Dear Counsel, Thank you for taking the time to present your firm’s international arbitration practice, and also for the copies of the brochure and monthly newsletter. The many recent wins by your firm and the published articles demonstrate convincingly that you are quality professionals with a high-standing in the community. I’m certain it was not…

The Arab Spring transforming the societies of the Middle East has raised more than a few questions among us in-house folk about what this will mean for dispute resolution in the region. Will civil institutions, in particular the courts, be a reliable mechanism in the coming years for upholding contractual rights, including agreements to arbitrate…

The goal had seemed an impossible one for many years. And then, recently, a tribunal in Berlin came close to breaking the famed barrier. Their noble effort was thwarted only by the Teutonic lapse of the chair who, on the verge of declaring the proceedings closed at 4 minutes and 43 seconds, spontaneously suggested terms…

Certain practices are as unwholesome as they are repeated with hard-headed stubbornness that they merit the denomination “worst practice”. A good New Year’s resolution for those engaging in international arbitration would be to pledge to stop engaging in them. I’ll limit myself to throwing stones at my own glass house: the worst practices committed by in-house counsel like myself and the lawyers we appoint.

British legal thinker Richard Susskind famously hypothesized in his book, End of Lawyers?,that the practice of lawyering will not actually end so much as gravitate towards extremes of “commoditized” legal work at one end and “bespoke” work on the other. The commoditization of some dispute resolution work has already begun to occur via the process…

A recent discussion on the OGEMID list about “elite arbitrators” prompted one participant to humorously compare the discussion to the frequent flier programs of airlines. This led to some fanciful speculation by in-house counsel of arbitration institutions offering their own loyalty programs, awarding us with “Frequent Arbitrating” points. For example, would there be free “upgrades”…

In last week’s post, I mentioned how some outspoken in-house counsel have undeservedly acquired a reputation for being anti-arbitration for having advocated improvements. I tried to explain how most in-house lawyers will want to be perceived as “dispute resolution neutral,” i.e., open to whatever type of procedure may best achieve the party’s goals. So what…

Two recent incidents reminded me of just how much, in international arbitration, impressions and even reputations can completely miss the mark. One was a discussion I recently had with a well-known arbitrator who only half-jokingly commented on my “anti-arbitration” view, although he then qualified me as appearing more moderate than my fellow members of the…