Transnational Arbitration

Arbitration Reform in Practice - What Changes?

18th ITA-ASIL Conference

Virtual Conference

Past Event

MCLE Credit available

Details for connecting to the conference will be sent from zoom shortly after we receive your registration. If you did not receive a link, please email Cecilia Flores


The ½-day ITA-ASIL Conference is presented annually by the ITA Academic Council with the American Society for International Law (ASIL) immediately preceding the ASIL Annual Meeting. Scholarship is a hallmark of this conference.

The conference this year offers a unique opportunity to hear reformers and practitioners discussing the future of international arbitration. We will appraise the many reform processes currently underway in arbitration from the diverse perspectives of those reforming the system and those who act within it as counsel and users. What are the main trends and what will be the consequences of these reform efforts on actual practice? What do stakeholders and practitioners think about these reform efforts? Have we reached ‘reform fatigue’ and will the reforms already in place satisfy the critics?

Conference Co-Chairs

Laurence Boisson de Chazournes
Professor of Law
Co-Director of the Geneva Center for International Dispute Settlement (CIDS)
Law Faculty, University of Geneva
Geneva, Switzerland

Patrick W. Pearsall
Allen & Overy LLP
Washington, D.C.

Schedule and Faculty

10:00 am ET


  • Joseph E. Neuhaus, Chair, ITA Advisory Board
    Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, New York City
  • Catherine Amirfar, President, ASIL
    Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York

10:05-10:35 am ET


What are the long-term goals of those seeking to change how investment disputes are resolved? Should today’s proposed reforms be best understood as seeking to advance lawyerly goals like ‘rule of law’ or ‘sovereign equality’? Or are they really about securing economic fairness or justice in the sense of political economy? Prof. Alvarez will put the reforms being considered in places like UNCITRAL in historical context to consider where we might be going and why.

Prof. José E. Alvarez, Herbert and Rose Rubin Professor of International Law, New York University School of Law, New York


10:35-10:40 am ET


10:40-11:40 am ET


International commercial and investment arbitration is in the midst of substantial reform process. Several initiatives have been taken in various fora (such as the ICC, ICSID, and UNCITRAL) with the aim of improving the procedures at stake. This panel, while identifying some of the core features of these reform proposals, will discuss how arbitration may evolve as a result. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on arbitration will also be assessed. The reforms will be discussed from the perspective of their impact on approaches to international dispute settlement more broadly.

Introduction and Moderator: Prof. Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Co-Chair


  • Anna Joubin-Bret, Secretary of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), and Director of the International Trade Law Division of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, Vienna
  • Meg Kinnear, Vice President and Secretary-General, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), Washington, D.C.
  • Alexander G. Fessas, Secretary General of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, Paris

Roundtable and Q&A

11:40-11:45 am ET


11:45-12:45 pm ET


How will the various reform efforts currently ongoing in various fora impact practitioners and users of international arbitration? Are the reforms contemplated sufficient to quell the scepticism of many regarding private international dispute resolutions legitimacy? The panel will take up some of the themes discussed in the first session and debate whether we have come far enough, whether and to what extent more reform is necessary, and how the reforms contemplated may impact the practice of arbitration in the years to come.

Introduction and Moderator: Patrick W. Pearsall, Co-Chair


  • Colin Brown, Head of Unit, Legal Affairs/Dispute Settlement (Trade and Sustainable Development and Investment), European Commission, Brussels
  • Prof. Makane Mbengue, Professor of International Law and Director of the International Law Department, University of Geneva, Geneva
  • Ana María Ordoñez Puentes, Director, International Legal Defense, National Agency for Legal Defense of the State (ANDJE), Ministry of Justice of Colombia, Bogotá
  • Jeremy K. Sharpe, independent arbitrator and practitioner, former Chief of Investment Arbitration in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State, Ottawa

Roundtable and Q&A

12:45 pm ET


  • Prof. Chiara Giorgetti, Chair, ITA Academic Council
    University of Richmond School of Law, Washington, D.C.

Register now as well for two related programs during this same week:
(separate registration is required)

Oral History Interview of Hon. Gabrielle Kirk McDonald

Monday, March 22, 2021 -- Virtual Event (free)
12:00 noon – 1:00 pm Eastern Time

2021 ASIL Virtual Annual Meeting

Wednesday-Friday, March 24-26, 2021
Don’t miss the presentation to Judge McDonald of the 2021 Prominent Woman in International Law Award by the ASIL Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG) on Thursday, March 25.

CLE Credit

This program is approved by the State Bar of Texas for a total of 2.5 hours, of which no credit hours will apply to ethics/professional responsibility credit. Course ID Number: 174114966.

MCLE credit will not be requested in any other jurisdiction, but attendees may be able to obtain credit in other jurisdictions by self-applying for credit or through reciprocity rules. ITA in-person conferences are typically accredited by all mandatory CLE states, but MCLE rules, including rules governing online programs, vary in each jurisdiction. Certain programs, subjects, and formats may not receive credit in certain jurisdictions and there may be specific rules regarding who may earn credit or the maximum number of credit hours that may be earned with specific formats. Please review the MCLE regulations and rules of your jurisdiction and contact your regulatory entity if you have specific questions about the jurisdiction’s MCLE rules.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship Opportunities have been reduced and revised to recognize the special business pressures on our corporate and firm members this strange year. While we anticipate sharply increased attendance this year enabled by the online format, we also recognize that many of our members are facing challenging circumstances. We are too and we very much appreciate your sponsorship support this year.

The 18th ITA ASIL Conference offers outstanding sponsorship opportunities for you to promote your firm or company starting at just $1,500. Benefits include free registration for one or more delegates and publicity to many thousands of interested arbitrators, practitioners, in-house counsel and other ITA and ASIL constituents.

Conference Sponsor - $ 1,500 (up to four sponsors max)

  • Exposure to thousands of ITA constituents and thousands of ASIL constituents
  • Recognition as a sponsor of the Conference at the Conference itself, on the Conference website, and in e-marketing on social media
  • Express recognition in the Conference introductory remarks
  • Five complimentary Conference registrations
  • Name/logo on the Conference website with link to company webpage or company video clip
  • Post-conference recognition at the ITA and ASIL websites, in ITA’s publications ITA in Review and News & Notes, and on social media

Online Materials Sponsor - $500 (up to four sponsors max)

  • Exposure to thousands of ITA constituents and thousands of ASIL constituents
  • Company/Firm Name on Online Materials Index webpage
  • Recognition as an ITA-ASIL Conference Materials Sponsor on the Conference website, in e-marketing and on social media
  • Two Unlimited complimentary Virtual Conference registrations
  • Name/logo on the conference website with link to company webpage
  • Post-conference recognition at the ITA and ASIL websites, in ITA’s ITA in Review and and News & Notes, and on social media

For further information, please contact ITA Sponsorships Coordinator Lilly Hogarth at, +1.972 244 3424.

Other Information

Nondiscriminatory Policy

The Center for American and International Law does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other protected status in educational activities, scholarship programs or admissions.

Privacy Policy

We do not sell or rent information to any outside parties. By providing your information, you will receive postal and electronic communications from the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA) of The Center for American and International Law (CAIL) in accordance with CAIL's Privacy Policy. If we co-sponsor a program with another organization, information may be shared between the parties. All such co-sponsors will be identified on the event details and registration page. At any point, you can opt-out or unsubscribe by selecting either link at the bottom of each email or call us at 972.244.3400.

Sponsor an Event

Presented by

Conference Sponsors

Online Materials Sponsors