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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. Dispute resolution: public international law
  4. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s ‘excellent and dedicated’ 22-lawyer team manages a balanced caseload of commercial and investment arbitration, including key matters in the oil and gas sector. It is representing East Mediterranean Gas and its foreign shareholders in four parallel arbitrations with Egypt and its state-owned entities regarding the sale of Egyptian natural gas to Israeli customers. Mining is another strong area of expertise. More recently, the firm has been retained to handle various post-M&A and joint-venture disputes. The group of ‘exceptional individuals’ is headed by Noah Rubins. Elie Kleiman and Peter Turner are also recommended, as is co-head of the global public international law practice Ben Juratowitch, who combines ‘an excellent legal mind with a very strategic and practical approach’.

Shearman & Sterling LLP ranks among ‘the best of the best’ and does ‘a magnificent job in handling difficult cases’. The Paris office has one of world’s largest dedicated teams and is managing several top commercial and investment arbitration cases. The practice is particularly experienced in cases in the telecoms and energy sectors, such as representing Areva and Siemens in an ICC cases with Teollisuuden Voima Oyj arising from the construction of a nuclear power plant in Finland. Other clients include EDF and the states of Egypt and Lithuania. ‘Genial’ practice head Emmanuel Gaillard is an absolute reference; Yas Banifatemi is in charge of the firm’s public international law practice. Other names to note are Coralie Darrigade, Jennifer Younan, recently promoted partners Maude Lebois and Mohamed Shelbaya, and counsels Kathryn Khamsi and Daniel Reich.

White & Case LLPfully deserves its excellent reputation’, ‘works under strict ethical and professional rules’ and provides ‘outstanding value for money’. The Paris office houses one of the world’s largest dedicated arbitration teams and is second to none in the construction industry. It is representing Grupo Unidos por el Canal in a $2bn dispute relating to the Panama Canal expansion project and is handling highly sensitive matters regarding the construction of nuclear plants. The firm is also acting in some of the world’s largest oil and gas disputes, as well as a high-profile case concerning telecoms in Africa. Michael Polkinghorne heads the practice, which includes the ‘outstanding’ Christopher Seppälä, who is praised for his ‘unrivalled strategic eye and friendly and to-the-point advice’; Christophe von Krause, who ‘has wealth of experience and knowledge about international arbitration in relation to construction and outstanding abilities to manage a team’; Charles Nairac, who shows ‘attention to the slightest detail and provides sound judgement’; John Willems; and Andrew de Lotbinière McDougall, head of the firm’s EMEA dispute resolution practice, who has ‘a talent to quickly adjust to changed circumstances in the courtroom’. Nicolas Bouchardie was promoted to the partnership in January 2015 and, in 2016, Elizabeth Oger-Gross became the Paris office’s first female arbitration partner.

Bredin Prat handles a balanced commercial and investment arbitration caseload. The 17-lawyer team is involved in a number of disputes arising from the Middle East, acting for sovereign states, state-owned entities and private sector clients. The firm regularly acts for the Republic of Egypt, which it is representing in an ICSID arbitration brought by Cementos La Union in relation to the cement industry. The practice is led by Louis Christophe Delanoy, Raëd Fathallah, Tim Portwood and José María Pérez.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP provides ‘excellent service and always makes every effort to get the right result’. The Paris team manages a prominent investment caseload while also handling commercial arbitrations; it represents European and Middle Eastern states, as well as some large multinational companies, often in cases relating to oil and gas, energy, mining or financial services. The firm successfully represented the Hellenic Republic in an ICSID arbitration initiated by Poštová Banka, wherein the panel ruled that interests owned in Greek government bonds do not qualify as protected investments under the Slovakia-Greece bilateral investment treaty. Key figures in the practice include: Claudia Annacker, who has ‘second-to-none knowledge of theory of international law and arbitration practice’; Jean-Yves Garaud; senior counsel Robert Greig; counsel and ‘rising star’ Cameron Murphy, who ‘is very knowledgeable and does a great cross-examing job’. Laurie Achtouk-Spivak was promoted to counsel.

Clifford Chance is ‘able to put in place a team of senior lawyers from different offices with specific knowledge of its client’s industry and the dispute, in a very short time’. The ten-lawyer Paris office handles commercial disputes on behalf of leading French and multinational companies, most notably various energy, aviation and corporate cases. Global practice co-head Jason Fry provides ‘perfect management of difficult arbitration proceedings’, Simon Greenberg is ‘very knowledgeable and able to advise on the legal matters and strategy of selection of arbitrators and experts’. Jean-Pierre Grandjean is also a strong adviser.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP’s 12-lawyer team only represents states in investment cases and shows ‘an unusual ability to assess claims and defence on their true merits, taking proper account of parties’ particular features’. It is representing the Republic of Kazakhstan in several cases, including in an ICSID case with Caratube International Oil and M. Hourani. The firm is also acting for Turkmenistan and the Republic of Cameroon. The commercial arbitration caseload is also growing. The practice is led by Peter Wolrich, co-head of the firm’s arbitration practice, and Geoffroy Lyonnet, who are ‘truly international in background, experienced and brilliant in evidentiary exposition’. Counsel Nadia Darwazeh is also recommended.

