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France > Dispute resolution > International arbitration > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution: international arbitration
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

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Dechert LLP is made up of ‘highly dedicated members who are very experienced in the oil sector and have skills in different areas such as hydrocarbons, telecoms, environmental issues and damage assessment’. The ‘very strong’ 20-lawyer practice is highly involved in representing state entities. It is acting for Ecuador in several matters and assisting the Republic of Colombia in an ICSID mining dispute with Glencore International and Prodeco. The firm also handles major commercial disputes, especially in the telecoms and defence sectors and is dealing with several large exequatur cases. Orange is a client. ‘Extremely strong’ practice head Eduardo Silva Romero provides ‘legal arguments which are always well reasoned and clearly organised’. José-Manuel García Represa is ‘awesome at analysing and presenting quantum issues’; Xavier Nyssen and Philip Dunham are also recommended.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s work is ‘in line with the most demanding quality criteria and consistently top tier’. The 24-lawyer Paris practice is always involved in the market’s largest investment and commercial cases. It is particularly strong in the European and African energy and oil and gas sectors, where it recently earned several victories. It obtained a $324m damages award for its client, East Mediterranean Gas, in an ICC gas dispute with Egypt. Noah Rubins heads the Paris practice, in which Elie Kleiman and Peter Turner are ‘top-quality lawyers with sharp minds’. The firm also has a public international law practice that is ‘outstanding in legal precision and sophistication’. Global practice head Ben Juratowitch is ‘a leading lawyer whose key strengths include innovative thinking, conceptual clarity and accessibility, and persuasiveness of his writing’.

Shearman & Sterling LLP is ‘by far the best in the market and stands head and shoulders above its competitors’, according to one client. The firm has an impressive record in investment and commercial arbitrations. The Paris office has extraordinary depth with 53 dedicated lawyers and is currently involved in the largest pending arbitrations in the world. The practice represents sovereign clients and investors, with a high proportion of work in the oil and gas sectors. It represented GML before the Hague Court of Appeal in the Yukos arbitration award enforcement phase and is handling one of the largest construction arbitrations pending in North Africa. The practice also recently won a high-profile ICC dispute raising complex state aids issues for client EDF International in a case with a German federal state. Areva, Egyptian Natural Gas and the Arab Republic of Egypt are clients. Practice head Emmanuel Gaillard is an exceptional figure in the market. Yas Banifatemi heads the international public law practice. Also recommended are: Mohamed Shelbaya, who has ‘great tactical sense and is solution-oriented’, as well as Coralie Darrigade, Jennifer Younan, Maude Lebois and counsel Daniel Reich.

White & Case LLP’s ‘lawyers have far-reaching legal knowledge and extensive experience’. The team ‘always has a level of resources available to meet the requirements necessary to cope with high-value dispute resolution proceedings’. The practice is involved in several of the world’s largest ICC cases and has particular strength in the energy and construction sectors. The firm’s investment caseload is also growing. It is notably representing Engie in an ICSID dispute with Hungary under the Energy Charter Treaty. Elizabeth Oger-Gross is ‘very thorough and efficient in examining witnesses’, Christophe von Krause is ‘convincing, has excellent analytical abilities and a flexible and enthusiastic spirit’, and Andrew de Lotbinière McDougall is ‘extremely skilful at extracting the essential points in real time in the courtroom’. Michael Polkinghorne heads the practice, in which the other partners to note are Christopher Seppälä, Charles Nairac, John Willems, Nicolas Bouchardie and recently promoted partner Kirsten Odynski.

Bredin Prat handles a large commercial and investment caseload, often involving heavy financial claims. The 18-lawyer team is representing several Middle Eastern state entities, as well as many French and international companies and investors. In two ongoing ICSID arbitrations, it is acting for the Kingdom of Jordan against Orange regarding the renewal of a telecoms licence and is counsel to the Lebanese Republic in a case opposite a German investor. Egypt and Croatia are also sovereign clients. Louis-Christophe Delanoy, Raëd Fathallah, Tim Portwood and José María Pérez are the key figures.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP provides ‘an excellent overall level of service’ that features ‘quick responses, effective and detailed work, in-depth knowledge and appropriateness of advice’. In collaboration with the firm’s other offices, the team manages a prominent investment caseload, often acting for state entities. Representing the Russian Federation, it recently obtained the annulment of three arbitral awards in the high-profile Yukos case by the District Court of The Hague. The firm is also assisting the Republic of Austria in its first ICSID arbitration. The firm also acts for many leading corporations in large commercial arbitration cases. The Arab Republic of Egypt, ArcelorMittal, EDF and the French Republic are clients. Claudia Annacker is ‘an impressive and dominant figure before the tribunal’. Other key contributors are Jean-Yves Garaud, senior counsel Robert Greig and counsels Cameron Murphy and Laurie Achtouk-Spivak.

