GRLF Director Can Yeğinsu, whose almae matres include Oxford, Princeton and Harvard Law School, is widely known in Turkey for his Harvard Commencement Address of 2008 and for being the first barrister of Turkish origin to appear in the UK Supreme court. Yeginsu is currently working as a barrister in London, practising in the fields of commercial law and public law and human rights at 4 New Square Chambers.
GRLF had not been inactive prior to its official launch. With over 12,000 followers on Facebook, the organisation co-hosted a well-attended panel discussion in November 2011 at the London School of Economics on the subject of a new Turkish constitution. Yeğinsu explained in his welcome speech to guests at the launch that GRLF would be continuing its rule of law promotion work with three projects in the pipeline involving the UK, the Maldives and Turkey. He also announced that in the coming months the organisation would be establishing a mentoring scheme to assist aspiring lawyers on their journey into the legal profession. Additionally, GRLF would be working to create a network to bring together talented legal students and young legal professionals from around the world committed to promoting an understanding of the rule of law in their own countries and beyond.
The launch itself took place at London’s well-known Getty Images Gallery and brought togetherpoliticians, businessman, lawyers and media personalities alike who showed their support for GRLF. These included the Turkish Ambassador to the UK Ünal Çeviköz, John Peet Europe Editor of The Economist, Alice Jones from The Independent, Nancy Groves from The Guardian, İlhan Gökalp from Zaman, the Vice President of the Law Society Nick Fluck, and Victoria Pattinson, amongst other distinguished guests. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, sent a message of support and congratulations to GRLF.