Int'l Arbitration Work

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finaciardi
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Postby finaciardi » Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:56 am

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Last edited by finaciardi on Thu May 04, 2017 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP Here

I'm a senior associate in DC and I do a mix of ISDS and international commercial arbitration. I've also worked in London doing the same. Happy to answer any further questions.


Would really appreciate your perspective as someone who has been working in this practice area for a while. Do you think long term it has been a good choice to focus in arbitration. Do you/ your coworkers generally enjoy (or at least not hate) the work. What are your long term plans and do you feel at all boxed in because you chose arbitration? Also do you have any perspective on DC vs. NYC in terms of US cities that have sizable arbitration practices?

Also, with regard to working in a foreign office, did you enjoy it and would you recommend it - highly considering a period in a foreign office.

Thanks!


Yes, I think it has been a good choice for me. I say that because I really enjoy the work and vastly prefer it to other practice areas - but that is personal preference. Yes, I'd say my coworkers enjoy it too (maybe some who only "don't hate" it) - I would not have stuck around this long unless I actually liked the work and my coworkers. Long-term - I'm not sure. I'm not sure whether I want to be a partner (should that even be a possibility). I'd say exit opportunities aren't great and that's possibly the biggest downside of the practice area. Since I do a mix of international commercial arbitration and ISDS, I could play up the commercial side and try to find an in-house counsel litigation position, but I don't think I'd be successful as I really haven't done any domestic litigation or arbitration. There are a few multinational companies that have a specific international disputes counsel, and I'd be set for that, but those jobs are really few and far between. Other options include joining international organizations - a few friends are ICSID Counsel, there are jobs internationally at the ICC, ICJ, PCA, etc. There is also some scope to join the government but again, it's a small team. DC vs NY - both have sizeable arbitration practices. I'd say that DC, for obvious reasons, has more ISDS practioners and NY has more commercial practioners, but it can vary by firm and if you're flexible on location you should do your research to see where the relevant teams are based. Yes, I recommend working abroad. International arbitration is a good area of law for that, better than many, and the obvious locations (for ISDS and international commercial arbitration) are London, Paris, Geneva, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore.

Anonymous User
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:51 am

finaciardi wrote:Hi, thank you so much for being willing to help.

I want to second the question above -- is there a cut-off or the like for schools? If I'm not at a T14, what can I do to increase my chances of breaking into international arbitration?

Also, are Asian languages (Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean)/int'l background in Asia useful at all? I am also curious if there would be any work at all for US attorneys specializing in int'l arbitration in Asia, i.e. Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.


On the schools question, I'm not sure if this was directed to me (I'm the senior associate poster) - I do some recruiting for my firm so I know that we don't really look outside the top firms (I don't actually know if the cut off is 14 or not) as well as some of the top schools in local markets. Yes, there is international arbitration work for foreign attorneys in Asia. Most of the people I know doing it in Asia are English-qualified lawyers, not US lawyers. I don't know whether there is a reason for that or whether that is just anecdotal. You would probably not be doing ISDS, but international commercial arbitration. Look at some of the big UK firms, for example - Clifford Chance has a big presence in Asia doing international litigation and arbitration. I know US firms like Mayer Brown are there.. but otherwise I think UK firms have bigger market penetration there.

happyhour1122
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby happyhour1122 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:03 am

Bump. I'm interested.

Anonymous User
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:15 am

What do firms in this practice area look for in applicants: Grades and genuineness of interest?

Anonymous User
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:48 am

Yes, I think it has been a good choice for me. I say that because I really enjoy the work and vastly prefer it to other practice areas - but that is personal preference. Yes, I'd say my coworkers enjoy it too (maybe some who only "don't hate" it) - I would not have stuck around this long unless I actually liked the work and my coworkers. Long-term - I'm not sure. I'm not sure whether I want to be a partner (should that even be a possibility). I'd say exit opportunities aren't great and that's possibly the biggest downside of the practice area. Since I do a mix of international commercial arbitration and ISDS, I could play up the commercial side and try to find an in-house counsel litigation position, but I don't think I'd be successful as I really haven't done any domestic litigation or arbitration. There are a few multinational companies that have a specific international disputes counsel, and I'd be set for that, but those jobs are really few and far between. Other options include joining international organizations - a few friends are ICSID Counsel, there are jobs internationally at the ICC, ICJ, PCA, etc. There is also some scope to join the government but again, it's a small team. DC vs NY - both have sizeable arbitration practices. I'd say that DC, for obvious reasons, has more ISDS practioners and NY has more commercial practioners, but it can vary by firm and if you're flexible on location you should do your research to see where the relevant teams are based. Yes, I recommend working abroad. International arbitration is a good area of law for that, better than many, and the obvious locations (for ISDS and international commercial arbitration) are London, Paris, Geneva, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore.


