United States > Litigation > International arbitration
Index of tables
Allen & Overy LLP
- Baker & McKenzie
Chaffetz Lindsey LLP
- Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
- Stanimir Alexandrov - Sidley Austin LLP
- José Astigarraga - Astigarraga Davis
- C Mark Baker - Fulbright & Jaworski LLP
- R Doak Bishop - King & Spalding LLP
- Nigel Blackaby - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
- John Bowman - King & Spalding LLP
- Abby Cohen Smutny - White & Case LLP
- Paolo Di Rosa - Arnold & Porter LLP
- Donald Donovan - Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
- John Fellas - Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
- Paul Friedland - White & Case LLP
- Oscar Garibaldi - Covington & Burling LLP
- Michael Goldberg - Baker Botts L.L.P.
- Eugene Gulland - Covington & Burling LLP
Louis Kimmelman -
Allen & Overy LLP
- Carolyn Lamm - White & Case LLP
- Joseph Neuhaus - Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Michael Nolan -
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
- Elliot Polebaum - Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
- Joseph Profaizer - Paul Hastings LLP
- David Rivkin - Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
- John Townsend - Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s 68-strong international dispute resolution group is ‘definitely one of the best’ and ‘covers the waterfront’, undertaking both arbitration and all associated litigation and public international law matters. ‘Well organised, with high service levels, and demonstrating professionalism, experience and deep industry knowledge’, the practice acts for clients such as Exxon Mobil, General Electric and GlaxoSmithKline. Results speak for themselves: last year saw the team win a $1.8bn ICSID settlement on behalf of Occidental. Other investor-state work has seen the team acting on behalf of: Perenco against Ecuador; Exxon Mobil against Canada (in a case under NAFTA regulations); and Tethyan Copper against the Republic of Pakistan in a case with both ICSID and ICC aspects. On the commercial side, the current caseload includes representing a major retail business, Grupo Diniz, and investment group GLG Partners, in separate ICC cases seated in Sao Paolo. Group co-chairs Donald Francis Donovan and David Rivkin have reputations that precede them: ‘they are both such extraordinary lawyers, they really are people to be reckoned with: pound-for-pound - superb’. Mark Friedman is ‘very good, deeply experienced and attentive to every detail’. He splits his time between London and New York. ‘One of the brightest lights’ of the younger generation Catherine Amirfar ‘is an extraordinarily good technical lawyer and advocate’, who ‘quietly decimates witnesses without their ever knowing it’. Primarily Asia-focused Christopher Tahbaz splits his time between New York and Hong Kong, and Dietmar Prager, who was recently promoted to the partnership, has a strong Latin American - and more specifically Brazilian - aspect to his practice.
‘Clearly an industry leader in the field of international arbitration’, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP ‘provides excellent service in this area’. The firm handles a significant number of sizeable commercial cases but is best known for its capabilities on either side of investor-state cases, frequently in the energy and infrastructure sector and particularly in relation to Latin America. On the investor side, it is currently undertaking the damages phase of proceedings on behalf of Total; and representing BG Group in the US Supreme Court following a decision by the Washington DC Appeals court to vacate an award - both cases are against Argentina. Elsewhere it is representing: Bureau Veritas against Paraguay ($70m), Rurelec against Bolivia ($140m), Burlington Resources against Ecuador ($500m), GDF Suez in a pair of cases against Argentina ($1.3bn); and Crystallex International against Venezuela ($2.3bn). On the state side, it recently successfully defended Guatemala against a $185m BIT claim brought by Iberdrola Energía, and is representing the same defendant in a $285m DR-CAFTA case brought by TECO. It is also representing the governments of St Lucia and Granada in (separate) cases involving RSM Corporation. Elsewhere, the team is handling cases in Brazil, Europe and Africa. Head of both the US and Latin American international arbitration practice groups, the ‘excellent’ Nigel Blackaby displays ‘very fine judgement’ and has ‘truly excellent advocacy skills’. With the relocation of Lucy Reed, co-head of the firm’s global arbitration group, to the Hong Kong office, he leads a team that is over 40-strong. Clients report ‘a strong bench’ and ‘a very good bedside manner’ which makes it ‘easy to work with the firm’. Beyond Blackaby, key figures include the ‘supremely prepared and hard-working’ Brian King, who is ‘clearly comfortable in the arbitral forum’; and Alex Yanos who has ‘a deep knowledge of international arbitration and US appellate strategy, and is able to convey that knowledge in a clear and concise manner’. Recently appointed counsel, both Noiana Marigo and Alex Wilbraham are emergent figures of note in a team that has ‘enormous experience, is technically and practically first rate, and impresses with its pro-activity, attention to detail, commitment and availability’.
