When I was first asked by Patrick and Julie to contribute to this volume celebrating Professor George Bermann’s 75th birthday I instantly accepted their invitation. I flat out love George. Then it struck me: Omigod! What can I possibly say about this polymath of the law who holds two professorial chairs (Jean Monnet Professor of European Union Law and Walter Gellhorn Professor of Law), whose Columbia Law School faculty profile lists eight “Areas of Specialty,” ranging all the way from the law of the European Union to serving as the American Law Institute’s Chief Reporter for its very first (2019) Restatement of the Law, The U.S. Law of International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration, while taking the time to sit with me as an observer (he for the American Arbitration Association and I for the American Society of International Law) in sessions of Working Group III of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)?
Wisely I decided soon to take up the public challenge George had thrown down just a few months earlier at the end of his keynote address on November 20, 2020 at the annual Fordham Law School program on international arbitration and mediation, highlighting the autonomy clash between the European Union and International (Investor-State) Arbitration:
[S]omehow, I cannot imagine that we will not reach an accommodation should the conflict I envisage come to pass, but I honestly do not know how and I do not know when … if any of you do, please let me know.