Exactly what I was looking for, thanks so much for answering. My general since is that arbitration has been traditionally dominated by work out of London/Paris (and maybe Singapore/HK), but that the practice has been growing in the U.S. over the past decade or so, I'm curious:

1) Is that accurate? I'm basing this on like 50% conjecture.

2) If it is accurate, has the growth been consistent over the past few years - speeding up, slowing down? Do you think its going to continue growing in the long term (assuming its actually growing now)?

3) Have you ever felt marginalized working out of a US office (though I know you were in London for a bit)? One of my concerns would be that doing arbitration work in a US office would lead to London/Paris office really calling the shots.

Thanks again!

Anonymous User
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Exactly what I was looking for, thanks so much for answering. My general since is that arbitration has been traditionally dominated by work out of London/Paris (and maybe Singapore/HK), but that the practice has been growing in the U.S. over the past decade or so, I'm curious:

1) Is that accurate? I'm basing this on like 50% conjecture.

2) If it is accurate, has the growth been consistent over the past few years - speeding up, slowing down? Do you think its going to continue growing in the long term (assuming its actually growing now)?

3) Have you ever felt marginalized working out of a US office (though I know you were in London for a bit)? One of my concerns would be that doing arbitration work in a US office would lead to London/Paris office really calling the shots.

Thanks again!


This is a prudent concern. You can address it by going to a firm whose arbitration practice is based in a U.S. office. The only two firms I can think of that fit this category are Hughes Hubbard & Reed and White & Case. The others (Shearman, Cleary, WilmerHale, Dechert) are all based out of foreign offices, and the U.S. offices tend to get leftover work.

Anonymous User
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Yes, I think it has been a good choice for me. I say that because I really enjoy the work and vastly prefer it to other practice areas - but that is personal preference. Yes, I'd say my coworkers enjoy it too (maybe some who only "don't hate" it) - I would not have stuck around this long unless I actually liked the work and my coworkers. Long-term - I'm not sure. I'm not sure whether I want to be a partner (should that even be a possibility). I'd say exit opportunities aren't great and that's possibly the biggest downside of the practice area. Since I do a mix of international commercial arbitration and ISDS, I could play up the commercial side and try to find an in-house counsel litigation position, but I don't think I'd be successful as I really haven't done any domestic litigation or arbitration. There are a few multinational companies that have a specific international disputes counsel, and I'd be set for that, but those jobs are really few and far between. Other options include joining international organizations - a few friends are ICSID Counsel, there are jobs internationally at the ICC, ICJ, PCA, etc. There is also some scope to join the government but again, it's a small team. DC vs NY - both have sizeable arbitration practices. I'd say that DC, for obvious reasons, has more ISDS practioners and NY has more commercial practioners, but it can vary by firm and if you're flexible on location you should do your research to see where the relevant teams are based. Yes, I recommend working abroad. International arbitration is a good area of law for that, better than many, and the obvious locations (for ISDS and international commercial arbitration) are London, Paris, Geneva, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore.


Exactly what I was looking for, thanks so much for answering. My general since is that arbitration has been traditionally dominated by work out of London/Paris (and maybe Singapore/HK), but that the practice has been growing in the U.S. over the past decade or so, I'm curious:

1) Is that accurate? I'm basing this on like 50% conjecture.

2) If it is accurate, has the growth been consistent over the past few years - speeding up, slowing down? Do you think its going to continue growing in the long term (assuming its actually growing now)?

3) Have you ever felt marginalized working out of a US office (though I know you were in London for a bit)? One of my concerns would be that doing arbitration work in a US office would lead to London/Paris office really calling the shots.

