American and Canadian Bar Associations to Sign Historic Agreement to Promote Stronger Ties

CHICAGO, Aug. 2, 2011 – The _ and the Canadian Bar Association are preparing to sign a historic agreement that will lead to enhanced cooperation and information exchanges between the two organizations, their in-house counsel constituencies, and the U.S. and Canadian legal professions.

A signing ceremony with the associations’ presidents and witnessed by other bar leaders is scheduled for 4 p.m. Aug. 6, pending approval of the agreement by the ABA Board of Governors, at the Royal Conservatory, 273 Bloor St. West, Toronto. Following the ceremony will be the ABA Annual Meeting Opening Assembly, featuring remarks by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

“We have enjoyed a long and warm relationship with the Canadian Bar Association,” said ABA President Stephen N. Zack of Miami, Fla. “The signing of the agreement, on the occasion of the ABA’s Annual Meeting in Toronto, will formalize our mutually beneficial cooperation that has been in place for the past 80 years.”

“This marks the start of a period of even greater cooperation,” says CBA President Rod Snow of Whitehorse, Yukon. “The possibilities are exciting. The protocol underscores the growing significance of cross-border legal business between our two countries and the increasingly global nature of the practice of law.”

Internationally, the protocol encourages the ABA and CBA to engage in dialogue and exchange information on programs to advance human rights and the rule of law, through groups such as the organizations’ Sections of International Law, the CBA International Development Committee, the ABA Center for Human Rights, the ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, and the ABA Rule of Law Initiative.

Domestically, the protocol calls for cooperation to advance legal ethics, pro bono and support for legal aid programs. It also calls for enhanced interaction between the bar associations on issues such as diversity, attorney-client privilege, conflicts, access to justice and other key issues as identified by both organizations. The two associations will also explore opportunities for joint professional development programming and credits.

To attend the ceremony, please contact Ira Pilchen at (through Aug. 2), 312-731-6538 (from Aug. 3 on), or ira.pilchen@americanbar.org.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

The CBA speaks for the legal profession in Canada. It is the premier provider of personal and professional development and support to members of the Canadian legal profession, and promotes fair justice systems, effective law reform, and equality in the profession and protects the independence of the judiciary and the bar. Some 37,000 lawyers, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.

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