ADVOCATES AND ADVOCACY - Chapter 14 - MENA Leading Arbitrators’ Guide to International Arbitration
Originally from The MENA Leading Arbitrators’ Guide to International Arbitration
No matter how unfamiliar they may be with a particular court or an individual judge, legal representatives engaged in advocacy before the courts of their home jurisdiction enjoy the luxury of knowing that they have been trained to perform their task in a manner that is familiar and acceptable to their Tribunal.
By its nature, international arbitration provides considerably less certainty for the lawyers involved, especially for any advocate who has not participated in the selection of the Tribunal or in the preliminary stages of the arbitration proceedings themselves. A party’s chances of a successful outcome are measurably improved when appropriate lawyers are engaged at the outset of an arbitration and retained throughout.
Parties inflict needless harm on themselves when they change their legal representation part way through proceedings. Cost and delay aside, at its least helpful changing lawyers may be interpreted as an obstructive move, or as indicating that a party no longer believes its previously articulated case is compelling. At a minimum, a change of legal representation risks emboldening an opponent and gifting them the advantage of a better understanding of the character, dynamics and history of the Tribunal than any incoming counsel will possess.
In the writer’s experience, changes of legal representation appear to occur more often in international arbitration than in domestic proceedings. If this view is correct, it may be because less experienced parties habitually look no further than their domestic counsel when faced with arbitration proceedings. Only once the proceedings gather pace does it become evident to those parties that international arbitrations involve an array of variables that need to be anticipated and taken account of when selecting legal representatives, and by implication, advocates.