Keep up with the latest news and events from the Washington Foreign Law Society.

WFLS/ASIL CLE INSTITUTE: “Revisiting ICSID Annulment — The Twin Challenges of Finality and Correctness”
March 15, 2011

In recent years, losing parties in investor-state arbitrations brought under the framework of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) have increasingly sought to have adverse decisions annulled by ad hoc Committees. Professor David D. Caron first wrote about ICSID Annulment in the ICSID Foreign Investment Law Journal in 1992 and returned in this discussion to the current questions concerning annulment mechanism. He argued that this second wave of questions will be more difficult to address than the first, and summarized the mechanism's ups and downs.

U.S. Economic Sanctions on Iran: A Discussion with the Treasury and State Departments
February 9, 2011

The Washington Foreign Law Society and the American Society of International Law recently hosted senior U.S. Government officials Robert Cekuta from the State Department and Sean Thornton from the Treasury Department as they discussed new U.S. economic sanctions against Iran under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. This event provided a unique opportunity for legal practitioners, the business community and the general public to learn directly from the officials responsible for implementation of U.S. policy about the Obama Administration’s plans and priorities for enforcement of sanctions against Iran. John Bellinger, former Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State and currently a partner in Arnold & Porter’s national security practice, moderated this important event.

Meet the 2011 WFLS Leadership
December 21, 2010

The 2011 WFLS Officers and Board of Governors are a group of Washington professionals who, like the WFLS members who elect them, advance some of the world’s leading international and foreign legal issues and work in some of the world’s top firms and organizations, government, and academia. They care actively for the Society and believe in its mission. The current President of the WFLS is Samuel Witten, former Deputy Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and currently Counsel at the law firm Arnold & Porter. The Board aims to strengthen the Society by engaging new and active membership and serving as a forum for promoting dialogue and opportunity regarding international and foreign legal matters. To this end, the 2011 Board is planning a series of traditional and new events and programs to grow the WFLS and increase member benefits.

Reception Honoring Australia
November 1, 2010

The Washington Foreign Law Society and the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Legal Adviser were pleased to honor Australia at this year's annual reception at the State Department. The event was held in the stunning and historic diplomatic reception rooms at the U.S. Department of State. This year's reception was an opportunity to meet the Ambassador of Australia to the United States, Kim Beazley, State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh, and many others from the public and private sectors who share an interest in U.S.-Australian relations and Australia in general. Ambassador Beazley accepted the award and spoke eloquently about international law and U.S.-Australian relations. The Washington Foreign Law Society thanks all those who joined us in honoring Australia during this special evening with friends.

Luncheon on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program
October 14, 2010

The WFLS hosted a discussion with two of the Administration’s top experts on the international resettlement of refugees into the United States. Every year the United States admits over 70,000 refugees from around the world for permanent resettlement in the United States. The program is one of the U.S. Government’s most important humanitarian programs and has helped well over 2 million people find safety in the United States in the last 30 years. Terry Rusch of the U.S. Department of State and Barbara Strack of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were the Society’s featured speakers for a lunchtime discussion of this extraordinary program. The discussion included information on how refugees are selected for movement to the United States out of millions of displaced people worldwide, explored the legal standards that people seeking refugee status in the United States need to meet, provided an overview of the interviewing process, and discussed the impact that 9/11 had on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

Luncheon on Climate Change featuring Susan Biniaz
June 25, 2010

The Washington Foreign Law Society held a luncheon in June featuring Susan Biniaz, Deputy Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State, co-hosted by Arnold & Porter LLP. Ms. Biniaz addressed the topic of "Climate Change: An update on international negotiations, Copenhagen, and prospects for this year.” Susan Biniaz has been the State Department’s lead climate change lawyer for the last 20 years and is considered to be the Obama Administration’s top international lawyer handling these issues. She reviewed recent legal and policy developments in the international discussion of climate change in recent decades and leading up to the 2009 conference in Copenhagen; looked ahead to the meetings to be hosted by Mexico in Cancun at the end of 2010; and engaged in a spirited discussion with a large audience.

Former Austrian Ambassador Dr. Wendelin Ettmayer speaks to WFLS on managing international crises
May 19, 2010

Ambassador Ettmayer argued that stronger coordinated supervision for all financial actors within the EU but also on an international level is vital, and effective crisis management procedures should be in place in order to build confidence and restore financial stability throughout Europe.