AIJA and e-voting

20 June 2017

AIJA is a living association, where the commitment of each member is crucial to the success of the whole organisation. And nowhere is this more evident than during our elections.

Once a year at the Annual Congress, the General Assembly of Members is called to elect two very important bodies for the management of AIJA: the Executive Committee and the Bureau. In previous years this had to be done on paper, in person. But early in 2016, when AIJA launched an extensive online survey, members called for a stronger and more effective participation in the life of the association and in particular an e-voting system.

“After a long reflection last year we have changed our statutes to allow remote voting to the General Assembly”, explains Emiliano Ganzarolli, AIJA Secretary General. The full e-voting will be in place by next year (2018) but this year already the proxy allocation will be done electronically.

“This change will allow all our members to actively participate in the most important meeting of the year: the meeting where the Officers of the Bureau and the Executive Committee are elected, the meeting where all the bodies of AIJA report to the members on the activities carried on in the past year and where the plans and projects for the development and expansion of our association are launched. I am confident that many members will take the opportunity of being personally involved and express their opinion, thanks to the new system.”

Before the Annual Congress in Tokyo all members will be allowed to assign a proxy electronically: this is a very first step towards the complete electronic casting of votes.

After the Congress in Tokyo, AIJA will start testing the software with its technology partners, for fully electronic voting to be in place for the 2018 Congress.

However, the reasons for attending the Annual Congress in person are only enhanced, not reduced. “Young lawyers from all over the world gather during the Annual Congress for the experience of sharing knowledge, enthusiasm, energy, ideas, for meeting old friends and making new ones”, says Ganzarolli. “Our members will never stop to take a plane to enjoy the full experience of an Annual Congress”.

Make sure your vote counts this year. Any member with voting rights is eligible to become a Member of the Bureau or of the Executive Committee, and all members are entitled to vote, either directly or by proxy.


AIJA Human Rights Committee Update

20 June 2017

The Human Rights Committee (HRC) – the AIJA body committed to supporting human rights and advocating the independence of lawyers and the rule of law – has been very busy of late.

Already in the past year, the Voice of the Profession at AIJA’s 2016 Annual Congress in Munich – organised in cooperation with the Deutscher Anwaltverein (DAV) and Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) – talked about the role of lawyers in relation to refugees in Europe, the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

The HRC continued its efforts to raise awareness about the situation of refugees in Europe by organising a session titled “The Mediterranean Sea: a big refugee graveyard – is Italy the only one trying to stop this?” for AIJA’s 2016 November Half Year Conference in Verona. “Thanks to the valuable insights provided by Italian human rights experts”, explains Gülsüm Aslan, Co-chair Human Rights Committee, “the session highlighted the perspective of Italy as one of the immediate destinations of most Mediterranean refugees, the rights of refugees at sea and their rights once they set foot in Europe.”

The latest session organised by the HRC for this year’s May Half Year Conference held in Riga was titled “Fake news: an insidious threat to human rights?” to discuss the problem of fake news in connection with the right to information and the freedom of speech.

In addition to awareness-raising, the HRC also puts its money where its mouth is. Thanks to donations made to AIJA´s ‘SOS Avocats’ fund, AIJA donated EUR 10,000 to ASF in February of this year in support of ASF’s work to defend endangered lawyers and human rights.

“The right of every individual to a fair trial and effective access to legal representation is central to the HRC programme”, explains Aslan. “For this purpose, the HRC cooperates with both AIJA members and other organisations in supporting initiatives and activities related to these topics with funds that are made available through AIJA’s ‘SOS Avocats’ programme.”

One of these organisations, of which AIJA is a proud member, is the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) that plays an important role in supporting post-conflict countries. Since 2015, AIJA has collaborated with ILAC in providing targeted English courses to Syrian lawyers and judges who were forced to flee to Turkey due to the conflict. The English courses are supported by AIJA’s ‘SOS Avocats’ fund.