Thanks again!


I'm the PP - happy to help.

1) - As I said, ISDS is a more DC-based thing. You will find firms everywhere doing it, obviously because BOTH SIDES will often tend to approach lawyers in their home jurisdiction. But DC is where there is the highest concentration of firms doing this work. For international commercial arbitration, you're right - London and Paris are the key places, and you'll see some in the other jurisdictions I mentioned, as well as in New York. In my firm, the international arbitration practice is headquartered in London and that's where most people are; but there are people in other offices doing the work too.

2) Yes, I think the practice is growing and I think it will continue to grow - that is, for international commercial arbitration. Most international agreements that I see (I mean agreements involving at least one non-US or non-UK party) include an arbitration clause. Most non-US parties want to stay far away from US courts unless they have no leverage and have to be there. For ISDS, I think that is an interesting question and there are different views on that. On the one hand, as international trade and investment increases, there will inevitably be more disputes, and as investors learn about the possibilities of ISDS there will probably be more cases. It is also likely that there will be disputes involving many more countries than have traditionally been involved in ISDS - South American countries used to dominate as respondent states, but we are seeing increased numbers of cases involving Europe and Asia. On the other hand, countries are stepping away from BITs - some have already done so, such as Ecuador, and others may follow suit or seek to renegotiate on terms more favorable to them. So I guess the answer is, wait and see, but it's not going anywhere for the time being.

3) No, but I'm really a London practitioner at heart! Also I don't know what you really mean by "calling the shots" - international law firms (that work well) work together and use the skills and people in all different offices. I work with people in many of our offices and it's good. As I said, our international arbitration practice is headed in London but doesn't really matter. If you are recruited for an international arbitration position here, then rest assured that there will be people working with you on that here, and you'll probably also have the opportunity to work with people in other offices.

Anonymous User
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Yes, I think it has been a good choice for me. I say that because I really enjoy the work and vastly prefer it to other practice areas - but that is personal preference. Yes, I'd say my coworkers enjoy it too (maybe some who only "don't hate" it) - I would not have stuck around this long unless I actually liked the work and my coworkers. Long-term - I'm not sure. I'm not sure whether I want to be a partner (should that even be a possibility). I'd say exit opportunities aren't great and that's possibly the biggest downside of the practice area. Since I do a mix of international commercial arbitration and ISDS, I could play up the commercial side and try to find an in-house counsel litigation position, but I don't think I'd be successful as I really haven't done any domestic litigation or arbitration. There are a few multinational companies that have a specific international disputes counsel, and I'd be set for that, but those jobs are really few and far between. Other options include joining international organizations - a few friends are ICSID Counsel, there are jobs internationally at the ICC, ICJ, PCA, etc. There is also some scope to join the government but again, it's a small team. DC vs NY - both have sizeable arbitration practices. I'd say that DC, for obvious reasons, has more ISDS practioners and NY has more commercial practioners, but it can vary by firm and if you're flexible on location you should do your research to see where the relevant teams are based. Yes, I recommend working abroad. International arbitration is a good area of law for that, better than many, and the obvious locations (for ISDS and international commercial arbitration) are London, Paris, Geneva, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore.


Exactly what I was looking for, thanks so much for answering. My general since is that arbitration has been traditionally dominated by work out of London/Paris (and maybe Singapore/HK), but that the practice has been growing in the U.S. over the past decade or so, I'm curious:

1) Is that accurate? I'm basing this on like 50% conjecture.

2) If it is accurate, has the growth been consistent over the past few years - speeding up, slowing down? Do you think its going to continue growing in the long term (assuming its actually growing now)?

3) Have you ever felt marginalized working out of a US office (though I know you were in London for a bit)? One of my concerns would be that doing arbitration work in a US office would lead to London/Paris office really calling the shots.

Thanks again!


I'm the PP - happy to help.

1) - As I said, ISDS is a more DC-based thing. You will find firms everywhere doing it, obviously because BOTH SIDES will often tend to approach lawyers in their home jurisdiction. But DC is where there is the highest concentration of firms doing this work. For international commercial arbitration, you're right - London and Paris are the key places, and you'll see some in the other jurisdictions I mentioned, as well as in New York. In my firm, the international arbitration practice is headquartered in London and that's where most people are; but there are people in other offices doing the work too.

