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LJD Week 2023 | Partnering for Impact: General Counsel Roundtable

November 15, 2023
Virtual & In Person

The General Counsel Roundtable is the concluding session of LJD Week 2023, moderated by Chris Stephens, Senior Vice President and World Bank Group General Counsel. The session will bring together General Counsels of various World Bank development partners, such as multilateral development banks (MDBS), international financial institutions (IFIs), and development agencies of countries. It will explore the role of law, lawyers, and legal institutions in driving the development agenda with particular emphasis on the legal aspects of enabling and mobilizing the private sector for sustainable development. By the same token, speakers will examine legal considerations and challenges with regards to the involvement of the private sector, showcase what has been accomplished thus far by various institutions on this front, and will focus on concrete solutions. Using real-world examples, the discussion will also focus on how partnerships developed by MDBS, IFIs, Development agencies and private sector help and foster the achievement of the broader sustainable development agenda and SDG 16, in particular.

  • Soul Amad
    Souley Amadou
    General Counsel and Director, African Development Bank

    Souley Amadou is the General Counsel and Director of the Legal Service Department of the African Development Bank (AFD). He is a highly recognized legal professional for his strategic leadership and management skills in multicultural settings and has a robust track record providing legal advice, support, and services to AFD both in public and private sector operations. Prior to his current position at AFD, Dr. Amadou served as Acting Corporate Secretary & General Counsel of Africa50, and, before that, Manager of AFD’s Private Sector Operations Division. Before joining AFD, Dr. Amadou had held a series of positions in the regulation of futures markets in Washington D.C. and Paris, serving as lawyer and consultant for the Commodity Future Trading Commission (CFTC), and from EURONEXT in France, formerly known as MATIF SA. He has also served at the then French future markets regulator (Conseil du Marché à Terme).



  • Melissa
    Melissa Bullen
    General Counsel and Director, UNICEF

    Melissa Bullen was appointed in August 2021 as the General Counsel and Director of the Legal Office, where she oversees teams responsible for global legal advisory services on a wide range of complex and strategic issues in relation to UNICEF operations in Headquarters, Regional Offices, Country and Field Offices. Before joining UNICEF, Ms. Bullen had been the General Counsel of UN Women, where she was instrumental in establishing and leading the global legal department and served as a principal advisor to executive leadership on a range of legal, strategic, and business issues. In her previous roles, Ms. Bullen worked at the United Nations Secretariat as a legal officer, in private practice for a global law firm, as a legal adviser for the British and Australian governments, and in the federal judiciary. She has also consulted for global non-profits.



  • Heikki
    Heikki Cantell
    General Counsel and Secretary General, Nordic Investment Bank

    Heikki Cantell is the General Counsel, Secretary General, and Head of Legal Department of the Nordic Investment Bank. Before this, Mr. Cantell served as General Counsel of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) from 1995-2007. Prior to his career as General Counsel, he was Head of the Paris branch of the Finnish law firm Heikki Haapaniemi, and was a legal counsel for the Finnish Cultural Foundation. Mr. Cantell also has a number of professional engagements including Conseiller du Commerce Extérieur for France and Board appointments on two Finnish holding companies. Nominated as an arbitrator by the International Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Cantell is also a Member of the Panel of Recognised International Market Experts in Finance (PRIME). He lectures widely at universities and conferences and has published articles in legal and commercial publications in France and in Finland, including contributing to an upcoming compilation on Sustainable Finance and Climate Change – Law and Regulation.



  • Thomas
    Thomas Clark
    General Counsel, Asian Development Bank

    Thomas Clark, as General Counsel of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is responsible for driving legal strategy and engagement on regulatory and policy reforms to support ADB’s mission of achieving a sustainable, prosperous, inclusive, and resilient Asia-Pacific region. He has over 30 years of experience in legal and government affairs practice, spanning the financial services, energy, and infrastructure sectors, as well as the Americas, Asia-Pacific and European regions. Most recently before joining ADB, Mr. Clark was Managing Director and Co-Head of Americas for the Global Public Policy Group of BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset management firm, where he drove regulatory policy engagement and thought leadership on infrastructure finance, ESG and sustainability, disclosures related to climate risk and energy transition issues, data privacy and fintech. Mr. Clark had a 22-year career at General Electric Company, which included positions of General Counsel for GE’s largest Asian financial services arm and Executive Counsel for Government Affairs and Policy.



