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Book Review: “International Arbitration and Mediation--A Practical Guide" (Nov. 16).

Book Review: International Arbitration and Mediation--A Practical Guide


The author is a New York attorney focusing on alternative dispute resolution.  Her website is  She is former senior vice president of the CPR Institute.

“International Arbitration and Mediation--A Practical Guide, by Michael McIlwrath and John Savage (WoltersKluwer 2010)(available from the publisher here) is an excellent practice guide that increases the transparency of international arbitration and mediation by providing real-life examples of what occurs within these processes.  It is overflowing with front-line experiences that are hard to find in print.  It also contains an impressive set of templates.
To appreciate this book’s practical insights, you need to know about the authors.  So, I found it curious that the book did not include a bio of the authors.  Less-informed practitioners may pass  this book over because of the lack of authors information.
Briefly, coauthor Michael McIlwrath is senior counsel-litigation for GE Infrastructure--Oil & Gas. He is based at his company's Florence, Italy, headquarters, where he represents his division in disputes worldwide, including work in negotiations, mediation, and arbitration.

McIlwrath often represents GE himself in arbitrations involving his clients.  He also is the founder and host of the CPR’s International Dispute Negotiation podcast series, which offers discussions on hot topics in cross-border commercial conflict resolution.  I like to think of him as the "Charlie Rose" of international arbitration when listening to one of his excellent podcasts.

McIlwrath’s coauthor, John Savage, is a partner in King & Spalding's International Arbitration Practice Group and based in Singapore. He also is a director of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. Prior to joining King & Spalding, Savage was a partner with Shearman & Sterling, where he was vice chair of the firm’s international arbitration practice and head of the Asia disputes practice.

As counsel, Savage has represented clients from the public and private sectors in more than 90 international arbitrations held throughout the world, under a variety of governing laws and arbitration rules. His practice has an emphasis on large construction, corporate, infrastructure and investment treaty arbitrations. Savage also serves as arbitrator, and has been appointed as sole arbitrator, chair and co-arbitrator in International Chamber of Commerce, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Icsid), Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration, LCIA, SIAC and ad hoc arbitrations.
The authors’ Practical Guide on international arbitration and mediation is extremely useful and informative.

The book takes the reader through the logical stages of an international mediation and arbitration: Chapters cover the dispute resolution agreement; commencing the arbitration; international settlement and mediation, conduct of the arbitration, and the award.  There also is a chapter on Icsid and investment treaty arbitration. 

Within each chapter, the authors’ voices can be heard as they inform and suggest solutions to common and not-so-common problems that arise along the way. As one might expect from the title, the book is light on legal citations.

The book's table of contents and index allow a reader to quickly locate the relevant portions of the book, which is a must-have feature of any reference book.

There are several features that set it apart from other books in the field:

  • ·Scattered throughout the book are shaded boxes captioned, “Not that this ever really happens.”  The boxes provide both examples and guidance on various situations, including the financial impact of a defective clause; moveable hearing venues; putting jurisdictional issues to the tribunal despite an institution's contrary ruling; firing counsel after damage is done; new co-counsel in an arbitration, etc.  Even if a reader only reviewed the shaded boxes, new and helpful information would be gained.
  • The appendices contain many forms that I have not seen grouped elsewhere:  model ICC answer; terms of reference; provisional timetable; requests to produce; privilege log, and a sample “Redfern Schedule.”
  • The book provides numerous checklists covering cutting-edge issues, including “in-sourcing” vs. outsourcing legal work; pitfalls to avoid in appointing external counsel; opportunities for mediation advocates, etc.

After I finished reading this book, I was glad that the authors took the time to contribute this Practical Guide to the field.  Both practitioners and arbitrators alike will enjoy and benefit from having this book in their reference library.