Namibian female law leader awarded by international institute for selfless contribution to promote the administration of justice
The Director of the Law Society of Namibia, Retha Steinmann, has just been awarded for her contribution to the administration of law by the International Institute of Law Association Chief Executives.
Known by its acronym, IILACE, the institute was established in 1998 as a network to bring Chief Executives 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 law jurisdictions around the globe.
As Director of the Law Society of Namibia, Retha 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, conducted roundtable discussions on the challenges faced around COVID-19 and the effect the lockdown had on the legal profession at large and on law associations in particular. One of these webinars had to be conducted twice during a 24-hour period to accommodate all time zones around 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 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, Retha as outgoing President was awarded by her peers for her exceptional contribution as President.
“Retha is an exceptional member and has been a very hard-working President. She has been a member of IILACE since 2002 and has attended all the annual conferences, even though it was at times a challenge to attend. Retha is also the historian of ILACE and its unofficial photographer. She has always contributed; always had great advice for the Executive Committee and has been a wonderful ambassador for IILACE. Her dedication has included that IILACE has a pictorial record of all the meetings and it was her great idea to do an annual photo book of conferences, which she has contributed much time and effort in producing. IILACE has benefited greatly from Retha’s incredible support,” the ILACE Executive Committee said in a statement announcing the award for its past President.
The award was couriered to Windhoek where it arrived at the end of November.
It is inscribed with the following text:
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. Retha continues to serve on the IILACE Executive Committee in the capacity as Immediate Past President.