Dechert’s ‘excellent’ 16-lawyer practice handles high-profile investment work in Latin America in the oil and gas sector, where it is is acting for the Republic of Ecuador in several billion-dollar cases. The group also manages a high-end commercial arbitration caseload relating to energy, corporate, patent licensing and public procurement. Practice head Eduardo Silva Romero and José-Manuel García Represa make up ‘a formidable duo that gets great results, and are particularly good at handling maters in Spanish-speaking countries’. Philip Dunham is also recommended along with the ‘very smart and experiencedXavier Nyssen, whose ‘excellent human skills allow him to understand not only the legal aspects of a case but also the business and all other important aspects surrounding a dispute’. Pierre Mayer left the firm.

23-lawyer boutique Derains & Gharavi produces ‘very high-quality’ work, representing states, corporations and individual foreign investors. It is handling a prominent investment arbitration caseload, especially in the construction, oil and mining fields. Highlights included representing Caratube International Oil and Devincci Salah Hourani in their $1.1bn claims against the Republic of Kazakhstan. The team also handles commercial arbitration, particularly in the aviation industry. The practice is led by Melanie van Leeuwen, Bertrand Derains, Eloise Obadia and recently promoted partner Nada Sader, as well as the ‘brilliant’ Hamid Gharavi, who is ‘a real tactician with an excellent strategic approach and a great amount of charisma’, and Yves Derains, who ranks among the world’s top arbitrators.

King & Spalding LLP is well known for its investment expertise, particularly in the oil and gas sector, where it often represents companies against state entities. The firm’s recent caseload also includes a number of renewable energy cases. It is acting for 9Ren Holding in an ICSID arbitration against Spain. The highly respected Ken Fleuriet and Eric Schwartz lead the 13-lawyer team, which includes James Castello, Joël Alquezar and recently promoted partner Amy Frey.

Allen & Overy LLP’s 14-lawyer team represents large French and international groups in commercial arbitrations, notably in the aviation, car manufacturing and oil and gas sectors, including a number of Africa-related disputes. The firm is also developing its investment arbitration caseload, especially in the energy sector, and is representing the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in two treaty arbitrations. Airbus and GDF Suez are clients. Michael Young is a co-head of the firm’s global arbitration practice. Marie Stoyanov was promoted to partner in 2015.

Betto Seraglini builds ‘close relationships with its clients’ and shows ‘a perfect mastery of arbitral procedures’. The 11-lawyer boutique is acting for leading companies in the defence and energy sectors in commercial arbitrations and handles highly significant matters in North Africa. The Republic of Gabon and DCNS are clients. The firm is also representing Bernard Tapie and his wife in a highly-publicised case. Jean-Georges Betto has ‘great knowledge of the defence and aviation areas’, Christophe Seraglini produces ‘very fine analysis’; the other partners are Thierry Tomasi, Gaëlle Le Quillec and recent hire Julien Fouret, an investment arbitration expert who joined from Castaldi Mourre & Partners.

Brown Rudnick LLP is ‘punching well above its weight’ and handles a diverse commercial arbitration caseload spanning the infrastructure, telecoms, media and mining sectors. The ten-lawyer team stands out as having a mix of common and civil law expertise. The firm is handling large ICC disputes pertaining to Africa and the Middle East. The global practice is led by London and Paris-based Nicholas Tse, whose ‘dedication to clients’ matters is exemplary’. Sébastien Bonnard heads the Paris team, in which Roger Kennell and counsel Hervé Le Lay are also recommended along with the ‘outstandingJean-François Le Gal, who is ‘making a name for himself on both sides of the Channel’.

DLA Piper is increasingly being retained by leading European corporations such as Vodacom and Alcatel-Lucent. The eight-lawyer Paris team is handling large Africa-related investment cases involving mining and telecoms, including representing the Republic of Guinea in the world’s most high-profile pending mining dispute. The practice is also developing its commercial arbitration caseload. Michael Ostrove heads the arbitration practice for Europe and Africa. Alexander Brabant is ‘open to discussing issues instead of pushing his views’.