In March 2017, the HRC had the honour of being able to participate in the “ILAC Syria Program Meeting” in Istanbul to discuss the development of a road map and strategy for the implementation of ILAC’s Syria program for the 2017-2020 period.

Currently, the HRC is preparing for the Annual Congress in Tokyo, which will include a session on human rights in the automation age. There will be plenty of fun events too, says Aslan: “the HRC will organise the traditional Human Rights Run through Tokyo and is working on realising a flashmob – also a tradition - in Tokyo!”


Where tradition and innovation meet

20 June 2017

The Opening Ceremony of the Annual Congress is always an exciting event that sets the tone for the days that follow. In Tokyo, as you would expect, there is an extra ‘wow factor’.

“The Chinzan-so Hotel will welcome us for the night of our Opening Ceremony with amazing lighting, and cutting-edge technologies”, explains an enthusiastic Kenji Hirooka, Chair of the Organising Committee. “The luxury gardens at the Chinzan-so Hotel, in the heart of Tokyo, were formally established in 1878, in the Meiji era. The combination of the latest technology with the beautiful Japanese garden of Chinzan-so will create a unique atmosphere very special to our Opening Ceremony.”

At the Opening Ceremony, participants will be welcomed by the President of Japan Federation of Bar Associations, the representative of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and David Frølich, the President of AIJA.

“We will also have Ms. Susanna Mäkelä, who is Assistant General Counsel at Microsoft Japan, as a keynote speaker”, informs Hirooka. The Organizing Committee members made great efforts to find the right keynote speaker for the Opening Ceremony and Ms. Mäkelä is a superb keynote speaker. She is originally from Finland and now heads a legal team in Japan of a multinational corporation. Her message is strong. Digital transformation is shaping the way we work and interact, and she believes that when we embrace these new opportunities we need to ensure that no one is left behind and enable opportunities to everyone everywhere.

The ceremony introduces everything that makes this year’s Congress so special. “We will have the most diverse group of participants ever this year”, says Hirooka. “We expect many participants from Japan and the Asian region as well. This does not change the tradition of AIJA's annual congress, and this makes AIJA a more truly global and international association of young lawyers. Also the theme and format will have 12 sessions all focusing on AI with distinguished speakers in the field of AI. This makes this year's annual congress very unique and valuable… Participants will gain a lot by joining this year's congress.”

And let’s not forget the food! Japanese cuisine is famed around the world, and Tokyo boasts more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world. At Chinzan-so Hotel, you will experience some of the very best Japanese food, served with a modern twist.

Find out more about the Opening Ceremony and explore the full agenda and event schedule of the 55th International Young Lawyers' Congress 2017 in Tokyo. Register now to take advantage of the special registration rates. Click: !


The impact of technology on gender equality in the legal profession

20 June 2017

Every year at the Annual Congress, just before the Opening Ceremony, a small but important function takes place: the Voice of the Profession session. A topic linked to human rights, advocacy or rule of law is chosen and discussed by high-level speakers.

“The Voice of the Profession was launched in 2009 during the AIJA annual congress in Budapest by then president Duarte de Athayde”, explains moderator and organiser of the session, Orsolya Görgényi, AIJA Immediate Past President. “These sessions traditionally organised by the Human Rights Committee usually address topics that are of crucial importance to young lawyers.”

 “This year the topic is gender equality in the legal profession and in leadership positions, but with the overall theme of the congress being new technologies, we will focus on the impact of innovation”, says Görgényi, who also proposed the topic. “During my term as president I had several occasions not only to experience, but also to talk about the challenges of being a woman, a mother, and have a demanding job as an M&A lawyer in Hungary on top of the presidency of AIJA. I became more and more passionate about gender equality in the legal profession, innovation, changing the profession and law firms.”

The speakers will include Tsukiko Tsukahara, Vice President, Catalyst Japan – a leading non-profit organisation accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion and promoting the measurable and documented benefits of having women in leadership positions.

Tsukiko worked at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, as well as Boston Consulting Group, before she joined Catalyst in 2015. She will address the impact of innovation on the future of the legal profession through Inclusive Leadership, presenting the important data, research results and proven benefits of inclusion.

