The Atlanta Center for International Arbitration and Mediation has launched a global branding campaign including attracting prestigious arbitrators to join its advisory council and signing memorandums of understanding with well-known arbitration institutions.
Internationally renowned attorneys Charles Adams, a former U.S. ambassador to Finland, and Wendy Miles, a vice president of the ICC Court of Arbitration, recently joined the center’s council.
In addition, the center has signed MOUs with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Court of Arbitration in Paris and the International Center for Dispute Resolution in New York.
It also has MOUs with JAMS, formerly known as Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services Inc., the largest private arbitration and mediation service in the country, and the Center for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, both also based in New York.
In another effort to raise its profile, the center’s annual conference in October is to feature Lord Peter Goldsmith, the former attorney general for England and Wales, as its keynote speaker who is to talk on international arbitration in an era of resurgent nationalism.
Shelby Grubbs, the center’s executive director, said in a release that the outreach is “all part of our effort to build our brand an be better known by people who are actual users of arbitration services.”
Council members Claes Zettermarck, a past president of the Swedish Bar who heads the arbitration boutique firm Lundblad & Zettermarck in Stockholm, Sweden; Massimo Benedettelli, chair of international law at the Aldo Moro University in Bari, Italy, and Carita Wallgren Lindholm, who heads the arbitration boutique Lindholm Wallgren in Helsinki, Finland, visited Atlanta this summer with the newest council member, Mr. Adams, to help chart the center’s strategy and teach a CLE course on ethical issues in international arbitration.
The council also is advising on best practices for hearings and helping the center develop a curriculum for an international commercial arbitration certificate, which Mr. Grubbs would like to see eventually become an LL.M. degree.
When the center first opened in Georgia State University’s new law school in 2015, it held only 12 hearings. During the fiscal year ending July 1, the center hosted 35 hearings of which about one third were international and the rest domestic.
Mr. Grubbs added that he is not dissatisfied with the current number of hearings despite the number of competitors around the world. “There could be more, and will be, but given our year over year growth, I think that things are going well,” he added.
While London and Paris are the biggest magnets for international arbitration, other cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore also have been attracting these cases since they were established more than two decades ago.
“It can take 25 years or more for a city to become a global arbitral center…That always shocks people,” he said. “Hong Kong and Singapore have been at this for 20 years and 25 years. Miami has likewise been at work for something like 15 years.“
According to Mr. Grubbs, the council provides “an endless source of references and is fantastic at opening doors for us. They help to extend our reach to movers and shakers internationally.”
Magaly Cobian, the center’s managing director, backed up Mr. Grubbs’ confidence when she told Global Atlanta that “We have witnessed an encouraging increase in the number of hearings since the center opened its doors nearly two years ago. Although it may take some time for the center to reach full capacity as enjoyed by other leading international arbitration centers, we are confident that ACIAM is on the fast track based on the solid growth and brand awareness.”
A major advantage Atlanta has as an arbitration center, he added, is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport due to its flights around the world and the presence of less expensive hotels than in major cities such as London, Paris, New York of Singapore.
To learn more about Atlanta’s arbitration center, click here.