The Institute for Transnational Arbitration Chair's Report

Dear Members of the ITA Community,

With the holiday season upon us, I write to convey holiday greetings and to update you on the ITA’s activities.

ITA Extends its Reach in Membership, Programs, and Partnerships

Very special thanks are due to Professor Chip Brower (Wayne State, Detroit) for his leadership in developing ITA’s three-year strategic plan for 2017-2020, which already is reaping benefits.

The size of our membership, our Advisory Board, and our newly reorganized Young ITA are all at all-time highs.  The growth of Young ITA since it was reorganized in April under the leadership of outgoing chair Montserrat Manzano (Von Wobeser y Sierra, Mexico City) and current chair Silvia Marchili (King & Spalding, Houston) has been enormous, now with over 500 members.  ITA’s membership truly is highly diverse, now hailing from 56 countries around the world!

This past year ITA organized and presented four arbitration conferences – in Dallas, Houston, Washington DC, and London – and Young ITA presented another four programs – in Miami, London, Houston, and Mexico City.  During 2018, we will be presenting programs in Dallas, Houston, Washington DC and Santiago, Chile, and Young ITA will be presenting eight different programs on five continents.

Throughout this past year, ITA partnered in its programs and publications with many of the leading institutions in our field, including the American Society of International Law (ASIL), the ICC International Court of Arbitration (ICC), the International Bar Association (IBA), the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), the Latin American Arbitration Association (ALARB), the Brazilian Arbitration Committee (CBAr) and Kluwer Law International.

ITA Launched Young ITA

Our reorganized Young ITA launched with a bang in June, quickly growing ten-fold in membership and beyond that in renewed energy.  Led by chair Silvia Marchili, vice chair Liz Devaney (Occidental Petroleum, Houston) and communications chair Rob Landicho (Vinson & Elkins, Houston), a competitive application process has led to the appointment of an expanded and exceptional leadership team for 2017-2019: thought leader chair Crina Baltag, mentorship chair Laura Sinisterra, and regional chairs Rocío   

Digón (Continental Europe), Tomas Vail (United Kingdom), James Egerton-Vernon (North America), Karima Sauma (Mexico and Central America), José María de la Jara (South America - Spanish speaking jurisdictions), Pedro Guilhardi (Brazil), Chinedum Umeche (Africa) and Aditya Singh (Asia).

#YoungITATalks programs have been successfully combining substantive programming with social networking.  Our program hosts to date have included Covington & Burling with the Barra Mexicana de Abogados (in Mexico City), Hogan Lovells with the Houston International Arbitration Club (HIAC) (in Houston), Vinson & Elkins with ArbitralWomen (in London), White & Case with the Miami International Arbitration Society (MIAS) and the Future of Arbitration Miami (FAM) (in Miami), and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (in Washington DC).  Past programs are available for review at the ITA website,  If you are interested in hosting a #YoungITATalks event in your city, please contact Silvia Marchili or the regional chair for your region.

There is no fee to join Young ITA, which is open to all interested professionals under 40 years old.  The annual meeting of the Young ITA will be in Dallas on Thursday, June 21, 2018, during the 30th ITA Workshop and Annual Meeting.

ITA Welcomes New Executive Committee Members

In June ITA welcomed new Executive Committee members Jean-Christophe Honlet (Dentons, Paris), Rachael Kent (WilmerHale, DC), Jennifer Kirby (Kirby, Paris), Bart Legum (Dentons, Paris), Silvia Marchili (King & Spalding, Houston), Craig Miles (King & Spalding, Houston), Klaus Reichert SC (Brick Court Chambers, London), Ank Santens (White & Case, DC), Luke Sobota (Three Crowns, DC), Professor Frédéric Sourgens (Washburn, Topeka), Erica Stein (Dechert, Brussels), and Sylvia Tonova (Jones Day, London).

