Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International LawThe Queen's Award for Enterpise 2012

Erik Schäfer
Office:
Bleichstrasse 14
D-40211
City:
Düsseldorf
Country:
Germany
Tel:
+49 211 90 49 00
Fax:
+49 211 90 49 049

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Erik Schäfer is partner of Cohausz & Florack. His main areas of practice are IP and ICT, related transactional matters and arbitration. Since 1994 Erik has been acting as arbitrator and counsel. Erik works in English, Spanish, French and German.

Describe your career to date.

During my career I have consistently pursued general goals with flexibility in detail and seized fitting opportunities that came up.

What inspired you to enter the legal profession?

Two things, in the following order: curiosity, and realising that the law is a glue of society.

What qualities make a successful arbitrator?

Humility; intellectual independence; competence; readiness to listen and understand; a balanced judgement; and a firm hand when needed. Also: marketing skills that convey these qualities to decision-makers.

What advice would you give to young lawyers looking to sit as arbitrators in the future?

Build a solid reputation in another field of legal practice that can serve as platform for your activities as arbitrator. Only a minority of people can attract enough nominations as arbitrator to make this the sole activity. Moreover, counsel work generates higher steady turnover for your firm and this helps to advance your career.

Your practice focuses a lot on technology and IP work – to what extent is arbitration a preferred form of dispute resolution in these sectors and, if so, why?

Arbitration is preferred for R&D projects or licensing agreements. Regarding other IP matters in Germany, local practitioners have great affection for their specialised courts. However, for complex technological matters arbitration is generally preferable, since state courts often do not have the time, resources or subject-matter experience to resolve such disputes. If they resort to blind reliance on court-appointed experts, quality problems are pre-programmed.

Recent years have witnessed increasing interest in Asian jurisdictions such as Singapore and Hong Kong as arbitration venues. How do you anticipate this trend affecting “traditional” arbitral seats?

This is not just an increase of interest: case numbers are going up. If the rule of law continues to prevail in these jurisdictions they will thrive, because local lawyers are dynamic and getting more competent all the time. Traditional European seats must not automatically lose out as a consequence, unless Europe does lose economic clout.

Sources have also highlighted the growing importance of third-party funding in arbitration proceedings. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages to the rise in this alternative source of financing?

Since it makes negotiated settlements more difficult, I do not like third-party funding in the narrow sense of the word. However, some clients need it.

Where, in your opinion, does the future of the practice area lie?

The future of our practice lies where the clients require our services. We are only ever a few steps ahead of them: our future success will depend on our ability to adapt.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Germany - Arbitration

Erik Schäfer is a partner at Cohausz & Florack, a firm focusing on technology and IP. His main areas of practice are arbitration, matters with a technical flavour (technology law, IT), intellectual property with all aspects of its commercial exploitation, and commercial law. Since 1994, he has been acting either as counsel or arbitrator in national and international arbitration proceedings. The subject matters of the disputes included, inter alia, software-projects, engineering and construction, oil exploration and development, IP licenses, outsourcing, purchase, distribution and R&D agreements, service and marketing contracts, shareholder and IP purchase agreements, e-payment clearance, know-how and patent-related disputes.

Erik co-chaired the task force on IT and arbitration and the task force on expertise proceedings of the ICC commission on arbitration and ADR. He was a member of the e-disclosure task force and the IBA working group on the state-investor mediation rules. He was among the founders and chairs of the Austro-German chapter of the Spanish Arbitration Club and is a member of GRUR, LES, MARQUES, ASA, CEPANI, IBA, ICCA and DIS. He is a trained mediator.

Mr Schäfer’s publications cover a variety of topics pertaining to the fields in which he is active, such as ICC Arbitration in Practice (Verbist/Schäfer/Imhoos, second edition); “Arbitration of Intellectual Property Law Disputes in Germany” in Arbitration in Germany (edited by Böckstiegel et al); and “Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit in IT/IP-Prozessen” in Computerrechtshandbuch (edited by Kilian/Heussen, Loosleaf N°28/2010).

Mr Schäfer speaks and writes English, Spanish, French and German. He has conducted arbitral proceedings as chairman or sole arbitrator in these languages.

WWL says: "Excellent arbitrator" Erik Schäfer is particularly adept at handling arbitrations involving complex intellectual property issues.

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

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Lawyers

Erik Schäfer is partner of Cohausz & Florack, a firm focusing on technology and IP. His main areas of practice are arbitration, matters with a technical flavour (technology law, IT), intellectual property with all aspects of its commercial exploitation, and commercial law. Since 1994 he has been acting either as counsel or arbitrator in national and international arbitration proceedings. The subject matters of the disputes included, inter alia, software-projects, engineering and construction, oil exploration and development, IP licences, outsourcing, purchase, distribution and R&D agreements, service and marketing contracts, shareholder and IP purchase agreements, e-payment clearance, know-how and patent-related disputes.

Erik co-chaired the task force on IT and arbitration and the task force on expertise proceedings of the ICC commission on arbitration and ADR. He was a member of the e-disclosure task force and the IBA working group on the state-investor mediation rules. He was among the founders and chairs of the Austro-German chapter of the Spanish Arbitration Club and is member of GRUR, LES, MARQUES, ASA, CEPANI, IBA, ICCA and DIS. He is a trained mediator.

Mr Schäfer’s publications cover a variety of topics pertaining to the fields in which he is active, such as ICC Arbitration in Practice (Verbist/Schäfer/Imhoos, second edition); “Arbitration of Intellectual Property Law Disputes in Germany” in Arbitration in Germany (edited by Böckstiegel et al); and “Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit in IT/IP-Prozessen” in Computerrechtshandbuch (edited by Kilian/Heussen, Loosleaf N°28/2010).

Mr Schäfer speaks and writes English, Spanish, French and German. He has conducted arbitral proceedings as chairman or sole arbitrator in these languages.

WWL says: Erik Schäfer is an experienced and adept arbitration counsel and arbitrator on disputes involving intellectual property, including licensing and trademark matters.

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

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