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Jorge De Presno Elected President of the Inter-American Bar Association

Now one of the top labor and employment lawyers in Mexico, Jorge De Presno-Arizpe never dreamed that when he received his master’s degree from The Dickinson School of Law in 1988 that he would one day be elected as president of the Inter-American Bar Association (IABA), a position he has held since his inauguration ceremony on June 28, 2008, in Lima, Peru, during the IABA’s 44th Annual Inter-American Conference.

Founded in 1940 by a group of distinguished lawyers and jurists representing forty-four professional organizations and seventeen nations, the IABA provides a forum for attorneys in the Western  Hemisphere to promote the legal profession and protect the democratic institutions in the Americas. Only the fourth Mexican lawyer to lead the IABA, De Presno hopes to expand membership and improve networking opportunities between national bar associations. “I am very proud of an accomplishment that means a great deal for me, my family, and certainly for the continued success of my law firm, Thompson & Knight,” says De Presno.

De Presno was also recently recognized in the inaugural edition of Chambers Latin America “Leaders in their Field” legal directory. Since 1999, Chambers has been researching the legal profession in Latin America and identifying leading lawyers and law firms through in-depth interviews with thousands of lawyers and their clients.

As a senior partner of the international law firm of Thompson & Knight, De Presno heads the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the Mexico City office. He focuses his practice on advising corporations on labor, employment, and Social Security law, including privatization procedures for public corporations.

Without his experience at the Law School, De Presno doubts that he would be where he is today. “What Dickinson did for me,” says De Presno, “is provide me with a strong knowledge base of U.S. common law, as well as civil and statutory law that I could not get in Mexico, which still bases its law on the Roman system.”

He says another plus is that he became more global in his thinking, crossing borders that most other Mexican lawyers, especially in labor and employment, never do.  When asked why he chose The Dickinson School of Law, De Presno remembers that it was the result of several circumstances and credits friends of his father for encouraging him to apply. He had already applied to schools like Stanford and Harvard, but one of his father’s friends, a Fellow at the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers who has since passed away, asked him to consider the Law School.

Another who encouraged him to apply was the late Donald Farage ’66 LLD, who practiced law
in Philadelphia and taught constitutional law at the Law School. De Presno fondly remembers his year in Carlisle as one of the best and happiest years in his life. He still stays in touch with friends he made at the Law School, including Yoshi Takenoshita ’88 MCL, a lawyer in Japan, and Christian Orator MCL ’88, now a judge in Austria. He recalls his favorite professors as Jane Rigler, Joseph Kelly, Harvey Feldman, and of course Louis Del Duca. De Presno and Lila have been married almost twenty-three years and live in Mexico City. Lila, who is also a lawyer, and Jorge have two children: Jorge is 19 years old and attending his father’s alma mater, Universidad Iberoamericana; and Pamela, who is 18, attends high school.

De Presno is hopeful that both of his children will follow in the footsteps of their grandfather, father, and mother and choose a career in law. If so, he plans to encourage them to apply to his second alma mater, The Dickinson School of Law, making it truly a “family affair.” De Presno hopes to be able to visit “the beautiful campus of Carlisle in the very near future.” We hope he does, too.

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