Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Visit from the Paris Bar

From left are our host Bob Clifford, Vincent Canu, Jean Castelain, me,
Florence Achache, Helene Bornstein, and Laurent Martinet

This week we had the opportunity to visit with Batonnier Jean Castelain and several of the members of the Council of the Paris Bar, who were in Chicago for a conference hosted by Aon. The delegation, led by M. Castelain who is my counterpart as President, included Mme. Florence Achache, Mme. Helene Bornstein, M. Vincent Canu and M. Laurent Martinet.

CBA First Vice President Bob Clifford and his wife, Joan, welcomed the group, along with the CBA Executive Committee and several representatives of the CBA Young Lawyers’ Section, to their home for dinner. We had an evening of good conversation about our respective organizations, and issues facing lawyers in France and in the U.S.

Jill Eckert McCall, Chair of the CBA's
Young Lawyers Section chats
with Paris lawyer Vincent Canu.

The Paris Bar, like the Chicago Bar, has approximately 22,000 members. But Membership in the Paris Bar, unlike the Chicago Bar, is mandatory. The Batonnier not only serves as leader of the organization for policy purposes, but also oversees all disciplinary actions, client trust funds and disputes between clients and lawyers over fees. The position is a full-time job with a two-year term, really comparable to serving as CEO of a large not-for-profit organization. The position is not without its perks, however. M. Castelain told us that he has a private dining room near his office in the Ministry of Justice in the Palais de Justice on the Ille de la Cite in Paris (not far from the Cathedral de Notre Dame), complete with a private chef! We look forward to visiting M. Castelain’s offices the next time we are in Paris!

One of my initiatives as President has been to expand our relationships with the Bars of other metropolitan cities in the U.S. and abroad, with the hope that we will collaborate in developing educational programming and working on initiatives of common interest. We were honored to be able to show off Chicago to our good friends from Paris, and look forward to working with them in the future.

From left, host Joan Clifford, CBA 2nd Vice President
Aurora Abella-Austriaco, Jean Castelain of the Paris Bar
and host Bob Clifford.