Leading Women in ADR
You are the founding partner of GESSEL law firm, the President of the Lewiatan Court and member of the Lewiatan Court for many years, as well as visiting lecturer in M&A at the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński in Warsaw. You are active in arbitration and have succeeded in making the Polish arbitration community including the young generation more and more visible. You have received funds from the European Committee which allowed you to organize arbitration courses, trainings and conferences. We see you on many panels around the world. Not only do you often have innovative ideas, but when you launch an idea you bring it to life. You are the head of the Lewiatan Court since 2011. Is your appointment for a specific term? Can you share with us what was the career path that led you to this post? How did this adventure start and what motivated you?
My first contact with commercial arbitration was as a law student during my internship. My impression was that, becoming an arbitrator must be a crowning achievement of one’s career. During those early years, I dreamt about arbitration but never thought that I would become an arbitrator. At the beginning of my career I was mainly involved in M&A, and with time, I became a specialist in M&A with 10 years of experience. I started receiving proposals to become an arbitrator. Each year the number of arbitrations in which I was involved was growing, reaching up to now nearly 80 arbitrations. This arbitration experience opened other doors. In 2005, I was offered the position of vice-president at the Lewiatan Court of Arbitration and in 2011, I became President of that Court. My mandate is for 3 years. In 2010 I joined ICC Poland and the same year I was chosen as a Polish representative for the ICC Arbitration Commission. What I consider to be a big milestone for my career was my nomination in 2010 as arbitrator in an ICC arbitration. Another big achievement that assured me that – what I do presents some sort of value for arbitration – was the Summit of European Arbitration Institutions that I organized with Sophie Nappert in 2011, with the participation of representatives of major European arbitration institutions and associations, as well as private practitioners and EU officials, during which we considered the future of international arbitration in Europe. Successes like these achievements motivate me to go on.
You have recently organized the 2nd edition of a conference on M&A in arbitration, the 1st one was in 2010 and both were very successful. Can you tell us a few words about this initiative?
The idea for the conference arose while I was working on my book on the legal concept of representations and warranties in M&A contracts. I was aware that, while most contracts include arbitration clauses, arbitration proceedings are – in principle – confidential; therefore, access to information about such cases and to awards is highly restricted. Also, while reviewing programs of arbitration events and of published arbitration awards, I have not encountered much material about arbitration in Poland, as well as promotion of Poland in this respect abroad, and I thought that it would be a good idea to incorporate the conference into this program. I asked ArbitralWomen for support and thanks to the involvement of Yulia Andreeva (in charge of ArbitralWomen programs at that time), the conference co-chair of the first edition, we have managed to bring the idea to reality. We have assembled many interesting speakers. Organisations such as ArbitralWomen, the ICC International Court of Arbitration, and the American Bar Association accepted to be our partners for this event. The promotion program started in November 2009 and lasted until mid-2011; it was co-funded by the European Union Social fund. After a huge success of the first edition, we decided to organize a next one. I fact, it was Mireze Philippe, the founding co-president of AW and member of the Board, who first gave me this idea, and who was very active and supportive; she had her part in developing the conference program and inviting speakers. The 2nd edition of the conference was held in June 2013 in Warsaw. Once again we managed to have many excellent speakers and worldwide recognized experts to join us for a 2-day extensive programme. The ICC international Court of Arbitration agreed to prepare a special edition of the ICC bulletin dedicated to the disputes arising from M&A transactions and included experts from ICC awards on the subject. The presentation of this bulletin at the conference was highly appreciate. We proved again that there is room for discussions on M&A in arbitration: 230 participants attended the first day of the conference and 200 the second day, in addition to 1193 who followed the conference online. Many participants expressed compliments. We can say without hesitation that the 2nd edition was like the firs one a great success. Following the success of the both editions of 2010 and 2013, we scheduled the dates for the third edition which is scheduled to take place on 28 and 29 May 2015. (…)