Christian W Konrad
Office:
Rotenturmstrasse 13
A-1010
City:
Vienna
Country:
Austria
Tel:
+43 1 512 95 00
Fax:
+43 1 512 95 00 95

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Dr Christian W Konrad is the founding partner of an international arbitration law firm with its headquarters in Vienna. His practice covers inter-state, investment and commercial disputes. He is an Austrian Rechtsanwalt, a solicitor of England and Wales, and a Euroadvokat in the Slovak and Czech Republics. Dr Konrad is a chartered arbitrator (CArb) and frequently serves in that function, and also as legal expert and counsel in proceedings under the auspices of all major arbitral institutions. He was educated at King’s College London and the University of Vienna.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

In my career, I had the opportunity to work for domestic and international law firms. This allowed me to learn from and practise with outstanding individuals and true experts in the field of international arbitration. After gathering invaluable experience, I decided to move on to the next stage in my life and set up my own practice. I now have the honour of leading an excellent team of international lawyers. In addition to our office in Vienna, we have expanded to Skopje, London, Bratislava and Prague.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO FOCUS YOUR PRACTICE ON ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION?

Looking at the current global situation, I am convinced that a vast majority of conflicts arise due to and in the context of unfulfilled expectations. In order to have an outright clear vision of what is expected from each other, it is essential to pursue clean and open communication. This principle unfolds nowhere better than in the alternative resolution of a dispute. By jointly designing the proceedings from the outset, it offers the ideal way to clear out the parties’ misconceptions and return to a common interest. I would like to see this principle also exercised on a global level. My personal motivation to focus my practice on alternative dispute resolution was certainly the chance to make a difference in a world that needs support to overcome disputes between people and nations.

WHAT WAS THE MAIN CHALLENGE YOU FACED WHEN OPENING YOUR OWN FIRM?

The biggest challenge was not to listen to any fearful or jealous people around me and remain focused and confident.

THE FIRM HAS A STRONG SECTORAL FOCUS REGARDING DISPUTES WORK, MOST NOTABLY IN ENERGY AND CONSTRUCTION MATTERS. TO WHAT EXTENT IS SECTOR AND INDUSTRY-RELATED SPECIALISATION, ON THE PART OF THE ARBITRATOR, IMPORTANT? 

Over time, we developed expertise and specialisation by encountering more and more similar topics in related industries. Diligent and successful representation of a client requires an in-depth understanding of the involved parties and the businesses they operate in. The same standard applies even more to arbitrators.

INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION HAS RECENTLY COME UNDER FIRE FOR THE LACK OF GENDER DIVERSITY AMONG ITS PRACTITIONERS. HOW HAS THE ARBITRATION COMMUNITY REACTED TO THIS CHALLENGE OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS?

The criticism is legitimate and the arbitration community has rightly reacted, in many ways. I believe that the best way to lend credibility to all the ambitious initiatives is to live by example. This should be getting easier as we notice an enormous increase of incredible female talents in the arbitration community at home and abroad.

WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE GREATEST CHALLENGE FACED BY THE GENERATION OF ARBITRATION PRACTITIONERS BEHIND YOU?

Society gets more and more complex. This reflects also on the economic market. The trend is clear. The future practitioners have to find their niches and specialise in order to meet the clients’ needs. The challenge is not to lose common sense in the specialised thinking.

WHERE, IN YOUR OPINION, DOES THE FUTURE OF THE PRACTICE AREA LIE?

Professional competence, emotional intelligence, and empathy are vital for a successful arbitration career. It also demands practitioners to remain flexible about differences in culture and mindset of all parties involved. The future of alternative dispute resolution rests in the hands of courageous individuals that are willing to uphold the integrity of the process.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

A losing party congratulating me on the quality of my award.

Biography:

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Lawyers

Dr Christian W Konrad is an Austrian Rechtsanwalt, a solicitor of England and Wales, and admitted as Euroadvokat in the Czech and Slovak republics.

He is the founding partner of Konrad & Partners, an international law firm offering comprehensive legal services in the area of dispute resolution, with a particular focus on international commercial and investment arbitration. The firm has offices in Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Skopje and London.

Dr Konrad has represented international organisations and businesses in a broad range of disputes involving long-term energy contracts, complex construction contracts, concession agreements, entitlement to natural resources, immunity from jurisdiction, infrastructure projects, and mergers and acquisitions. He regularly advises clients on the protection of their investments with a focus on Central and Eastern Europe and on the enforcement of arbitral awards and court judgments.

He frequently serves as arbitrator as well as an advocate, is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the panels of various arbitration institutions worldwide. Dr Konrad regularly lectures about his field of expertise. He is a visiting professor at the South East European University, serves as academic adviser for the masters programme for dispute resolution (LLM) at the Danube University Krems and co-authored the first English-language treatise about the Rules of Arbitration and Conciliation of the International Arbitral Centre of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (VIAC): The Vienna Rules: A Commentary on International Arbitration in Austria. Recently, Dr Konrad has been appointed vice president of the Kosovo Permanent Tribunal of Arbitration.  

WWL says: The "brilliant" Christian Konrad is "in high demand as an arbitrator" thanks to the efficient way he conducts proceedings.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Arbitration which can be purchased from our Shop.

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