The newly-established SIArb Young Practitioners Network presented a roundtable discussion on “How to Make a Career in Arbitration” on 2 June 2022. Participants were given an opportunity to get up close and personal with the speakers of diverse backgrounds in arbitration. Speakers, Ms Christine Artero, Ms. Shobna Chandran, Mr Garry Crossley and Mr Lee Wai Pong were candid and generous with their advice on the avenues available to individuals interested in developing a career in arbitration. Ms. Cathryn Neo, Ms Khyati Raniwala, Mr Ang Wee Jian and Mr Fabian Lim facilitated the individual breakout room sessions.
The common themes that emerged during the various conversations that took place included, the importance of staying relevant, seeking out opportunity, and active networking.
The speakers agreed that while the traditional career trajectory involved lawyers, where non-lawyers were interested in arbitration, it was important to “keep doing your real job” and honing your skills at all stages of your career. "In the case of an expert, one should continue working on live projects to remain relevant and credible whilst pursuing arbitration appointments,” said Garry Crossley. “This helps to demonstrate an individual’s credibility and ability to keep up with the industry’s pace,” Fabian Lim added.
For lawyers especially, Ms Shobna Chandran highlighted the importance of being “proactive in seeking out opportunities” in written and oral advocacy when serving as arbitration counsel. “There is no substitute for developing core skills regardless of one’s background,” she said. Mr Ang Wee Jian agreed that this was especially relevant for junior to mid-level lawyers.
Another relevant takeaway was the importance of networking in the arbitration community. In a post-Covid world, the speakers noted that attending events and having conversations with individuals within the arbitration community would be fruitful to learn about arbitration, find out about opportunities, seek advice and pick up tips on developing a career in arbitration. Ms Christine Artero shared that it was important to remain top of mind through networking. Mr Lee Wai Pong emphasized that skills development and seeking out even minor appointments can help.
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Khyati Raniwala - Reed Smith and Cathryn Neo - DLegal