Q&As

How does a new arbitrator get their first appointment?

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Published on LexisPSL on 18/08/2014

The following Arbitration Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How does a new arbitrator get their first appointment?
  • A common gripe at 'Young' Arbitration conferences is the difficulty of getting a first appointment as an arbitrator, do you think this is fair?
  • What barriers do new arbitrators face when seeking a first appointment?
  • How did you get your first appointment(s)?
  • Are the institutions open to ‘new’ arbitrators in the market?
  • Are there certain jurisdictions where first appointments are easier? Are there cultural differences on this issue?
  • Did you undertake any particular arbitrator training?
  • What tips do you have for those seeking a first appointment?
  • Let people know you are accepting appointments
  • Prepare an arbitrator CV, and make it available
  • More...

How does a new arbitrator get their first appointment?

A common gripe at 'Young' Arbitration conferences is the difficulty of getting a first appointment as an arbitrator, do you think this is fair?

It is a difficult question. While there is little empirical evidence on the subject, in Western Europe, the more precocious arbitrators I know seem to have seen their arbitrator career take off in the latter part of their thirties or in their early forties.

Is that old? It is debatable…

  1. On the one hand, you need to have the right skillset before you can be considered for appointment, and this, I think, requires suitable experience of arbitration as counsel, tribunal secretary or otherwise. You can acquire a good theoretical understanding of arbitration by taking a degree or diploma in arbitration like the ones we have been offering at Queen Mary University for the past thirty years, but ultimately there is no substitute for experience.

  2. On the other hand, the statistics published by the leading arbitral institutions confirm that there are hundreds upon hundreds of relatively small international disputes referred to arbitration each year. Parties and institutions need to have access to a pool of qualified and reliable young arbitrators willing to give to these smaller disputes the time and attention they deserve. Therefore, the opportunities for appointment exist.

What is perhaps difficult in the process

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