Stephanie Cohen FCIArb Is a Canadian arbitrator of international and domestic disputes based in New York City. She is admitted to practice law in both New York and Ontario, Canada, and is a member of arbitrator rosters for the ICDR and the AAA, as well as a CPR Distinguished Neutral. She has practiced exclusively as an arbitrator since 2012, serving as tribunal chair, sole arbitrator, co-arbitrator, and emergency arbitrator in matters governed by ICC, ICDR, AAA, UNCITRAL and Society of Maritime Arbitrators rules. Previously, Stephanie was Counsel in the international arbitration and commercial litigation practice groups at White & Case LLP in New York. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Vice Chair and Chair-Elect of its New York Branch, as well as Co-Chair of New York Arbitration Week 2020. She also chairs the ICC Commission’s Working Group to revise the Report on Use of IT in International Arbitration.
Why have you decided to specialise in arbitration and adjudication? Tell us about your legal journey to ADR.
I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to practice international arbitration for almost the entirety of my 20-year legal career. After law school in Canada, I articled and was admitted to the bar in Ontario, but for family reasons, wanted to secure a position with a law firm in Paris. At the time, I knew nothing about international arbitration, but I learned about it as a litigation-type practice that might allow me to work overseas for a few years and then easily transition back to a litigation practice in Canada. So I applied to a handful of global law firms in Paris with international arbitration practices and then, as it happens, took a 180-degree turn and accepted a job with the international arbitration practice at White & Case in New York. After ten years at White & Case, in 2012, I transitioned to full-time practice as an arbitrator. While I remain in New York, I still hope to find my way to working in arbitration in Paris one day!
What do you consider to be your biggest achievement in the field thus far?
I am proud of my scholarship on cybersecurity in international arbitration, including as a member of the Working Group that drafted the ICCA-NYC Bar-CPR Cybersecurity Protocol in International Arbitration, which has been instrumental in raising awareness and an especially helpful tool during the pandemic given the increased digitalization of arbitration practice.
What is the best thing about being a Member/Fellow of the CIArb?
Getting to know others in this global network of peers!
Are there any interesting developments in your CIArb Branch?
The New York Branch is pleased to continue its joint leadership with the New York International Arbitration Center of the second annual New York Arbitration Week from 16-20 November 2020. Eighteen virtual events hosted by major arbitral institutions and affinity groups active in the New York international arbitration community will showcase New York as a leading global seat and centre for thought leadership. In addition to shepherding these events, the Branch will present its own substantive program focusing on the role of non-signatories in the arbitral process.
Would you encourage a young legal professional to develop skills in the ADR field? What advice would you have for them?
Absolutely! Successful ADR practitioners excel at communication and problem-solving. These are highly practical and transferable skills no matter what practice area a young legal professional ultimately pursues. Seek out leadership and training opportunities by being an active (not passive) member of professional organisations like CIArb.
Tell us about your interests, hobbies or activities outside of work.
My favourite pastimes revolve around time with family. On the average weekend, I enjoy foraging at our local farmer’s market, planning (and eating) a great meal, and watching my daughter play soccer. I also love traveling to foreign countries and relish opportunities to hike and spend time by the ocean, swimming and sailing.