Why LIDW has moved to a membership structure

Published on: 12/11/2020

Over the last year, London International Disputes Week (LIDW) has transformed into a membership organisation and grown that membership in order to take the aims and ambitions of LIDW forward. Emily Morris, LIDW Board Member and Head of Marketing at Atkin Chambers, summarises why the original founding members and supporters of LIDW have orchestrated this change.

The origins of LIDW

LIDW was conceived in late 2017, when a group of London-based legal disputes professionals got together to discuss how to promote London as a leading hub for international dispute resolution and celebrate its rich heritage. This quickly grew to an initial group of over 60 founders and supporting institutions, and the inaugural London International Disputes Week took place in May 2019.

Spanning four days, “LIDW2019” included a flagship conference and a full programme of supporting technical sessions over several days on different types of disputes and different forms of dispute resolution. Many member firms were involved, collaborating to develop the agenda and the format, and providing a variety of speakers from across the world.

1,100 delegates registered for the week from nearly 50 different jurisdictions. The event brought together lawyers, judges, arbitrators, academics, clients, government officials and others involved with dispute resolution from around the world, and spanning many sectors.

Heartened and emboldened by the success of LIDW2019, it was agreed that LIDW2019 should not be a one-off. Little did we know that LIDW20 would be blindsided by the pandemic but LIDW21 is happening week 10-14 May 2021 with a programme that includes 16 virtual sessions delivered by leading experts in their fields, four unmissable keynote addresses by high-profile dispute resolution figures, and many vital opportunities for attendees to network with colleagues from around the world.

The main programme is supported by a large number of member-hosted events all developed collaboratively between two or more members working together to create interesting and diverse agendas and speaker rosters.

Benefits of membership

LIDW has the stated ambition to explore and contribute to the future of international dispute resolution. It also seeks to represent London’s dispute resolution community and demonstrate the genuine commitment of that community to diversity, inclusion and the rule of law.

This clearly suggested that LIDW should aim to draw into its orbit as members a broad representation from the market, in order to create the collaborative forums for open debate and discussion that would be needed to help make a meaningful contribution to London’s role and future.

Those becoming members will benefit from the following:

  • Becoming part of the community contributing to the future of international dispute resolution from London (including those supporting these aims from around the world) and where LIDW will in future look to as part of establishing future speakers for events
  • Being able to state that you/your organisation is a member of LIDW, showing your support for such work
  • Having your name in the directory of members
  • Being able to join in future members-only events
  • Having priority access to certain events1
  • The opportunity to collaborate with fellow members to host events around LIDW21 and, we hope, LIDW 22 in due course.

1 We cannot guarantee this for all events but will seek to do so where feasible.

Who should become a member of LIDW?

LIDW is keen to welcome corporate organisations and practitioners of all kinds involved in litigation, arbitration and ADR in London, including law firms, barristers’ chambers, arbitrators and mediators (including independent/sole trader professionals), plus organisations providing ancillary services such as litigation funders, eDiscovery providers, expert witnesses, media and publishing houses, academics, and students.

LIDW also offers complimentary membership to corporate in-house legal departments, as it is vital to be fully engaged with the aims and ambitions of those whose disputes are being resolved. Attendance at LIDW is also complimentary for corporate in-house general counsel.

Similarly, educational, professional and not-for-profit organisations within the legal industry are welcome to join (e.g. law societies, universities, institutions and bodies representing litigators and arbitrators). They are also entitled to complimentary friends membership, in recognition of the value of their input into the debate.

LIDW is a not-for-profit organisation, largely staffed by professionals giving their time for free, and so administrative costs are very modest. The aim of a formal membership structure is less about raising funds and more about galvanising the wider disputes community to this common cause.

As London emerges from the pandemic and the immediate effects of its formal departure from the EU at the end of the year, there is all to play for in bringing the disputes community together in support of our collective future ambitions for London.