Christian Aschauer
Office:
1030 Vienna, Austria
Invalidenstrasse 7/9
1030
City:
Vienna
Country:
Austria
Tel:
+43 1 718 4488 0

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Christian was born in 1968 and attended school in the provinces of Styria and Carinthia (Austria). After performing military service, he studied law at the University of Graz. Christian has lived and worked in Vienna since 1996.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

As a student, I did internships in Italy (Palermo) and France (Paris). I was a research fellow at the University of Graz from 1991-1996. From 1996-2016, I worked with Andreas Reiner. In 2014, I became a (part-time) University Professor at the University of Graz (arbitration law). Since 2017, I have also been a member of the Council of the Chamber of Milan.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO SPECIALISE IN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION?

I wanted to travel and encounter foreign places and people.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

Difficult to say; I believe I have helped parties settle their case in a complex multiparty arbitration, without taking part in any settlement discussions.

HOW DOES YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR ENHANCE YOUR WORK IN PRIVATE PRACTICE?

My two professional lives mutually support each other. Being permanently exposed to young people and new ideas helps to keep your mind fresh. On the other hand, I hope my students can take advantage of my professional experience.

TO WHAT EXTENT DO CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN BUSINESS AND LEGAL PRACTICE IMPACT ARBITRATION?

While cultural diversity is a good thing, “cultural differences” are sometimes only used as a bad excuse for dishonest practices. Fortunately, we see that there are transnational legal standards that have gained world-wide acceptance – for example, the standards regarding the independence or impartiality of arbitrators.

WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES CURRENTLY FACING ARBITRATION PROFESSIONALS?

Finding our place in a new and rapidly changing digital world. This is also why, together with Maud Piers from the University of Ghent, I edited the book Arbitration in the Digital World.

HOW DO YOU EXPECT THE PRACTICE OF INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION TO DEVELOP OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

As I mentioned, the biggest challenge will be the digitisation of legal services. Furthermore, I expect to see increasing fragmentation of our practices (eg, construction, M&A, energy, small claims, etc), with a proliferation of arbitral institutions and adjacent legal tech services.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER LAWYERS HOPING TO ONE DAY BE IN YOUR POSITION?

“Positions” are by no means permanent. Young lawyers as well as senior practitioners should accept that we are living in a changing world. Rather than striving for a certain “position”, we should keep our eyes and ears open, make up our own opinion and always be on the lookout for new opportunities.

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