Miami Law International Arbitration Students Attend Latin American Arbitration Conference

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Students from the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. Program at Miami Law participated in last month's Conferencia Latinoamericana de Arbitraje (CLA), co-organized with the Miami International Arbitration Society (MIAS). The conference featured Latin American and U.S.-based practitioners discussing transparency, appeal in arbitration, inherent powers and bankruptcy and arbitration. It also served to cement Miami's reputation as an arbitration hub as well as a forum for Latin American lawyers to build relationships and to get to know Miami Law’s arbitration students.

Sergio Blanco-Herrera, Kellie Portie, Nicolle Lafosse, Sergio Ruiz, and Raul Gonzalez

Miami Law's Sandra Friedrich, Director & Lecturer in Law of the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. Graduate Program, Marike Paulsson, Director of the International Arbitration Institute and Lecturer in Law, and Professor Jan Paulsson, holder of the Michael Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair, participated in the event. Friedrich spoke on a panel on “The Power to Change One’s Mind:  Can It Apply in International Arbitration,” organized by the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Young Arbitrators Forum in conjunction with CLA. Miami Law International Arbitration LL.M. students Alejandro Alvarez, Sergio Blanco-Herrera, Kevin Correa, Ana Lombardia and Kellie Portie as well as International Law LL.M. student Nicolle Lafosse attended the conference as student volunteers and acted as "special rapporteurs" to the conference panels, mingling with future employers during the lunches and cocktail receptions, including a cocktail party organized by Future of Arbitration: Miami (FAM), a young professionals organization dedicated to promoting international arbitration and alternative dispute resolution in South Florida.

 “Having the opportunity to participate in the Conferencia Latinoamericana de Arbitraje as a student volunteer was amazing," said Sergio Blanco-Herrera, an LL.M. student from Colombia who hopes to find work in Miami after his graduation. "I had the privilege to hear and engage with the major figures in the field of arbitration. An opportunity like this allowed me to learn from the best in the profession and gave me very powerful insights that prepared me for future professional challenges in the field of arbitration.”

One panel, on "Transparency in Arbitration" was of particular interest to the students in attendance. Speakers addressed the students directly and gave them advice on transparency for their future careers in arbitration.  Moderator Marike Paulsson showcased the various research projects conducted by Miami Law’s International Arbitration Institute and its students.

The Institute addresses topics not to be resolved anytime soon by the community: the Institute is researching bias with data collected by UM’s former Dean Soia Mentschikoff, a type of data collection that remains unprecedented to date.  More recently, the Institute has launched a research project on award data to collect more insights on transparency.

The panel format forced the audience to speak up which led to disagreement and tensions rising as to how far we should go with transparency, Marike Paulsson says. Criticism was voiced about the relevance and real value of research on arbitrator intelligence; compilations of lists of data on the availability of arbitrators. The discussion brought about a cultural clash among the audience on whether any comparison could be made between US judges and arbitrators, especially from those of Latin America signaling another halt to the Americanization of arbitration and imposing the US view on a global arbitration community.

Some felt that not that much time should be spent on exposing arbitrators but rather accept that users still want the leading arbitrators: “The Formula I Arbitrators.”  Students witnessed the unfolding of a debate that was entertaining, informative and inspiring at the same time, Marike Paulsson said.

“I welcomed the chance to serve as a panelist at the CLA conference, which was very well attended and included experienced, leading practitioners from all around the Americas," said Miami Law alumnus Richard C. Lorenzo, who is Hogan Lovells’ Office Managing Partner in Miami, and who specializes in complex cross-border disputes. "It also served as a wonderful forum for Miami law students, including those from the University of Miami, to participate in one of the leading arbitral conferences.”

The White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. Program, under the leadership of Jan Paulsson, holder of the Michael Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair, provides a unique individualized educational opportunity for a small group of top quality students from a range of countries, wishing to acquire an in-depth grounding in the field of international arbitration as a platform for a successful career. The program - the only one of its kind in the United States - is open to U.S. and foreign-trained law graduates, and is ideal for newcomers to the field or experienced practitioners looking to enrich their skills and knowledge.