With many of the world’s largest corporations headquartered in Atlanta, the local bar is experienced in handling some of the world’s most complex transactions and disputes. That expertise extends to all forms of cross-border dispute resolution, including international arbitration. Parties may also be represented in international arbitration proceedings in this state by non-Georgia lawyers, including not only lawyers from other states, but also those not licensed in any U.S. jurisdiction.
My very first international arbitration hearing took place in Atlanta in 2002. I was part of a team of Turkish lawyers defending a Turkish bank in an ICC proceeding. The opposing lawyers were American, and the arbitrator was from Sweden. Atlanta’s travel amenities and arbitration-friendly legal framework make it an attractive center for international arbitration, but perhaps most critical is its welcoming environment for non-U.S. lawyers. I hope my practice takes me back there soon.
- Bennar Balkaya, Chair, European Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb); Founding Partner, Balkaya & Balkaya, Istanbul, Turkey
- Skilled Local Advocates and Neutrals
- A Welcoming Environment for Advocates and Neutrals from the World Over
- Globally-Minded In-House Counsel
- World-Class Academic Institutions
- Presentations and Conferences
Skilled Local Advocates and Neutrals
Atlanta lawyers have acted as counsel or neutrals in proceedings all over the world, including cases administered by the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Commercial Arbitration Court (MKAS) in Moscow, JAMS, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), and the Vienna International Arbitration Centre (VIAC), as well as cases under the Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The President of the North American Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Chair of the Southeast Subcommittee of the International Chamber of Commerce/USCIB Arbitration Committee are based in Atlanta. Atlanta lawyers have served as chairs of the American Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section and Section of International Law, as Secretary General of the International Bar Association, as U.S. ambassadors to foreign states, and as members of the U.S. Secretary of State’s select Advisory Committee on International Law. An Atlanta-headquartered law firm was recognized in 2010 with the Chambers USA Award for Excellence in International Arbitration. Whether working in large, international law firms, mid-sized regional firms, or specialized boutiques, Georgia lawyers are skilled in every aspect of cross-border dispute resolution.
A Welcoming Environment for Advocates and Neutrals from the World Over
Resident within Georgia are numerous foreign-qualified lawyers from across the globe. Most major law firms, and many smaller ones, have foreign-trained lawyers within their ranks. Yet this pool of local legal talent merely scratches the surface. Parties contemplating an international arbitration in Georgia have literally the entire world to choose from in selecting counsel or neutrals. No other jurisdiction in the United States is more open to non-U.S. licensed lawyers, including those serving as arbitrators or counsel in arbitration proceedings. Indeed, the State of Georgia has been held out by the American Bar Association (ABA) Task Force on International Trade in Legal Services as a singular model for other states in addressing issues arising from the globalization of the legal profession, cross-border legal practice and lawyer mobility. Indeed, a recent fifty-state survey indicates that Georgia is the only U.S. state to tick the box with respect to the five potentially permissible methods of foreign lawyer practice (i.e., bar rules allowing foreign legal consultants, pro hac vice admission for foreign lawyers in state courts, foreign in-house counsel, and temporary practice by foreign lawyers, also known as “FIFO” or “fly in/fly out,” plus having had foreign-educated applicants sit for a bar exam within the previous three years”).
The State Bar of Georgia is committed to a forward-looking regulatory regime that meets the challenges and opportunities arising from globalization, cross-border legal practice and lawyer mobility. This includes progressive rules regarding the participation of non-U.S. lawyers in international arbitration proceedings seated in Georgia. The State Bar views the Atlanta international arbitration initiative as an important piece of infrastructure for Georgia’s development in global commerce.
- Kenneth L. Shigley, President, State Bar of Georgia, 2011-12
Globally-Minded In-House Counsel
Atlanta is host to a vibrant and engaged in-house bar, whose clients include not only some of the globe’s largest multinational corporations, but also scores of small and mid-sized businesses engaged in inbound and outbound cross-border trade and investment. This group of stakeholders is seasoned in multiple jurisdictions and legal traditions, including the civil law. Their vast experience in selecting arbitral fora has been tapped in establishing and enhancing Georgia’s international arbitration regime as one focused on establishing a fair and level playing field for all parties and cost-efficient means of dispute resolution that embrace international best practice.
World-Class Academic Institutions
Emory University Law School, University of Georgia Law School, and Georgia State University College of Law are all located in the greater Atlanta area. Emory’s partnership with The Carter Center helps give that institution a unique global perspective, as reflected in the work of the Law School’s Program for International Advocacy and Dispute Resolution. The University of Georgia is the home of the Dean Rusk Center for International, Comparative, and Graduate Legal Studies, which also publishes the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law. Georgia State University College of Law hosts the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and co-sponsors the Summer Academy in International Commercial Arbitration in Linz, Austria. Professors such as Peter “Bo” Rutledge of the University of Georgia Law School, Tibor Varady of the Emory University Law School, and Doug Yarn and E.R. Lanier of the Georgia State University College of Law all have significant international arbitration expertise.