With ‘excellent service levels and fast response-times’, and ‘the ability to work well’ with co-counsel and local firms, King & Spalding LLP is an impressive proposition: ‘it is excellent on hearings, emergency issues, whatever it may be - it always gets really positive results’. Moreover, despite generally beings associated with the oil and gas sector, the team has ‘the broad range of knowledge and experience across different industries and fields that is crucial to winning cases’ and is ‘always looking ahead and planning its next moves’. With a caseload of some 60 pending arbitrations (valued at over $60bn), the last 12 months has seen the team secure a $440m settlement in favour of client Exterran against Venezuela; obtain a favourable jurisdictional decision for Teinver in its ICSID case against Argentina; and, on the commercial side, defend the Republic of Turkey in a $70m ICC case brought by Temzet Elektrik Ürestim Iletim Anonim S¸irketi. Moreover, clients report the firm as ‘more cost effective than most of its peers’. The ‘experienced and charming’, R Doak Bishop is ‘an outstanding attorney and an amazing arbitration lawyer’ according to clients, one of whom suggests ‘no attorney has more experience or better command of investor-state arbitration than Doak’. Credited with having done ‘a phenomenal job in building this practice’, he is supported by a phalanx of other capable partners in the Houston office including John Bowman, Craig Miles, Roberto Aguirre Luzi, Reginald Smith and Jennifer Price. While ICCA vice-president Guillermo Aguilar Alvarez is today primarily dedicated to sitting as an arbitrator, his colleague in the New York office, ‘the very capable’ Edward Kehoe, remains focused on acting as counsel and has ‘an admirably broad practice’. He is noted for his ‘grasp of the potential implications of an issue or of a parallel litigation’. The firm has also strengthened its bench. The New York office incorporated Henry Burnett, ‘an amazing lawyer: intelligent and hard-working, he delivers results’, and James Berger, a commercial disputes specialist, and saw Caline Mouawad promoted to partner. In Houston, litigator Kevin Mohr and ‘great up-and-comer’ Wade Coriell both joined the international arbitration team as partners, and Erika Serran Toussaint came over from White & Case LLP as counsel.
With a practice that is split more or less equally between investor-state and commercial work, White & Case LLP has some 60 US-based international arbitration practitioners. On the state side, the practice is currently representing: Bulgaria in a number of ICSID cases arising from both bilateral investment treaties and the Energy Charter Treaty; the Philippines in ICSID cases including the cancellation of a $500m concession relating to Manila International Airport; Peru in multiple cases including a $800m case brought by The Renco Group and a $250m case brought by DP World; and Uzbekistan in a pair of cases with a total value of over $1bn. On the investor side, the team’s caseload includes representing Canadian mining group Gold Reserve in its $2bn expropriation case against Venezuela, and Florida-based electricity company TECO against Guatemala. Other recent highlights include securing a $58m award for unpaid fees and interest against Paraguay, of note since it was brought under an ‘umbrella clause’ in the Paraguay-Switzerland BIT. The US-based practice has ‘a front line of true breadth’. Global practice head Paul Friedland is ‘fantastic’ and ‘a very fine lawyer’; Carolyn Lamm is increasingly active as an arbitrator as well as acting as counsel; and Jonathan Hamilton heads up the firm’s well-established Latin American practice. With ‘a profound knowledge of the practicalities of representing sovereign governments’, Abby Cohen Smutny’s practice has a strong inflection towards banking and finance matters, including project finance. The ‘very impressive’ younger partners Andrea Menaker and Ank Santens are also recommended.
