Conference Summary–CIArb NAB’s Resolving Disputes with Companies From Asia: What is the Best Approach?

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The North American Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators invited their members and international colleagues to join them in San Francisco on Saturday, January 22, 2016 for a conference titled “Resolving Disputes with Companies From Asia: What is the Best Approach?” And come they did! From all over the United States, Mexico, the Cayman Islands, Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, China, Malaysia, and Japan, to the University of California Hastings College of Law.

With the city abuzz in preparation for the 50th Super Bowl, San Francisco’s clouds parted and shone brightly on our speakers who travelled long distances to share their experience and wisdom with 137 registrants. This year’s President of the CIArb, Professor Sundra Rajoo FCIArb, who is one of a small group of honored Malaysians who hold the esteemed title of “Datuk”, opened the substantive portion of the conference with an overview of recent developments in arbitration in Asia and his predictions of its future directions.

The conference also featured Past President of the CIArb, Teresa Cheng FCIArb from Hong Kong, who spoke during the lunch hour in an interview format with Southern California Chapter Chair, Ambassador David Huebner FCIArb, revealing herself to be both astute and charming.

Other topics and speakers included Richard Eastman FCIArb from San Francisco and Dr. Eun Young Park from Korea, speaking on the topic of “Determining the Dispute Resolution Process”; and on the topic “Enforcement of Arbitral Awards and Court Orders” we heard from Singapore’s Christopher Lau FCIArb, Susan Munro MCIArb from Beijing, and Hiroyuki Tezuka from Tokyo.

The program was jam-packed with an array of other arbitration luminaries, namely, Steven K. Andersen, Khong Cheng-Yee, Benjamin Hughes FCIArb, Craig Celniker, Lawrence Schaner FCIArb, Jingzhou Tao FCIArb, Katherine Hope Gurun, Lester Schiefelbein FCIArb, Mark LeHocky and very able moderators including Sally Harpole FCIArb, Jeff Benz FCIArb, Anton Ware, and Grant L. Kim FCIArb.

The event concluded with an Asian dinner in San Francisco’s well-known Embarcardero Center. However, for the Executive Committee of the CIArb NAB and its Chapter Chairs, NAB President, John Garman FCIArb convened a next day planning retreat where, with much enthusiasm and energy, ideas were discussed, training sessions were planned, and a feeling of camaraderie and unity was displayed, each participant eager to invest his or her time to see the Branch grow and prosper. By the time this article goes to print we will have had another successful training session in Montreal, Canada.

Other training courses planned for 2016 include a Fellowship program in Houston, Texas from May 20 to 22; a Chicago, Illinois Introduction and Fellowship program from August 19 to 21; and a Fellowship session in Boston, Massachusetts from October 28 to 30. As well, plans are underway for an Energy conference in Houston, Texas in April 2017, together with a second planning retreat for executive members and chapter chairs.


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Special thanks to Georgialee Lang FCIArb for this post. Georgialee Lang has practiced as a trial and appellate lawyer in Vancouver, Canada for 27 years. She has experience in all levels of courts including three appearances at the Supreme Court of Canada. She was an adjunct professor for six years in the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia. She is a certified family mediator and an arbitrator with an FCIArb designation. She also blogs at LawDiva and can be followed on Twitter at at @Lawdivas.