Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Free Law Student Memberships in the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA)

The American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA), founded in 1922, is one of forty-five branches of the International Law Association, which was founded in 1873 to study, clarify, and develop both private and public international law.  For information about the American Branch, a copy of the Branch's January 2009 Newsletter that details our numerous activities, and membership information, see the ABILA website.  Dues for new members are only $70 per year for each of the first two years ($100 per year thereafter), and full-time students may join the American Branch for free.  Members receive several publications (explained here at this link), and free admission to the Branch's major conferences.

Three features distinguish the ABILA from other major international law organizations.  First, the Branch is part of a truly international organization.  Many of the most distinguished U.S. international lawyers, as well as early career professionals, represent the American Branch as members of the ILA's twenty-three committees and four study groups, and American Branch members participate in the ILA's major biennial conferences.  The last biennial conference was held in Rio de Janeiro in August 2008, and the next biennial conference will be held in The Hague in 2010.

Second, the American Branch has twenty-five of its own committees (addressing topics as varied as human rights, feminism, the law of the sea, commercial dispute resolution, and international intellectual property), which welcome member-initiated projects.  The range of committee projects is flexible.  Some committees have engaged in traditional academic studies with committee members preparing books or other extensive reports.  Other committees have focused on short projects commenting on current issues or advocacy efforts (e.g., amicus briefs). 

Third, the American Branch provides significant public service by hosting major conferences, to which admission is free for Branch members and students.  Each October, the Branch arranges International Law Weekend in New York, attracting approximately 1000 participants to its over thirty panels, major speeches, and receptions.  Information about ILW 2009, to be held on October 22-24, and a call for panel proposals is available by clicking here
The Branch also stages regional International Law Weekends (for example, ILW West 2009 was held March 6-7, 2009 at the Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon) and occasional other programs.

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