A sampling of recent writings in the field by Georgia academics and practitioners includes: Arbitration & the Constitution (Cambridge Univ. Press, forthcoming); International Construction Arbitration Handbook (Thomson-West 2nd ed. 2011); International Arbitration in Georgia, Georgia Bar J.(2011); International Construction Arbitration: Outside and In-House Counsel Perspectives and Arbitration in the Russian Federation in International Commercial Arbitration Practice: 21st Century Perspectives (Lexis-Nexis 2010); Arbitrating Disputes Between Companies and Individuals: Lessons From Abroad, Disp. Resol. J. (2010); Enforcement of International Arbitration Awards, For the Defense (2010); Common Ground in the Arbitration Debate, Y.B. Arb. & Mediation (2009); Remedies for Violations of Intellectual Property Rights Under Bi-lateral Investment Treaties, Transnational Dispute Management (2009); Arbitration Reform: What We Know and What We Need to Know, Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. (2009); The Constitutional Law of International Commercial Arbitration, Ga. J. Int’l & Comp. L. (2009); United States Arbitration Law, in Practitioner’s Handbook on International Arbitration (Oxford 2008); Language and Translation in International Commercial Arbitration (T.M.C. Asser Press 2006); Arbitration in Hong Kong (Sweet & Maxwell 1st ed. 2006); Comment: InterGen N.V. v. Grina: Fundamental Contract Principles Trump Policy Favoring International Arbitration Where Nonsignatories Are Involved, ADR & The Law (20th Ed., AAA 2006); Construction Arbitration, in The International Comparative Legal Guide to International Arbitration (Global Legal Group 2006); The Effect of Forum Selection Clauses on a District Court’s Power to Compel Arbitration, Disp. Resol. J. (2005); An Arbitrator’s Authority to Award Attorney’s Fees for Bad Faith Arbitration, Disp. Resol. J. (2005); Best Practices in Document Management For Complex Commercial Construction Cases, Construction Law J. (2005);Bottom of Form Enforceability of Foreign Arbitral Agreements and Awards Under United States Law, in Przeglad Prawniczy Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego (2004); International Commercial Arbitration – A Transnational Perspective (with Arthur Von Mehren & John Barcelo, Thomson-West 2003); Transnational Conflict Resolution Practice: A Brief Introduction to the Context, Issues, and Search for Best Practice in Exporting Conflict Resolution, Conflict Resol. Q. (2002). A more complete bibliography can be found here.
Presentations and Conferences
Georgia lawyers routinely speak on international dispute resolution topics at events around the world. Recent engagements include conferences organized by the American Bar Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the ICC International Court of Arbitration, the International Bar Association, the International Law Association, and foreign bar associations and universities on six of the seven continents. A small sampling of topics recently covered by Atlanta speakers at events outside of Georgia include: “Written Evidence in International Arbitration – Where Are We Heading?,” “Protecting Foreign Investments: Treaties and Arbitration Clauses,” “Class Action Arbitration: Why and How To Do It,” “Dialing 911: Obtaining Interim and Emergency Relief in Support of Arbitration,” “Counsel Ethics in International Arbitration,” “The Evolving State of Arbitration in China: Can a Foreign Party Get a Fair Hearing and an Enforceable Award?,” “International Arbitration of Intellectual Property Disputes: TRIPS, BITS and FTA’s,” “Recent Developments in Choice of Law Clauses in International Contracts and the Case for a New Global Instrument,” “Russians Abroad: The Experience of Russian Parties in Foreign Litigation and Arbitration,” “Judicial Assistance and Enforcement Proceeding in Cross-border Litigation and Arbitration,” ““International Arbitration in the Middle East,” “Is Commercial Arbitration Broken?,” “Litigation Versus Arbitration in International Business Disputes,” “Achieving Efficiency With Fairness in Arbitration,” “Current Trends in International Arbitration,” and “Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and Judgments.”
The greater Atlanta area is also host to conferences on international dispute resolution. Some recent examples include the American Society of International Law’s 2012 Midyear Meeting; a conference hosted by the University of Georgia, on “International Commercial Arbitration: Fifty Years After the New York Convention,” a full-day conference co-sponsored by the International Section of the Georgia State Bar and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators on “The 3 D’s of International Business Transactions: Dealing, Drafting, Dispute Resolution,” and a program on “Current Developments and Practical Pointers in International Arbitration: What In-house Counsel and Their Outside Lawyers Need to Know.”