Long ago I read an article by Mark Kantor who wrote an article on “how to break into Arbitration?“, quite a great post, which is a great guideline on the many institutions out there involved in international arbitration, mainly commercial arbitration.
Such a question is often made by young lawyers and young practitioners, I will give you some insights that can help you in taking decisive steps in order for you to be part of this world of international dispute resolution.
The world of international arbitration is quite luring, one day a dear colleague told me that international arbitration was like being in an adventure, with top notch practitioners around the globe. Certainly, it is a way to show your skills to your fellow colleagues. Like be part of this college like in Hogwarts in one of Harry Potter’s adventures..
And actually it is. It is quite a remarkable adventure that once you are part of it you get hooked by it. You want to ride again and again.
But well, how do you actually break into arbitration, as I said before this is not a one way street, it has many paths and every story is different. One day I did such a question to an established arbitrator his words were quite to the point, “focus into being a good lawyer”, if you are a good lawyer people will come to you.
So for starters be a good lawyer. What does that mean? You already know.
Aside of becoming a good lawyer, also you need to take into account couple of practical pointers so you can try so you can be part of this college of arbitrators and practitioners to international dispute resolution.
First, if you are a student, be part of a Moot Arbitration Competition, there are plenty around the globe, within your country, your region or at an international level. You just need to explore which competitions you can be part of. The most famous are the FDI Moot on Foreign Direct Investment Arbitration, and the Willem C. Vis Moot. After you finish the competition try to get involved with the associations that are formed of former alumni to such competitions, like the Vis Moot that has the Moot Alumni Association (MAA).
If you are no longer a student at a bachelor’s level or a master’s student, then try to be part of such competitions as an arbitrator, certainly what you need to be is a good lawyer, you can get the grip of how arbitrations take place. Fly under the wing of the most experience arbitrators by sitting as a co-arbitrator in such moot court competitions.
Also, another way is to be part of associations for international arbitration and dispute resolution, an example of this type is International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), be part of the conferences they have, or also try to register yourself with a local association for arbitration, the list develop by Mark Kantor comes really handy.
If you are under 40, then try to be part of the principal associations for young arbitrators, like the International Chamber of Commerce Young Arbitrators Forum (ICC-YAF) which is one of the most active around the globe with multiple conferences occurring year round, likewise is the Young International Arbitration Group (YIAG) from the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). Also the ICCA has a section for young lawyers known as YoungICCA.
Other options that we will explore later on are studying a master program in dispute resolution and also becoming part of a litigation team that has arbitration within their areas of practice.