IBA elects Spanish lawyer Almudena Arpón de Mendívil y Aldama as its second-ever woman president
Spanish lawyer Almudena Arpón de Mendívil y Aldama has become the president of the International Bar Association (IBA), making her the first woman in 20 years to hold the role. The IBA is a global organisation of legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies, with a membership spanning 190 countries and territories.
She succeeds Zimbabwe's Sternford Moyo and will serve as president for two years – the 2023 and 2024 calendar years.
Arpón de Mendívil has become the second-ever woman in the IBA's 76-year history to be named president. English-born Bermudian lawyer Dianna Kemp KC of the offshore firm Appleby the first was the first woman to hold the post.
Almudena Arpón de Mendívil is a corporate/M&A partner at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo in Madrid, where she leads the firm's TMT group. She has extensive experience and a long history of service to the International Bar Association.
She has served on the IBA's board for 14 years, which includes various leadership roles. This experience, together with her knowledge of the organization and its goals, would have helped her to assume the presidency of the International Bar Association.
According to Arpón de Mendívil, her aspiration as president of the IBA is to steadily elevate the Association to the next level.
"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," Arpón de Mendívil said.
Approaching gender equality in the law is a key theme for Arpón de Mendívil's leadership. She plans to build on the comprehensive research the IBA has conducted in this area and continue to support the organisation's efforts to promote gender equality within the legal profession. Additionally, she plans to continue the IBA's support for the lawyers in Ukraine, which is also a major focus area for the organisation.
She has indicated that she plans to prioritise several other key themes during her leadership of the International Bar Association. These include highlighting the role of the legal profession in addressing the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda and protecting human rights in the digital environment.
Her background as a corporate/M&A partner and TMT group leader in her firm strengthens her interest and focus on these issues. Additionally, she has stated that preparing young lawyers for the future is also an important priority for her during her tenure as IBA President.
Commercial law firm partners are well represented in Arpón de Mendívil's leadership team. They include Jaime Carey, managing partner at Chilean law firm Carey, and Claudio Visco, managing partner at Italian law firm Macchi di Cellere Gangemi. They will jointly serve as vice presidents, in a departure from the IBA's usual practice.
Jörg Menzer, the managing partner of the Bucharest office of Noerr, was elected as secretary-general as he defeated Minter Ellison's partner Peter Bartlett in the election.
The chairs of the main membership wings of the International Bar Association (IBA) are individuals who hold prominent positions within their respective law firms. Carola van den Bruinhorst, a commercial partner at Loyens & Loeff, has been appointed as chair of the Legal Practice Division, and Myra Garrett, the former managing partner of William Fry, will lead the Section on Public and Professional Interest.
Ken Murphy, former secretary-general of the Law Society of Ireland, has been appointed as the chair of the Bar Issues Commission. Additionally, Anne Ramberg of Sweden and Mark Stephens CBE of Howard Kennedy will continue to lead the IBA Human Rights Institute.