The History of the German-American Lawyers' Association

Seeing an opportunity to expand horizons and exchange, one US-American and twelve young German lawyers founded the German-American Lawyers' Association (DAJV) in 1975 in the then German capital of Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia. Today, with members now numbering over 2,500, the DAJV continues its non-profit network to the benefit of everyone from Bonn, more than 45 years later.

Having by that time completed their LLM studies, the intention of the founders to create this bi-national association of lawyers can best be described by reference to their unyielding fascination with the USA and its legal system and a desire to share their experiences and wake this transatlantic interest in further generations of lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic.

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The voice of the DAJV

For more than 40 years, the “Zeitschrift für Deutsches und Amerikanisches Recht” (ZDAR), previously known as the “Newsletter”, served as the DAJV’s principle method of connecting with its members and legal scholarship at large. Launched in 2020, the Transatlantic Legal Blog (TLB) now furthers the association`s tradition of providing a platform for the exchange of legal ideas through its own hand.

Such a large association would be hollow without personal encounters. From its very inception the DAJV has initiated myriad events of various formats, often in cooperation with notable partners on both sides of the Atlantic. The cooperation the DAJV has built with university academics and institutions, but also with chambers of commerce and state ministries, since the 1990s, and an increasingly prominent international law firms to date, is testament to the success of the DAJV.

This fact that the DAJV`s contribution is valued up to the highest political echelons was made particularly clear in 2008 when then U.S. Ambassador, William R. Timken, Jr., awarded the association the “Ambassador’s Certificate of Appreciation” in Berlin for its commitment to encouraging relations between Germany and the United States.

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Focus events

Today, the DAJV organizes around 40 international, national and regional events yearly, including conferences, seminars, fairs, excursions and celebrations such as our well-visited 4th of July Party and Thanksgiving Dinners. The Transatlantic Legal Conference (TLC) in spring in Frankfurt and the LLM. Day in fall in Cologne are special highlights on the DAJV calendar, which culminates in its annual conference. Each year, DAJV members travel to a different German university city and, since the 2000s, regularly to a university in the US, to convene weekend of educational, professional and friendly exchange. Our last trip to the States in 2016, saw the association being hosted by the Harvard Law School in Boston, and the 2022 Annual Conference is presently being planned for Chicago.