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Known by its acronym, IILACE, was established in 1998
as a network to bring CEOs and Directors of law societies and bar associations worldwide together to provide a focused forum to share common interests and ideas, exchange views and information, to discuss challenges and learn more from each other’s insights and experiences on a local, national and international level. IILACE represents more than 50 jurisdictions around the globe.

As Director of the Law Society of Namibia, Retha Steinmann first joined the institute’s executive committee in 2008 after hosting a very successful IILACE conference in Windhoek. She has been an ordinary member since 2002. She has served as the president of this institute from 1 February 2018 until 20 November 2020.

This year the conference was slated for Namibia again, this time in Swakopmund, but had to be postponed when the world went into lockdown. Meanwhile, even the international law societies and bar associations had to learn how to better command the digital route.

During 2020, while most jurisdictions were in lockdown, IILACE, as a result of brainstorming under Retha’s leadership, provided an initial virtual connection to have roundtables discussions. The webinars had to be conducted twice during a 24-hour period to accommodate all the time zones of the world.

The pinnacle of the digital engagements was the virtual conference held on 19 and 20 November for some members and on 20 and 21 November for others, due to time differences. This way all members around the globe had the opportunity to participate. The conference focused on topics that can help the CEO.   This conference included the institute’s annual general meeting held on 18 November 2020, also conducted virtually for the first time in history.   

At the annual general meeting, recognition was given to Retha Steinmann, as outgoing President, by her peers for her contributions and dedication as IILACE President.  The award was couriered to Windhoek where it arrived at the end of November.  It is inscribed with the following text:

2020 IILACE Award small

Retha Steinmann
President 2018 – 2020
In recognition of your dedication and extraordinary contributions.
In appreciation of your role as IILACE’s historian.

The IILACE Vice President, Heidi Chu of the Law Society of Hong Kong, succeeds Retha as President. The rest of the Executive Committee consist of Paul Mollerup – The Association of Danish Law Firms (Vice President), Jonathan Herman – Federation of Law Societies of Canada (Treasurer), Brenda Grimes – Law Society of Newfoundland, Luke Rheinberger – Law Society of Tasmania and Edward Mapara (Law Society of Zimbabwe).  John Hoyles (Canada) is the Secretary General.

Retha continues to serve on the IILACE Executive Committee in the capacity as Immediate Past President.