The Launch of MUTE OFF THURSDAYS – Virtual Networking and Knowledge-Exchange for Women in Arbitration

10 May, 2020

Congratulations to ArbitralWomen Board Member Gaëlle Filhol (Betto Perben Pradel Filhol) and ArbitralWomen members Ema Vidak Gojkovic (King & Spalding), Catherine Anne Kunz (LALIVE) and Claire Morel de Westgaver (Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner) for the launch of their initiative Mute Off Thursdays, an online initiative designed to bring together on a regular and all-virtual basis a group of women leaders in international arbitration.

In this challenging time of social distancing, Mute Off Thursdays comes as a much-needed energising way to help women stay connected, share knowledge, and meet, support and promote one another. Each week on Thursday at the same time, around 120 mid-level to senior women in arbitration from around the globe are invited to join a 30-min networking and knowledge-exchange video conference. At each session, a woman from the group makes a brief presentation about an issue that she encountered in her practice, such as an interesting arbitration procedural tactic, substantive argument, or soft-skills guidance. The presentation is then followed by a group discussion. To encourage an open exchange amongst the participants, the Chatham House rules apply.

Since the first session on 16 March 2020, the initiative has brought together some truly inspiring speakers.  These have included ArbitralWomen member Samaa Haridi (Hogan Lovells), who spoke about virtual hearings, ArbitralWomen member Angeline Welsh (Essex Court), who discussed court orders against third parties in support of arbitration, ArbitralWomen member Claire Morel de Westgaver (Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner) on the duty to disclose WhatsApp and other instant messages, ArbitralWomen member Anna Masser (Allen & Overy) about emergency arbitration proceedings, and a coach in leadership, Montana Rozmus (CRA Inc.) on how partners and other management level professionals can strive to be an “admired leader” by delivering informal constructive performance feedback to associates and team members in a thoughtful and sensitive way to inspire high performance and foster a positive work environment.

Based on the success of the first four sessions, the project is well on its way to fulfil the organisers’ ambition to advance the exchange of knowledge and increase the visibility and profile of women.

Looking ahead, the upcoming sessions will include topics such ex parte arbitral interim relief, strategic issues in arbitration funding, women leadership in the virtual era, the practice and impact of tribunal deliberations, a bite-size update on arbitration-related court decision in England and in Switzerland, and using machine learning and game theory to improve predictability in international arbitration.

Due to online platform capacity constraints, for now the program remains invitation-only.

However, in case you wish to participate and satisfy the membership criteria (a woman with at least 7 years of practicing in the field of international arbitration), please feel free to reach out to one of the four organisers.

Congratulations again on this fantastic initiative!

Mute Off Thursdays Fourth Session on 7 May 2020

Mute Off Thursdays Fourth Session on 7 May 2020

Submitted by Dana MacGrath, ArbitralWomen President and Omni Bridgeway Investment Manager and Legal Counsel