CHARLOTTE INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION SOCIETY (CIAS) HOLDS FALL OPEN MEETING AND NETWORKING EVENT PROMOTING CHARLOTTE AS HUB FOR INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION
John W. Lassiter, Chair of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina presented: “An Update on Economic Development in North Carolina: A Strategic Approach”
Charlotte, NC, January 2X, 2016 — Last month, in partnership with the international law firm K&L Gates, the Charlotte International Arbitration Society (CIAS) held its fall Open Meeting and International Business Networking event at K&L Gates’ offices in the city’s Hearst Tower.
The event provided a forum for members of regionally-based international law firms, business executives, civic leaders and elected officials to participate in candid conversations regarding international arbitration’s growing importance as Charlotte’s influence in the global economy continues to expand. Keynote speaker John W. Lassiter, Chair of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, not only emphasized Charlotte’s central role in international business, but he also highlighted the link between international arbitration and economic growth.
“North Carolina’s engagement in the international marketplace depends on organizations such as the Charlotte International Arbitration Society to show our foreign trading partners that we are committed to all aspects of international trade, including efficient and cost-effective dispute resolution services,” Mr. Lassiter said.
The event also sent a strong message to business leaders in the region. As CIAS Chairman and President Chase Saunders recalled, the networking event allowed some of the region’s most accomplished leaders to position their businesses for greater growth in the coming year.
“Thanks to our partners and sponsors, including K&L Gates, Moore & Van Allen, Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog, Bridgehouse Law and Alan Gordon Immigration Law our final event of the year was a tremendous success,” Mr. Saunders said. “We had legislators, honorary consuls, international banking and legal professionals, exporters and supply chain experts, law professors, manufacturers and distributors in attendance. This confirmed that there is an appreciation of the mission of the CIAS, which is to serve the business communities in both North and South Carolina with a convenient venue for the arbitration of contested commercial matters.”
Also participating in the event was State Senator Jeff Jackson, who represents Charlotte and the surrounding Mecklenburg County.
“The Charlotte metropolitan region is not only one of the fastest growing regions in the United States, but it’s also a leader in attracting international business to the area,” Senator Jackson said. “The work of the Charlotte International Arbitration Society is an important part of North Carolina’s economic future as the organization continues to build its education and outreach programs to promote a legal and business climate that welcomes international commerce and global trade.”
CIAS Vice Chair Carolyn Dubay detailed that work in her presentation by providing some compelling facts and figures about global trends favoring international arbitration over traditional litigation. According to Ms. Dubay, who will serve as an arbitrator in the world’s largest international arbitration moot court in Vienna in 2016, “the numbers tell an important story not only about an increasing preference for arbitration, but also a global commitment to find common ground among businesses, lawyers, arbitrators, domestic courts and lawmakers to facilitate international commerce.”
Belk, Inc. attorney Luther Moore led a lively panel discussion on International Arbitration and Business Development. The panelists answered questions on why arbitration is important to business growth and how holding international arbitration in Charlotte benefits the Carolinas. Panelists included Norma Abbene of the global strategic consulting firm Abbene | Smith Global LLC; Reinhard von Hennigs, managing partner at Bridgehouse Law; Kaumil Shah of GreerWalker LLP; and Mica Nguyen Worthy of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog.
“Attendees at CIAS’ open meeting asked great questions about the relationship between international arbitration and economic development opportunities in North Carolina,” Ms. Nguyen Worthy said. “My colleagues and I see the expansion of international arbitration into the Charlotte metropolitan region as an opportunity to provide additional services and meet the unique international needs our clients are facing in the global economy, and in this way we seek to provide broader and better legal services to our clients.”
“Today’s business climate requires that we go beyond conventional strategies and partner in innovative ways to promote sustainable, long-term growth,” Mrs. Abbene said. “CIAS is focused on creating those partnerships. The Society creates a bridge between the international legal and business communities and fosters opportunities that bring economic benefits not only to its clients, but to the entire regional economy of the Carolinas as well.”
Kaumil Shah of GreerWalker agrees.
“Having the resources and ability to conduct international arbitration in Charlotte, NC is part of the legal infrastructure required to attract and retain not only foreign-owned businesses, but it also provides a higher level of certainty for U.S. businesses that have investments overseas,” Mr. Shah said.
That sentiment was echoed by panelist Reinhard von Hennigs of BridgehouseLaw LLP.
“Many foreign companies that are interested in relocating to the Carolinas are afraid of litigation in the United States,” Mr. von Hennigs said. “Having local arbitration based in Charlotte eases and reduces this concern. This will motivate international companies to open their U.S. subsidiaries here in Charlotte. The benefit will also be a growth of employment in the Carolinas through foreign direct investment. It would also benefit domestic companies to export internationally. Charlotte companies would get a ‘home turf’ advantage in their international dealings.”
