November 18, 2005

With more and more business being done between countries each year, it is becoming more and more common to rely on arbitration to resolve disputes, said Robert Briner, the chair of the International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration, during a November 11 series of panel discussions on international dispute resolution. The series was moderated by Partner Lawrence S. Schaner, Co-Chair of the Firm’s Arbitration: Domestic and International Practice.

"Last year alone the ICC resolved disputes in 137 countries, between over 1,000 parties, in scores of languages," said Dr. Briner said to approximately 40 Illinois State Bar Association members and students of international law at "Current Issues in International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration," held at the ISBA Chicago Regional Office.

Dr. Briner was a featured panelist at two additional panel discussions held at Jenner & Block’s Chicago office, titled "Arbitration and the In-House Counsel, What Every Corporate Legal Executive Needs to Know," and "What’s Next for Attorneys and Their Clients in International Dispute Resolution?" The former was co-sponsored by the Chicago chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel; the latter by the United States Council for International Business.

In addition, Messrs. Briner and Schaner teamed up for yet a fourth panel discussion on the same day -- the John Marshall Law School was the site of "Litigation Versus Arbitration:  A One-Hour Introduction to the Benefits and Drawbacks of Alternative Dispute Resolution and International Commercial Arbitration," which was attended by almost 40 law students.

"These public events provided a great opportunity for people to get to know firsthand from Dr. Briner what is going on in the field today," said Mr. Schaner, chair of the USCIB’s Arbitration Committee’s Midwest subcommittee.

"Arbitration and the In-House Counsel" also featured Partner Terri L. Mascherin as a panelist. Ms. Mascherin just completed a successful representation of a client in a AAA arbitration and related litigation over a breach of contract.

Ms. Mascherin noted that the use of arbitration in consumer contracts is a relatively recent development, particularly due to the U.S. Supreme Court expanding the scope of mandatory arbitration through several important decisions in the last 20 years. The perceived drawbacks of courtroom litigation, including cost, publicity, the unpredictability of juries, extensive discovery, the length of litigation proceedings, and the possibility of class actions, all have contributed to the trend, according to Ms. Mascherin.

Since forming soon after World War I in 1923, the ICC International Court of Arbitration has administered over 13,000 international arbitration cases involving parties from all over the world. Dr. Briner is currently in his third three-year term as Chair, and is also a partner of the law firm Lenz & Staehelin in Geneva, Switzerland.

Pictured at right: Dr. Briner and Mr. Schaner at the ISBA Chicago Regional Office on "Current Issues in International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration;" Mr. Schaner introducing Dr. Briner; panelists for "Arbitration and the In-House Counsel, What Every Corporate Legal Executive Needs to Know:"  Katherine L. Adams, Vice President and General Counsel for Honeywell Specialty Materials, Dr. Briner, and Ms. Mascherin.