by Kris Gilliland
Columbia University Law Library
I must confess: although I had looked forward for months to the AALL Institute on Transnational Legal Transactions in Seattle, the amazing sight of normally reclusive Mt. Rainier and the sparkling weather made me think, fleetingly, Do I dare "cut class"? I'm glad I resisted the temptation!
Graciously hosted by Penny Hazelton and her staff at the University of Washington's Gallagher Law Library and ably led by Marylin Raisch and Roberta Shaffer, the four-day event (the third in the Plan for Training International and Foreign Law Librarians) offered lively and informative presentations to introduce the subject of transnational legal transactions, including procedural issues in transnational litigation (service of process abroad, recognition and enforcement of private judgments, discovery); substantive issues in private international law (conflict of laws, lex mercatoria, unification of law, model and uniform laws); and international commercial arbitration (history, institutions, rules, and trends). Equally helpful, especially for this novice FCIL librarian, were the bibliographic sessions and "break-out" groups (intellectual property and environmental law) that followed. (In the months since the Institute, I've turned to the course materials often enough to find them alone worth the attendance. Happily, the Institute's text, edited by Marylin and Roberta, will be published by Oceana Publishing Co. later this year.)
With almost seventy-five participants, drawn from over twenty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Europe, the networking possibilities were rich. Perhaps the best part of these events is the opportunity to see old friends, make new ones, and, for those like me, to put some faces to names after months or years of "lurking" on INT-LAW! The scheduled social events nicely facilitated the process: an opening reception at the University Faculty Club with its stunning views of the Cascade Mountains off in the distance and Lake Union dotted by sailboats; a Washington wine and Oregon cheese tasting in the Gallagher Law Library's reading room; and the highlight--a sunset cruise across Puget Sound's Elliot Bay (mountains, evergreens, city skyline) to historic Kiana Lodge for a salmon bake and an evening of traditional Native American storytelling.
The conference concluded on a high note with the closing luncheon speaker, David Blachman, a corporate attorney for Microsoft Corporation. His description of Microsoft's pursuit of software pirates in Asia was not only entertaining, but also a fascinating glimpse of "transnational legal transactions" in the "real world." As I listened to him speak, I thought with relief, Now I know how to help--with some confidence--those law students and lawyers, like Mr. Blachman, who approach the reference desk with a question like, "Hmm . . . Any problem if one serves interrogatories on a party in Switzerland?"
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