Pledge Corporate Subcommitte members, Giulia Previti of Buford Capital and Ashley Jones of Freshfields, analyse why companies have an important role to play in achieving better gender diversity on arbitral tribunals.
Arbitration analysis: The Equal Representation in Arbitration (ERA) Pledge (the Pledge) recently celebrated its five-year anniversary following its launch in May 2016. Ashley Jones, senior knowledge lawyer in disputes, litigation and arbitration at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer offers an overview of the initiative.
Like many other industries, the field of international arbitration has adjusted to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hearings have gone virtual; arbitrators, counsel and experts have adapted to working from home; and conferences have become webinars. Rather than being limited to candidates that would be available in a particular jurisdiction at any one time, conference organisers now have a global pool of candidates to draw from as potential speakers, constrained only by time zone considerations. One would therefore expect to see greater diversity than ever in the speaker line-ups for arbitration webinars over the past few months. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
A recent study conducted by members of the Law and Policy Lab at Stanford Law School to review, and provide an overview of the findings and recommendations resulting from, existing research and scholarship into the problems of the retention and advancement of women lawyers in elite national law firms.
L. Barrington, Aculex Transnational, R. Rana SC, 39 Essex Chambers
K. Claussen, The Diversity Challenge: Exploring the "Invisible College" of International Arbitration, S.D. Franck, Washington & Lee University School of Law, J. Freda, United Nations, SRSG-SVC, K. Lavin, T. Lehmann, University of St. Gallen, A. van Aaken, University of St. Gallen
D.R. Demeter, School of Law & Justice, University of Canberra, P. Easteal, School of Law, University of Canberra, N. Nelson
Franck, Susan D. and Freda, James and Lavin, Kellen and Lehmann, Tobias A. and van Aaken, Anne, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 53, Page 429, 2015.
Franck, Susan D. and Freda, James and Lavin, Kellen and Lehmann, Tobias A. and van Aaken, Anne, ICCA Congress Series No. 18, Legitimacy: Myths, Realities, Challenges, pp. 33-122, 2015.
Getting a better balance on international arbitration tribunals, Lucy Greenwood and Mark Baker. The authors published this article in 2012 as the first of several articles focusing on gender diversity in international arbitration. Through the collation of previously unreported statistics from the various arbitral institutions they were able to highlight the extent of the poor representation of women on arbitral tribunals. Alongside the statistics they provided valuable commentary and analysis as to the factors affecting arbitral appointments that contribute to exacerbate the problem, for example, unconscious bias and lack of transparency.
In this 2015 article the authors update and expand on the research which underpinned their original article. They also discuss the responsibility for meaningful change, noting that although responsibility lies with the institutions to track and publish information about the gender make-up of arbitrations they administer, ultimate responsibility lies with those making the appointments. A key theme in this article is the idea that increased diversity may improve the quality of tribunal deliberations and awards.
McKinsey’s research found a statistically significant relationship between a more diverse leadership and better financial performance. The report also looks at practical ways in which companies can become more diverse.
The UK Government initiated a review into gender equality on the boards of listed companies. This report examines the situation in 2011, using the number of women on FTSE 350 corporate boards as a starting point, considers the business case for having gender-diverse boards and then sets out some recommendations for achieving urgent change. The report outlines the very strong business case for more balanced boards leading to better decision-making.
Law360, New York (April 5, 2017, 3:47 PM EDT) -- Gender diversity took center stage nearly a year ago when stakeholders in international arbitration signed a pledge to increase the number of female appointed arbitrators, and while diversity proponents say there's been improvement in recent years, work still remains.