New York, New York 24 February 2016
What is a young professional to do in this highly competitive, fast-paced, ever-so-changing and uncertain time in the legal profession, including the field of international arbitration? The Deputy Secretary General of the ICC International Court of Arbitration had answers to this and other questions at the ICC YAF event co-organized with NYIAC on February 24th titled, “Reflections on the Changing Landscape of International Arbitration: a Conversation with José Ricardo Feris.”
Jóse Ricardo Feris gave the audience a snapshot picture of his legal career – how he became involved in arbitration, how he was able to grasp (and create) various opportunities, and how he came to his current home in the ICC Court Secretariat. He also shared information on new ICC initiatives and spoke of the growth of arbitration and diversity of cases at the ICC. Responding to a question from a young practitioner regarding the lack of diversity in the profession, he replied that the quest for diversity is a reflection of society as a whole, and that the responsibility must be shared by all players, including counsel, users, and institutions. He added a more hopeful perspective by saying that the composition of players in arbitration in the younger generation is quite diverse, and time (along with hard work from males and females) will give way toward greater diversity.
He ended the interview by offering candid advice to young practitioners of arbitration, which departed somewhat from the usual advice one hears (i.e. work hard and sacrifice). His advice: “do not feel that you have to begin your career in arbitration in the top arbitration practice at a large firm, whatever you do when you start your career can have added value, whether it be M&A, securities, or IP, do not limit yourself and think there is only one way to make a career for yourself, do what you can to educate yourself more, to raise your profile, and most importantly, take chances.”
– Nikole Lee, ICC Deputy Director