We at WAGNER Arbitration have had the pleasure of working together with three visiting lawyers from various jurisdictions in the past months – Ella Wisniewski, Doguhan Uygun and Perttu Kaikkonen – who are all participants of Humboldt-University’s LL.M. program on International Dispute Resolution, as well as a law student of Humboldt University of Berlin – Boyan Arshinkov.
The four of them have taken the time to put together an article reflecting on their experience at the firm, which we are happy to share with you below.
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It is not every day that four lawyers can agree on something, and rarer still when the lawyers hail from disparate corners of the globe.
But sitting down to pen some thoughts on our internship experience at Wagner Arbitration, we (a Finn, a Turk, a Bulgarian and an Australian) found we had plenty of reflections in common.
Firstly, we all noted that from day one of our respective internships, we felt instantly welcome. The phrase ‘corporate culture’ is thrown around a lot these days, but WagArb truly is an environment that is as warm as it is professional. We were encouraged to share our ideas, input, and constructive criticism at weekly ‘jour fixe’ meetings. At the Friday lunch, we enjoyed a meal prepared by a different member of the WagArb team each week, which often took on a particular theme from the chef’s country of origin. The lunches also provided an opportunity to exchange international perspectives on current events, and the sharing of ideas – whether cultural, political or social – became a common theme.
The connection between legal practitioners and the academic community feels particularly close in Berlin, with many law firms situated a stone’s throw away from the Humboldt University campus.
While the two fields can often feel worlds apart, we noticed that WagArb places considerable value on making regular contributions to the academic sphere. Philipp Wagner has a long-standing engagement as a lecturer at Humboldt University, while Joseph Schwartz is actively involved in the Willem C. Vis Moot Competition, which attracts many applicants each year. WagArb further contributes by writing articles on topical subjects, and sharing them either in full on the Wagner Arbitration Journal, or as easily digestible posts on LinkedIn. We each made our own contribution in this way, by investigating the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in our country of origin, and compiling our findings into a Q&A style article.
During our time at WagArb, we had the opportunity to receive practical insight into two key areas of our study: the role of party counsel in arbitral proceedings, and the role of the arbitrator.
In cooperation with one of the WagArb lawyers, we were able to observe the integral activities of each role, and obtain valuable experience therefrom. Finally, we were able to hone our oral advocacy skills by partaking in a rhetorics training session with John Faulk, WagArb’s embedded oral advocacy coach. We had a lot of fun, and left our training sessions with a renewed awareness of the importance of getting one’s message across with clarity and conviction.
Since our internships concluded, we have gone our separate ways, with some staying in Germany and some travelling back to our respective home countries. However, we all agree that our time at WagArb not only bolstered our professional growth, but also introduced us to some of the most warm-hearted and capable lawyers in Germany. We look forward to seeing them again at the next WagArb alumni event!