Providing ‘outstanding service at reasonable cost’, Covington & Burling LLP has ‘complete command of both international commercial and investor-state arbitration’ and ‘consistently gives sound comprehensive, and in-depth advice’. The team has extensive work in the oil and gas sector, where, along with its commercial docket, it is presently representing: Spanish investors against Yukos; ExxonMobil against Venezuela; and both Hess and Tullow against Equatorial Guinea at ICSID. Beyond oil and gas, the practice is particularly known for its expertise in insurance, sports and pharmaceuticals, among others sectors, and manages a caseload split evenly between commercial and investor-state matters. In other work, the team is representing: subsidiaries of Emmis Communications and Marquard Group in a case against Hungary arising from the expropriation of broadcast license investments; Metal-Tech against Uzbekistan, also at ICSID; and successfully defended its client in an ICC case relating to the maritime sector. ‘Calm but passionate about his work’, Oscar Garibaldi ‘is a strong intellectual leader and an excellent practitioner’. English/Spanish-bilingual and educated in both civil and common law, his advocacy is ‘thorough, convincing, sophisticated, and eloquent’, and he displays ‘complete knowledge of the sector right across the board’. ‘An outstanding strategist’, Eugene Gulland ‘sees the angles and arguments before others’ do; and practice co-chair Allan Moore brings insurance expertise to the team. Miguel López Forastier’s ‘thorough analysis, insightful and persuasive advocacy and consistently reliable judgement’ is seeing him ‘rapidly make his way to the top echelons of international arbitration lawyers’. Marney Cheek and Thomas Cubbage are noted among a team of lawyers praised for being ‘as effective on their feet as on paper’.
With ‘brilliant and hardworking attorneys that provide consistently good service and feedback’ Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP provides ‘timely and extremely reliable client-oriented legal support’: ‘it listens and then it gives us what we want’. A ‘longstanding and broad practice’ with ‘a strong commercial element’, it has experience under almost every set of international commercial arbitration rules, as well as in public international law, at forums including the ICSID and the US-Iran Claims Tribunal, and under NAFTA and BIT regulations. On the sovereign-side, the team’s caseload includes representing the Republic of Lithuania in an investor-state case under UNCITRAL rules; and Canada, in a $500m LCIA case brought by the US Government under the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA). In other work, the team is defending a Swedish telecom operator in an ICDR case against a motion to vacate an award brought by DigiTelCom; representing Forest Laboratories in a drug-licensing related AAA arbitration; and advising Turkish oil exploration and development company TPAO in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Kazakhstan. With ‘his extensive experience in international disputes both as an advocate and as an arbitrator’, clients ‘single out’ John Townsend as ‘one of the very best’: he ‘knows how to navigate the procedural thicket of international arbitration very well’. ‘An excellent advocate and a fine lawyer’, the New York-based John Fellas is co-chair of the firm’s practice group and a ‘deeply experienced practitioner’, particularly in AAA arbitration. ‘Always willing to go the extra mile’, Christopher Paparella is ‘brilliant, hard-working, and a true partner’. The ‘experienced’ Steven Hammond and Daniel Weiner, who’s ‘very good when it comes to pharma-related work’, are both also noted.
With ‘top-level industry knowledge’ and ‘excellent service’, Sidley Austin LLP has ‘extensive capabilities’ of both investor-state and international commercial arbitration at an array of arbitral institutions. A varied caseload includes representing sovereigns such as Costa Rica, Peru and Turkey; and on the investor side, US and Canadian investors against Poland (among other mandates). On the commercial front, representations include a number of arbitrations on behalf of UCR at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC); a Korea-based multinational in a case arising from a long-term supply agreement; and the developer of a Latin American biofuels project in a dispute with a contractor to be heard under ICC rules. Other work includes cases in the hydrocarbons, manufacturing and finance sectors. Coupling his ‘deep knowledge and experience in the area of bilateral investment treaty litigation’ with his ‘particular understanding of state-owned organisations in developing countries’, the ‘prompt and efficient’ Stanimir Alexandrov ‘acts as if the clients concerns were his own’. Also an experienced arbitrator, he is ‘supported by a capable team’ that includes the noteworthy Jennifer Haworth McCandless and Marinn Carlson, ‘both of whom demonstrate in depth knowledge of the subject law’. With a further two arbitration-dedicated partners (plus one counsel) in the Washington DC office, along with international commercial arbitration team members in the Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Palo Alto, the team has ‘sufficient depth to ensure timely continuity’ in the handling of matters. It’s ‘a very good outfit with very good lawyers - they are brilliant’ comment clients.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has built ‘an important and predominantly commercially-oriented practice’ in the international arbitration sector. ‘Particularly impressive on multi-jurisdictional work’, the team inspires ‘great confidence’. Recent commercial work includes an UNCITRAL case in the telecoms sector; the defence of private equity company Castle Harlan against fraud claims relating to the 2011 sale of a Quebec-based mining-products company; representing Indian company Devas Multimedia in a contract cancellation dispute with a company owned by the Government of India at the ICC; and advising Mainland Ventures (and certain affiliates) in an ICDR/AAA arbitration. On the investor-state side, it is advising Barbados-incorporated investor Gambrinus in expropriation-related ICSID proceedings against Venezuela. The practice also has a case in the sports sector, where it is representing Traffic Sports International and Traffic Sports USA in a dispute with the Confederación Sudamericana de Futbol (‘Conmebol’), concerning the alleged interference with/breach of an exclusive rights contract concerning the 2015 Copa América soccer tournament. As befits its commercial leaning, the practice is largely New York-based, and is led by the ‘deeply experienced’, and ‘very knowledgeable’ Tim Nelson. ‘Very friendly and fun to work with’, he’s held in ‘high regard’ by his peers and ‘has worked with investors, states, and commercial entities’. Other key practitioners include the ‘very impressive’ Marco Schnabl and the ‘very good’ Julie Bédard, who is ‘ever more prominent in Latin America’.
