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Top US lawyers’ body chooses island for trip

Boost for the island: Duncan Card, managing principal at law firm Bennett Jones, who is a member of the ABA business law section committee on gaming law

Up to 80 US lawyers are set to visit Bermuda in August after the American Bar Association’s annual conference in New York.

The ABA has chosen the island for a four-day break following its annual meeting — a first for the organisation and a major boost for tourism.

Martin D. Balogh, associate executive director of the meetings and travel group, at the ABA, said: “Bermuda provides easy access from New York, the site of the ABA annual meeting.

“It also represents a chance to interact with the Bermuda Bar Association in a beautiful destination in season.”

Mr Balogh added: “We are hoping for between 50 and 80 people to take the trip.”

He added that the ABA has held many stand-alone meetings in Bermuda, but this was the first time Bermuda had been chosen for the post-meeting trip.

Mr Balogh added that the publicity generated by the America’s Cup had helped the ABA in its decision to pick Bermuda.

He said: “It certainly adds to the desirability and cachet of the location.”

Duncan Card, managing principal at law firm Bennett Jones, who is a member of the ABA business law section committee on gaming law and the international section’s committee on national security, said: “It’s fabulous. There are 20,000 members in the business section committee alone. If this notice went out to the entire membership, that’s advertising you couldn’t afford to buy.

“It shows the different way people are looking at Bermuda and where it sits as a destination now because of the work that’s been done in the last two or three years.”

Mr Card agreed the massive publicity generated by the America’s Cup had played a part in the ABA decision.

He said: “Absolutely — no question. It’s all cumulative. Once you get traction established with a brand, it’s cumulative. When it catches on, it’s exponential.

“It’s great to see this as an example of that traction.”

Mr Card added delegates to the conference, to be held in New York between August 10-15, were senior lawyers across the market and the kind of well-off visitor Bermuda aimed to attract.

He said: “This is a stamp of approval as the after-meeting destination for 2017.”

The four-day trip to Bermuda, with attendees staying at the Fairmont Southampton, starts after the conference in New York concludes and will include meetings and a reception with the Bermuda Bar Association.

The invitation to ABA members said: “It will be high season in Bermuda and the weather should be at its best.

“With daytime temperatures in the 80s — it’s perfect for golfing and soaking up the sun on the beach.”

It added: “Go ahead — enjoy four glorious days in paradise.”

The invitation also highlights the short, non-stop flights to Bermuda from New York and Newark airports.

The American Bar Association is one of the world’s largest voluntary professional organisations, with more than 400,000 individual members and around 3,500 organisations signed up.