ERE, the Equal Representation for Expert Witnesses, celebrated its launch in France on 4 July 2023 at the premises of the law firm GIDE. The evening was opened by three ArbitralWomen members: Jana Lefranc, Alina Leoveanu & Carole Malinvaud.
Jana Lefranc, who works as a valuation expert with HKA, welcomed the guests and explained the importance of the initiative, whilst drawing an analogy between female experts and ‘papillons de nuit’ (night butterflies), compared to their more commonly seen male counterparts known as ‘papillons de jour’ (day butterflies). Jana’s analogy emphasised the point that female experts are often far less visible than their male counterparts, despite their significant contribution within their respective fields of expertise, often bringing vibrant, colourful and unique perspectives. In recognition of this, all the female experts present at the event wore a ‘papillon de nuit’ brooch to mark the occasion.
Jana emphasised that improving the visibility and representation of women as expert witnesses within the dispute resolution community is one way to foster a meritocratic and fairer society. She further explained that diversity ensures a better decision-making process as it helps eliminate cognitive biases such as groupthink, while a fair decision-making process is a cornerstone of the arbitration and litigation process.
She also referred to a study by McKinsey, according to which companies in the top quartile of gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability than peer companies in the fourth quartile.
According to a recent ERE survey, ‘women who were appointed or testified as the sole expert witness’ accounted for only 10% of cases in 2022. According to this survey, the best way to promote women experts quickly and effectively would be to establish mixed shortlists when selecting expert witnesses but also to organise events in order to allow clients to meet women experts.
Alina Leoveanu, ArbitralWomen Board member, counsel at the ICC International Court of Arbitration, stressed ICC’s support of both gender diversity and diversity in general. She referred to the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge and to the large improvement in the number of female arbitrators being appointed. She also reminded the audience how diversified ICC itself is, including the ever first female ICC Court president, Claudia Salomon.
Carole Malinvaud, a partner with the hosting law firm GIDE, highlighted GIDE’s active role in arbitration and their support of diversity in general.
The evening was attended by just over one hundred guests, including experts, external counsel, corporate representatives as well as arbitrators.
To support this initiative and take the ERE pledge, please visit the ERE’s website at Equal Representation for Expert Witnesses (ERE) | Take The Pledge | ERE (expertwitnesspledge.com)
Submitted by Jana Lefranc, ArbitralWomen member, Principal, HKA, Paris, France