White & Case, Washington, DC
Why international arbitration?
I love the variety of issues and people that I encounter in the field. My clients and colleagues are from all over the world and I enjoy learning about different legal systems and cultures.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
The Methanex case always will remain one of the highlights of my career – the case raised a multitude of interesting procedural and substantive issues; the hearing was lively and unforgettable; and the win was big!
Who do you consider your mentor?
My partners at White & Case, particularly Carolyn Lamm and Abby Cohen Smutny.
Is there anyone else in the field that you especially admire?
Johnny Veeder, Albert Jan van den Berg, Michael Reisman, Brigette Stern.
What other career might you have chosen?
At one time, I considered joining the Foreign Service and becoming a diplomat.
What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Persevere. Work hard and, if you like what you’re doing, stick with it even when things get difficult, as they will at times.
Do you sit as an arbitrator?
I have been asked to sit in both an investment treaty and commercial arbitration, but in both cases had to decline because of conflicts. I received the first enquiry by e-mail; I was 41.
What are the biggest challenges facing arbitration?
The high cost and length of time for an award to be rendered. With regard to ICSID arbitrations, the annulment system is becoming a serious challenge.
If you could change one thing about the system...?
Post-hearing briefs! When I began practising in the field, these weren't always required. and, when they were, they were restricted to particular questions that arose during the hearing. Now they tend to be much more comprehensive. In my view, a skilled advocate should be able to summarise the case and draw the tribunal’s attention to important points of evidence during closing arguments. Substantial post-hearing briefs increase costs and it can be difficult to summon the energy to rehash all of the arguments and evidence following a long hearing.