Articles About Racial Diversity in International Arbitration

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Given the increased conversation currently about racial diversity in the workforce, ARIA is happy to announce that two articles by Benjamin G. Davis, previously published in ARIA, will be available to download for free until the end of December. These articles address serious issues in the diversity of the international arbitration community.

The Color Line in International Commercial Arbitration: An American Perspective (Vol. 14, No. 4)

Published: December 2004

Abstract: The color line is the line in society between areas in which U.S. minorities have a presence of some kind and areas which non-minorities dominate essentially to the exclusion of U.S. minorities. This paper examines from an American perspective the color line in international commercial arbitration: a vital arena due to increasing globalization. Based on the survey results the paper concludes that a color line does exist in international commercial arbitration. The interaction between seven currents (U.S. current, Foreign-based U.S. minority current, Human Capital current, Cooptation current, Changing International Commercial Arbitration current, Lifestyle current, and Culture current) that determine the presence of U.S. minorities is analyzed. Recommendations for how to eliminate the color line are made.

American Diversity in International Arbitration 2003-2013 (Vol. 25, No. 2)

Published: December 2014


When I was approached to return to issues of diversity in international arbitration, I decided to expand on the methodology I had used in the 2003-2004 period in two earlier articles on American minorities in international arbitration. In the current assessment, I examined American diversity in international arbitration across the broader target population for the American Bar Association’s Goal III diversity efforts: American women, American minorities, American lawyers with disabilities, and American LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning) lawyers. These four groups are the target population described in the American Bar Association’s Goal III: To eliminate bias and enhance diversity. Its two objectives are: 1. “To promote full and equal participation in the Association, our profession, and the justice system by all persons,” and 2. “To eliminate bias in the legal profession and the Justice System.”3 In addition to sending a survey to 413 international arbitration practitioners of whom I was aware or to whom I was referred, I forwarded it to the ICC Counsel Alumni members of which I am a member, as well as to The International Law Discussion Space listserv, the Society of American Law Teachers listserv, and the Contracts, Dispute Resolution and Minority Groups listservs of the American Association of Law Schools. Further, I greatly appreciate that the Oil-Gas-Energy-Mining-Infrastructure Dispute Management network (“OGEMID”) and ArbitralWomen were kind enough to share the survey in their online spaces. Thus, an attempt was made to reach as broad a group of international arbitration practitioners as possible on all five continents. Finally, based on anecdotal evidence that women may get their first appointment as an arbitrator through the appointment of an arbitral institution, I contacted a diverse group of international arbitral institutions around the world to see if they would be willing to share data on their appointments of members of the target population.
Thirty-four individuals ultimately filled out the survey and three of the international arbitral institutions provided data which will be discussed below.