawyer David Rivkin. Solc’s election was decided and announced by the IBA Council on Thursday, September 22, 2016, following a vote of bar associations and individual members.
Based in London, the IBA is the largest global organization of lawyers. It was founded in 1947 by a group of 37 national bar associations shortly after the founding of the United Nations and intended by its founders to be — according to KSB — "in a kind of analogy, a UN for the legal profession." The IBA annually organizes more than 60 conferences, with the annual conference regularly attended by more than 5,000 lawyers. This year's conference in Washington was opened by a speech of the president of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, and speakers included former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
"I very much appreciate the confidence in me that the IBA Council has expressed by its choice," said Solc of his election. "I consider my election as president of the organization to be a recognition of my more than twenty five years of work for the IBA as well as confirmation that Czech and Central European advocacy is seen as an active part of the global profession."
According to an announcement released by KSB, Solc intends, in his position as President, and in addition to promoting the idea of the rule of law, "to implement certain changes in the functioning of the organization, for example, increasing the availability of conferences and seminars to a broader audience through online access." The IBA, according to Solc, should also "form a working group to focus on security issues and data managed by lawyers with the aim of establishing global standards in this regard."
"I heartily congratulate Martin on behalf of myself and also on behalf of the Czech Bar Association, in respect of this historic success," commented Martin Vychopen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Czech Bar Association. "No representative of Czech advocacy has ever held such a high post in our field. Martin, within his current position in the IBA, has not forgotten where he came from, and I think that thanks to him, Czech lawyers internationally also have a very good reputation. I believe that he will succeed in his post, leaving behind an indelible positive footprint."