Dentons, which provides ‘a first-class level of services’, manages a caseload of high-end investment arbitrations and also handles commercial arbitration. Energy and Africa are key areas of focus. The team is defending Gazprom in a SCC dispute with a Lithuanian ministry that led to an important Court of Justice of the European Union decision. Global practice head Jean-Christophe Honlet is ‘extremely effective and understands the complexities and nuances of a case’. Barton Legum is global head of the firm’s investment treaty arbitration practice. Anna Crevon was named partner.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. handles commercial and investment arbitration cases and is representing French and international corporations in construction, telecoms and corporate disputes, often in relation to Africa and the Middle East, such as acting for Crédit Foncier de France in three ICC arbitrations regarding the financing of a hospital in Saudi Arabia. The team is led by Carole Malinvaud, Christian Camboulive, Pierre Raoul-Duval, Clotilde Lemarié and London-based Rupert Reece.

Eversheds LLP’s 16-lawyer practice ‘can run complex litigation seamlessly’ and has particular expertise in ‘very difficult and high-profile international arbitrations involving states’. It is involved in high-value investment cases on behalf of states or investors and handling oil and gas cases pertaining to the Middle East; the practice is also representing the government of Iran in several disputes. Will Thomas heads the department globally; David Sellers is ‘a real star who gets results for his clients’. Senior associate Greg Falkof is also ‘a very strong member’. Public international law expert Rodman Bundy and counsel Loretta Malintoppi are temporarily operating in Singapore.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides ‘robust and commercial advice’ in commercial and investment cases. The practice has a particular forte in the energy sector, particularly renewable energy, and in oil and gas. Isabelle Michou heads the practice, in which Emmanuelle Cabrol provides ‘excellent services’. The well-regarded Andrew Cannon recently relocated from London to Paris.

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP has ‘one of the best international arbitration teams in Europe’ and handles a high amount of work in the energy and natural resources areas. It is representing the government of Mongolia and MonAtom in a UNCITRAL arbitration brought by Khan Resources. The nine-lawyer practice is also acting for the Republic of Venezuela in several cases. Practice head Laurent Gouiffès is ‘very smart and energetic, and gets to the bottom of each issue no matter how challenging it is’. Carmen Nuñez-Lagos is also recommended along with counsel Thomas Kendra, who does not hesitate to ‘suggest alternative ways to settle disputes in the best interest of his clients’.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP handles commercial and investment arbitration cases, principally representing major French and multinational corporations in the energy and construction sectors, often in cases pertaining to Eastern Europe and North Africa. The firm represented Alstom in an UNCITRAL arbitration regarding the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Eastern Europe. Partners are also regularly appointed as arbitrator in cases. José Rosell co-chairs the firm’s practice globally. Marc Henry and Marc-Olivier Langlois are also recommended.

Jones Day is handling commercial arbitrations pertaining to oil and gas and construction law. The practice is often involved in matters involving the Arab world and is also dealing with a large investment dispute in the telecoms sector. The practice is led by Michael Bühler and the ‘highly competentJean-Pierre Harb.

Latham & Watkinsalways takes care of its clients’ cases with diligence and tenacious professionalism’. The ‘efficient and excellent’ 11-lawyer team has established a balanced commercial and investment arbitration practice, which is particularly strong in the oil and gas area. The practice often works for Spanish-speaking clients, as well as French ones, and is acting for various investors in strategic SCC arbitrations brought against the Kingdom of Spain in the photovoltaic solar sector. Global practice co-chair Fernando Mantilla-Serrano and counsel John Adam ‘are remarkable professionals with vast arbitration knowledge’. Fabrice Fages is another name to note.

Orrick Rambaud Martel provides ‘a very high level of service’ and is deemed to be ‘a leader in commercial arbitration in France’, while its investment arbitration caseload is also prominent. The firm is representing the Republic of Guinea in a $5bn ICSID arbitration pertaining to the world’s largest iron ore mine and also represents oil and gas majors. The 12-lawyer practice is headed by Laurent Jaeger and Charles Kaplan, who has ‘extraordinary oratory skills’ and can ‘intimately appreciate what tribunal members value most when making decisions’.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has a high-profile commercial arbitration caseload, including key matters in the oil and gas sector. The firm is representing FBME Bank’s shareholders in a significant ICC arbitration against the Republic of Cyprus. Practice head Philippe Pinsolle is highly regarded and Thomas Voisin is recognised as being one to watch.

Three Crowns LLP is handling large investment and commercial arbitrations, including several strategic disputes in the construction and oil and gas sectors. Other work includes acting for investors in Marfin Popular Bank in a dispute with the Republic of Cyprus. Areva and ExxonMobil are also clients. Georgios Petrochilos and Todd Wetmore rank among the market’s most experienced advisers.

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