About the WFLS

Christine Lagarde speaks at the WFLS gala on June 4, 2013.

Our Mission:

The Washington Foreign Law Society, founded in 1952, promotes knowledge and understanding of international legal matters, comparative legal issues, and foreign law. It is a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization located in the District of Columbia.

Our Advantage:

As a center for international activity — diplomatic, financial, commercial and academic – Washington, D.C. is served by a legal community that daily interacts with the laws and legal actors of foreign countries as well as those of the United States. The Society is in a unique position to disseminate information about foreign laws and to promote scholarship on international and comparative law.  Its members have opportunity to interact directly with leading experts in the field.

Our Niche:

The Washington Foreign Law Society serves as a forum for the intersection of legal and non-legal professionals serving in public and private capacities to the many US Government agencies, foreign missions, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and national and global professional firms with a Washington presence.  The Society encourages discussion and opportunity among its members to advance understanding of foreign law as well as its relationship to a host of non-legal areas affecting both public and private sector matters today.

Our History:

Since its founding in 1952 by Harry LeRoy Jones, the Society has been served by a large number of prominent lawyers, jurists, and other legal professionals on its Board of Governors and has attracted an even larger number of distinguished lawyers, jurists, and other legal professionals and public policy makers as sustaining members.

Past Gala Honorees:

  • Ambassador Katherine Tai, United States Trade Representative
  • Meg Kinnear, Secretary-General of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
  • Benjamin B. Ferencz, former chief prosecutor for the U.S. in the Einsatzgruppen Case of the Nuremberg Trials
  • Homer E. Moyer, Jr., Miller & Chevalier and co-founder and chair for 12 years of the American Bar Association’s Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (CEELI)
  • Professor John G. Ruggie, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF
  • Senator George J. Mitchell
  • William H. Neukom, Founder, President and CEO of the World Justice Project
  • Senator Richard G. Lugar
  • William Howard Taft, IV and the Memory of Julia V. Taft
  • Secretary James A. Baker, III
  • Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke
  • Justice Stephen G. Breyer
  • Dr. Peter Eigen, Transparency International
  • Ambassador Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick
  • Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
  • Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering
  • Stuart E. Eizenstat, Former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • Dr. Claudio Grossman, Dean, Washington College of Law, American University
  • Dr. Ibrahim F. I. Shihata (1937 – 2001), Former General Counsel, World Bank
  • Carla A. Hills, Former U.S. Trade Representative
  • Roberts B. Owen, Former Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State
  • Bruno A. Ristau, Former Director of the Office of Foreign Litigation, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Prof. Don Wallace, Jr., Chairman, International Law Institute
  • Prof. Thomas Buergenthal, George Washington College of Law, Member of the International Court of Justice


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