October 19, 2010


Task Force to Focus on Strengthening New York Law as an International Legal Standard and Encouraging Parties to use New York as a Forum for Dispute Resolution

Seeking to highlight the critical role that New York domestic law plays in a wide variety of cross-border business and international commercial transactions, State Bar President Stephen P. Younger of New York (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP) today announced the formation of the Task Force on New York Law in International Matters. The task force will undertake a systematic review of New York law to gain a more critical understanding of its strengths as an international standard and will formulate proposals designed to promote the use of New York law in cross-border transactions and to encourage parties to use New York as a forum for the resolution of disputes.

"As the financial capital of the world, it is imperative that lawyers, business leaders and commercial investors understand the international dimension that New York law plays in guiding cross-border transactions and resolving international disputes," said Younger. "Our aim is not just to educate the legal community and the business world about the benefits of using New York law, but to advance comprehensive recommendations that will ensure New York law retains its position as an international legal standard for commercial transactions in the global marketplace."

The task force will also look at the role of New York as an international center for dispute resolution.  New York has long been a popular venue for international arbitration and New York's Commercial Division regularly attracts litigants from around the globe.

Co-chaired by Joseph T. McLaughlin of New York (Bingham McCutchen LLP) and James B. Hurlock, former chairman of White & Case LLP, the Task Force on New York Law in International Matters will include experts in the fields of commercial law, arbitration and litigation, as well as leaders of New York's business and financial sectors.

Specific issues to be addressed by the task force include: increasing awareness among New York lawyers of the role domestic New York law plays in cross-border commerce, examining the competition between New York law and other legal systems in the global legal marketplace, studying the advantages and disadvantages of litigating in New York courts and arbitration facilities, and examining the use of New York law in other areas such as trusts and non-profit law. 

Increasing Awareness of and Promoting New York Law

The importance of New York domestic law in the formation, documentation and administration of countless cross-border transactions and other business deals needs to be better understood and appreciated by attorneys and business leaders. It is widely recognized that the great majority of cross-border transactions - perhaps as many as 90 percent - are negotiated and drafted in the English language.  Of these, a great number are governed, at the parties' choice, by New York law. Moreover, New York law clauses also have a substantial positive impact on generating economic development in New York State.

It is essential to underscore that these transactions are not governed by special rules of New York law expressly directed to international situations. Rather, these are the same rules of domestic New York law - especially those of New York contract, commercial, corporate and franchise law, but also those of New York agency law and trust law - that apply to New York residents themselves.

Therefore, it is imperative that attorneys working to resolve problems controlled by New York law or in coming up with new solutions under New York law be aware that any resolution or solution has potentially significant impacts on the reputation of New York law around the globe as well as within the borders of New York. The task force will seek to encourage and mobilize the intellectual and professional resources of experienced attorneys to assist in the continued development of domestic New York law as a force in private international law throughout the world.

The first meeting of the task force is scheduled for Thursday, October 21st at Bingham McCutchen in New York City.


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