Boutiques call for arbitrators as LCIA adapts

With arbitrators fleeing firms for boutiques and new rules expected from the LCIA any day it’s an exciting time to be in the settlement business.

According to the incoming director general at the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) the market is continuing to hot up. But with increased competition from regional centres, organisations like the LCIA are having to adapt to keep up with the pace. For the LCIA that means the first sweeping rule change since 1998.

Is Dutch arbitrator Jacomijn van Haersolte-van Hof intimidated by keeping up the centre’s overseas growth? Not a bit, but launches in Dubai, Seoul, Mauritius and Delhi could just be the start for this institution.

While we’re on the LCIA topic, former president Jan Paulsson, who spearheaded the centre’s move to Dubai, has branched out to set up a boutique with several fellow Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer alumni.

That firm is a popular departure point for boutiques – German partner Christian Borris is also leaving for conflict-free pastures.

Freshfields isn’t the only firm to have waved goodbye to arbitrators. Hogan Lovells’s Paris arbitration veteran Jean-Georges Betto was another setting up his own boutique a year ago.

The entrepreneurial trend is led by arbitrators seeking a simpler life, away from the conflicts found in international firms – although with arbitration still a popular dispute resolution mechanism, that doesn’t necessarily mean a quieter existence.

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