A Pioneer For Rule of Law and Governance

Ulysses Smith has forged a legal career that focuses on the intersection between governance and development, using his position and reputation to advance matters of sustainability.

Ulysses has spent several years growing an innovative new legal practice with Linklaters LLP, International Governance and Development Practices (IGDP), which specifically aligns with the global goals as they relate to peace, justice and strong institutions.

As an attorney within the New York office of the global law firm Linklaters LLP, Ulysses works to translate the SDGs into local realities within the New York legal community, as well as more broadly within the private and public sectors. Ulysses is committed to driving the commercial success of the New York legal sector through alignment with the global goals.

Ulysses is involved with the New York City Bar Association, serving as the Chair of the City Bar’s United Nations Committee and as a member of its Council on International Affairs. He has used these positions to highlight the critical contributions members of the legal profession can make to furthering progress with the 2030 Agenda. Crucially, Ulysses also led the sector’s engagement in a wide range of activities that helped ensure that governance and rule of law were reflected in the eventual list of SDGs.

Ulysses’s daily work within Linklaters’ IGDP in New York consists of advancing matters of governance and development across sectors, industries and continents, ensuring they align with the specific targets within SDG #16. This includes working with:

  • the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, African Union states and other pan-African entities to develop a project that would create tailored governance frameworks to combat illicit financial flows;
  • the UK’s Independent Commission for Aid Impact to analyze the impact of DFID’s anti-corruption programming, particularly on the poor;
  • Oxford on Advancing Good Governance in International Development to convene an annual seminar;
  • a range of multinational corporations and state-owned enterprises on governance and compliance reviews aimed at embedding principles of accountability, transparency, evidence of effectiveness and adaptability into their operations, and
  • UN University to conduct a governance review of the UN development system to ensure it is fit for purpose in the age of the SDGs.

Ulysses works with the belief that failures of governance are at the heart of much of the world’s unrest and the stunted development that this brings, with particular reference to the way in which corruption blights communities and political systems, leaving populations in desperate need of resources to support education, health, and growth. Ulysses points to a compound cost approaching $50 billion annually for Africa alone.

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