ABA appoints new co-chair of influential arbitration committee

Senior AAA-ICDR arbitrator Luis Martinez takes up leadership of ABA’s international arbitration committee


Luis Martinez, a vice president of the American Arbitration Association’s international division, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, has been named co-chair of the American Bar Association’s International Arbitration Committee, a key committee of the ABA’s flagship international law section.

New York-based Martinez will serve as one of the committee’s 2023-24 co-chairs alongside Bart Wasiak, a senior associate at Arnold & Porter’s London office, and Sujey Herrera, a counsel at Reed Smith in Miami.  

Martinez is a veteran arbitration lawyer who was the first attorney hired by the AAA when the ICDR was established in 1996 and later became its first director. He is responsible for international arbitration and mediation business development for the East Coast of the US and Central and South America, the Caribbean, the European Union and the UK. Martinez also provides executive oversight of ICDR’s large cross-border cases. Under his leadership at the ICDR, the AAA facilitated arbitration for 755 international business-to-business (B2B) cases, comprising $4.2bn in total claims, filed in 2022 – a 12% increase in case filings from the previous year.

Eric Tuchmann, the ICDR’s executive vice president and chief legal officer, congratulated Martinez on his appointment, saying: “[This] recognises his leadership in international arbitration and his extensive involvement with the ABA’s international law section.”

He added: “Luis’ work, both past and future, also reflects the longstanding collaboration between the AAA-ICDR and the ABA’s international law section, and many other sections.”

Martinez’s committee term will be busy, with events planned on law and the future of technology in Seoul, South Korea, in October, that will examine areas of interest to arbitration including disputes in the biotechnology, media, telecoms and cryptocurrency sectors. The agenda reflects themes that are being developed elsewhere by the ABA, which recently launched a task force to examine the legal ethics of AI

“I am proud to have been selected by my colleagues to help steer the ABA’s International Arbitration Committee,” said Martinez. “Arbitration is a cost-effective and efficient way to resolve business and other legal disputes, and the committee’s work is vital for educating and developing professionals in this area.”

Martinez’s appointment follows Mary Smith being named the new ABA president earlier this month at the end of the association’s annual meeting in Denver. The appointment saw Smith, a former counselor at the US Department of Justice and the former CEO of the Indian Healthcare Service ’ a $6bn national healthcare organisation ’ become the first Native American woman to hold the role. 

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