Sandra De Vito Bieri
Bahnhofstrasse 70, PO Box
CH-8021, Zurich, Switzerland
Peers and clients say:
"Sandra is highly professional and a very talented practitioner"
"She is hardworking, responsive, accurate, and tenacious"
Sandra De Vito Bieri has worked in the field of arbitration for over 20 years. She also advises companies as well as members of management and boards of directors in extensive administrative and criminal investigations as well as in internal investigation proceedings. Her clients include companies and entrepreneurs mainly in the financial, energy, telecoms and commodities sectors. She advises on disputes arising from M&A transactions, licensing and joint venture agreements, agency agreements, purchase agreements, production and construction projects.
What do your clients look for in an effective counsel?
They want me to fight when it is time to fight and to re-assess the matter when that is what the situation requires. They want me to define the strategy with them – anticipate the actions of our opponent and re-assess the situation depending on new facts.
What do you enjoy most about acting as arbitrator?
Listening. First have the parties explain the story behind the dispute and then listen to the witnesses and experts as they explain their side of the story. Exciting every time.
What challenges and opportunities do virtual arbitration hearings and proceedings present to expert witnesses?
I think there are more challenges than opportunities. We have had the experience of virtual hearings for several years now, and especially in hybrid hearings the difference becomes very clear: if an expert sits vis-à-vis the arbitral tribunal, if he can stand up from time to time and even show something, this is better remembered than an expert who was questioned via video. Of course, cost efficiency has to be taken into account, too, but if feasible, I prefer a hearing in person.
What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of technological development in arbitration?
The benefits are clearly time savings and thus cost efficiency. It is also easier today to e.g. record a hearing or, who knows, combine it with virtual reality. But, in my opinion, technological development should not completely replace personal encounters. The nuances of a statement are otherwise lost, which is a bad development in dispute resolution.
In what ways have you noticed tribunals becoming more sophisticated and entertaining a greater variety of techniques in proceedings?
Often this input comes from the parties - and here it is dictated by cost efficiency. And parties do well to tell the arbitral tribunal exactly how they want to conduct proceedings and with what technological means. The arbitral tribunal has to adapt, and that is good.
How has the shift to online working and events affected networking opportunities?
Fortunately, we are returning to old habits and we are meeting in person again. I didn’t like these virtual meetings - online working is okay - but there’s nothing like a face-to-face chat, especially in a professional environment.
Do you think the movement of seminars and conferences to online platforms has helped or hindered the growth of the arbitration field?
I think it did not impact.
What key skills and traits would you encourage the next generation of arbitration practitioners to develop?
Understanding cultural differences, use and understanding of technological means and passion, passion.