#10QuestionswithMaxwell Interview Series: Yoshimi Ohara, Partner at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu


#10QuestionswithMaxwell Interview Series: Yoshimi Ohara, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

In this #10QuestionsWithMaxwell interview, we feature Yoshimi Ohara, Partner at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu.

Her practice focuses on dispute settlement by mediation, arbitration and litigation. She served as counsel in international arbitration under the rules of the ICC, ICSID, AAA/ICDR, SIAC and JCAA. She also served as co-arbitrator, sole arbitrator and chair arbitrator under rules of the ICC, SIAC, JCAA, KCAB, VIAC, ICDR, and UNCITRAL. 

She is a member of the Governing Board of the ICCA, a member of the Board of the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA) and a member of the Executive Director of the Japan Association of Arbitrators (JAA). She is a former Vice President of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and the ICC International Court of Arbitration (ICC). She is listed as a member of the ICSID panel of arbitrators.  She is admitted to the Japanese Bar and the New York Bar and received a LLM degree from Harvard Law School. 

In this interview, she shared the key principles to uphold in dealing with arbitration cases, the arbitration community in Japan, the importance of taking up new opportunities and more.

Read her full interview below:

Q: How do you foresee the future of ADR to be?  

ADR will continue to be a popular, key tool for dispute resolution, especially in international disputes.  Mediation will play an increasingly prominent role in the coming years. With new advances in digital and Artificial Intelligence technology, ADR proceedings will become even more efficient. 

Q: Key principles to uphold while dealing with arbitration cases. 

Fairness, equality, and efficiency. First, both arbitrators and counsel must always be fair in the conduct of dealings with the arbitrator(s), counsels, and the parties themselves.  Second, an arbitrator must always treat all parties equally, taking into account differences in each party’s legal or cultural background. Third, one must always aim to achieve an efficient settlement of the dispute in a way that is suitable to the case at hand. 

Q: What are some differences you observed in arbitration in a local versus international setting? 

The practice of arbitration adopts a certain local flavour in each jurisdiction. In particular, domestic arbitration tends to be more influenced by, and incorporate, some elements of the local court practice of the corresponding jurisdiction. 

Q: Where do you see Japan in the arbitration landscape in the next 5 years? 

Arbitration in Japan has much potential for growth in the coming years. The arbitration community in Japan has been growing and has become more diverse in terms of nationality, gender, and generation.  Such trend will continue in the foreseeable future.  The opening of the Business Court in Tokyo last year is also a contributing factor, because its judges now hear most of the arbitration related cases filed in Japan, and they will likely have a good command of English; further, they would be able to accumulate and share their expertise and experience in arbitration related cases through their work in the Business Court. This will help to boost the capability of the Japanese courts to support arbitration as well. 

Q: Without sacrificing confidentiality, could you share with us the most memorable dispute you have been a part of? 

My most memorable dispute was the very first case I actively advocated, and I took part in both the opening statement and cross-examination therein. At that point, I had been relatively new to arbitration, and my original role had been, as Japanese co-counsel, to provide inputs on Japanese law to the lead counsel. However, a day before the hearing, I was offered the opportunity to do some advocacy during the hearing. I was nervous but taking up that opportunity paved the way to my whole arbitration career. 

Q: In your opinion as a woman leader, what are some strategies that can help women achieve the success they want in their workplaces, especially in male-dominated roles or industries? 

In a male-dominated industry, it is important to have male colleagues who are willing to support you as an equal; their support will help you to get a seat at the table. It is equally important to turn around and provide support to your female colleagues, so that the number of female practitioners in the industry will continue to grow. Finally, you will need a bit of courage to take opportunities when they come your way – you’ll never know where they may lead you!  

Q: In reaching the level of success you have, if anything – what have you sacrificed along the way? Would you have done anything differently? 

I have not been able to enjoy as much time with my family and friends as I would have liked.  The arbitration community and law firms are now committed to diversity, equity and inclusion; I only hope the younger generations will take advantage of such trend and achieve what I was not able to achieve.   

Q: Please share some advice(s) to aspiring individuals who want to pursue a career in ADR. 

When I first got involved in arbitration, I knew little about the subject. There were limited resources on arbitration in Japan at that time. I learned arbitration through the generous support of many star players outside Japan in the arbitration sphere, both male and female. I am very grateful to those who provided advice and shared their insights with me as I pursued the practice of arbitration, and those who gave me opportunities. I hope to be able to return the favour to those who are new to arbitration. 

Q: If you weren’t in your current profession, what profession would you be in?  

An artist? 

Q: Lastly, describe Maxwell Chambers in 3 words/phrases. 

Organized, convenient, but cold! 


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Download: Virtual and Hybrid Hearing Checklist

Error: Contact form not found.

i. Video Conferencing Platform
Video Conferencing
Real Time Transcription
vi.Intepretation and Translation
Interpretation and Translation
vii.ADR Support Services
ADR Support Services
v.Evidence Presentation
Evidence Presentation
iii. Case Management Platform
Case Management Platform
High-speed wireless internet access
Individually Secured Rooms
ii. Dedicated Virtual Hearing Moderator
Virtual Hearing Moderator and AV/IT Support
Business Centre
Exclusive lounge access for arbitrators