Arbitration Profiles – Interview with David W. Rivkin

Arbitration Profiles is a podcast that explores topics in international arbitration through a series of interviews with some of its most prominent players. Every episode, host Emma Rose Bienvenu speaks to a guest about their work, their opinions on contentious issues in the field, and the most exciting trends they see shaping its future. 

This week, Emma Rose speaks to David W. Rivkin, the Immediate Past Present of the International Bar Association (IBA), a litigation partner at Debevoise & Plimpton’s New York and London offices and Co-Chair its International Dispute Resolution Group. Their wide-ranging conversation begins by examining international arbitration’s role in the development and current operation of the global trade ecosystem, touching in particular upon the ongoing debate over Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). They move on to discuss Mr. Rivkin’s creative views on the roles international arbitration could play in addressing issues like corruption and climate change. The interview wraps up with a discussion of Mr. Rivkin’s vision of lawyers as “wise counsellors” to their clients and “guardians of the corporation’s integrity”, and how that role interacts with the more traditional mandate of being a partner to the business leader.

Our host, Emma Rose Bienvenu, is a current McGill 2L. In addition to hosting our podcast, she is President of the McGill Business Law Association. She holds an LLM from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s in Economics and Finance from Sciences Po Paris, and an undergraduate degree in Political Sciences from Sciences Po Paris, a year of which she spent at Georgetown University, in Washington, DC.

If you have questions, comments, or recommendations for future episodes, email our host at

Questions & Answers

A role model, dead or alive … “My parents!”

Which would you want to be if you were …
a city? “New York, because it is an international center that overflows with music, theater, sports, food and other interests.”

an animal? “A dog, because they have a nice life and are always surrounded by a loving family.”

The best academic book or article you’ve read in the past year: “‘Arbitrating for Peace’, published by the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce”.

The best non-academic book or article you’ve read in the three years: “Baseball as a Road to God.”

Best advice you’ve ever received: “In order to succeed at anything, you have to be happy in that pursuit.”