James R. Silkenat

Director & Vice President

Mr. James R. Silkenat is Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors of the World Justice Project. He also served as the President of the 400,000 member American Bar Association (ABA) in 2013-2014.

Mr. Silkenat is a Partner in the New York office of Sullivan & Worcester LLP, where he is a member of the corporate department. Mr. Silkenat has extensive experience in international mergers and acquisitions and joint venture transactions, particularly in the energy industry, and is a former Legal Counsel at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. Mr. Silkenat is also a former Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center.

Mr. Silkenat has served as Chair of both the ABA Section of International Law and the ABA Section Officers Conference. He served on the ABA Board of Governors from 1994-1997 and 2012-2015, and has Chaired the American Bar Association’s Latin American Legal Initiatives Council and the ABA’s China Committee. In 1990, he was elected to the ABA House of Delegates and served as Chair of the New York Delegation in the House of Delegates from 2000-2009. He is also a former Chair of the ABA’s Museum of Law.In addition to his responsibilities in the ABA, Mr. Silkenat has served as Chair of the Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights (now Human Rights First). He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the American Law Institute, has served as a Fellow in the U.S. State Department Scholar/Diplomat Program, and was a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and has served as National Chair of the Fellows.

A prolific writer, Mr. Silkenat has authored more than 100 articles on law, public policy and international business for various national and international publications and has edited numerous books, including: The Legal Doctrines of the Rule of Law and the Legal State (2014); The Imperial Presidency and the Consequences of 9/11: Lawyers React to the Global War on Terrorism (2007); The Law of International Insolvencies and Debt Restructurings (2006); The ABA Guide to International Business Negotiations (1994, 2000, and 2009 Editions); and The ABA Guide to Foreign Law Firms (1988, 1993, 1999, and 2004 Editions).

In 2007, Mr. Silkenat received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the ABA’s Section of International Law. In 2000, he received the Outstanding Alumni Award for Career Achievement from Drury University and in 2012 Drury's Doctorate of Humane Letters. He also received the Diversity Champion Award from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York in 2009.

Mr. Silkenat received an LL.M. Degree from New York University School of Law, a J.D. Degree from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an Editor of The University of Chicago Law Review, and a B.A. Degree from Drury College.