I could not think of a better way to honour Don Wallace than to emulate the principle means by which he has favoured us with his participation at countless conferences over the years: starting things off with a bang! Hence the title of this piece. No, the United States has not found itself on the sharp end of a NAFTA award, at least not yet. I could certainly envisage Don sitting on the tribunal when that day finally arrives, however. Fair-minded, intellectually agile and devoted to upholding the rule of international law, Don Wallace has always been one of the people whom I consider when in need of an arbitrator, some expert advice or even just a pithy and sardonic comment.
Now that I have your attention, I will continue with this ersatz ode to Professor Wallace by following my attention-grabbing headline with some erudition about a previously decided NAFTA case, in which I was involved as counsel, Grand River Enterprises, Six Nations Ltd. v U.S.A.1 Typically, one would expect to see references to a writer’s previous experience in a footnote. Indeed, typically one would not expect to see someone who served as counsel in a case coming back to engage in some critical commentary about it. I have generally avoided engaging in any direct criticism of an award rendered by a tribunal before which I appeared. I am sure Don adheres to a similar course in respect of his own writing.