2) Yes, I think the practice is growing and I think it will continue to grow - that is, for international commercial arbitration. Most international agreements that I see (I mean agreements involving at least one non-US or non-UK party) include an arbitration clause. Most non-US parties want to stay far away from US courts unless they have no leverage and have to be there. For ISDS, I think that is an interesting question and there are different views on that. On the one hand, as international trade and investment increases, there will inevitably be more disputes, and as investors learn about the possibilities of ISDS there will probably be more cases. It is also likely that there will be disputes involving many more countries than have traditionally been involved in ISDS - South American countries used to dominate as respondent states, but we are seeing increased numbers of cases involving Europe and Asia. On the other hand, countries are stepping away from BITs - some have already done so, such as Ecuador, and others may follow suit or seek to renegotiate on terms more favorable to them. So I guess the answer is, wait and see, but it's not going anywhere for the time being.

3) No, but I'm really a London practitioner at heart! Also I don't know what you really mean by "calling the shots" - international law firms (that work well) work together and use the skills and people in all different offices. I work with people in many of our offices and it's good. As I said, our international arbitration practice is headed in London but doesn't really matter. If you are recruited for an international arbitration position here, then rest assured that there will be people working with you on that here, and you'll probably also have the opportunity to work with people in other offices.


I'm assuming he means things like does the foreign head office get the best work, and the U.S. office gets the leftovers.

Anonymous User
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Yes, I think it has been a good choice for me. I say that because I really enjoy the work and vastly prefer it to other practice areas - but that is personal preference. Yes, I'd say my coworkers enjoy it too (maybe some who only "don't hate" it) - I would not have stuck around this long unless I actually liked the work and my coworkers. Long-term - I'm not sure. I'm not sure whether I want to be a partner (should that even be a possibility). I'd say exit opportunities aren't great and that's possibly the biggest downside of the practice area. Since I do a mix of international commercial arbitration and ISDS, I could play up the commercial side and try to find an in-house counsel litigation position, but I don't think I'd be successful as I really haven't done any domestic litigation or arbitration. There are a few multinational companies that have a specific international disputes counsel, and I'd be set for that, but those jobs are really few and far between. Other options include joining international organizations - a few friends are ICSID Counsel, there are jobs internationally at the ICC, ICJ, PCA, etc. There is also some scope to join the government but again, it's a small team. DC vs NY - both have sizeable arbitration practices. I'd say that DC, for obvious reasons, has more ISDS practioners and NY has more commercial practioners, but it can vary by firm and if you're flexible on location you should do your research to see where the relevant teams are based. Yes, I recommend working abroad. International arbitration is a good area of law for that, better than many, and the obvious locations (for ISDS and international commercial arbitration) are London, Paris, Geneva, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore.


Exactly what I was looking for, thanks so much for answering. My general since is that arbitration has been traditionally dominated by work out of London/Paris (and maybe Singapore/HK), but that the practice has been growing in the U.S. over the past decade or so, I'm curious:

1) Is that accurate? I'm basing this on like 50% conjecture.

2) If it is accurate, has the growth been consistent over the past few years - speeding up, slowing down? Do you think its going to continue growing in the long term (assuming its actually growing now)?

3) Have you ever felt marginalized working out of a US office (though I know you were in London for a bit)? One of my concerns would be that doing arbitration work in a US office would lead to London/Paris office really calling the shots.

Thanks again!


I'm the PP - happy to help.

1) - As I said, ISDS is a more DC-based thing. You will find firms everywhere doing it, obviously because BOTH SIDES will often tend to approach lawyers in their home jurisdiction. But DC is where there is the highest concentration of firms doing this work. For international commercial arbitration, you're right - London and Paris are the key places, and you'll see some in the other jurisdictions I mentioned, as well as in New York. In my firm, the international arbitration practice is headquartered in London and that's where most people are; but there are people in other offices doing the work too.

