In Part 1 of this series, we discussed some of the advantages to conducting international arbitrations in South Florida, including its convenient location and the rules that allow parties to choose their arbitrators regardless of nationality. There are several more advantages:
A Similar Culture
Not only do many South Florida attorneys speak Spanish and Portuguese, but they also understand the Latin American culture. The ability to understand more than just the language, dress, and food of the participants in the room, but also the extent to which cultural norms affect concepts of fairness, patterns of negotiation, or even beliefs regarding the proper method of resolving disputes plays a vital role in the acceptance and successful functioning of international arbitration.
A Fostering Environment
Perhaps more than any other city in the United States, South Florida is home to a strong local bar that is committed to continuing to foster South Florida’s role as an international dispute resolution destination.
South Florida lawyers regularly act as counsel and neutrals in proceedings all over the world, including cases administered by the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, and JAMS. Whereas national and international firms looking to venture into the South Florida legal market have traditionally done so by growing around a general corporate practice, a number of major law firms (including DLA Piper) recently opened their doors in South Florida centered on an international litigation and arbitration practice. This is recognition that South Florida is quickly becoming an important place for resolving international disputes.
2014 ICCA Conference to be Held in Miami
In a move that can only be described as a “coup d’état,” last year certain notable members of South Florida’s arbitration community descended upon Geneva and successfully lobbied the International Council for Commercial Arbitration, possibly the most established and prestigious international arbitration organization in the world, to hold its legal conference in Miami in 2014. The significance of this accomplishment (and the hard work that it took to accomplish it) cannot be overstated. These conferences, which are held every two years in important arbitration destinations, attract thousands of practitioners from all over the world. For the first time since the 1980s, the Council is returning to the United States, and it has chosen Miami as the destination city.
In sum, parties looking to arbitrate disputes involving Latin America in South Florida will be well-served by a convenient and welcoming environment, a thriving community of world-class practitioners, and a favorable legal framework that is supportive of international dispute resolution.