The ITA Academic Council Has Continued to Enrich the International Arbitration Community

With luncheon interviews of Albert Jan van den Berg, Professor William “Rusty” Park, Dominique Brown-Berset and Judge Stephen Schwebel during 2017, the Academic Council added to its growing archive of oral history interviews designed to record the evolution of modern international arbitration in the words of those who have led it.  Earlier interviews in the series have included Gerald Aksen, Gary Born, Charles N. Brower, Yves Fortier, Martin Hunter and Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor.  During 2018, the Council will add David Haigh at the ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Energy Arbitration Conference in Houston on January 18-19, Yves Derain at the ITA-ALARB Joint Conference in Santiago on May 3-4, and Claus von Wobeser at the ITA Workshop and Annual Meeting in Dallas on June 20-22.  Thanks are due to Andrea Bjorklund (McGill, Montreal) and Victoria Shannon Sahani (Arizona State, Phoenix) for leading this important project.  The video interviews are all available at the Online Education Library on the ITA website.

The 14th Annual ITA-ASIL Conference in Washington DC, led in 2017 by Professor Stavros Brekoulakis (Queen Mary) and Ruth Teitelbaum (Tenor Capital Management) and co-sponsored by ICCA, offered an advance look and opportunity to comment on the draft ICCA-Queen Mary Report on Third Party Funding.  All three co-chairs of the ICCA-Queen Mary Task Force (Stavros Brekoulakis, Rusty Park and Catherine Rogers) participated on the faculty of the program. 

The 2018 ITA-ASIL Conference, which will be held on April 4, 2018 in Washington DC, will be examining Diversity and Inclusion in International Arbitration under the leadership of co-chairs Caroline Richard and Professor Won Kidane (Seattle).

In what has become an annual event for the Academic Council, Professor Freddie Sourgens is organizing a Works-in-Progress Workshop to be held in January 2018 in connection with the ITA Academic Council’s winter meeting in Washington DC. Works by Stavros Brekoulakis, Tom Stipanowich (Pepperdine) and Patricia Shaughnessy (Stockholm) will be discussed by the members assembled.

Other ongoing activities of the Academic Council include the ITA Legal Educators Resources Collection and Listserv (ITA-LEL) online at the ITA website, moderated by Stacie Strong (Missouri), and the Council’s monthly contributions to KluwerArbitrationBlog, ably organized until recently by Karen Cross (John Marshall), now succeeded by Louise Ellen Teitz (Roger Williams).

Academic Council chair Professor Susan Franck welcomed eight new members in 2017 to three-year terms:  Giuditta Cordero Moss (Oslo), William Dodge (UC-Davis), Kun Fan (McGill), Franco Ferrari (NYU), Josh Karton (Queens), Munir Maniruzzaman (Portsmouth), Caroline Richards (AU/Freshfields), and Patricia Shaughnessy (Stockholm).   

ITA’s Americas Initiative Expands Its Programming

ITA’s Americas Initiative, a self-selecting committee of the Advisory Board led by chair Andrés Jana (Bofill Mir & Álvarez Jana, Santiago) and vice chair Eduardo Gonçalves (Mattos Filho, São Paolo), now counts over 125 members with a focus on international arbitration in Latin America.

Through the leadership of ITA’s Americas Initiative, in 2018 ITA will be partnering with the Asociación Latinoamericana de Arbitraje (ALARB) to present the 1st ITA-ALARB Joint Conference on International Arbitration which will be held on May 3-4, 2018 in Santiago, Chile.  Co-chaired by Andrés Jana and ALARB president (and ITA vice chair) Eduardo Zuleta (Zuleta Abogados, Bogotá), the conference will focus on Arbitrating Disputes in Natural Resources.  The conference luncheon will feature an oral history interview of Yves Derains (Derains & Gharavi, Paris) by Eduardo Zuleta.  Planning is now underway for this exciting event.