Also speaking will be Dana Denis-Smith, Entrepreneur, Founder & CEO at An ex- lawyer, she founded to keep city lawyers, especially mothers, working flexibly, around their family or other personal commitments and to provide clients with an affordable and quality legal support solution onshore. In 2014 Dana founded a unique history project - www.first100years - charting the journey of women in law through a video social history @first100years.

“We are also very honored that both Hilarie Bass, incoming president of the American Bar Association and Sara Sandford, current Chair of the ABA Section of International Law accepted our invitation to be on the panel and share their experience and valuable insights”, says Görgényi. “We will have US, European and Japanese perspectives.” It is a topic familiar to all law firms, and one they must confront if they are to stay competitive.


Winner of the Best International Future Lawyer Award announced

19 June 2017

It was difficult for the Jury this year to decide on the winner of the second edition of the Best International Future Lawyer Award. 

A number of good essays on "The impact of technology on the law and/or on the legal profession" were received.

The essay "Will the increasing use of technology in law invigorate or diminish legal professionalism as the nature of information in the Digital Society changes?" by British citizen Ms Lorraine Chimbga has been chosen  by the Judging Panel 2017 as the best essay of this edition. 

Lorraine Chimbga's essay explores the often-overlooked historical development and relationship between technology and the legal profession, rather than the various technologies themselves that have been earmarked as causing disruption to the legal sector. 

She focuses on the nature of information and how as we move from a world where value is held in the physical (atoms) to living in a 'digital world' where value is held in bits, it calls for a re-thinking of the grand bargain that society has struck with the profession as the 'gatekeepers' of legal expertise. She demonstrates that in the same way that the printing press revolutionized legal practice, the increasing use of technology does not diminish the legal profession where it actively develops, adapts and harnesses technology in order to once again define and set the parameters of what legal professionalism as a public good entails in the Digital Age. 

Lorraine graduated in July 2016 from University College London (UCL) Laws with an LLB. She also attended the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where she took a module in Information Technology Law and developed her interest in technology and what it means for the legal profession.  

Lorraine also sits on the advisory board for the Society of Computers and Law, the leading UK organisation focusing on the development of IT-related law, helping to raise awareness and fostering the understanding of Information Technology law as a subject and giving the next generation of lawyers an awareness of Information Technology law as a legal specialty."

According to the terms of the award, Lorraine will be awarded with:

  • Free AIJA membership until 31 December 2017
  • Publication of her essay through AIJA website and social media
  • An invitation to attend free of charge, travel and accommodation included, the International Young Lawyers' Congress taking place in Tokyo in August 2017

At AIJA we are all very excited to offer these great benefits to Lorraine, and about the overall increasing attention over the Best International Future Lawyer Award.  



Call notice for new Commissions Presidents and Vice-Presidents

16 June 2017

We hereby inform and remind you that as from the Tokyo Congress (August-September 2017) a number of presidents and vice-presidents of Commissions will be stepping down, be it because of the end of their three-year term, be it for other reasons.
Any active member of AIJA is eligible to present his/her candidature for the Commission he/she is interested in. It is of course advisable to have already been active in that Commission and it is preferable to discuss in advance a candidature with the relevant Commission’s president.

We will pay a lot of attention to the quality of the action plans that are to be filed with any application and we will consider the opportunity to interview the candidates.

The presidency as well as a vice-presidency of a Commission is a position that gives a lot of visibility within AIJA and to the outside, and we encourage you to take the challenge and assume the responsibility. It is a serious undertaking and includes presence requirements for the Annual Congress, the half-year Conferences and seminars initiated or co-organized by the Commission for three years.

Please send your application with your action plan (focusing on the scientific projects, promotional activities and dynamic actions you envisage for the Commission for the three years to come) by 4 July 2017 to the attention of:

with a copy to the Commission President.

The positions open as of the Annual Congress 2017 are available HERE.


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