In a unique and ambitious initiative to shed light on how civil and commercial conflicts are resolved in the 21st century – the Global Pound Conferences brought together over 4,000 conflict resolution stakeholders in 24 countries worldwide. The results are compiled in the report: Global Pound Conference Series: Global Data Trends and Regional Differences

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The report is based on data collected from 28 conferences held in the period 2016-17 on the initiative of one of the world’s largest law firms – Herbert Smith Freehills, and in collaboration with PwC and IMI (International Mediation Institute) – in order to clarify global trends and tendencies within civil and commercial conflict resolution.

With a focus on corporate conflict resolution needs, the report challenges the traditional and basic notions of what clients want and how lawyers should represent them in commercial conflicts.

The report identifies four global key themes:

Efficiency is the key priority of Parties in choise of dispute resolution processes
Most conflict resolution offers remain an adversarial process with legal rights as the focal point. About two-thirds of the participating company representatives at GPC indicated that they want more efficiency in conflict resolution. This calls into question whether traditional conflict resolution processes still meet the needs of users.

The companies expect greater collaboration from Advisers in conflict resolution
About two-thirds of the company representatives also expressed that they needed more cooperation from their lawyers. Both in the interaction between lawyer and client, but also in the approach to counterparties. This calls into question the traditional notions of how lawyers should represent clients. Is the zealous lawyer who stubbornly and at all costs fights his clients’ case still appropriate?

Global interest in the use of mediation – both before and alongside litigation and arbitration
With data pointing to a more collaborative and effective approach, it is not surprising that participants indicated that parties to conflict either through legislation or protocols and mediation clauses should be encouraged to use methods such as mediation before initiating legal proceedings. The report also highlights a growing desire for mediation to be used alongside litigation and arbitration.

Lawyers are considered to be the primary obstacle to change
The report concludes that corporate lawyers are expected to be the primary initiator of a change in the choice of conflict resolution method. In contrast, around 70% of conference participants indicated that external lawyers were the primary barrier to a changed approach to conflict resolution in commercial disputes.

For further information on Global Pound Conferences, including the other GPC reports, please refer to IMI’s website: