Mute Off Thursdays recently announced that it will welcome four new Mute Off Co-Chairs: ArbitralWomen members Shreya Aren, Lindsay Gastrell and Elena Gutierrez García de Cortázar as well as Jennifer Bryant. The four co-chairs will take over from the founders of the Mute Off Thursdays online forum: ArbitralWomen members Ema Vidak Gojković, Gaëlle Filhol, Catherine Anne Kunz and Claire Morel de Westgaver.
The group has also announced plans to launch a tool for promoting women in international arbitration: Compendium of Unicorns – A Global Guide to Women Arbitrators. It will feature over 175 female arbitration practitioners including many ArbitralWomen members. The tool aims to create an easier way to appoint women arbitrators by articulating precisely their focus and knowledge in specific industry areas, geographical regions and with national laws. This approach considers feedback from counsel and arbitral institutions on what specific information can assist in finding and appointing qualified female arbitrators. The result will be a booklet with women arbitrators, sorting them by industry/geography/languages and other criteria. It will be circulated to arbitration practitioners in the Mute Off community and to arbitral institutions.
ArbitralWomen reported on Mute Off Thursdays just after it was founded in 2020 and again on the occasion of Mute Off’s first anniversary on 15 April 2021. The four founders established Mute Off Thursdays in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic as a way to help women leaders in international arbitration stay connected, share knowledge, support and promote one another. Mute Off members meet via Zoom at the same time on Thursday each week (9am ET). At most sessions, one woman from the group – including many ArbitralWomen Board members and members – makes a brief presentation about an issue that she has encountered in her practice or that falls within her area of expertise. The presentation is then followed by a group discussion, and to encourage an open exchange among the participants, the Chatham House rule applies. Other sessions have featured external speakers, such as a business coach and voice trainer to help participants hone their soft skills.
Mute Off launched in April 2020 with 42 women. Today there are nearly 600 members of the Mute Off community, all of whom have at least seven years of experience as a lawyer in arbitration. The popularity of the initiative has also led to the creation of Young Mute Off Thursdays, a sister organisation of younger women practitioners.
Submitted by ArbitralWomen News Director Cherine Foty, Senior Associate, Covington & Burling and Mute Off Thursdays Co-Chair Lindsay Gastrell, Senior Counsel at Arbitration Chambers