Home / News & Speeches / Benefits of mediation in business strategy voiced at Mediation Week launch conference

Speaking at the ICC 4th International Commercial Mediation, Michael Leathes, former Head of Intellectual Property at BAT, stated that while mediation offers an 80% success rate, a depressingly small number of companies seem to have a conflict management system in place.

Outlining the steps companies can take towards
conflict management in order to increase their company’s price-earnings ratio,
Mr Leathes referred to the ‘Medici Effect’ theory to demonstrate how mediation
was a concept at a multiplicity of intersections that the world is starting to
open their minds to. “Mediation is not a branch of law but a branch of business
negotiation,” he said.

The sold-out conference, tailored to the
interests of in-house counsel, kick-starts ICC’s annual Mediation Week, a
dynamic, seven-day programme of activities to highlight the merits of mediation
as a commercial dispute settlement method.

Featuring the 8th ICC International
Mediation Competition, ICC Mediation Week will see 600 participants converge
for a rare chance to take stock of the latest developments in alternative
dispute resolution and share experiences with dispute resolution professionals from
more than 40 countries.

The highly interactive conference was
attended by over 100 participants who gained insight from mediation expert on
how alternative and amicable dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms can provide
companies with greater control over escalating costs and risks of other dispute
resolution processes, including arbitration and litigation.

Stating that legal remedies rarely solve
the business issue at hand, Alexander Steinbrecher, Legal Counsel at Bombardier,
said: “Clients need to take an informed decision based on an objective legal
assessment when it comes to provisioning risks and opportunities. External
counsel should not take the decision alone.”

Afternoon panel sessions culminated in much
agreement that a won legal case is not always a won business case and that the
early disputes are resolved the better for business.

Christine Guerrier, Vice-President of
Dispute Resolution and Litigation for Thales, France, told participants that Thales’s
budget for legal costs had been cut by approximately one-third down due to the
increasing use of mediation. Ms Guerrier however acknowledged how difficult it
could be to convince legal teams that who is right or wrong is not really the
issue in a mediation.

In an inter-company exchange on how to
implement a mediation-friendly company policy

Mr Steinbrecher underscored how important
it was for in-house counsel to be aware of problems before their clients. “If
information exchanges work well, in-house counsel should be able to see the
fire before the client sees the storm,” he said.

Isobelle Hautot of Orange said that
appropriate training would help to change the current mind-sets of managers and
legal professionals and to get them thinking about how to resolve problems in
their early stages.

The conference was moderated by Hannah
Tuempel, Manager of the ICC International Centre for ADR, and Christopher
Newmark, experienced Mediator, Arbitrator and Counsel, who summarized and
visualized each session in the form of a conference ‘mind map’ to be used as a
practical takeaway reference tool for participants.

The event received the support of several
in-house counsel associations including the Association of Corporate Counsel
Europe, Corporate Counsel International Arbitration Group, the European Company
Lawyers Association, and the Round Table Conflict Management and Mediation of
the German Economy.

ICC also wishes to thank gold sponsors
Accuracy and Fidal, silver sponsors King & Spalding, KPMG, Taylor Wessing
and Winston Strawn, and bronze sponsors Diales, FTI Consulting and The John
Hardy Group for their support.

For more information visit ICC Mediation Week.

For more information on ICC amicable
dispute resolution services visit ICC Arbitration and ADR.

For further information, please contact

  • Calliope SUDBOROUGH
  • +33 (0)1 49 53 30 69
  • Deputy Manager, ICC Dispute Resolution Services