With new moderators Elina Mereminskaya (Wagemann & Asociados, Santiago) and Giovanni Nanni (Nanni Advogados, São Paolo) and a team of regular contributors, the Spanish-Portuguese language listserv ITAFOR (the ITA Latin American Arbitration Forum) has grown to over 550 subscribers and is more active than ever.  Thanks are due as well to continuing moderators Professor Fernando Cantuarias (Universidad Del Pacìfico, Lima), Francisco González de Cossío (González de Cossío Abogados, Mexico City), Cliff Hendel (Araoz & Rueda Abogados, Madrid) and Elsa Ortega (Ortega & Gomez Ruano, Mexico City).  There is no charge for subscriptions to ITAFOR, courtesy of ITA and our partners ALARB and the Comitê Brasileiro de Arbitragem (CBAr).

ITA’s second survey of Latin American Arbitral Institutions is now underway under the direction of Cecilia Flores (Flores Rueda Abogados, Mexico City), Eduardo Gonçalves (Mattos Filho, São Paolo) and Jonathan Hamilton (White & Case, DC) and is expected to be ready for publication in the spring.

The annual meeting of the Americas Initiative Committee will be on Friday, June 22, 2018, during the 30th ITA Workshop and Annual Meeting in Dallas.

ITA’s Publications Provide Opportunities to Share Knowledge and to Connect with the ITA Community

ITA offers a variety of publications for our members and the community at large.

Most prominently,, founded in 2001 by ITA and Professor Roger Alford (Notre Dame) with partners Kluwer Law International and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, remains the most comprehensive, up-to-date portal for international arbitration resources on the internet. 

The ITA Arbitration Report, which is available as a free subscription service through, continues to provide timely news of developments in international arbitration based on the contributions of our 85-member Board of Reporters covering 59 countries and arbitral institutions.  The ITA Arbitration Report is assembled under the guidance of general editor Professor Alford and managing editors Elina Mereminskaya (Wagemann & Asociados, Santiago) and Monique Sasson (JAMS, NY).

The ITA Online Education Library at ITA’s website includes the Academic Council’s oral history video interviews as well as archived audio webcasts and a variety of Workshop mock video products – available online on-demand, on USB and on DVD.  These video programs are designed by our Academic Council to demonstrate and explain the major stages of an international commercial arbitration with mock scenes, expert commentaries, study guides and other supporting materials.  CLE credit is available.

ITA’s newsletter, News & Notes, including its Scoreboard of Treaty Adherence, edited by Wade Coriell (King & Spalding, Houston) and associate editor Hansel Pham (White & Case, DC), provides up to date information about treaty adherence, insightful articles, and timely updates on the activities of our members to help us to stay connected.

You can follow ITA on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook thanks to the direction of ITA’s Communications Committee and co-chairs Sylvia Tonova and Rachael Kent.  Thanks to Young ITA communications chair Rob Landicho you can also follow Young ITA on LinkedIn.

Thanks to the work of our Communications Committee, you also can follow the live conference reporting of every ITA and Young ITA program on social media, including OGEMID and ITAFOR, and post-conference reports on GAR, KluwerArbitrationBlog, News & Notes and other publications.  If you are interested in serving as an ITA conference or #YoungITATalks reporter for future events, please contact Sylvia, Rachael or Rob.

ITA is busy designing a new publication for our members well suited to the digital age and is no longer providing the content and editorial direction for the World Arbitration and Mediation Review.  The new publication will be a hybrid electronic and print journal featuring scholarship, education and community, with audio, video and interactive elements enabling substantive commentary and links to other online content.  It will be made available as a member benefit for all of our members.  Stay-tuned as we are working towards a launch early next year.