  • Diego
    Diego Devos
    General Counsel, Bank for International Settlements

    Diego Devos is General Counsel of the Bank for International Settlements since October 2009. As Head of the Legal Service, Mr Devos also serves as a member of the Bank’s Executive Committee. He was previously Deputy General Counsel of the Bank for International Settlements (April 2006–September 2009), Deputy General Counsel of Euroclear SA (April 2000–April 2006), Member of the EU Legal Certainty Group set up by the European Commission to address harmonisation of securities laws, and of the Drafting Committee of the Hague Securities Convention, Legal Advisor (1988–2000) in the Legal department of the National Bank of Belgium, Barrister at the Brussels Bar (1981–1988) with the Law firm Simont, Gutt and Simont (now STIBBE), and Part-time lecturer (1982–1998) at the Law Faculty of the Free University of Brussels. He was written various articles on contract, banking, and financial law.



  • Jose Maria
    José María Fernández Martín
    General Counsel, European Investment Bank

    José María Fernández Martín has been General Counsel and Director General of the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) Legal Directorate since July 2023. Previosuly, he served as Deputy General Counsel and Deputy Director General, and held various other positions at EIB, including Director of JU/OPS-EU, Director of the Operations and Staff Relations Department in Personnel, Head of Division of Operational Policy, and Advisor to an EIB Vice-President. Mr. Fernández worked at the legal service of the European Central Bank during the transition to the euro and the Monetary Union and later as a référendaire to UK Advocates General Francis Jacobs and Eleanor Sharpston at the Court of Justice of the EU. He has published extensively on EU and economic law topics and lectured on European and economic law in various universities in England and Spain. He is the author of a book on EU Public Procurement Law (Oxford University Press).



  • Kate
    Kate Harrington
    General Counsel, United Nations Development Programme

    Kate Harrington serves as General Counsel and Director of the Office of Legal Services for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), where she leads a talented team of lawyers responsible for all legal aspects of the organization’s operations. Ms. Harrington has more than two decades of experience in international development institutions, first with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Washington and for 11 years with the European Bank for the Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London. Kate started her legal career as a litigator and public defender in the courts of New Zealand, then in private practice with Freshfields in London. She is qualified to practice law in New Zealand, England and Wales. Ms. Harrington has worked for sustainable development for over half of her career, partnering with the public sector, private sector, and government agencies to protect and promote the social, economic, and political rights that are crucial to development.



  • Jun-Jin
    Jun Jin
    Deputy General Counsel, U.S. Agency for International Development

    Jun Jin is Deputy General Counsel (Civil Service) for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Since joining USAID, Mr. Jin has served in various legal and non-legal capacities, including as the Acting General Counsel, the Assistant General Counsel for Acquisition and Assistance, the West Africa Regional Legal Advisor to the U.S. Government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and to the USAID Mission to Nigeria based in Abuja, Nigeria, and the USAID Senior Development Advisor to the World Bank Group in the Office of the U.S. Executive Director. Mr. Jin has also served as one of the U.S. Government’s lead representatives to the Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems (MAPS) Steering Committee since 2006. Prior to USAID, Mr. Jin worked as a lawyer in private practice, specializing in government contracts and construction litigation. He has also taught courses in international development law and international procurement at The George Washington University and The Catholic University of America.



  • Meg-Kinnear
    Meg Kinnear
    Secretary-General, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes

    Meg Kinnear is the Secretary-General of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and a Vice President of the World Bank. During Ms. Kinnear’s tenure, ICSID has experienced significant growth in membership and caseload. Prior to joining ICSID, she worked as Senior General Counsel (2006-2009) and Director General of the Trade Law Bureau of Canada (1999-2006), where she was responsible for the conduct of all international investment and trade litigation involving Canada. Prior to this, Ms. Kinnear was the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister of Justice of Canada (1996–1999) and Counsel at the Civil Litigation Section of the Canadian Department of Justice (1984–1996). Ms. Kinnear has frequently spoken on and published with respect to international investment law and procedure, including as a co-author of Investment Disputes under NAFTA (Kluwer Law Publications, June 2006; updated editions released January 2008 and June 2009). 



