Message from the Chair - Thomas Pieper

Chairperson, Thomas N. Pieper

For 25 years, we have been serving as the New York State Bar Association's ambassadors to the world.

Thomas PieperWe provide an unparalleled network. Our 2,000 members live and practice law in different jurisdictions all over the globe.  We have local chapters in many of these countries. And some 40 specialty committees covering virtually every aspect of the practice of international law attest to our substantive depth. So if you need a labor law expert in Algiers or a corporate lawyer in Zurich – have dinner with both of them at our next event. We organize exceptional meetings in important international locations and are often the first bar association to hold events in many such locations. On this website, you can learn more about our fantastic events, our three well recognized publications and our work with the United Nations and other international bodies.

Our newest feature are Online Communities, which allow for an open communication among members and for building an ongoing knowledge repository to capture the excellent and important work of our Section.

Join us today! You don't have to be admitted to practice law in New York: anyone admitted to practice law can become a member of the NYSBA, our Section and its Committees and Chapters. We are looking forward to meeting and working with you.


NYSBA International Section is dedicated to the promotion of the international practice of law on all planes of international life – whether commercially or for the public good – and the support of the rule of law throughout the world.  While the majority of the Section’s members are admitted to the Bar of the State of New York, many members are licensed attorneys in other states of the United States or other countries. All licensed attorneys who are resident or non-resident members of the New York State Bar Association are invited to join the Section.

Our Missions

According to its by-laws, our Section “shall in the field of public and private international and transnational law and practice (1) plan and conduct continuing legal education programs; (2) collect, publish and distribute educational and professional materials; (3) promote interest, activity and research; (4) formulate professional opinion; (5) study and comment upon the impact of foreign , federal and state laws and treaties; (6) develop and recommend policy and improvements in the law; (7) serve as a resource to business, civic and governmental organizations; (8) enhance the skills and competency of New York Lawyers; and(9) undertake all such other activities as may be authorized form time to time by the Association and the Executive Committee of the Section for the purpose of accomplishing the foregoing.” Exercising the latter right, the Section’s Executive Committee adopted three long-range Missions: (i) Custodian of New York Law as an International Standard, (ii) Guardian of the New York Convention on the Enforcement and Recognition of Arbitral Awards and the international arbitral process and (iii) Monitor of International Law Development at the United Nations. These Missions are non-exclusive and the Section envisages undertaking additional important and exciting Missions in the future.

Our Events

The Section provides to its members a wide array of conferences, seminars, web-conferencing, and informational and educational meetings. Our Annual Meetings (always in New York City), our Seasonal Meetings (alternating between the Americas, Europe and the Pacific Rim, such as London, England (2005), Shanghai, China (2006), Lima/Cuzco, Peru (2007), Stockholm, Sweden (2008), Singapore (2009), Sydney, Australia (2010), Panama (2011), Lisbon, Portugal (2012), Hanoi, Vietnam (2013), Vienna, Austria (2014), São Paulo, Brazil (2015)) and regional meetings (such as Milan, Italy (2013), Paris, France (2014), Tel Aviv, Israel (2014), Zurich, Switzerland (2015)) regularly attract hundreds of participants – and yet are manageable enough to allow meaningful discussions and networking, unlike some other mega events. Many of our attendees become regulars. One of the Section’s signature events, the Fundamentals of International Practice, has become a fixture of the New York calendar of legal conferences. In odd years, the Fundamentals are an integral part of Global Law Week, a bi-annual event organized by the Section and hosted by different law firms.  In even years, the Fundamentals have been offered within the framework of the Biennial New York City Meeting of the ABA International Section.

