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UPDATED! Virtual Debate: “This House Believes that the Received Wisdom that Litigation Practice Is the Best Foundation for a Successful Career in Arbitration Should No Longer Be So Readily Received” (9 December 2021)
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About this Debate:

The classical advice offered to practitioners seeking to develop a career in arbitration has been to build a strong foundation in litigation or court practice. But should this ‘received wisdom’ still be so readily received today and into the future?

Given the increasing diversity and complexity of contemporary arbitrations – including its cross-border dimensions and interface with laws, courts and arbitrators from different legal traditions, desire for deep subject-matter expertise and intersection with other modes of dispute settlement – our panellists will test the limits of this traditionally trite proposition. Following the success of this popular format, our debaters and judges, who themselves have trekked a variety of paths on their arbitration journeys, will put this motion to the test in this interactive debate.

  • Debaters for the motion: Anthony Cheah Nicholls (Counsel, Forte Law LLC) and Arvindran Manoosegaran (Investment Manager, Omni Bridgeway)
  • Debaters against the motion: Meryl Koh (Director, Drew & Napier LLC) and Christopher Bloch (Senior Associate, Squire Patton Boggs) 
  • Judges: Sapna Jhangiani QC (International Legal Counsel, Attorney General’s Chambers, Singapore),  Lee Wai Pong (Founder, LWP.Sg Consultants; Regional Advisor, Thomas Miller Groupand Cameron Ford (Partner, Squire Patton Boggs)
  • Moderator: Divyesh Menon (Senior Associate, Mayer Brown)

Objective of this Debate:

SIArb’s mission includes the education of arbitration practitioners, the promotion of arbitration and the development of the profession of arbitrator, as well as providing social and networking opportunities for all those involved in arbitration in Singapore. 

Following the success of this debate format since the inaugural edition in 2018, SIArb has again assembled a diverse group of leading practitioners to debate this key proposition that will be especially useful to young practitioners and is also intended to be a medium to facilitate an engaging discussion on key themes and trends in arbitration practice generally for legal practitioners at all levels.


5.30 – 5.40pm Welcome Remarks and Introduction 
5.40– 6.40pm

Debate on The Motion: 

"This house believes that the received wisdom that litigation practice is the best foundation for a successful career in arbitration should no longer be so readily received.”
6.40 – 7.00pm


About the Debaters

Christopher Bloch  Christopher Bloch - Senior Associate, Squire Patton Boggs
Christopher Bloch is a senior associate in the International Dispute Resolution Practice Group of Squire Patton Boggs, based in Singapore. He represents parties in both international commercial and investment arbitration proceedings across a range of sectors, including the energy, natural resources and telecommunications industries, and has significant experience in the Asia Pacific region. Before joining Squire Patton Boggs, Christopher was a member of the Secretariat of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). At SIAC, he oversaw the administration of approximately 250 international arbitrations proceeding under the SIAC and UNCITRAL Rules related to a broad spectrum of industries, including energy, construction, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and shipping/shipbuilding. He assisted the SIAC Court in the drafting of the 2016 revision to the SIAC Rules, as well as the 2017 SIAC Investment Arbitration Rules.  Prior to his time in the SIAC Secretariat, Christopher worked as an associate in the international arbitration group of a leading US law firm in Singapore and in the physical oil and gas trading group at an investment bank in New York. He has also served as a tribunal secretary in the chambers of an independent arbitrator in Singapore and is a member of the Young ICCA Task Force on the Appointment and Use of Arbitral Secretaries and co-author of the Young ICCA Guide on the Use and Appointment of Arbitral Secretaries. During law school, he practiced pro bono securities arbitration at the Pace Investor Rights Clinic, and worked as a research scholar at the Institute of International Commercial Law. 


Anthony Cheah
Anthony Cheah Nicholls - Counsel, Forte Law LLC
Anthony is a dual-qualified international dispute resolution lawyer who is regularly engaged as counsel, arbitrator or mediator for commercial disputes. Over the last eleven years, Anthony has worked on international commercial and investment arbitrations including in the energy, oil and gas, finance, investment and shipping sectors. These arbitrations applied numerous governing laws, were seated in different jurisdictions and were conducted under the rules of the most popular arbitral institutions (including the ICC, SIAC, LCIA, HKIAC, DIAC, LMAA and ICSID). Anthony is admitted to the SIAC’s Reserve Panel of Arbitrators and wrote the arbitral rules of the Beihai-Asia International Arbitration Centre. He is also an Accredited Mediator with the Singapore International Mediation Institute and sits on committees of the Singapore Law Society and International Law Association (Singapore branch). For several years, he participated in legal proceedings pro bono before the ECCC, against the former leaders of the Khmer Rouge. In addition to his legal practice, Anthony is a Law Lecturer at the National University of Management in Phnom Penh.


Meryl Koh 
Meryl Koh - Director, Drew & Napier LLC
Meryl Koh is a Director at Drew & Napier in both the Dispute Resolution and IP departments and has been noted as a leading up-and-coming litigator by many prestigious legal ranking publications. Meryl’s distinctive competency sees her acting in many complex litigation and arbitrations concerning IP infringement as well as corporate and commercial disputes involving contract, defamation, breach of director’s duties and employment law. Her clients include high net worth individuals, listed companies as well as international and household names in the hospitality, media, eSports and gaming, F&B, technology, agriculture, resources and pharmaceutical industries. Meryl was appointed to the panel of experts (“Expert Panellist”) for the World IP Organisation’s (“WIPO”) Fast-Track Intellectual Property Dispute Resolution Procedure for Consumer Fairs in 2019. She is also a Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (“SIArb”), and is a volunteer with the Scheme Arbitration Committee in SIArb. Meryl holds a double degree in law and accounting from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. She is called to the bar in Singapore and is a qualified Australian lawyer.