2) Yes, I think the practice is growing and I think it will continue to grow - that is, for international commercial arbitration. Most international agreements that I see (I mean agreements involving at least one non-US or non-UK party) include an arbitration clause. Most non-US parties want to stay far away from US courts unless they have no leverage and have to be there. For ISDS, I think that is an interesting question and there are different views on that. On the one hand, as international trade and investment increases, there will inevitably be more disputes, and as investors learn about the possibilities of ISDS there will probably be more cases. It is also likely that there will be disputes involving many more countries than have traditionally been involved in ISDS - South American countries used to dominate as respondent states, but we are seeing increased numbers of cases involving Europe and Asia. On the other hand, countries are stepping away from BITs - some have already done so, such as Ecuador, and others may follow suit or seek to renegotiate on terms more favorable to them. So I guess the answer is, wait and see, but it's not going anywhere for the time being.

3) No, but I'm really a London practitioner at heart! Also I don't know what you really mean by "calling the shots" - international law firms (that work well) work together and use the skills and people in all different offices. I work with people in many of our offices and it's good. As I said, our international arbitration practice is headed in London but doesn't really matter. If you are recruited for an international arbitration position here, then rest assured that there will be people working with you on that here, and you'll probably also have the opportunity to work with people in other offices.


I'm assuming he means things like does the foreign head office get the best work, and the U.S. office gets the leftovers.


PP here. It just doesn't work like that, at least not in my firm. There aren't "leftovers". If you're recruited to work in the international arbitration practice of a specific office, there will be one or more partners working there with you, and they will be there because they either have relationships with specific clients bringing the work in or specific expertise, and therefore will be working on cases within that area or with those clients. If the practice area you are interested in (and this applies to international arbitration or anything else) is headed in another office and is larger in another office, then of course it may be true that you would have less exposure to different work within that area than someone in that office. That is going to be very firm-specific and so when searching for firms, you'll want to pay attention on their websites to where the people are who are in the practice area of your choice. If the firm generally says that they do international arbitration in DC but you can't locate anyone actually doing it in the office, then chances are slim that you'd be doing it there either.

Anonymous User
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:23 pm

OP Here

PP here. It just doesn't work like that, at least not in my firm. There aren't "leftovers". If you're recruited to work in the international arbitration practice of a specific office, there will be one or more partners working there with you, and they will be there because they either have relationships with specific clients bringing the work in or specific expertise, and therefore will be working on cases within that area or with those clients. If the practice area you are interested in (and this applies to international arbitration or anything else) is headed in another office and is larger in another office, then of course it may be true that you would have less exposure to different work within that area than someone in that office. That is going to be very firm-specific and so when searching for firms, you'll want to pay attention on their websites to where the people are who are in the practice area of your choice. If the firm generally says that they do international arbitration in DC but you can't locate anyone actually doing it in the office, then chances are slim that you'd be doing it there either.


This answered my question perfectly. Its sort of what I assumed would be the case, but still comforting to hear.

Had a few more questions:

1) I know you do primarily ISDS, so you may not have an opinion on this, but for int'l commercial arbitration - do you think there is any disadvantage to being at a UK based firm vs. a US based firm early in your career - assuming that you're in a US office.

2) This is probably less of an issue for you know - but during earlier portions of your career how difficult/easy was it for you to be able to get substantive work? I ask because I was talking to a practitioner who was switching firms because of the inability to get substantive work at the first firm, and was curious. (And I mean any issues specific to arbitration groups - I know as a first year at any firm in any large practice group its probably a long road to the more substantive bits.)

3) Compared to the other practice groups around you, is your work flow less/even/more, less predictable/more predictable? (Basically are the hours heavy but manageable or hellish)?

Thanks!

Anonymous User
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP Here

PP here. It just doesn't work like that, at least not in my firm. There aren't "leftovers". If you're recruited to work in the international arbitration practice of a specific office, there will be one or more partners working there with you, and they will be there because they either have relationships with specific clients bringing the work in or specific expertise, and therefore will be working on cases within that area or with those clients. If the practice area you are interested in (and this applies to international arbitration or anything else) is headed in another office and is larger in another office, then of course it may be true that you would have less exposure to different work within that area than someone in that office. That is going to be very firm-specific and so when searching for firms, you'll want to pay attention on their websites to where the people are who are in the practice area of your choice. If the firm generally says that they do international arbitration in DC but you can't locate anyone actually doing it in the office, then chances are slim that you'd be doing it there either.


