September 21, 2015
Ian Forrester (MCL ’69, right), a White & Case senior partner in Brussels, was confirmed as the United Kingdom’s judge on the General Court of the European Union’s Court of Justice. In July, he and Professor Vernon Palmer (L ’65), director of Tulane’s Paris summer program, discussed developments in European Law during a reception that Forrester hosted at the White & Case office.
Courtesy of White & Case
Ian Forrester (MCL ’69) might have become a practitioner in his native Scotland had he not detoured through New Orleans and New York on his way back to Europe.
Having built a distinguished international career advising some of the world’s largest companies on trade and intellectual property issues, Forrester was confirmed in September to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
Though he has been a Brussels-based White & Case senior partner, Forrester remains a British citizen. He was tapped as the United Kingdom’s representative on the General Court, one of three tribunals that make up the Court of Justice of the European Union. Each of the European Union’s 28 member countries selects a judge for the General Court, and the jurists serve six-year terms.
Forrester, whose swearing-in is set for early October, was appointed to finish the previous U.K. judge’s term, which runs through August 2019.
Tulane Law Dean’s Advisory Board member Ian Forrester (MCL ’69) is scheduled to be sworn in to the General Court of the European Union’s Court of Justice in October.
Courtesy of Ian Forrester
“I’m certain if I had not studied in New Orleans, my professional life would have been completely different,” Forrester said.
After receiving his law degree at the University of Glasgow, Forrester was inspired by his professor of Roman Law to consider studying in Louisiana, which shares Scotland’s civil law tradition. At Tulane, he was encouraged by then-Dean Joseph Sweeney and legendary Judge John Minor Wisdom (L ’29) of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who became “an immense friend and benefactor.”
Forrester recalled that, as soon as he arrived in New Orleans, he was invited to dinner at the Garden District home of Wisdom and his wife, Bonnie. The judge told stories about former Louisiana Gov. and U.S. Sen. Huey Long and President Dwight Eisenhower and, at the end of the evening, instructed his daughter to take Forrester to the Napoleon House for a Sazerac.
“I’ve had a taste for Sazeracs ever since,” Forrester said.
Reference letters from Wisdom also opened doors in New York, where Forrester worked at Davis Polk on cases involving insurance issues arising from aircraft hijackings, including a plane that was blown up at the Cairo airport.
Forrester later co-founded a firm in Brussels just as European law was taking off as a separate field. That firm merged with White & Case in 1998. His practice has taken him all over the world, and his clients have included Canon, the BBC, Toyota and GlaxoSmithKline. He also led White & Case’s pro bono practice and developed expertise representing individuals and companies on human rights questions involving the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Many of his cases were large and slow, Forrester said, describing them as “ancient cases that still shape the law today.”
Forrester has remained an active Tulane Law School supporter. He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, and in 2013 and 2015, he hosted Tulane alumni receptions during the law school’s Paris summer program.
But he has an even deeper connection to New Orleans: family ties through his wife, Sandra Keegan, a Loyola College of Law graduate whom he met in Grenoble, France. A former patent lawyer for the European Commission, she recently completed a PhD at the University of Edinburgh.