The Philadelphia Bar Association will host bar leaders from London, Beijing, Frankfurt, and other major cities at a conference from Sept. 10 to 13 aimed at showcasing the city's attributes as a crossroads of cultural and economic activity.
Association chancellor William Fedullo said a focus of the World City Bar Leaders conference will be discussions on expanding legal representation for low-income people in civil litigation.
Besides other legal discussions and cultural events, the conference will have a presentation by Kenneth Feinberg on responding to catastrophes. Feinberg is the administrator of victim funds established following the 9/11 attacks, the BP gulf oil spill, and accidents attributed to faulty ignition switches on General Motors vehicles.
"We are the oldest bar association in the country, so I think this certainly enhances our status," Fedullo said. "It certainly enhances the business opportunities and it is an opportunity to learn."
Sixteen cities in the United States and around the globe are scheduled to send representatives. Last year's meeting was in Frankfurt, Germany, the European banking capital, and Fedullo said there were many opportunities for exchanging ideas on legal process and other issues. "We are always ready to hear about their court systems; there is a give and take," Fedullo said.
The Four Seasons Hotel and local law firms will be the host sites. The opening reception Sept. 10 will be attended by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, former Gov. Ed Rendell, and other dignitaries.
Programs on the following days will include panels on ethical rules as they apply to lawyers and judges, a discussion of the legal battle over the move of the Barnes Foundation gallery to Philadelphia, and sessions on managing the business side of a law firm, and on Tokyo's preparations for hosting the Summer Olympic Games in 2020.
The bar leaders also will have the chance to tour Citizens Bank Park and watch the Phillies play, although Fedullo was quick to add that the Phillies' performance this year might make this a less appealing option. Other cities sending representatives include Chicago; Johannesburg, South Africa; New York City; Shanghai; and Barcelona, Spain.