This answered my question perfectly. Its sort of what I assumed would be the case, but still comforting to hear.

Had a few more questions:

1) I know you do primarily ISDS, so you may not have an opinion on this, but for int'l commercial arbitration - do you think there is any disadvantage to being at a UK based firm vs. a US based firm early in your career - assuming that you're in a US office.

2) This is probably less of an issue for you know - but during earlier portions of your career how difficult/easy was it for you to be able to get substantive work? I ask because I was talking to a practitioner who was switching firms because of the inability to get substantive work at the first firm, and was curious. (And I mean any issues specific to arbitration groups - I know as a first year at any firm in any large practice group its probably a long road to the more substantive bits.)

3) Compared to the other practice groups around you, is your work flow less/even/more, less predictable/more predictable? (Basically are the hours heavy but manageable or hellish)?

Thanks!


PP again.

1) I actually do about half half. No, I can't see any disadvantage to that. The answer really is the same as above - as long as you are satisfied that the office of the firm you apply to does the work you are interested in (and try to understand, as far as you can, exactly what cases/kinds of cases the people in your office do), then that is all that matters. I would caution that many US firms talk about "arbitration" but they mean domestic arbitration, which is totally different - so just be sure that you and they are talking about the same thing. If they mention arbitration under different rules such as ICC, UNCITRAL, LCIA, etc - you're in the right place!

2) Again, I'd say this is very firm-specific. When I joined my firm, it was a very small team so I had a lot of substantive work because there was no one else to do it. Try and find out from firms how big the teams are and if they are big, you will probably end up with less substantive work. That said, as I'm sure you realize, as the most junior person on the team you will be given less substantive work, particularly at first. How well you do that work, how indispensable you make yourself and therefore how much substantive work you end up getting depends on you. For example, I have a junior associate working on one of my cases. She was responsible for document review (which in this practice area is not typically as expansive as in litigation, but somebody in the team has to read all of the documents provided to us by the client and get a real handle on the facts). She did a great job of that and she is now the encyclopedia of all the knowledge of the case. If I'm drafting a witness statement, I'll have her review it to add what she can based on her knowledge of the documents. I want her at client meetings and in hearings because she has a finely detailed grasp of the minutiae. She has made herself indispensable to the team and I'd say her work and contribution is definitely substantive. She's not the one who makes the strategic decisions but given her knowledge, she will be involved in strategic discussions. On another case, with a different junior associate, when I asked him to start on the document review he rolled his eyes and complained that it was boring, and asked if a paralegal could do it instead. Guess which associate I'd put on another case!

3) I think the hours are manageable. Sometimes long, but with fewer peaks and troughs than e.g. corporate. It's fairly steady but with intensity in advance of filing dates, etc. However, since deadlines are often months in advance, you can stay on top of things and get ahead, and although there is usually some kind of last minute panic about a couple of small issues, it's generally not that stressful. Obviously, just my view and others may have different experiences - I think this kind of thing depends a lot on the partners you work with - if they are last-minute, stressed people, then their teams will follow.

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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:27 pm

When I was going through OCI a few years ago, partners at screeners for multiple firms' NY offices told me that IA was the "crown jewel" of the firm and so if I wanted to do IA work I should work for them in the NY office. Then during the callback stage at the NY offices junior associates told me point blank that they devoted the minority of their time to IA, because the foreign office where the IA practice group was headed got most of the work.

There are only two or three firms that have an IA practice headed in the United States. You should join one of those if you want to be in this field. A really silly thing to do would be to join the NY/DC office of a firm with an IA practice that is globally recognized but is headed in a foreign office.

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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:56 pm

---"There are only two or three firms that have an IA practice headed in the United States. You should join one of those if you want to be in this field."

To the ^ anon, do you mind sharing or hinting at the names of these firms? And how does one tell from looking at firm websites where the practice is headed? Didn't see any explicit indication on the ones I've seen so far.

Thanks again to all practitioners who've contributed. This thread has extremely valuable advice.

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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:---"There are only two or three firms that have an IA practice headed in the United States. You should join one of those if you want to be in this field."

