After a 20 year gap, the International Bar Association has elected its first woman president, appropriately reflecting the IBA’s own research on the need for greater gender equality in the legal profession.
The new IBA president is Spanish lawyer Almudena Arpón de Mendívil y Aldama who is only the second woman in the Association’s 76 year history to become president.
The IBA was established to build a global network of lawyers and legal associations to promote justice and stability, created following the birth of the United Nations. It now has 80,000 lawyers and 190 bar associations and law societies across 190 countries.
Arpón de Mendívil is a corporate/M&A partner at Madrid legal firm Gómez-Acebo & Pombo heading the firm’s TMT group. She has been 14 years on the IBA’s board.
“My aspiration as president of the IBA is to steadily elevate the Association to the next level,” Arpón de Mendívil said. “Our profession, through a global association as the IBA, has a great opportunity and the responsibility of assuming a leading role in upholding the rule of law, democracy and human rights across the world and thus having a positive impact in society.”
The IBA’s annual conference in Miami last year emphasised the Association’s active support for the rule of law.
Approaching gender equality in the law is also a key theme for her leadership, building on research the IBA has completed on the issue of gender equality in the law.
The IBA has promoted a 50:50 BY 2030 project to move women into senior roles in the profession and de Mendi said she planned to appoint regional ambassadors to promote gender equality, which saw only 30 per cent of female law leaders in private practice to be women.
Other themes include highlighting legal work as a relevant player in the environmental, social and governance agenda and human rights protection in the digital environment, which speaks to her background in practice, as well as helping younger lawyers prepare for their future in the law profession.
Jörg Menzer, managing partner of the Bucharest office of pan-European law firm Noerr, will serve as secretary-general, having defeated Minter Ellison partner Peter Bartlett in a contested election.