We learn much about ourselves and life through the career we choose to take, and arbitration is no exception. Arbitrators preside over many disputes and from each of those, they learn valuable life lessons that they take outside of proceedings.
We spoke with Sophie Nappert, an independent international arbitrator and co-founder of ArbTech, to share the life lessons she’s learned over her fruitful career as an arbitrator.
Real-Life Lesson #1: Be intellectually humble
Sophie says that she has learned many things from being an arbitrator, but the most important one is to be humble. “Don’t think that [because] you’re on that side of the table, that you have all the answers” she explains.
This lesson in humility taught her to double-check everything she does and respect the input of those she works with — even when she disagrees with them.
Real-Life Lesson #2: Human nature is fallible but technology is here to help
“Human nature is very fallible, and that’s what got me interested in the digital world,” Sophie says. She explains how the partnership between humans and technology will help optimize the processes that we have today.
Sophie says that a line has to obviously be drawn on how far we let technology take over the process — however, what’s important is how it lets humans overcome their weaknesses in areas such as big data analysis. Digital arbitration has opened her eyes to how tech can truly empower arbitrators and humans in general.
Real-Life Lesson #3: Patience is key
She says that although digital arbitration is a much faster process, it still needs a certain level of attentiveness which takes time.
“I was a very impatient young person. Everything had to be done immediately. [However,] when you decide disputes that are complex or with very high stakes, there is a great deal of value in decanting.” Sophie expounds.
Sophie admits that she is not a very patient person, however, she thanks her experience in digital arbitration for helping her develop in this area.
Real-Life Lesson #4: Disagree without fighting
Finally, Sophie says that her experience as a digital arbitrator has taught her to not make a fight out of disagreements. This is a life lesson for Sophie that she is still learning now.
“That takes a lifetime because it’s human nature. But it happens,” she says, recognizing that the life lessons of digital arbitration are a continuing process for all arbitrators.
A career in digital arbitration is not only about prestige. It’s also about learning life lessons like these that will empower arbitrators to live well as human beings. As digital arbitration advances, more lessons will surely emerge and will provide guidance to arbitrators and the legal community at large.