To the ^ anon, do you mind sharing or hinting at the names of these firms? And how does one tell from looking at firm websites where the practice is headed? Didn't see any explicit indication on the ones I've seen so far.

Thanks again to all practitioners who've contributed. This thread has extremely valuable advice.


I believe somewhere else that anon said Hughes Hubbard and White and Case were the two he was thinking of.

Different anon here - not as experienced as the senior associate anon obviously, but my take would be to look at the senior partners bringing in the business and figure out where they are located - at least in ISDS anyway. A firm's practice may be out of London, but if the firm does a lot of work for Ukraine, for example, at the partner who is always top of the briefing list for those cases is in DC, it might be the case that the relationship really belongs to that particular partner. Something to try and figure out, anyway. So if you really want to do work defending Ukraine from treaty arbitration suits, it might make sense to be in the DC office rather than in London, even if London is where the practice is managed from. Probably harder to figure out with claimant-side work.

boardcookies
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby boardcookies » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:39 pm

Thanks for everyone that posted in this thread. It's been enormously helpful. I'm a 1L at a T14. I recognize it's early to be thinking seriously about this, but from what I gather, int'l arbitration is not an easy field to break into and I'd like to increase my chances.

I expect I'd have to start my career in NY or DC, but I'd like to be able to work in East Asia at some point. I speak some Mandarin. I'm open to both ISDS and commercial arbitration. I did not go straight through, but my few years of work experience is not relevant.

Some questions:

(1) What classes should I be taking? (Does it matter?)

(2) Where should I be looking to work 1L summer?

(3) How should I go about building a network? Focus on practitioners? Professors?

(4) What should I be doing to distinguish myself?

Many thanks!

Anonymous User
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:13 pm

boardcookies wrote:Thanks for everyone that posted in this thread. It's been enormously helpful. I'm a 1L at a T14. I recognize it's early to be thinking seriously about this, but from what I gather, int'l arbitration is not an easy field to break into and I'd like to increase my chances.

I expect I'd have to start my career in NY or DC, but I'd like to be able to work in East Asia at some point. I speak some Mandarin. I'm open to both ISDS and commercial arbitration. I did not go straight through, but my few years of work experience is not relevant.

Some questions:

(1) What classes should I be taking? (Does it matter?)

(2) Where should I be looking to work 1L summer?

(3) How should I go about building a network? Focus on practitioners? Professors?

(4) What should I be doing to distinguish myself?

Many thanks!


I'd figure out which firms do arbitration work in East Asia. My firm does a lot of investor-state work, but I am unaware of any in that region, for instance. Many firms are very region-specific based on their client relationships. Find literally any attorney who does that work at any of those firms that is an alum of your school and reach out to them. Professor connections could help, but only if that professor specializes in international arbitration work or East Asian law generally. If you have a professor that has served as an expert witness in international arbitrations (domestic law is typically a fact issue that expert witnesses will opine on), that is golden.

boardcookies
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby boardcookies » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'd figure out which firms do arbitration work in East Asia. My firm does a lot of investor-state work, but I am unaware of any in that region, for instance. Many firms are very region-specific based on their client relationships. Find literally any attorney who does that work at any of those firms that is an alum of your school and reach out to them. Professor connections could help, but only if that professor specializes in international arbitration work or East Asian law generally. If you have a professor that has served as an expert witness in international arbitrations (domestic law is typically a fact issue that expert witnesses will opine on), that is golden.


Very helpful, thank you.

The answer is probably obvious, but I'd like to ask just to confirm -- is it difficult to lateral between int'l arbitration groups between firms that focus on different regions?

For example, if I start at a firm in NY that does investor-state work focused in Europe, will it be prohibitively difficult to lateral to a different firm with a group that focuses in East Asia?

Anonymous User
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:05 pm

boardcookies wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'd figure out which firms do arbitration work in East Asia. My firm does a lot of investor-state work, but I am unaware of any in that region, for instance. Many firms are very region-specific based on their client relationships. Find literally any attorney who does that work at any of those firms that is an alum of your school and reach out to them. Professor connections could help, but only if that professor specializes in international arbitration work or East Asian law generally. If you have a professor that has served as an expert witness in international arbitrations (domestic law is typically a fact issue that expert witnesses will opine on), that is golden.