The ‘excellentCurtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP ranks ‘among the top firms in international arbitration, particularly for acting for states in investment arbitrations’. The team, which is famous for only advising states in investment arbitration cases, handles very large cases, especially in the oil and gas sectors. It is representing the Republic of Kazakhstan in several disputes, including a $1bn case with Caratube. The practice also handles commercial disputes and recently obtained a major victory in a post-M&A case. Turkmenistan, the Republic of Cameroon and Arkema are also clients. Global practice co-head Peter Wolrich is ‘exceptionally good, both for the quality of his briefs and memorandums, and for the clarity of his oral presentations’. Geoffroy Lyonnet is also ‘very good, in particular in cross-examining witnesses’ and shows ‘perfect mastery of his files’. Nadia Darwazeh, Sabrina Aïnouz and Jérôme Lehucher were promoted to the partnership.

Dentons’ ‘experience and client focus exceed expectations’, with the ‘excellent’ team showing ‘deep knowledge, great performance before the ICC in Paris, and a multilingual capability that are of first order’. The practice is handling energy, tax, construction in commercial and investment cases relating to Europe, Asia and Africa. The team notably won a complete victory for Gazprom in dismissing Lithuania’s $1.9bn claims and is representing the Micula brothers in an ICSID arbitration filed against Romania regarding the sale of alcoholic spirits. Jean-Christophe Honlet heads the global arbitration practice, while Barton Legum is global head of the investment treaty arbitration group. Anna Crevon is another name to note.

The ‘excellentDerains & Gharavi is ‘very competent, efficient, respected and very well acknowledged in the industry’. The practice often deals with high-profile disputes, including billion-dollar investment cases. It handles disputes in the construction, oil and mining sectors and also manages commercial arbitration cases. The practice is representing Caratube International Oil and Devincci Salah Hourani in an ICSID dispute with the Republic of Kazakhstan for expropriation of an oil concession. It is also acting for the state of Qatar in a €200m ICC case regarding the construction of the first integrated solid waste management facility in the Middle East. The practice is led by Yves Derains and Hamid Gharavi, who is ‘an absolutely top-class lawyer’. Melanie van Leeuwen is ‘an excellent strategist who has a profound knowledge of investment law and impresses by the outstanding quality of her written and oral pleadings’. Bertrand Derains, Eloise Obadia and Nada Sader are also recommended.

King & Spalding LLP provides ‘extremely high-level advice’ and ‘shows unflinching commitment to cases, constant availability and ability to effectively broker solutions’. Often acting in combination with the firm’s other international offices, the 13-lawyer team handles investment arbitrations. It is especially strong in the energy sector and is involved in several billion-dollar oil and gas matters. The firm is also handling a growing European renewable energy caseload, including several ICSID disputes with Spain. The team is led by Eric Schwartz, James Castello, Joël Alquezar and Ken Fleuriet, who ‘keeps cool in every situation, and has great long-term experience with many international cases’. Young partner Amy Frey is ‘brilliant in assessing and structuring complicated matters in a way understandable for everybody’.

One of the sharpest firms’ in the market, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP recently reinforced its bench by hiring two former practice heads at their respective firms: Michael Young (ex-Allen & Overy LLP) and Isabelle Michou (ex-Herbert Smith Freehills LLP), who is ‘a skilful lawyer, attentive to her clients’ needs and a sharp-eyed analyst’. The firm has ‘extensive knowledge of energy, oil and gas and commodities trading sectors’, where it handles the largest ICC cases, often in connection with Africa. It recently acted for Edison in obtaining one of the largest sums ever awarded in a gas price review arbitration in an ICC dispute with Eni. ‘Outstanding’ practice head Philippe Pinsolle ‘understands his clients’ business and leaves no stone unturned’. Thomas Voisin is also recommended.

Allen & Overy LLP shows ‘excellent business acumen and industry knowledge’. Often acting alongside colleagues in other offices, the practice is handling major disputes in the gas sector and both conventional and renewable energy for high-profile operators. It is representing the Sultanate of Oman in an ICSID arbitration brought by Samsung Engineering, as well as acting for three European infrastructure funds in ICSID arbitrations with Spain concerning renewable energy. Marie Stoyanov is recommended. Michael Young joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.

Top firmBetto Seraglini provides ‘valuable advice’; the team is also praised for its ‘curiosity and interest in the technical aspects of its clients’ business’. The practice has particular expertise in the defence, aviation, energy and infrastructure sectors, with a preponderance of commercial cases concerning Africa. It is representing Africarail in a dispute with the republics of Niger and Benin regarding a major railway construction. Safran, Accor Afrique, Khan Resources and Eni are also clients. The practice is led by Jean-Georges Betto, Christophe Seraglini, Thierry Tomasi, Gaëlle Le Quillec and Julien Fouret.

Brown Rudnick LLPtakes a strong hands-on approach to cases with a high level of senior input’. The team stands out for its mixed common law and civil law expertise, which is a major asset for cases in Africa and the Middle East and particularly in ICC matters. Its highly diverse caseload includes mandates pertaining to oil and gas, mining, product liability, telecoms and M&A. It is acting in two high-profile cases dealing with mining and broadcasting issues. Boston Scientific is a client. Paris-based global practice head Nicholas Tsedoes an impressive job of managing a path through complex cases’, and the Paris practice is led by the ‘pragmatic and insightfulSébastien Bonnard, who is ‘a skilled cross-examiner’. Other key names include Jean-François Le Gal, ‘a bright and upcoming partner with potential to be an impressive rain-maker’, Roger Kennell and counsel Hervé Le Lay.