 Arvindran Manoosegaran
Arvindran Manoosegaran - Investment Manager, Omni Bridgeway
Arvindran Manoosegaran is an Investment Manager in Omni Bridgeway’s Singapore office, responsible for assessing and managing funded cases throughout Asia, including arbitration, litigation and insolvency claims. Arvindran began his career at Drew & Napier LLC, the premier dispute resolution firm in Singapore. His practice spanned international arbitration and litigation, advising and representing high-profile clients in private equity and other investment-related disputes, shareholder, partnership and corporate disputes, and civil fraud. He has acted on several international arbitrations under the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) Rules. In 2015, he was appointed by the Supreme Court of Singapore as amicus curiae where he assisted the Court in addressing novel points of law. Before joining Omni Bridgeway, Arvindran was an Associate at K&L Gates LLP where he advised on complex, cross-border disputes. Arvindran has represented multinational organisations across Asia and the Middle East, spanning industries including media, financial services, education, property development and construction, energy, transport and hospitality. Arvindran holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the National University of Singapore. He is fluent in English and Tamil and is recognised in Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders – Third Party Funding 2020 and 2021 guide.

About the Judges

Cameron Ford


Cameron Ford - Partner, Squire Patton Boggs
Cameron is a partner with Squire Patton Boggs Singapore practising in international dispute resolution. As well as the usual LLB and LLM, he has a Graduate Certificate in International Arbitration, a Master of Arts in Contemporary China, and is a PhD candidate at Monash University on security for costs in international arbitration.
Cameron is on the arbitration panels of SIAC, HKIAC, AIAC, KCAB, BAC and CIETAC, is Chair of the SIAC Users Council Committee for Australia and New Zealand and a Member of the SIAC Users Council Executive Committee.
 Sapna Jhangiani
Sapna Jhangiani QC - International Legal Counsel, Attorney General’s Chambers, Singapore
Sapna Jhangiani is a Queen’s Counsel, arbitrator and mediator with over 20 years’ experience in appearing before courts and tribunals, and sitting as an arbitrator, in commercial disputes seated in diverse jurisdictions such as London, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Malaysia, the Cayman Islands and Mauritius. She has appeared in over 100 arbitrations which were ad hoc or governed by all the main institutional rules, including the ICC, SIAC, HKIAC, SCMA, LCIA, DIFC-LCIA and DIAC.  Sapna has practised in London, New York, Dubai and Singapore and is dual-qualified as an English barrister, and an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore. Sapna is consistently ranked in legal directories, and was recently named by Asian Legal Business as one of “Asia’s Top 15 Female Lawyers”. She has also been recognised in “Best Lawyers 2021” and “Best Lawyers 2022” for arbitration and mediation in Singapore, and by Legal 500 as a “Leading Individual” for international arbitration. She has been described as, amongst other things, "a top name for international arbitration in Singapore"; "a charming advocate, who is well respected within the arbitration fraternity”; "tenacious in the pursuit of her clients' interests”, and possessing “excellent advocacy skills”. Sapna is currently International Legal Counsel at the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Singapore, during which period she continues to accept appointments as an arbitrator and mediator.
Lee Wai Pong
Mr Lee Wai Pong - Founder, LWP.Sg Consultants; Regional Advisor, Thomas Miller Group

Wai Pong is the founder of LWP.Sg Consultants and concurrently serves as Regional Advisor to Thomas Miller Group, managers of UK P&I Club & UK Defence Club. He first went to sea in 1974 as a Deck Cadet and his career in the maritime & dispute resolution industry spans nearly 5 decades. He led SCMA for over 5 years as their Executive Director.
Wai Pong accepts arbitral appointments for tribunals constituted under IAA, SIAC, SCMA, ICC & AIAC Rules.
He also acts as Principal or Co-Mediator for adhoc, SMC & SIMC administered mediations for both contractual & tortious matters in maritime and non-maritime industries.
Wai Pong also sits as Sole Adjudicator for disputes involving Financial Institutions & their Customers at Financial Industry Dispute Resolution Centre (FIDReC).

About the Moderator

Divyesh Menon
Divyesh Menon - Senior Associate, Mayer Brown
Divyesh Menon is a Senior Associate in Mayer Brown‘s International Arbitration practice group, based in Singapore. Divyesh’s practice spans complex commercial and investment disputes across a range of industries; with a focus on cross-border business combinations, energy and natural resources, construction and infrastructure, sports, gaming and media. Divyesh's recent experience has centred on acting for clients in high-profile disputes arising out of the energy and renewables sector as well as for start-ups in cutting-edge and disruptive industries. He has acted in arbitrations under most major global and regional institutional rules, with a particular focus on matters arising out of investments in South and Southeast Asia. Divyesh has also frequently served as tribunal secretary in both commercial and investment arbitrations around Asia, and acted in and managed arbitration-related litigation in Singapore and other Asian jurisdictions. Prior to Mayer Brown, Divyesh clerked for a leading international arbitrator and prior to that was a member of the international arbitration and construction practice of one of Southeast Asia’s largest law firms. 




(includes materials, if any)

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