The College of Commercial Arbitrators is perhaps the definitive authoritative body for best practices in commercial arbitration from the perspective of practitioner arbitrators.  Its promulgated standards are widely respected and its leaders are leaders of leaders.

It is therefore with great satisfaction that I note that the CCA has selected its first female President, Deborah Rothman.

 

Deborah’s being the first female President of this prestigious organization is of a piece with her life and career. She was the first person in her family to go to college and, therefore, to go to law school and, therefore, to practice law.  She was a segregation-breaker as a participant in the first-ever small-scale exchange of college students to test the impact of coeducation on their single-sex schools, and was one of 10 Vassar undergrads to spend second semester of sophomore year at Trinity.

She transferred to Yale College as one of the first undergraduate women to matriculate in the College.  Her class was the first coed graduating class in Yale’s history.  She believes, but cannot prove, that she was the first Yale College graduate to work as a cocktail waitress in the French Quarter.

Continuing this pattern, while studying law at NYU Deborah was one of the first law students to participate in a 4-year joint JD/MPA program with the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, garnering one of the first joint JD/MPA’s from the 2 schools.  Some years later she co-created the first-ever consumer show for the pregnancy-through preschool market: “Baby Fair.” Adopting a full-time career as a mediator/arbitrator  in 1991, she says that she cannot claim to have been one of the first.  But I am hard-set to name one who came before.

So cheers to Deborah.  And with no disrespect, let’s join conductor Marin Alsop, who, speaking last year from the podium as the first woman to conduct the “Last Night of the Proms,” yearned for the day when there would be no more “firsts” for women, and dedicated the concert to “the second, third, fourths, fifths, hundredths to come.”

 

F. Peter Phillips is an arbitrator and mediator practicing through Business Conflict Management in Montclair, New Jersey. He is also the Director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Skills Program at New York Law School where, as Adjunct Professor, he teaches Alternative Dispute Resolution, Negotiation, and International Commercial Dispute Resolution.