SWAN - Promoting Women in Arbitration

SWAN is a network for women with an interest in arbitration.

Who we are

The focus of SWAN is to provide a platform for networking, sharing experiences and learning how to play the game.

Besides invitations to rewarding events and excellent network opportunities, the membership includes the SWAN Directory (reprinted every second year and distributed to members, arbitration practitioners and arbitral institutions) and membership rates on seminars and conferences.

How it began

It all began in December 2008, at an event when colleagues met and discussed why there were many women working in arbitration in Sweden but only a few were renowned. They also concluded that at meetings, and in the roles of counsel and of arbitrator, men predominate. From this conversation, the idea of creating a network for women in arbitration, to meet and exchange experiences and also to promote women, was born.

The colleagues compiled all the names of women working in arbitration in Sweden they could think of and invited these women to an after work to test the idea. The test showed that support was strong for the idea. The SCC committed to support the idea by providing assistance and visibility to the network. The network was given a name, SWAN (Swedish Women in Arbitration Network), and in only three years, SWAN has grown from a group of 40, to a professional network including well over 200 women.

What we do 

A typical SWAN year will include a panel debate, after works, a number of inspirational lunches and a practical seminar. Panel debates are open to members as well as non-members, men as well as women. Each debate has had well-known lawyers and arbitrators on the panels, whom have shared and discussed practical issues that can only be learned from others and from doing. Inspirational lunches are a concept where members meet over lunch and are given a chance to speak with and listen to a person who shares his or her experiences in building a legal career, usually within the arbitration field. The practical seminars are two-fold in what they offer members; the seminars are educational and provide a networking opportunity. After works give members a forum to meet informally with colleagues from other firms and professions to casually discuss their work and experiences.

Where we are

SWAN is, as the name indicates, based in Sweden.

Sweden has a long-tradition of agreeing to resolve disputes by arbitration. Building on this tradition, Sweden has been a preferred seat in international arbitration since the 1970’s, known for being a neutral, transparent and trustworthy seat with an arbitration law well-advanced in relation to other often used seats in international arbitration.

Swedish counsel and arbitrators are labeled as being professional and knowledgeable people with high integrity.

Given Sweden’s strong position in arbitration and its emphasis on equality, it comes as no surprise that the SCC is the first arbitral institution to promote a network for women.