Thousands of lawyers from around the world are scheduled to be in Chicago to attend a conference that may be less about the International Bar Association (IBA)’s programs and more about the international networking that is increasingly crucial for U.S. firms seeking to expand their business.

The IBA is holding its annual conference in the city from Sept. 17 to 22, attracting an expected 4,000 attorneys from about 120 countries to discuss topics ranging from the rights of children born using new fertility methods to the use of specialized intellectual property courts.