3 Verulam Buildings
WC1R 5NT, London, England
Peers and clients say:
"Sophie is a very experienced international arbitrator"
"She has an original way of thinking"
"She is high profile and very knowledgeable in the tech space"
Sophie Nappert is a London-based arbitrator in independent practice. She is dual-qualified as an Avocat of the Bar of Quebec, Canada and as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.
Describe your career to date.
Before acting as a full-time arbitrator, I pursued a career as an advocate for over 20 years and was head of international arbitration at a global law firm.
How has the market changed since you first started practising?
International arbitration has bloomed into a highly sophisticated field of scholarship and practice and the premier means of dispute resolution for transnational disputes.
What challenges do you face with the increased volume of data being used in disputes, and how are you navigating them?
The challenge is that the human mind struggles with vast quantities of data, and the use of algorithms to assist with processing that data has not yet entered the mainstream of the arbitral process. Until arbitrators can be easily assisted by algorithms in a secure and ethical manner, data navigation must be handled with the help of (human) experts and procedural tools.
In which sectors have you seen an uptick or downturn in activity recently? What do you think is driving this?
Disputes related to crypto assets and the Web3 economy are emerging in a big way. They push the boundaries of what the law can do to protect digital assets in a virtual reality.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues are another prominent development at the forefront of several disputes involving state parties. I am co-chairing the ICC Working Group on Allegations of Corruption in International Arbitration, which aims to provide practitioners and tribunals with a roadmap to assist with some of these issues.
Having co-founded ArbTech, how has this enhanced your practice and what are the goals of the forum?
ArbTech aims to foster interdisciplinary dialogue on technology, dispute resolution and the future of justice with our growing community. We feature regular webinars on trending topics in this space which aim to be informative and thought-provoking. ArbTech has allowed me to connect with fellow practitioners, entrepreneurs, and experts at the intersection of technology and the law and to sharpen my knowledge of the issues.
How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?
More of the same, I hope.
What underrated skills would you encourage the up-and-coming generation of arbitration professionals to develop?
Clear communication of complex concepts is a key skill especially where, as in the legal tech space, your audience goes far beyond lawyers.