Karin is an arbitrator, mediator and panelist for domain name disputes. She is an expert on intellectual property and privacy and data protection and a Professor of Law.
Why have you decided to specialise in ADR and what attracted you to this area of law?
Internationalization. I have always been attracted to different cultures and languages. When I entered law school my first plan was to become a diplomat, but then I enjoyed a lot being a lawyer and remained as such. ADR suits international commercial transactions so perfectly it is impossible not to get passionate about it.
What was the trajectory of your career that led you to your current position/post?
I started my professional career as a trainee at the German-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. During law school vacations in the 4th year, I then worked as a trainee in a big law firm in Frankfurt. Back to Brazil, I joined the same law firm in São Paulo for some years and then I went back to Germany to the same law firm in Düsseldorf, (at the same time pursuing a masters in international economic law (LL.M.) in Köln). After some time, I came back to São Paulo (totalizing 14 years from law clerk to local partner). I left this law firm to pursue my PhD. After the PhD, I started a law boutique specialised in intellectual property and foreign investment in Brazil and joined a University as a Professor of Law. Currently, I still lecture in the same University and I am a partner in a medium-sized traditional Brazilian law firm, where I established the intellectual property and privacy and data protection practice areas.
What are the challenges/obstacles women in ADR face in the early stages of their career?
Gender bias, for sure. A little bit later, the challenge of balancing personal and professional life.
What keeps you motivated in your career?
Passion for what I do – helping people solve their problems, their complex, international problems. Having contact with other cultures and languages.
What do you consider to be your biggest achievement in the field thus far?
Having been appointed to the roster of arbitrators and mediators of certain Arbitration and Mediation Centers, as well as a panelist for domain name disputes in specialised chambers.
What is it like to work in a predominantly male profession?
Not always easy. But difficulties make the master and I embrace and thank each challenge I have faced – and still face - for this certainly shapes the professional I am. With practically no female models to inspire you, you must find your own way of balancing the strength and grace inside of you that make yourself unique and perfect for the job.
How has CIArb influenced your career progression and CIArb’s membership benefited your career?
CIArb is worldwide recognised for its excellence. It is one of the best places to look for ADR knowledge. Pursuing a certification or a fellowship is certainly a marvellous manner of showing the ADR community your standards and how you position yourself. CIArb inserts you in the international ADR community.
What do you think the future for women in ADR will be like and what do you consider as the biggest challenge for a female professional in ADR in the future?
The path to gender equality is still long. In the future, the biggest challenge will still be the balancing of professional and personal life.
Are there any interesting developments in the field of ADR in the jurisdiction you are based in?
Mediation is becoming more popular among corporations; it is losing the stigma of being suited for family related disputes.
Arbitration is becoming more popular for disputes involving public entities, consumers and labor relationships. Several law changes in the last years have contributed to this. There is also a significant number of institutions offering expedited arbitration, with more flexible rules and attractive pricing.
If you could practice ADR in any other country where will that be and why?
Worldwide. The tendency in my opinion is not to link ADR to a certain country. Of course, the necessity of enforcing arbitral awards in local courts still exists, but the practice of arbitration and ADR as such tend to be dissociated from a country in the long term.
Tell us about your interests, hobbies or any out of work activities.
I practice yoga and meditation every day. I also enjoy swimming and have two cats. I love travelling (and am very sad about the travel restrictions we are facing with the pandemic).