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British Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday told the American Bar Association conference in London that Britain should lead Europe’s move to bind the European Continent with the United States. Blair was speaking at the opening ceremony of the conference held at Royal Albert Hall. Said Blair, “There is no more important task in international statesmanship today than to bind America and Europe closer together. “Without overstating our influence, and due humility to the sensitivities of others, our part is to be a bridge between Europe and America.” The Human Rights Act and access to justice were also themes in the welcoming speeches. Michael Napier, newly elected president of the British Law Society, told the ceremony, “Rightly and properly, consumers are more aware of their rights and every right has a remedy.” Bar Council Chairman Jonathan Hirst QC echoed U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno’s speech in Berkshire over the weekend, when he said: “How can the law service the people who do not have access to it and cannot afford it?” ABOUT 3,000 ATTORNEYS EXPECTED FOR START OF ANNUAL ABA CONFERENCE The week-long conference will play host to 3,000 American attorneys, including four Supreme Court justices, the attorney general and the secretary of state. Despite an additional 500 delegates from the United Kingdom, attendance figures are disappointing. Outgoing ABA President Bill Paul admits that the resulting costs shortfall, expected to top $1 million (or �700,000), will be covered by the ABA’s “rainy day fund.” The ABA roadshow comes to London every 15 years. Last time it was in town – in 1985 � there were 10,000 delegates. Paul speculates that U.S. lawyers could not afford to take extended time off � even for professional purposes � at the expense of their clients. Paul, from Oklahoma City, Okla., firm Crowe & Dunlevy, is joined at the conference by incoming ABA president Martha Barnett. The tenth anniversary of the Central and Eastern European Law Initiative will also be celebrated, with an award to be given by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court Justice. The initiative was set up at the fall of the Berlin Wall to “work with governments to help with the tools of democracy,” says Barnett. The ABA is the largest voluntary professional association in the world, with more than 400,000 members worldwide. As the policy-making body for the United States profession, the ABA is a highly influential organization, but it does not bind individual state bars. Paul and Barnett spoke at the start of the London leg of the ABA’s annual conference. Both Paul and Barnett are emphasizing pressing issues facing the U.S. profession. These include the death penalty, multi-disciplinary partnerships (MDPs), internationalization and diversity. At the start of the conference in New York last week, Barnett called for a national moratorium on the death penalty until issues of procedural justice are resolved. Said Barnett, “This is not an effort to end the death penalty itself but to ensure that lawyers can provide due process and representation throughout the state jurisdictions.” Currently 36 states have power to impose the death sentence. On the MDP issue, Paul says, “The ABA is concerned to maintain the core values of the profession. Independence, confidentiality between client and lawyer and a lawyer’s obligation as officer of the court are threatened by MDPs.” Last week the ABA House of Delegates voted against lawyers sharing fees with non-lawyers. But as Barnett noted yesterday, “The debate is far from over.” As ABA President, Paul has established an initiative aimed at achieving diversity within the profession. In particular, racial and geographical minorities are not fairly represented � 92.5 percent of the U.S. profession is white. Barnett is committed to sustaining this effort during her office. Barnett is happy that women are no longer a minority group in the profession. She says, “Over 50 percent of law graduates are women, and women make up 30 percent of the U.S. profession today. They hold senior positions in private practice, industry and academic institutions.” Barnett has just announced a multijurisdictional commission to deal with the profession’s role in a world where there are no borders. However, she is realistic. Says Barnett, “The primary objective will be to govern the practice of law in the federal and multiple state jurisdictions of the U.S.”

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