New York State and Ontario Bar Associations to Hold Historic Cross-Border Legal Summit

Conference to Be Held March 28-29 in Toronto and Buffalo

ALBANY, NY (03/19/2012)(readMedia)-- The chief judges of New York state and the province of Ontario will address an historic summit later this month which will focus on cross-border legal opportunities for New York and Canadian attorneys.

Co-sponsored by the New York State Bar Association and the Ontario Bar Association, the first-of-its-kind conference will be held over two days in two countries: March 28 in Toronto and March 29 in Buffalo.

The agenda includes 18 distinct programs addressing multiple cross-border legal issues, including mergers and acquisitions, immigration, employment law, child support, estate planning, tax law, health care data privacy and alternative dispute resolution. Each of the six, three-part sessions will cover three tracks: corporate law, arbitration/litigation and general law.

New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Ontario Chief Justice Warren K. Winkler will discuss "Professionalism and Access to Justice" at the plenary session on Wednesday, March 28, from 3-5 p.m. in Toronto.

A second plenary session to be held Thursday, March 29, from 3-5 p.m. in Buffalo will explore cross-border legal opportunities. Moderated by Andrew D. Otis of New York City (Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle), the panelists include: Marta Moszczenska of Buffalo (Consul General of Canada); Christopher J. Cummings of Toronto (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison); James P. Duffy III of Mineola (Berg and Duffy); Jon-David Giacomelli of Burlington, Ontario (Cambridge); Lauren D. Rachlin of Buffalo (Hodgson Russ); and W. Brian Rose of Toronto (Stikeman Elliott).

"Canada is our largest trading partner, with more than half a trillion dollars in goods and services exchanged between the two countries every year," said New York State Bar Association President Vincent E. Doyle III of Buffalo (Connors & Vilardo). "As that relationship continues to grow, we will see increasing opportunities for manufacturers, service providers and legal firms to conduct business on both sides of the border.

"The needs of our clients are no longer contained by national borders" said Ontario Bar Association President Paul Sweeny of Hamilton, Ont. (Evans, Sweeny Bordin LLP). "This summit will allow us to build upon our relationship, as well as hear and share solutions necessary to ensure our clients receive seamless service. The panels will address cross-border issues in a variety of areas, from class actions to mergers and acquisitions to tax. We are honoured that the chief justices of New York and Ontario will be joining us."

The summit celebrates the common law system upon which the legal system of each country is based. With the theme, "1 Legal System + 2 Jurisdictions = Infinite Opportunity," it is designed to illustrate to law firms on both sides of the border the unprecedented scale of cross-border opportunities for the legal profession. The event was planned jointly by the two bar associations, with the assistance of the International Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.

In 2010, Canada exported $249.1 billion in goods and services to the United States, while the United States exported $277.6 billion. Approximately $1.4 billion in goods and services, as well as 400,000 people, cross the U.S. – Canadian border every day. (Source: U.S. State Department:

In 2011, the state of New York exported $13.9 billion in goods and services to Canada, while Canada exported $23.9 billion to New York. (Source: Industry Canada, Canadian Government.

For Ontario and New York law firms -- particularly those near the Canada-U.S. border -- many aspects of their business now have an international component (Source: Lauren Rachlin interview with NYSBA). It is routine for trust-and-estates planning, probate law, matrimonial law, criminal law, international trade law and civil litigation to extend across the border as businesses and people move more freely between the countries thanks to the strengthening trade relationship.

A recent Brookings Institute survey shows that New York is a major exporter of goods and services to the world, with the New York City metropolitan area ranking second in the nation in exports. The success of exporting extends to upstate New York, with the Rochester and Buffalo-Niagara Falls regions listed within the top 50 and the upstate metropolitan areas of Albany-Schenectady-Troy, Syracuse and Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown falling within the top 100. (Source: Brookings Institute:

The Toronto session will be held at the Ontario Bar Association, 20 Toronto St., Toronto. The Buffalo session will be held at the Adam's Mark Hotel, 120 Church St., Buffalo.

For further information about the summit, including registration and fee information for attending attorneys, visit:

The New York State Bar Association, with 77,000 members, is the largest voluntary state bar association in the United States. It was founded in 1876.

The Ontario Bar Association is the voice of the legal profession in Ontario. As a branch of the Canadian Bar Association, the OBA represents more than 17,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students throughout the province.