Camille M. Ng: International arbitration lawyer and limerick writer

By Maricar CP Hampton

Camille speaking as panelist at the  ICC Young Arbitrators Forum: Caribbean Series: Barbados on the topic of  ‘Entrepreneurship and Commercial Arbitration’ in 2016

Lawyers of Filipino ethnicity are a drop in the bucket, so to speak, comprising less than 2 percent of more than a million lawyers in the U.S. While we know some of them to be immigration or personal injury attorneys, or to work in legal departments, a rare few like Camille M. Ng practice international arbitration.

The Manila-born Camille, 36, is Deputy Counsel at the North American Case Management Team of the International Court of Arbitration (Court) of the International Chamber of Commerce. She is the only Filipino at the ICC, the world’s largest business organization  representing more than 45 million companies around the world. She assists the Court in managing disputes between rival organizations, among other roles, keeping in mind the ICC’s founding philosophy of “promoting peace through trade.”

“We are a non-profit,” she said. “To promote peace and to do good business generally, you need a dispute resolution mechanism. In the event of a dispute, say, over contracts, some parties may agree to choose arbitration over litigation, where in some cases they may be able to save on costs and time.”

International arbitration, she said further, “can be a great alternative to the court system.”

“Right now, I’m in charge of around 50 cases, and this is on the low end,” said Camille, a frequent speaker on ICC matters as well as other topics in international arbitration.

She was Assistant Legal Counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) based in The Hague when the ICC job opened up.  She had a phone interview in The Hague and then hopped on a train for a three-hour trip to Paris for her second interview. She got the post. She has been with the ICC for close to four years now.

At The Hague, she co-authored two journal articles on the PCA that were published in the Hague Yearbook of International Law in 2012 and 2013. She’s especially proud of those articles not only because they marked the PCA’s first contribution to the Hague Yearbook of International Law but also because they were co-authored with one of her best friends.

She enjoys going out with friends where there is ‘great conversation, lots of laughing, and good food.’

John Grisham’s “The Client”, which she read in grade school, may have sparked a budding interest in the legal profession. Camille graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame Law School in Indiana in 2008. She also has an LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from the National University of Singapore, and an LL.M. in Global Business Law from New York University. Looking back, she recalled the constant debating she did as a Management student at the Ateneo de Manila University plus frequent appearances before the Philippine Advertising Board as an account executive as experiences that may have sharpened her skills at communicating and reasoning.

“It was always something I thought I could do,” she said. “I realized that law might be a possible career path for me.”

Being Filipino, she said she brings a unique mindset to her position. “My experience helps me relate to parties who come from different backgrounds and legal traditions.”

Camille is the eldest of four siblings. Her father is a banker, and her mother worked as an officer at San Miguel Corporation. She enjoys going out with friends where always there is “great conversation, lots of laughing, and good food.” The Met and Central Park are NYC places she frequents for some quiet time.

Fun fact

Camille has this unusual knack for rhyming. She could be a rapper if her crisp words had a beat to them. Making words rhyme, as if in a limerick, is something that comes naturally. She recalled with amused embarrassment how her mind wandered into rhyming while she was drafting a serious agenda for a Court session.

The mood hasn’t struck

You guys are out of luck

Says the duck with a buck

With an eagle on one side

And Jefferson on the other

And I’ll end this now, so I won’t be a bother

Back to work we quack


“Just playful, silly words,” she said.

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