Upcoming events include:

Recent events include the following:

  • Our Regional Meeting in Zurich, Switzerland - March 5-6, 2015
  • Our October 2014 Annual Seasonal Meeting in Vienna, Austria
  • The “Fundamentals of International Practice” in connection with the Biennial New York City Meeting of the ABA International Section in April, 2014
  • Toronto Meeting - March 28, 2014
  • Latin American Council Meeting at Bingham McCutchen LLP office in New York City, June 12, 2014
  • Regional Meeting in March 2014 in Paris, France - March 6-7, 2014
  • Our Annual Meeting Program, addressing topics such as opinion practice in international transactions, international dispute resolution clauses, and non-lawyer ownership of law firms, held in New York in January 2014
  • An Israeli delegation of lawyers and judges we received in New York in February 2014
  • The October 2013 Annual Seasonal Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • A much-praised Program on Anti-Corruption and Anti-Money Laundering in cooperation with the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA) in New York in September 2013.

Materials from prior programs may be accessed by clicking on Section Meeting Materials to the left.

Our Committees

The Section’s substantive Committees cover virtually every aspect of the private practice of international law and also public international law. Committees typically organize educational and networking opportunities for their members and sponsor initiatives to improve the state of the law in New York, the United States and internationally. Click on the Committee tab to your left to learn more about the Section’s Committees. Guidelines for Committee Co-Chairs may be found by clicking on the Executive Committee Blog to the left. All members of the Section who work in the New York offices of non-U.S. law firms are especially invited to join in the programs and social events sponsored by the Section’s Foreign Lawyers Committee.

Our Chapters

The Section has chapters in many of the most important legal jurisdictions of the world, which provide educational and networking opportunities for Section members abroad and foster cooperation and dialogue between the Section and the legal communities of other countries. Check the list of Chapters by clicking on the Committee Roster link to the left to see “if there is a Chapter near you.” Guidelines for Chapter Chairs may be found by clicking on the Executive Committee Blog to the left. 

The Latin American Council is akin to a “super-chapter” within the Section – with members in virtually every country in Latin America – promoting the rule of law.

Our Publications

The International Section is proud to offer three publications:

  • The New York International Law Review is devoted to substantive studies of United States and international jurisprudence bearing on important issues of international law.
  • The International Law Practicum features information about cross-border and transnational legal issues for international practitioners, and regularly reports from the Section’s Annual Meeting.
  • The Chapter News reports on current issues and updates on international law, country news, member news, firm news and Section activities.

All these publications are available online to Section Members free of charge (for hard copies, a surcharge applies).

Our Awards

The Section annually confers two awards.  The ceremony traditionally takes place during the Section’s Annual Meeting and Luncheon.

  • The Award for Distinction in International Law and Affairs recognizes those who have made a major contribution to international peace, understanding and democracy. The 2014 Honoree is Fiona Sampson of Toronto, executive director of the Equality Effect, for her international human rights work to help women and children around the world, most notably in sub-Saharan Africa (e.g., Kenya). Former Honorees include, among others, the Lawyers and Judges of Pakistan, as represented by Aitzaz Ahsan; Gillian Martin Sorensen, Senior Adviser at the United Nations Foundation; Lech Walesa, former president of Poland; Carlos Salinas de Gortari, former president of Mexico; Cyrus R. Vance, former U.S. secretary of state; Boutros-Boutros Ghali, former U.N. secretary general; the late Arthur C. Helton, director of Peace and Conflict Studies and senior fellow for Refugee Studies and Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations; Alice H. Henkin, director, Justice and Society program, The Aspen Institute; Dr. Peter Ackerman; Hon. Jon O. Newman; and our own Lauren D. Rachlin, the founder of the Section.
  • The Albert S. Pergam International Writing Competition Award acknowledges a distinguished contribution to legal scholarship by a law student. The 2014 Honoree is Rouzhna Nayeri of SMU Dedman School of Law for her article No Longer the Sleeping Dog, The FCPA is Awake and Ready to Bite.  The article is published in the Chapter News.

Again, welcome to NYSBA International. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly. Thank you for your interest.

With my best personal regards,

Thomas N. Pieper
Chair, NYSBA International