Expert ITA Programming Focused on International Arbitration of Energy Disputes

This past year, the 6th ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration in Houston was led in 2017 by co-chairs Suzana Blades (Managing Counsel, Arbitration, ConocoPhillips, Houston), Juliet Blanch (Juliet Blanch Arbitration, London) and Jim Tancula (Mayer Brown, Chicago).  Highlights included discussions with the General Counsels of Baker Hughes (Alan Crain, an ITA executive committee member), Chevron (Hewitt Pate, an ITA Advisory Board member), ConocoPhillips (Janet Carrig, an ITA Advisory Board member) and Occidental Petroleum (Marcia Backus), and a luncheon oral history interview of Rusty Park by Catherine Rogers.

In June 2017, ITA organized the disputes resolution portion of the biennial 6th IEL-IBA SEERIL International Oil & Gas Law Conference in London.  ITA’s Jennifer Smith (Hogan Lovells, Houston) co-chaired the conference and Audley Sheppard QC (Clifford Chance, London) led the disputes resolution module of this popular program.

The 7th edition of the annual energy arbitration joint conference will be presented in Houston on January 18-19, 2018 under the guidance of co-chairs Mimi Lee (Managing Counsel, Litigation, Chevron Upstream, San Ramon), Jim Loftis (Vinson & Elkins, Houston and London) and Sylvia Noury (Freshfields, London). Highlights will include insights from arbitration managing counsel at Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell and Statoil and a luncheon interview of David Haigh QC (Burnet, Duckworth and Palmer, Calgary) by Professor Margaret Moses (Loyola, Chicago).  The full program is now available for your review online at the ITA website.

ITA Is Planning Now for the 30th ITA Workshop and Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas

Our 2017 Workshop and Annual Meeting was a special and highly successful event, focused on Challenges to the Legitimacy of International Arbitration.  Co-chairs Caline Mouawad (King & Spalding, New York), Jeremy Sharpe (Shearman & Sterling LLP, London) and Professor Jarrod Wong (University of the Pacific, Sacramento) addressed the topic with an exceptional faculty, including keynote speaker Gary Born (WilmerHale, London), Meg Kinnear (Secretary-General, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID, DC), Jacomijn van Haersolte-van Hof (Director General, London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA, London), and an oral history luncheon interview of Dominique Brown-Berset (Brown & Page, Geneva) interviewed by Professor Susan Franck. The young lawyers Roundtable was organized by then-Young ITA chair Montserrat Manzano and featured an around the world report by members of the ITA Arbitration Report Board of Reporters (ITAAR).

In 2018 we will be celebrating an important milestone when on June 20-22 we will present the 30th ITA Workshop and Annual Meeting.  We will be exploring the complex theme: Multiple Proceedings, Multiple Parties, and International Arbitration: What a Tangled Web We Weave, led by Jean-Christophe Honlet (Dentons, Paris), Professor Frédéric Sourgens (Washburn University School of Law, Topeka) and Erica Stein (Dechert, Brussels).  The faculty will be outstanding, with Professor Emmanuel Gaillard (Shearman & Sterling, Paris) presenting the keynote address and an oral history luncheon interview with Claus von Wobeser (Von Wobeser y Sierra, Mexico City). 

The ITA Annual Meeting will take place in conjunction with the Workshop and will include a variety of professional and social activities, including annual meetings of our Executive Committee, Young ITA, Americas Initiative, Academic Council, and ITAAR Board of Reporters.  The ITA Advisory Board Dinner meeting once again will be held at the beautiful Dallas Country Club.  As Workshop registration is free for members of ITA’s Advisory Board, I encourage you to make your plans to attend now.

Finally, a Reminder

You may know that ITA is one division among several of The Center for American and International Law (CAIL). CAIL’s other institutes and programs address important developments in fields ranging from international business to technology to oil and gas to law enforcement.  I encourage you to visit the CAIL website at and to encourage colleagues with interest in these fields to join the CAIL institute in their area of practice and enjoy the many benefits that membership provides.

I look forward to welcoming you at the next ITA event, and in the meantime, wish you a joyous holiday season!


Abby Cohen Smutny
Chair, ITA Advisory Board