YMG 2023 Writing Competition winner Anna Avdulova on her ambitions

We speak to Anna Avdulova ACIArb, the winner of the Young Members Group (YMG) 2023 Writing Competition, about her interest in issue conflict, why making a legal text brief but comprehensive is a difficult task, and her plans and ambitions for the year ahead. 

Congratulations on winning the prize. What drew you to the competition? 

The Ciarb YMG Writing Competition provides its participants an invaluable opportunity to step into the shoes of a decision-maker and resolve interesting legal issues that may well arise in real arbitration cases. Independence and impartiality of arbitrators, which was chosen as the topic for last year’s competition, is a lively issue in arbitration. Independent and impartial neutrals are the stepping stones in any dispute resolution system, however, over the last decade, international arbitration has been highly criticised for being lax on the issue of arbitrators’ bias, especially in the investment arbitration context. That is why it was particularly interesting for me that the case in question for the Ciarb YMG Writing Competition 2023 raised controversial questions of issue conflict and double-hatting and I was able to express my stance on them. 

What was the most challenging part of the writing competition? 

The most challenging part of the competition was to fit my analysis into a limit of five pages. As the famous Russian writer Anton Chekhov said, “Brevity is the sister of talent”. I really like this quote as it aptly highlights how important and at the same time difficult it is to convey your ideas in a coherent manner. To make a legal text brief but comprehensive is a very challenging task. There are a variety of legal questions that you can think of and numerous legal authorities that can be relevant and worth commenting on. In the draft procedural order, I tried to focus only on those facts and issues that I found material for resolution of the challenge, and I am glad that the jury found my efforts successful. 

How would you describe your career so far? 

I was very lucky to start my career in an international team of talented lawyers and to deal with complex international arbitration and public international law issues from the very beginning. I am grateful that I had an opportunity to participate in every step of the proceedings of major arbitration cases and develop myself as an international dispute resolution lawyer. 

What are your ambitions for the future? 

I sincerely want my professional activity to have a meaningful impact. That is why, I always do my best to share my skills and knowledge with younger colleagues and participate in the projects that see education and social interaction as important values. For this reason, for instance, I started coaching a Vis Moot team, conducted lectures on arbitration both in Russia and abroad, and became a part of Russian Women in Arbitration (RWA) - an initiative aimed to promote equality and female leadership in international arbitration. 

In the last few years, RWA has organised numerous webinars and networking events, and has launched а mentoring programme to support aspiring female lawyers. By taking these humble steps, I would love to contribute to а new generation of lawyers embracing the ideas inherent in international dispute resolution and to build up a strong international community sharing the same values. 


Anna Avdulova ACIArbis a Russian qualified lawyer specialising in international dispute resolution. Anna is an Associate at Ivanyan & Partners (Moscow, Russia). She has experience representing the respondent state in the UNCLOS arbitration and investment treaty cases. Anna has also advised clients with respect to commercial arbitration proceedings and disputes in foreign jurisdictions. 

Anna holds a bachelor’s degree in Law as well as a master’s degree in International Commercial Arbitration from the National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia). She has also completed the Online Winter Course on International Law at the Hague Academy of International Law. At present, Anna is studying at the LL.M. program in International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution at the National University of Singapore. 

Anna is deeply involved in a moot court community. She participated in Vis Moot in 2019 (Hong Kong) and 2020 (Vienna), and she has been coaching the Higher School of Economics Vis Moot team ever since. Anna routinely acts as an arbitrator at both Russian and international moot court competitions. 

Anna is a member of the Steering Committee of the Russian Women in Arbitration and an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. 


Read Anna’s winning entry 

Read more about the winners of Ciarb’s 2023 YMG Writing Competition 

Find out more about