International dispute resolution experts Khrushchev Ekwueme and Paula Hodges QC recently spoke to Craig Sisterson about the importance of collaboration
Paula Hodges QC, Head of the Global Arbitration Practice, recently shared her views with Africa Legal on the importance of collaboration amongst lawyers and law firms. Paula explained that it is common in international arbitration to find a mixture of companies who come from various geographic and cultural backgrounds and that when in such situations where arbitrations are multicultural, it becomes increasingly important for lawyers to increase their willingness to collaborate. Paula shares that ” It’s important to be very culturally aware and not assume things will be done in the way you may be used to – or that the way you’re used to is the best way.”
Equally important is to become well versed in the politics at play in the region one arbitrates in. In Paula’s experience, particularly in African jurisdictions, politics have an important influence on the energy and natural resources of these regions. Thus, being aware of these politics and adequately preparing oneself for the political interference which may occur, becomes as important if not more important than simply being knowledgeable on the applicable law. To increase one’s preparedness for the potential political interference, Paula suggests that overseas lawyers form relationships with African lawyers who work actively within these regions and are more knowledgeable on the linkages between politics and law, to assist the overseas lawyers on how to navigate arbitrations and other deals on the African continent.
Finally, Paula offered the following advice to both African and international lawyers ”I think it’s important for local lawyers to also appreciate the experience of international lawyers, particularly if you’re appearing before a tribunal of international arbitrators where lawyers such as myself might know these people a lot better and know how they’re going to expect a dispute to be presented. In the end, it’s all about cooperation, and working out the best way of handling a particular dispute for the client.”
The full article is available on the Africa Legal website here
For more information please contact Paula Hodges QC