  • Aradhana-Capoor-3
    Aradhana Kumar-Capoor
    Director and General Counsel, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency

    Aradhana Kumar-Capoor is Director and General Counsel of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group. As part of MIGA’s senior management team, Ms. Kumar-Capoor contributes to the strategic direction of MIGA and has overall responsibility for MIGA’s Legal Affairs and Claims Group. She previously served as Chief Advisor to the Executive Vice President & CEO of MIGA.


    Ms. Kumar-Capoor has over 30 years of experience in complex infrastructure, finance, telecom and oil, gas and mining transactions. 


    Prior to joining MIGA, Ms. Kumar-Capoor worked as a corporate and transaction attorney with major law firms in the United States and India concentrating on project finance, structured finance and risk mitigation. She holds a law degree in international business law and a master’s degree in international relations. She is admitted to the bar in New York and in New Delhi. She is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center.



  • Ramit
    Ramit Kumar Nagpal
    Vice-President and General Counsel, International Finance Corporation

    As Vice-President and General Counsel of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Ramit Nagpal serves as the principal advisor for IFC’s Managing Director, Management Team, and Board of Directors on all legal, business risk and compliance matters. In this role, he oversees IFC’s Legal Department, Business Risk and Compliance Department, and the Nominee Directorship Center. Mr. Nagpal brings more than 35 years of legal experience, most recently as Managing Director, Deputy General Counsel at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In that capacity, he led the Office of General Counsel’s work on corporate and institutional matters, donor partnerships, legal transition as well as the legal support for EBRD’s treasury operations. Prior to joining EBRD, he had been Deputy General Counsel at the Asian Development Bank. Mr. Nagpal also has an extensive experience in the private sector, including at American Express and as partner at one of India’s largest law firms.



  • Katherine-Meighan
    Katherine Meighan
    Associate Vice-President and General Counsel, International Fund for Agricultural Development

    Katherine Meighan is Associate Vice-President, General Counsel, and United Nations Assistant Secretary-General at IFAD. As part of IFAD’s senior management team, Ms. Meighan sets the Fund’s strategy to double its impact for the rural poor while scaling up climate adaptation, private sector lending, and IT for development. She leads complex initiatives including amending IFAD’s Articles to enable private sector lending, lending to sub-national entities, creating a unique impact investment fund for small farmers, and attaining IFAD’s historic AA+ credit rating (as the first UN fund to be rated). While serving as IFAD Acting CFO, Ms. Meighan led IFAD’s legal and finance teams on the inaugural bond issuances for the institution, the largest framework loan in IFAD’s history. Before joining IFAD, she had been Assistant General Counsel at IFC. Beforehand, she had practiced law with a global firm in Washington and Paris focusing on international transactions and capital markets work for financial institutions.


                        @MeighanKatie                    @IFAD                    linkedin

  • Michael
    Michael Strauss
    General Counsel, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

    Michael Strauss joined the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as General Counsel from the Washington law firm Harris, Wiltshire and Grannis LLP, where he was a Partner. Prior to that, he spent five years on the Board of the Asian Development Bank, serving as the U.S. Alternate Executive Director and then as Acting Executive Director. Previosuly, he was Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for International Finance at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Mr. Strauss has extensive commercial and development market experience. He began his career in 2001 in the London and Paris offices of the New York law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. After five years, he joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as Legal Counsel. From the IMF, he went on to serve at World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency as Senior Counsel.



  • Boubaker
    Boubaker Tayeb
    Director General and General Counsel, Islamic Development Bank

    Boubaker Tayeb serves as Director General and General Counsel of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), which is headquartered in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. IsDB is a Multilateral Development Bank with 57 member countries and is the primary member of the IsDB Group, which also includes the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, (ITFC) the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), and the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC). Mr. Tayeb has over 30 years of professional experience in various legal fields, including project finance, corporate finance, banking, commercial law, litigations, contracts, trade finance, resource mobilization, investments, funds, corporate governance, and compliance. He has a multidisciplinary educational background and exposure to the three major legal systems worldwide: civil law, common law, and Islamic law/Shariah.