Very helpful, thank you.

The answer is probably obvious, but I'd like to ask just to confirm -- is it difficult to lateral between int'l arbitration groups between firms that focus on different regions?

For example, if I start at a firm in NY that does investor-state work focused in Europe, will it be prohibitively difficult to lateral to a different firm with a group that focuses in East Asia?


I don't know the answer to that specific question because I've had zero involvement with any East Asia work. The skills obviously transition, since you'll be operating in the same universe of rules (ICSID, UNCITRAL, etc.) as in European-based arbitrations. The difference, if anything, could be more due to the industry sector the firms specialize in. The industries that I have worked in are minerals/natural resources/electricity and construction, which is somewhat of a function of the specific set of countries we specialize in arbitrating against. I would start reviewing public arbitration awards against countries in the region you want to end up in and make a note of what industry sectors those cases typically involve. If you can't start out in East Asia right away, but can do work based in Europe, try to figure out what other regions match up with the industry sectors you're seeing for East Asia. Natural resources tends to be big everywhere, and it's not all that relevant what the particular mineral or resource is (as far as you're concerned) because the experts will be dealing with that subject matter. But different kinds of investments are viewed differently under different treaties and conventions. A construction case reads a lot differently than a natural resources case, and I'm sure there are a lot of industry sectors that look different from either of them that I've never worked on.

Mockingbird42
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby Mockingbird42 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
boardcookies wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'd figure out which firms do arbitration work in East Asia. My firm does a lot of investor-state work, but I am unaware of any in that region, for instance. Many firms are very region-specific based on their client relationships. Find literally any attorney who does that work at any of those firms that is an alum of your school and reach out to them. Professor connections could help, but only if that professor specializes in international arbitration work or East Asian law generally. If you have a professor that has served as an expert witness in international arbitrations (domestic law is typically a fact issue that expert witnesses will opine on), that is golden.


Very helpful, thank you.

The answer is probably obvious, but I'd like to ask just to confirm -- is it difficult to lateral between int'l arbitration groups between firms that focus on different regions?

For example, if I start at a firm in NY that does investor-state work focused in Europe, will it be prohibitively difficult to lateral to a different firm with a group that focuses in East Asia?


I don't know the answer to that specific question because I've had zero involvement with any East Asia work. The skills obviously transition, since you'll be operating in the same universe of rules (ICSID, UNCITRAL, etc.) as in European-based arbitrations. The difference, if anything, could be more due to the industry sector the firms specialize in. The industries that I have worked in are minerals/natural resources/electricity and construction, which is somewhat of a function of the specific set of countries we specialize in arbitrating against. I would start reviewing public arbitration awards against countries in the region you want to end up in and make a note of what industry sectors those cases typically involve. If you can't start out in East Asia right away, but can do work based in Europe, try to figure out what other regions match up with the industry sectors you're seeing for East Asia. Natural resources tends to be big everywhere, and it's not all that relevant what the particular mineral or resource is (as far as you're concerned) because the experts will be dealing with that subject matter. But different kinds of investments are viewed differently under different treaties and conventions. A construction case reads a lot differently than a natural resources case, and I'm sure there are a lot of industry sectors that look different from either of them that I've never worked on.


There isn't that much international arbitration work coming out of China; they have been respondent only twice in ISDS and is very unpopular for commercial arbitration. Chinese courts rarely respect arbitration clauses unless they are undeniably clear, and, as a result, they rarely enforce foreign judgments. While the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission does exist, no one trusts a Chinese court to rule against the Chinese party. Plus all the cases I've seen that do involve Chinese parties, they hired European firms (e.g. Dentons, Herbert Smith Freehills, etc.).

If you want to do work regarding China and you aren't dead set on arbitration, I would look into areas like int'l transactions, int'l M&A, or trade remedies. If you like int'l arbitration, you will probably need to go to work out of a non-US office.

Regardless, I recommend reading kluwerarbitrationblog.com to learn about the kinds of cases there are.

boardcookies
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Re: Int'l Arbitration Work

Postby boardcookies » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:...


Mockingbird42 wrote:...


Invaluable advice. Thank you both.




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