Felisa Baena Aramburo MCIArb

Why have you decided to specialise in ADR? What attracted you to this area of law?

Compared to traditional litigation proceedings, arbitration and mediation are fresh, modern and highly efficient dispute resolution mechanisms.  Personally, I don’t think there is a better way of solving complex commercial conflicts. In my case, being able to be part of the vibrant world of arbitration proceedings is simply fascinating.

What do you consider to be the biggest challenge in your career as a female practitioner in arbitration/ mediation?

The biggest challenge for women in arbitration is earning recognition and respect in a male dominated profession because, unfortunately, there is a preconception of weakness and of lack of leadership towards female practitioners.

Additionally, given that arbitration is extremely time consuming, thinking about marriage and about planning to be a mother is another big challenge for women in this profession.

What do you consider as the biggest challenge for the ADR in the future?

Undoubtedly, the biggest challenge of the alternative dispute resolution mechanisms is to adapt to the constant changes in the way the law interacts with the society. Technological changes in the way of drafting and executing commercial agreements are transforming the way in which disputes and conflicts are arising. These transformations require well prepared arbitrators and mediators. We must adapt to reflect this new legal setting.

Are there any interesting developments in the field of ADR in the jurisdiction you are based in?

Colombia’s Congress is currently studying a legislative proposal to introduce “executive arbitration agreements” (Bill 224 – 2018).  If this bill is passed, fast, effective and highly technological executive proceedings will be able to be carried out through arbitration. This is, certainly, a very interesting development in ADR in Colombia.

If you had a time machine, what piece of advice would you give to yourself at the beginning of your career in ADR?

Permanently reinvent your methods and your way of approaching problems. 

Tell us about your interests, hobbies or any out of work activities.

I love mountain biking. In a way, it resembles the challenges we face every day in litigation and arbitration: permanently overcoming obstacles and enjoying the ride while doing it!