With a recent success on behalf of Hungary in an Energy Charter Treaty case against Electrabel, Arnold & Porter LLP took its tally of successive sovereign-side victories, stretching back as far as the year 2000, to fourteen. These cases include representing Chile in the long running $800m Victor Pey Casado case and Guatemala against Railroad Development Corporation, as well as cases on behalf of Panama, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and other Latin American states. Despite its reputation for sovereign-side work, the practice also undertakes investor-side representations, such as Mercer International against Canada (a NAFTA Chapter 11 case); and has been seeking to boost its involvement in commercial cases, where it is presently representing engineering company Von Ardenne Anlagentechnik in a $70m ICC case against a Californian solar cell company. With considerable work across the energy sector, it also has extensive experience in TMT, communications, and construction, and increasingly, with the return of Whitney Debevoise from the World Bank in 2012, in banking and finance related cases. ‘A great practitioner at a great firm’, Washington DC-based Paolo Di Rosa ‘leads from the front’, particularly on Latin American-related investment cases. ‘A fabulous practitioner’ with extensive experience in both commercial and investor-state work, Jean Kalicki today splits her time 50/50 between acting as counsel and sitting as an arbitrator. Latin America-focused partner Gaela Gehring Flores is ‘a noted practitioner’; senior counsel Maria Chedid brings Middle Eastern experience and knowledge to the practice, and Costa Rican national Patricio Grané adds trade-related expertise. The firm lost David Orta, who has left for the emergent practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.
Perceived by competitors as ‘hyper-focused on oil and gas’, Baker Botts L.L.P. is undoubtedly best known for energy matters. However, with a current docket of active matters in excess of $120bn, it also has considerable arbitral involvement in the pharmaceutical, telecoms, construction, finance, intellectual property and life science sectors. With the firm’s ‘very reasonable fees’ and ‘high levels of service’, and a team characterised as ‘responsive, well-organised, thoughtful and experienced’ (as well as ‘level-headed under stress’), many clients ‘would include the practice on a list of candidates for any commercial arbitration’. Recent instructions include expropriation-related matters in central Asia, South America, Russia and Eastern Europe; oil concessions in Iraq and Africa; shipping disputes in Indonesia and the Philippines, software disputes in India, technology research and development disputes in the UK, and a variety of other contentious commercial, financial and energy-related matters around the world. The practice espouses a philosophy of maintaining a broad group of ‘first chair’ lawyers, foremost among them being Michael Lennon, who has just concluded the merits stage of major case in Brazil, and Michael Goldberg, co-chair of the firm’s international arbitration practice. ‘Bringing their ample experience to bear’, Lennon and Goldberg provide ‘very sound analysis of substantive and procedural matters’ and make ‘well thought out and sensible tactical judgements’. The ‘talented and experienced’ Jennifer Smith is ‘a key member of the practice’, and Ryan Bull is ‘very sound, smart and organised’ and ‘a very focused and logical thinker’. A Russian speaker, he has tried cases in a number of former CIS states as well as in Asia.
