LAW firms are being encouraged to start preparing the welcoming party for an influx of around 23,000 delegates from the US to London for the annual meeting of the American Bar Association (ABA) in the year 2000.
The ABA made its decision to hold its meeting in London during the summer and the initial plans for the event are already well under way.
The event is scheduled to take place from 15 to 20 July, with the official opening ceremony planned for 17 July.
There will be 18 plenary sessions, as well as a host of individual sessions organised by specialist ABA sections.
A UK working party, made up of Bar Council and Law Society representatives, has already instigated meetings to ensure the event runs smoothly - some hotels have already been block-booked to ensure delegates have somewhere to stay while attending the ABA's annual meeting.
However, although the Law Society and Bar Council are already busy planning various social events, the ABA is keen to encourage solicitors' firms and chambers to get involved.
The Law Society's international promotion officer Ann Frazer, who sits on the working party, has just issued a circular informing a wide variety of lawyers' groups, including the City of London Society, of the ABA's request. "It will be a fantastic opportunity and a number of City firms have already contacted me to ask how they can become involved," she said.
Peter Goldsmith QC, who chairs the Bar Council's international committee and is a member of the working party, said he anticipated chambers would also be getting involved, with the Bar Council and the Inns of Court.
"It is too early to say what will be happening in concrete terms," he said, "but it is certainly a great tribute to the English legal profession as a whole that the Americans should want to come here in the year 2,000.
"They wanted to restate the strength of the common jurisdiction that we have. It is a very important symbol."