Based in Charlotte, NC, CIAS was created to promote the use of Charlotte, with its international airport hub and amenities, as the most convenient venue and seat for international commercial arbitration involving businesses engaged in international commerce in North Carolina and South Carolina.
For more information, visit us at www.charlottearbitrationsociety.org
Norma Abbene (CIAS) 212-608-7585
International Arbitration Seminar held in Raleigh, NC on September 16, 2015
William Harazin, CIAS Director (K&L Gates)
On September 16, 2015 J.P. Duffy (K&L Gates Partner, New York) and Dan Stephenson (K&L Gates Partner, Raleigh) presented at the Research Triangle Are Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (RTAC-ACC) Lunch and Learn: “The Benefits of International Arbitration for Cross-Border Transactions.” They provided an overview of alternative dispute resolutions options, advantages and disadvantages of each, and the benefits of international arbitration as the chosen dispute resolution mechanism for cross-border transactions.
J.P. Duffy (K&L Gates Partner, New York) argued that International Commercial Arbitration is the preferred method of dispute resolution for cross-border transactions because it offers superior neutrality, confidentiality, flexibility and enforceability of both clauses and awards. After discussing the benefits of international commercial arbitration, Mr. Duffy offered clause drafting tips, including the best arbitral seats, institutions and governing laws for various jurisdictions. Additionally, Mr. Duffy addressed investment treaty arbitration and the need for parties investing outside their home jurisdiction to consider investment treaty protection and treaty structuring.
Dan Stephenson (K&L Gates Partner, Raleigh) offered the question: which is better – arbitration or litigation? Sometimes you have no choice, but when you do, there are some situations where international arbitration is the best answer. Two such scenarios are (1) when a U.S. corporation is involved in a dispute centered outside the U.S., and (2) when a non-U.S. company encounters a U.S.-based dispute. In the former scenario, international arbitration allows the corporation to use its trusted U.S. counsel who already knows the company, the documents, and the witnesses. In the latter scenario, international arbitration can avoid intrusive, far-ranging discovery and the biases against foreigners that some jurors bring to the table. Having an arbitration clause is best, of course, but even if you don’t have one, it’s still possible to arbitrate by post-dispute agreement. A seasoned expert can guide you through the process.
International Law Symposium
On June 12, 2015, the Charlotte International Arbitration Society (CIAS) hosted its first International Law Symposium. ParkerPoe was the presenting sponsor and provided the wonderful presentation space for the event. Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog LLP, Greer Walker, Moore & Van Allen and K&L Gates were title sponsors.
The 2015 International Law Symposium emphasized the topic of international contract drafting with keynote speaker Anne Marie Whitesell of the International Law Institute. Ms. Whitesell is a Professor of Law at Georgetown University and is a faculty director at the International Law Institute. She is the former secretary of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Court of Arbitration.
Ms. Whitesell began her keynote presentation with a discussion regarding the specific characteristics of international commercial arbitration. She also discussed the various advantages and disadvantages of arbitration compared to litigation. Ms. Whitesell informed that the number of international arbitration cases is rising significantly as the world is becoming more globalized. As an example, the number of new cases filed with the ICC in 1992 was 337, while last year, in 2014, the number of new cases reached 791.
Ms. Whitesell then turned her attention to the key drafting issues with arbitration clauses in contracts. She discussed the importance of the venue of the arbitration. The place of the arbitration becomes the legal “seat” for procedural matters and is the location where the court will provide a supervisory role. Importantly, with international arbitrations, if the location of the arbitration is in a common law country, then typically the Chairman of the arbitral tribunal will also be from a common law tradition, as compared to a civil law tradition.
Attorney John Branson of ParkerPoe then facilitated a very interesting discussion between Ms. Whitesell and attorney David Branson, partner of King Branson. Mr. David Branson has been involved in a number of international arbitrations and at the time of the Symposium was involved in a case where issues of a pathological arbitration clause had arisen.
Ms. Whitesell and Mr. Branson then debated on two “hot topic” issues in international arbitration: Whether arbitrations are “just another form of litigation” and whether there is a value or disservice in having party-appointed arbitrators.
After the intriguing debate, the participants were divided into two rooms for breakout sessions. One breakout session discussed updates and issues in Bills of Lading presented by Sheila Cox, President of Global Match, LLC. The other breakout session focused on the issues with and use of INCOTERMS® in international contracts, presented by Mica Nguyen Worthy, attorney with Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP. The participants asked great questions and had the opportunity to discuss the impact of the issues raised in the two break-out sessions.
After the official program ended, the participants then enjoyed networking at the Happy Hour reception. There were over 45 registered attendees, including attorneys and in-house counsel from various firms and companies in both North and South Carolina.