Originally from: Between East and West: Essays in Honour of Ulf Franke - Hardcover
Between East and West: Essays in Honour of Ulf Franke - Electronic
Reflection on What Is Special in an Arbitrator’s Life
Writing about Ulf Franke and his jubilee is an exceptional honor.
Sweden is a great country. It has many excellent lawyers and arbitrators
who are a real pleasure to meet. However, when Swedish delegates appear
at an arbitration conference, it is impossible not to look around and ask
“Where is Ulf?” Somehow, Ulf is the best-known of all those Svensons out
there (as we Poles tenderly refer to our Swedish friends). We have known
him for 35 years. It goes without saying, then, that whenever he is absent,
we feel disappointed. Recently he confided in me that he would finally
have the time to deal with arbitration! May he live a long life, then.
There are people who have devoted their whole professional life to
arbitration. There are many people who are actively engaged in doing it
and even more who wish to come on board. Young people dream of
becoming arbitrators. They are producing a great deal of M.A. theses,
Ph.D. dissertations, and articles on arbitration. What is the driving force
behind their determination?
II. IT IS NOT EASY TO START OUT AS AN ARBITRATOR
Arbitrators are late starters. Actually, it is hard to start out as an
arbitrator. At first, you have to establish yourself as a barrister, solicitor,
judge, academic, diplomat, businessman, politician, or expert. It is only
later in life that you become an arbitrator. Meanwhile, young legal eagles
are champing at the bit. They are dying to get their first case. A rude
awakening comes at the first interview, when they have to field these
brutal questions: “How often have you acted as an arbitrator?” “How
many awards have you made?” “What is your experience with
The young hopefuls are stumped for an answer. Imagine a patient
asking a budding orthopedist eager for his first knee operation: “How
many knee operations have you conducted, Doctor?” If the flustered
doctor says “Not even one, but I’d love to make a start,” the patient will go
to see a real specialist, preferably one with more than 100 knee operations
to his name. What should you do to get the first case?
About the Author:
Piotr Nowaczyk, FCIArb, is a Partner of Salans. He is a Member of the International Court of Arbitration at the ICC, a Member of the VIAC Advisory Board, and was President of the Court of Arbitration at the Polish Chamber of Commerce.