As New York strives to host international arbitrations in a global marketplace, there are plenty of practical reasons to look to the city as the location of choice, according to panelists who spoke at the New York International Arbitration Center on Thursday.
Beyond the good restaurants, entertainment and sight-seeing, New York has a designated judge to handle all international arbitration-related matters in Manhattan’s Commercial Division and a year-old, state-of-the-art center where arbitrations can take place, the panelists told a roomful of about 50 attorneys.
Organized by NYIAC and the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association, the event reminded New York’s legal community about the viability of this city as a seat when international arbitrations are increasingly heading to Paris, London, Singapore, Geneva and other overseas destinations.
Moderated by Charles Moxley, Jr., an arbitrator and mediator with MoxleyADR, the panelists included Justice Charles Ramos; Stephen Younger, a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and a NYIAC founding board member; Alexandra Dosman, NYIAC’s executive director; Ted Semaya, a partner at Eaton & Van Winkle; and Gregory Arenson, a partner at Kaplan Fox and outgoing chair of the Comm-Fed section.
In December, Ramos was designated in the Commercial Division to iron out dispute for parties engaged in international arbitration. The judge said he’s so far had a handful of cases—mostly orders of attachment—but he urged those in the room to bring him more.
He said international arbitration cases go on his calendar immediately, and since he typically issues decisions from the bench, parties can have “an appealable order once you leave the courthouse.”
The judge said he does not find arbitration cases to be that complex nor involve thousands of documents—ensuring quick service to parties. In addition, he reminded the room that designating New York’s Commercial Division at the outset to handle these kinds of disputes guarantees the right to an interlocutory appeal—or appeal of any non-dispositive decision to the appellate court.
“We’re not distracted by a federal criminal docket,” Ramos said, distinguishing the Commercial Division from the federal courts. “We spit this stuff out.”
He also observed a few trends about arbitration.
“I think arbitration is becoming a more important area because so many businesses are insisting on it,” Ramos said. “The bad news is that it’s becoming so expensive and more like litigation.”
But the judge noted that he and his colleagues in the Commercial Division “rarely” set aside arbitration awards upon a party’s challenge.
“We really do give the benefit of the doubt to the arbitrator,” he said.
There is reason for the ramped-up efforts in recent years to market New York as a viable seat for hosting international arbitrations. International dispute resolutions generate up to $2 billion of business for New York each year, said Younger.
The center, which was founded with the support of 37 law firms and the international and dispute resolution sections of NYSBA, celebrates its one-year anniversary in June. It has hosted 19 arbitrations and two mediations so far, according to Dosman.
Those who attended Thursday’s panel were encouraged to use the center, which features a large hearing room, breakout rooms, facilities for interpretation and ample lounge space. NYIAC does not administer administrations, only provides space.
“The idea is to be a user-friendly, client-serviced approach to international arbitration in New York,” Younger said.