Clifford Chance has a busy commercial arbitration practice covering energy, aviation and corporate law. The team is also involved in multibillion-dollar case in the mining sector. Leading French and international corporations are clients. Jason Fry co-heads the firm’s international practice. Simon Greenberg and Jean-Pierre Grandjean are other names to note.

DLA Piper is handling several billion-dollar cases in Africa in the infrastructure, mining and telecoms sectors. It is notably representing the Republic of Guinea in ICSID arbitration brought by BSG claiming expropriation of the world’s largest mining concession. The firm is also increasingly involved in award enforcement cases before the French courts. Alcatel-Lucent, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Technip are also clients. Michael Ostrove heads the practice globally. Alexander Brabant is another key contact.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. is praised for its ‘quality of work and capability to build solid relationships with its clients’. Based in London and Paris, the 24-lawyer team has ‘well-known experience in ICC construction arbitration’ and provides ‘very appropriate views on necessary actions and opportunities for dispute settlement’. The practice is involved in a high-profile case in Algeria and is representing Crédit Foncier de France in an ICC dispute regarding the financing of a hospital in Saudi Arabia. Carole Malinvaud particularly stands out and also acts as an arbitrator. Christian Camboulive is ‘highly experienced and greatly competent’. Pierre Raoul-Duval and London-based Rupert Reeceare both hard workers with very good knowledge of the construction energy field and ability to create a positive environment’. Also involved are Clotilde Lemarié and recently promoted partner Alexandra Munoz, who is ‘passionate and competent’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP represents blue-chip clients in investment and commercial arbitration disputes. The practice is often involved in Africa-related matters and is also increasingly involved in Eastern European cases. Energy, mining and infrastructure are strong fields of expertise. The practice recently acted for ACP Axos in the first ICSID proceedings brought against the Republic of Kosovo following the cancellation of the privatisation of the postal and telecoms sector. UK-qualified lawyer Andrew Cannon and Emmanuelle Cabrol are recommended. Isabelle Michou joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP is ‘strong on the legal analysis but also very good at understanding the practical and commercial challenges’ of a case, particularly in commercial and investment disputes. It is handling a number of strategic cases relating to energy, oil and gas. The practice represented the government of Mongolia and MonAtom in UNCITRAL arbitration brought by Khan Resources regarding uranium mining licences. It is also acting for Venezuela in arbitration under UNCITRAL rules. Practice head Laurent Gouiffès ‘conveys the key issues clearly and convincingly’. Carmen Nuñez-Lagos ‘manages to reconcile common law and civil law concepts in a multilingual environment’. Counsel Thomas Kendraconducts very effective cross-examinations of both fact and expert witnesses’.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP shows ‘outstanding responsiveness and reliability together with a business-oriented approach to questions’. Acting in collaboration with Washington-based partners, the team is representing Ukrainian investors in five BIT disputes with the Russian Federation following the annexation of Crimea. The firm is another name to note in commercial arbitrations. The ‘outstandingMarc-Olivier Langlois ranks among the ‘few civil and common law lawyers able to cross-examine witnesses and experts’. Marc Henrycombines an outstanding practical approach with impressive legal analysis abilities’; he is an expert in arbitrator impartiality and is increasingly retained as an arbitrator.

Jones Day handles many commercial arbitration cases, often in relation to the Middle East and Africa, often relating to oil and gas, as well as construction law and some investment cases. It is representing Capital Financial Holdings Luxembourg in an ICSID dispute with the Republic of Cameroon. Michael Bühler and Jean-Pierre Harb lead the practice.

Latham & Watkins is handling a growing commercial arbitration caseload, often dealing with construction, energy, oil and gas; the team also routinely acts in cases involving Spanish-speaking participants. It is notably representing investors in SCC disputes with Spain following tariff changes in the Spanish photovoltaic sector. The highly regarded Fernando Mantilla-Serrano is co-head of the practice globally. Fabrice Fages and counsel John Adam are other names to note.

The ‘very responsiveOrrick Rambaud Martel is ‘really experienced in gas pricing dispute resolution’, with a large caseload of investment and commercial matters, with many cases relating to energy and mining matters in Europe or Africa. The firm is co-counsel to the Republic of Guinea in a $5bn ICSID arbitration launched by BSGR following the state’s withdrawal of a mining licence for the world’s largest deposit of iron ore. The practice is jointly headed by Laurent Jaeger whose ‘submissions are always very clear, structured and can be read like a story’, and Charles Kaplan, who ‘understands the underlining issues behind a price review dispute and knows the methods to solve it’.

Three Crowns LLP is handling large investment and commercial arbitration disputes. The team is managing several strategic disputes in construction law and oil and gas. Georgios Petrochilos and Todd Wetmore rank among the market’s most experienced advisers.

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