Talking About Mediation with the Young Global Ambassadors – Michael Mcllwrath

Interview with Michael Mcilwrath, Global Chief Litigation Counsel, GE Oil & Gas

Ivo Bari – Young Global Ambassador (Brazil)

Michael Mcllwrath and Ivo Bari

Michael Mcllwrath and Ivo Bari

                Extraordinary. No other word could describe more appropriately the quality, capacity,   knowledge, effort and results of the 2016 edition of CDRC Vienna.

                The progress and the development the competition has gone through since its inaugural 2015 edition is clearly noticeable. The number of participating universities has nearly doubled, the expert assessors are back with their usual professionalism and the collaborators and staff are dedicated to making things happen all through the course of this mediation-centered week.

                As a part of advancing the CDRC competition across all regions of the world and promoting mediation as an effective manner to resolve corporate disputes worldwide, the Young Global Ambassadors have carried out a series of interviews with the competition experts, collecting interesting inspirations and inputs from them (which will help the mediation community in general and, of course, our future participants of the competition).

                 In this edition, Michael Mcilwrath, Global Chief Litigation Counsel of GE Oil & Gas and one of the most distinguished experts of both the 2015 and 2016 editions of CDRC, shares with us some of his insights and experience and also his views on mediation as a whole.

                In addition to his support as an expert assessor in this year’s edition, Mike has run an impressive seminar during the CDRC workshop day dealing with anchoring in negotiations and training participants when (and if) it is appropriate to make the first offer at the table.

                Mike is also the Chairman of the Global Organizing Committee of Global Pound Conference Series, an event on the future of dispute resolution in 40 cities around the world.

                Without further ado, here is Mike.

YGAP:   Tell us a little about yourself.

MM:      I’m an in-house counsel with responsibility for dispute resolution around the world. Wanting to reduce the burden of litigation on my company led me to embrace mediation many years ago, and it is now something of a passion.  I am today a board member of the International Mediation Institute (IMI) and the Chair of the Global Organizing Committee for the Global Pound Conference.

YGAP:   How did you get involved with the CDRC Vienna?

MM:      I attended the first event in 2015. After having learned about this innovative variation on the Vis moot problem from the Vienna International Arbitration Centre (VIAC), I asked if I could attend.

YGAP:   What stimulated you to come to CDRC Vienna 2016?

MM:      The amazing experience in 2015!  As an assessor, it is a great opportunity to learn from young practitioners who bring innovative strategies and techniques into play.

YGAP:   Do you think that CDRC Vienna is contributing in popularising, creating credibility and acceptance of mediation as a tool for dispute resolutions? 

MM:      Absolutely! Not only that but in just its second year CDRC has already established itself as a leading international competition. It also enhances Vienna’s role as a leading hub for international dispute resolution.

YGAP:   Have you come across any notable developments about the competition in comparison to the 2015 edition?

MM:      The 2016 edition seemed to build on the prior’s experience and you could feel this in the excitement of the students, the coaches, and the assessors.

YGAP:   How do you feel about the level of the student negotiators and mediators in this edition?

MM:      The high levels of performance and preparation made the task of assessing very challenging, which is a good thing.  But in discussing this aspect with some other assessors, we acknowledged that we are unable to avoid bringing our own subjective elements to the process. During the assessment and feedback processes, I have always found it eye-opening to learn the perspectives of colleagues from different cultural and professional backgrounds.

YGAP:   Do you have any suggestions, tips or advice for our young negotiators and mediators in the making?

MM:      Don’t stop after Vienna!  If you made it all the way here for this competition, then you are already part of a small minority of international practitioners who are positioned to grow in an increasingly globalised profession.  Stick with it and as the profession grows, so will you.

YGAP:   Would you like to make any additional comments to our readers?

MM:      Yes, two things!  First, please check out the Global Pound Conference and find an event near you to come and vote on the future of dispute resolution. The website is, and there are more than 40 cities around the world that will host a GPC event between CDRC Vienna 2016 and July 2017.  Most of the events will have the possibility of student discounts, but the number of seats will often be limited due to the interactive voting and discussion technology that we are using. Second, let me know if you are ever in Florence, Italy, and have time for a coffee or lunch if our schedules coincide. Any friend or participant in the CDRC is a friend, and I would be happy to see you again. 


published August 9, 2016