Academic journal article Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law

Lawyering in the Age of Transnational Government

Academic journal article Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law

Lawyering in the Age of Transnational Government

Article excerpt

This roundtable was convened at 9:00 a.m., Friday, April 14, 2017, with opening remarks by Lucinda Low, president of the American Society of International Law. After additional welcoming remarks by Karen Vagts, Hannah Buxbaum of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, the convenor of the roundtable, introduced the participants: Kath Hall of the Australia National University College of Law; Jonathan Welch of the Office of Foreign Litigation, Department of Justice; Sally March, private practitioner; and Laura Stein of the Office of General Counsel, Clorox Corporation.


doi: 10.1017/amp.2017.115

We are going to get started. Good morning, and on behalf of the American Society of International Law, I'd like to welcome all of you. This is a very special event for us. It's the second annual Detlev F. Vagts Roundtable on Transnational Law. Detlev, of course, was a seminal figure in this field, thinking about transnational law before it really entered into the lexicon in the way we think of it today. Not only did he make remarkable contributions to the field and define the field, but he also was dedicated to our Society.

I'd like to thank, at the outset, Karen Vagts, her sister Lydia, and the whole Vagts family for their generous gift, which enabled the Society to create this annual event, and Karen is here with us today and I'd like to invite her to come to the podium and say a few words.


doi: 10.1017/amp.2017.116

Thank you, Lucinda. It's a pleasure to be here. I see familiar faces that were part of Dad's community, so I know he would be very pleased about that.

When my father passed away nearly four years ago, my late mother, Dorothy Vagts, my sister, Lydia Vagts, and I wanted to find a suitable mechanism to commemorate him, and while we are all nonlawyers, we knew that his work somehow intersected in the realms of international or transnational law, corporations, and ethics, and we were looking for some means to bring that together. It became clear, from talking with friends and colleagues, that ASIL was the best forum for this, and when the idea of a ten-year roundtable was proposed we were thrilled.

This is the second roundtable and I find that this year's topic resonates particularly with Dad's life, because while he made his name, I think, in academia, before that he was a corporate lawyer and an Air Force lawyer, and throughout his life he did a lot of arbitration and other projects on the side. So he was in the trenches of transnational law, trying to work with a tool kit that is different from what you have domestically. So today's topic I think he would approve of immensely and it's exactly the kind of program that my family wanted to support.

So we are very grateful that the panelists could be here today and thanks to Professor Buxbaum for overseeing this.


Karen, it's just so special to have you here so thank you for making the effort to be with us. As a nonlawyer, it takes a special character to join. And I'd also like to thank--Karen mentioned familiar faces in the audience. We have with us some leaders of the Society, including our past presidents, Lori Damrosch and Peter Trooboff and Hannah Buxbaum herself, who have worked very hard to bring this roundtable into being.

I'd like to mention, although he can't be here with us today, our inaugural Vagts Fellow, Douglas Cantwell, who worked on this roundtable. He's a JAG officer and he's on duty, and he would have been here but for duty having called. But he's made great contributions.

We will be looking for ideas for the next roundtable, and so if you have thoughts on what that topic should be--and I know a number of you in this audience think very hard about these issues--please forward them to us. There is actually a dedicated email address,'s very simple--and please feel free to forward any ideas you may have for the next roundtable to that email address or to talk to any of us while we're here. …

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