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“If you’re going through hell, keep on going” - a motivational statement for its time from Winston Churchill, but how sustainable is that approach for the modern-day disputes professional?

10 May 2022 | 10:00 - 11:00 (BST)
London International Disputes Week


Ed Crosse Chair, Partner, Simmons & Simmons; The Rt. Hon. Lady Justice Carr DBESimon Davis, Past President of the Law Society of England & Wales; Anya George, Partner, Schellenberg Witmer; Maryann McMahon, Head of Litigation, EMEA., Morgan Stanley; Stuart Ritchie QC, Fountain Court.

What this session will cover

This session will examine the life of a commercial dispute and ask whether “winning at all costs” is sustainable in the long term given our enhanced awareness of the toll that being a dispute resolution professional may take on those involved in our profession.

In 2021, LawCare published in its “Life in the Law survey” that 42% of lawyers in the UK identified as being at a high risk of burn out, with 69% reporting that they had experienced mental ill-health in the previous 12 months. While our raison d’etre is the resolution of disputes, are the practices and procedures we use and deploy fit for purpose in today’s environment? Drawing on their personal experiences, our panel will examine how we engage with opposing counsel and the impact that some of the more aggressive tactics can have on our fellow professionals.  Should judges or arbitrators enquire about personal commitments before suggesting that a brief be prepared “overnight”? Does it actually help your client if your “15 pager” is sent to the other side on a Friday evening only to generate a 20 page response on Monday morning? And what about arbitration hearings being fixed at times that take no account of seasonal holiday periods? Aggressive correspondence may depress your opposing counsel but does it impress the judge or clients?

The panel will discuss what practical steps our profession can take to reduce the pressure but not at the expense of our ultimate goals as dispute resolution professionals or the interests of our clients. What can senior practitioners do to set the tone and how can we help each other as we look to the future?