Professor Michael Reisman on International Arbitration at Carolyn Lamm/White & Case Lecture


Professor Michael Reisman, the Myers S. McDougal Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, recently spoke at the second annual Carolyn Lamm/White & Case International Arbitration Lecture at Miami Law where he discussed “The Empire Strikes Back: The Struggles to Reshape Investor-State Dispute Settlement.”  The event also featured the unveiling of Carolyn Lamm’s portrait.

Professor Michael Reisman and Dean Patricia White

Reisman was introduced by Marike Paulsson, Director of the Miami Law's International Arbitration Institute, who quoted Stephen M. Schwebel, former President of the International Court of Justice in describing Reisman as “today’s world number one scholar in public international law.”

In the lecture, Reisman traced the origins of what he calls the “great compact” that is the foundation of the contemporary international investment system and the effect that modern-day dialectic forces of economic nationalism and globalization have on it. The recent pushback by capital-exporting states to unmold their own creation has several consequences, he noted. These include the anchoring of the fair and equitable treatment and expropriation standards to customary international law edifices, the restrictive reading of the most-favored nation clause holding its inapplicability to dispute resolution provisions and proposals for the establishment of an international investment court where investors would have no control over the constitution of the tribunal.

These changes, he noted, are propelled by social undercurrents based on transnationalisation of specific sectors, unemployment as a by-product of advancements in technology coupled with economic cycles of recession and aggravating climate change. However, while we might be at a critical crossroads, the legal system as a conception has been constantly chiseled by change and challenge.

Reisman quoted the words of Theodore Roosevelt in his 6th annual message to Congress and hoped that our leaders, “the current custodians of the compact,” have the wisdom to not make the mistake of basing government action on mere selfishness.

Carolyn Lamm with Marike Paulsson

The second part of the event honored Visiting Professor and Miami Law alumna Carolyn Lamm. Dean Patricia White introduced Lamm as one of  only10 women who graduated from the law school in 1973 and who has since then become a “lioness” in the international arbitration world.  Lamm, who currently practices as a partner in the White & Case, Washington D.C. office, was a former President of the American Bar Association and representative of the ABA to the United Nations and the International Bar Association.

Her portrait, which was unveiled by Hugh Verrier, Chairman of White & Case, Peter Halle, Lamm’s husband, and Professor Jan Paulsson, faculty chair of the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. Program, was sketched by Jon Friedman, a well-known portrait artist. Friedman’s works hang at the Phillip’s Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Among his reputed commissions are portraits of Michael Bloomberg, David Baltimore and Michael Walzer. Lamm’s portrait will be hung at the ceremonial room in the law school library in honor of her generosity and dedication to Miami Law.

“This evening we honor Carolyn Lamm’s exceptional contribution to the legal fraternity and our school,” said Dean White.