International Business and Commercial Law
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Since 1972, the Firm has handled many important international arbitrations for both major international companies and lesser known companies and individuals.  These arbitrations have taken place in both United States arbitral tribunals, such as the American Arbitration Association or the National Association of Securities Dealers, and in the arbitral forums of other countries, such as, the Netherlands Arbitration Institute and the World Industrial Property Organization.  Some of the Firmís arbitrations have involved the breach of commercial contracts in Holland, Argentina, Japan, Canada, Scotland, England, and, of course, the United States. 

International arbitration involves special risks and concerns.  Generally, arbitral awards are more easily enforced than foreign court judgments, but not always.  Also, while international arbitration is often thought to be faster, less costly, and more efficient than court litigation, this is not always the case.  Also, since almost all international arbitration is pursuant to private agreement, careful attention must be given from the outset to the arbitration provisions in the agreement between the parties, including the place of the arbitration, the number of arbitrators and how they are chosen, the law to be applied, the language of the arbitration, the choice of an arbitral forum and the specific rules of that forum, to mention but a few of the more important considerations.  Sometimes, the decision to arbitrate arises after the onset of a dispute.  Once again, these matters have to be carefully considered when drafting the reference of arbitration. 

In considering what language the arbitration agreement or the reference requires, counsel and client must consider that, if all the documents are in a different language and the principal witnesses do not speak the language the arbitration agreement requires, the claimant is surely headed for extra cost and expense as well as additional uncertainty. 

Another important consideration in international arbitration is the availability of discovery, or, in most cases, the lack of it.  There are times when discovery is absolutely necessary to buttress a case.  There are other times when discovery can work against a client.  The judicious choice of a forum can maximize opportunities or minimize risk.  Generally, discovery is not as available in arbitration as in many courts.  However, arbitrators can be persuaded to allow discovery in a proper case, unless the arbitration agreement specifically prohibits it. 

Drafting an international arbitration agreement always implies a choice of law.  Sometimes the parties specify the law to be applied in any dispute, but not always.  When the opportunity arises, the choice of an available jurisdiction whose law is more favorable on a particularly point can be very useful. 

The proper balancing of all these issues involves a sound understanding of the international arbitration process, experience, and judgment.  The Firm believes it has acquired all these requirements over the years of its experience. 

The Firm would be pleased to consult with both claimants and their counsel about international arbitration tactics and strategy when the need arises. .


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