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Chris Silva



There is a proverbial “Chinese Curse” – May he live in interesting times. Robert F. Kennedy referenced it in a 1966 speech, citing times of danger and uncertainty but also unprecedented creativity. You could argue that it's extraordinarily meaningful, but the only problem is that it's actually not Chinese, and actually not a curse. In fact, it appears to have originated from a nineteenth century speech by a British politician and statesman, Joseph Chamberlain, the only man to have split both major British parties in the course of his career and the father of Neville Chamberlain. As he put it:

“I think that you will all agree that we are living in most interesting times. I never remember myself a time in which our history was so full, in which day by day brought us new objects of interest, and, let me say also, new objects for anxiety.”

Needless to say, the more things change, the more they remain the same. As we continue to experience “interesting times” and, most recently, a downward spiral in the nature of not-so-civil discourse, the need for improved understanding and use of effective approaches to dispute prevention and resolution only grows. What is true for our society as a whole is also true for commercial dispute resolution. Treaty-based arbitration is being challenged as a violation of state sovereignty, ethical concerns are being raised in both investor-state and broader commercial arbitration contexts. As the use of mediation grows, calls for national and international standards increase, as does the need to identify new and better ways to resolve disputes. Across the board, there is a pressing need to find preventative techniques that can nip disputes in the bud. The importance of these issues is reflected in the pending proposals for multilateral negotiations to address these issues within the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), as well as new approaches being developed at national and institutional levels. Where we will end up is not clear, but one thing is: Change is in the air.

Join CPR and our esteemed colleagues for the 2017 Annual Meeting as we examine these and other issues and join forces in a partnership to find pathways forward in interesting times.


CPR's 2017 Annual Meeting promises to be the latest in a series of exceptionally engaging events. Once again, meeting panelists and participants will include an outstanding group of General Counsel, leading practitioners, noted academics and jurists, and expert international arbitrators and mediators. Keynote speakers will include Jan Paulsson, the noted international arbitration scholar and practitioner who has acted as advocate or arbitrator in hundreds of arbitrations in all familiar venues. Jan is the immediate past President of the London Court of International Arbitration and the International Council for Commercial Arbitration, has served as a Vice-President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, and holds the Michael Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair as professor of law at the University of Miami.

On Day One, the panels will begin with “The Rise of the Legal COO” a panel exploring the roles of Chief Operating Officers, in companies and in law firms, as clients and counsel incorporate dispute resolution as an important element of defining value in their relationships. The next panel, “Dispute Resolution in the Caribbean”, takes advantage Miami's special role as a center for dispute resolution in Latin America and addresses a range of issues, including emerging opportunities in Cuba. The afternoon of Day One will begin with “Court Ordered Mediation in Practice – The Florida Model”, taking advantage of Florida's leading role in developing highly-effective court annexed mediation to enable a robust discussion of what works and why. The next panel. “Facilitating Settlements: Does the Arbitrator Have a Role” then turns to methods of enabling settlements in the course of arbitral proceedings while maintaining arbitrator independence and impartiality. Finally, Day One will conclude with “Preventative Lawyering: Lessons Learned from the Construction Industry”, an extended panel addressing techniques to nip disputes in the bud.

On Day Two, the panels will continue with Breakout Sessions including an IP panel addressing the impact of changes in the law, judicial decisions and BREXIT on IP disputes around the world, a Y-ADR Skills Training Session, addressing witness cross-examination in arbitration, and a panel on “The Promise of Online Dispute Resolution”. The morning will continue with “Arbitration: Procedural Fairness v. Efficiency”, exploring the tension between reducing delay and expense – a hallmark of arbitral “best practice” – and assuring a fair process. Day Two will conclude with two CPR perennial favorites. First, CPR's Business Roundtable, during which leading General Counsel from around the world will discuss issues raised in the course of the meeting and strategic issues they face as they implement a thoughtful approach to dispute resolution. Second, we will once again convene a dynamic and interactive Ethics Panel exploring issues involved in balancing arbitral efficiency and fairness, with a specific focus on arbitrator conflicts of interest, developments in disclosure obligations of arbitrators, and disclosure obligations of counsel.

We look forward to seeing you at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables-Miami, FL!



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What Attendees are Saying:
"As an outside counsel focused on international disputes, I see the high value-add that CPR is bringing to the discussion. Through its several initiatives, such as its 21st Century Corporate ADR Pledge© and online dispute resolution work, it is driving change and making people think about how to continually improve their dispute processes."
Jose I. Astigarraga
Astigarraga Davis
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