Chadbourne & Parke LLP’s clients profess to ‘having the feeling that we’re in good and capable hands’. Its arbitration team is comprised of ‘very competent professionals’, who, above-and-beyond their legal and technical knowledge, ‘are prompt, endowed with good sense, very objective in their opinions and firm on the counselling of the strategy to follow’. With a growing practice in the emerging markets, the practice has experience across the arbitration spectrum including experience in gas revision disputes and a growing focus upon the technology and pharmaceutical sectors. With clients including AES, Bechtel, Pfizer, PEMEX, ENEL and Oiltanking, the practice is currently handling numerous cases at the ICC, ICDR, and under UNCITRAL rules; as well as a public international law case under the Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act. ‘Always thinking a few steps ahead’, the very ‘experienced and knowledgeable’ Oliver Armas provides ‘key strategic advice’, and the ‘highly analytical’ Thomas Pieper ‘sweats every detail’. The two of them ‘have a deep understanding of the international arbitration process, are always well-prepared, keep us informed at all times and are responsive to our inquiries’. Moreover, the practice has recently brought over Mark Beckett and Rachel Thorn from Latham & Watkins LLP. Providing ‘advice that never misses the mark’, the pair have ‘amazing attention to detail while always keeping the main ‘themes’ of defence in mind’. David Raim brings insurance industry-related expertise to the practice and recently led on a successful $275m claim brought by St Paul Reinsurance. While the team recently lost Ignacio Suarez Anzorena who returned to his former firm, it can also call on Luis Enrique Graham who splits his time between the firm’s New York and Mexico City offices.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP favours a pure lock-step structure that minimizes internal competition for clients and thereby facilitates the process of forming trans-national, multi-office teams that is so essential to international arbitral practice. Representing investors and sovereigns in both investor-state and commercial arbitration, the practice has accrued ‘huge experience across the entire sector’. On the sovereign side, the firm continues to represent Argentina in the ‘Abaclat’ case, the controversial mass claim before ICSID; act for the Russian Federation, in three parallel UNCITRAL arbitrations brought by former majority shareholders in Yukos, as well as in a case brought by Yukos minority shareholder RosInvestCo at the SCC; and act for Iraq in a case brought by the German state-owned company, Transportmaschinen Handelshaus. It has also recently represented Sierra Leone and the Dominican Republic in ICC cases, and on the investor side, is representing Adria Beteiligungs in an UNCITRAL cases against Croatia. In commercial work, where the firm has ‘developed an excellent and specialised practice’, the team has extensive experience in gas contract price revision matters (including representing ENI and Promgas), and in the telecommunications sector, where it has defended Telecom Italia in a number of ICC cases. Senior partner Jonathan Blackman splits his time 50-50 between London and New York and is ‘a significant and impressive player’. Handling cases across the globe, the ‘savvy and experienced’ Howard Zelbo is a lead lawyer of ‘great expertise’. Matthew Slater has led on many of the team’s sovereign side representations; and Jeffrey Rosenthal works on much of the firm’s commercial work. Younger partner Carmine Boccuzzi Jr is also noted. The deeply experienced William McGurn is now a senior counsel at the firm.
Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP’s policy of only representing sovereigns in investor-state work sets it apart from the vast majority of its competitors and has seen it carve out a notable practice with extensive activity in Africa, Latin America and the former CIS states. Recent work includes advising Uganda on a $425m case brought by Heritage Oil & Gas; representing Venezuela in two cases against Mobil (in the first to be settled, the plaintiff was awarded $750m of its $12bn claim), and one against ConocoPhillips; and acting for Kazakhstan against Caratube in a $2bn case which was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds with costs awarded to the defendant. In commercial arbitration, the firm also works with investors but presently has a number of sizeable ICC cases where it is representing states. The 80-strong practice includes ‘many multi-lingual senior lawyers and associates. They can handle Spanish, French and Arabic, for example’, and demonstrates technical expertise ‘outside the usual skill-sets of lawyers’, which ‘help in the cross-examination of the other side’s experts’. Currently managing more than $100bn in claims, the group is applauded for being ‘superb at creating real teams’ in conjunction with its clients, and for providing ‘unrivalled service’. A ‘truly remarkable advocate and orator with total control of his material’, George Kahale III is ‘the soul of the firm’ and, ‘from a leadership standpoint, the strongest’. Mark O’Donoghue and Benard Preziosi Jr are also ‘excellent’: Preziosi is ‘always incredibly engaged, especially on the economic side of matters’, and O’Donoghue is ‘outstanding’ and ‘a delight to work with’. Miriam Harwood is also noted and is currently leading on a pending Turkmenistan case at ICSID.