  • Rhonda
    Rhoda Weeks-Brown
    General Counsel and Director, International Monetary Fund

    Rhoda Weeks-Brown advises the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Executive Board, management, staff and country membership on all legal aspects of IMF operations, including its lending, regulatory, and advisory functions. Under her tenure, the IMF Legal Department has been short-listed for two Financial Times Awards, for Innovation in Strategic and Risk Advice and Most Innovative In-House Legal Team in North America. Ms. Weeks-Brown also served as Deputy Director in the IMF’s Communications Department, and before joining the Fund, she had worked in a large corporate law firm in Washington DC. She is member of the Bar in New York, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia and a member of the Supreme Court Bar. She was named one of the top 27 Global General Counsels (2020) by the Financial Times, and one of the top 5 General Counsels in the area of Promoting Ethical Standards.


                        @RhodaWeeksBrown                    @IMFNews

  • Diana-Wilson-Patrick-2
    Diana Wilson Patrick
    General Counsel and Bank Secretary, Caribbean Development Bank

    Diana Wilson Patrick is the General Counsel and Bank Secretary of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), a multilateral development financing institution providing development finance to 19 borrowing members in the English, French, and Dutch speaking Caribbean. As the Bank's chief legal advisor and member of its Executive Management, she provides legal support in all areas of the Bank’s work, including promoting private and public investment in the Caribbean region and mobilizing financial resources from within and outside the region for the Bank's lending program. She also leads the Secretariat function for the Bank’s Directors and Governors and on membership and external relations. Prior to joining CDB, Mrs. Wilson Patrick was a partner at Lex Caribbean, a regional law firm, where her primary practice was corporate finance, capital markets and mergers and acquisitions. Mrs. Wilson Patrick is a regular speaker at industry events and has written for several journals, including co-authoring several editions of “The Euromoney Emerging Markets Handbook”.



  • Viv Y
    Vivienne Yeda
    General Counsel, East African Development Bank

    Vivienne Yeda is General Counsel of the East African Development Bank (EADB) and an experienced professional banker and international business lawyer with over 20 years practical and comprehensive development banking, finance and business experience in Africa. She has worked in the financial sector developing projects in banking and finance in several African countries and has experience in strategic management, business operations and project management. Prior to her employment at EADB, Ms Apopo had worked for the African Development Bank as Resident Representative and Country Manager for Zambia. Prior to that, she served as Director of Legal Affairs of EADB. She is the receipient of several awards including the “African Banker of the Year Award” and was named “Business Leader of the Year” by the Africa-America Institute in 2014. Ms. Yeda has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Kenya since March 2011.



  • Chiara
    Chiara Zilioli
    General Counsel, European Central Bank

    Chiara Zilioli is General Counsel of the European Central Bank (ECB) and ECB’s representative for cases in front of the European Court of Justice. She joined ECB in 1998 as Head of Division of Legal Services and Deputy General Counsel.  Previosuly, Ms. Zilioli served as Senior Legal Counsel of the European Monetary Institute, Lecturer of European Community Law at the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt, and Member of the Legal Service of the Council of the Union in Brussels. In 2016 she was appointed honorary professor of law at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität in Frankfurt. She lectures at the Institute for Law and Finance of that University, at the College Européen de Parme of Parma University, Italy and at the LUISS University in Rome. She is the Chair of the International Monetary Law Committee of the International Law Association and the author of five books as well as numerous legal articles.



  • Chris-Steph
    Christopher Stephens (Moderator)
    Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, World Bank

    As Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel of the World Bank, Christopher Stephens oversees the World Bank’s Legal Vice Presidency and is responsible for overall coordination and support on legal aspects of the Operational Activities of the World Bank, including lending, advisory services, country engagement, operational policies, development finance, trust funds and partnerships, sanctions and anti-corruption. He is also responsible for legal aspects of the corporate finance functions and provides legal advice on human resources, procurement, information technology, ethics, and external affairs. Mr. Stephens is the principal advisor to the Board of Governors, the Executive Directors, the World Bank Group President, and other members of the Senior Management Team on matters of law and policy. Prior to his appointment, he was Vice President and General Counsel of International Finance Corporation, General Counsel of the Asian Development Bank, and Managing Partner for Asia and a member of the Management Committee of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.


  • WHEN: November 15, 2023, 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET
  • WHERE: Preston Auditorium, World Bank Group Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: #LJDWeek2023