Fulbright & Jaworski LLP’s Houston-based practice has a hugely impressive clientele in the oil and gas sector, including ConocoPhillips, El Paso, Yukos, Noble Energy, and Transierra (a joint venture whose members are Petrobras, Repsol and Total). The team is currently handling cases involving unilateral changes to the tax and royalty regimes governing the licenses under which its client undertook exploration activity; damages claims arising from alleged faulty manufacture (claims likely to generate a number of associated ICDR cases); the pre-arbitral preparations and strategy for a probable ICSID case resulting from a sovereign’s breaches of applicable BIT clauses; and representing the hydrocarbons unit of a major multinational in multiple ICDR cases arising from the termination of distribution contracts. Other matters include cases relating to price determination, a deferred payment agreement, contractual and domain name arbitrations, and one of the first cases under the under the new 2012 ICC Rules. Moreover, with the firm’s long-planned merger with Norton Rose LLP coming in to effect mid-year, the practice will gain an even greater global footprint. Co-head of both the firm’s international department and its arbitration and ADR practice group, the ‘hugely experienced’ C Mark Baker has ‘a terrific reputation and expertise’. Another very experienced practitioner, Kevin O’Gorman recently led on the successful defence of a client against damages claimed for alleged breaches of an EPC contract. Recently relocated to the firm’s New York office, Aníbal Sabater has a primarily Latin America-oriented practice and increasing engagement with finance-related arbitration work.
Lauded by clients as a ‘premier firm’ with ‘extraordinarily talented lawyers’, albeit at ‘the upper end of the price scale’, Shearman & Sterling LLP has a ‘very strong reputation in international arbitration’. ‘It’s the best US firm we’ve worked with because of the quality of satellite offices; it has done the best job at globalizing its service’, say clients. The practice has strong experience in the construction, chemicals and mining sectors, in particular, and has developed an affinity for handling politically freighted cases, such as its successful representation of Dow Chemical in a $2.5bn case against Petrochemicals Industries Company (PIC), an entity wholly-owned by the Kuwaiti state. In other work, the team is representing: Venezuela in three investor-state cases at ICSID; a Middle Eastern contractor against an African mining company in a case seated in Toronto; and is challenging a number of ICC arbitration awards on behalf of Abengoa. ‘A very practical person who is always looking at how best to obtain a result’, the ‘hugely experienced and very impressive’ Henry Weisburg ‘always has his strategy clearly defined’. Jonathan Greenblatt has ‘notable construction sector dispute experience’, Christopher Ryan brings treaty-side expertise, and counsel Katia Yannaca-Small, who was formerly at the OECD, the perspective of a multilateral and considerable knowledge of public international law.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP operates ‘a truly broad international arbitration practice’ that ‘impresses’ with its ‘proactive and trial-ready approach’. With experience of all the major arbitral institutions and rules, and active across the full-spectrum of industry and commercial sectors, the team is increasingly involved in both Asia and Latin America, and is actively growing its engagement in the IP, construction and pharmaceutical sectors. It is also set apart by a ‘marquee’ practice in the insurance and reinsurance sectors where it has represented many of the industry leading players in cases relating to asbestos, hazardous waste, residual value insurance, and healthcare and computer warranty programs. The team’s current caseload includes an IT-related case in UNCITRAL ad hoc proceedings seated in London; a private equity-related case under ICDR rules, and a $500m pharmaceuticals case. One recent victory saw the team successfully defend MatlinPatterson against the US enforcement of a $55m ICC award handed down in Brazil. Co-chair of the firm’s international arbitration and dispute resolution practice, Robert Smit is universally recognised by his peers as ‘the lead man’, and ‘a very strong practitioner’. His recent mandates have included Hanwha Group and ORIX Corporation in a $1bn ICC case arising out of the sale of Korea Life Insurance Company; and acting for General Electric and Bechtel in ICC and AAA arbitrations stemming from India’s expropriation of the Dabhol Power Project in Maharashtra state. The Washington DC-based Peter Thomas’ recent mandates include a successful ad hoc oil and gas royalties arbitration in Melbourne, and representing the Dominican Republic in a pair of ICSID cases and a related ICC case stemming from the privatisation of the country’s electricity sector. Having spent the last two years at ICSID, Janet Whittaker returns to firm as counsel with up-to-the-minute investor-state experience. Barry Ostrager leads on insurance-related matters.
‘At the top of the league’, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is ‘commercially-minded, highly responsive, pragmatic and skilful’. With particular prestige in commercial matters and solid knowledge of investor-treaty work (solely on the investor-side), the ‘exceedingly hard working’ team provides ‘outstanding service in all respects’. A genuinely broad practice, but nevertheless one perhaps best known for finance-related matters, it has experience at all the major arbitral institutions: AAA, ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL and ICSID, the Stockholm and Zurich Chambers of Commerce and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, as well as NAFTA investment disputes and ad hoc arbitrations. An impressive clientele includes AB InBev, Bancolombia, Goldman Sachs, Grupo Techint, Microsoft, Occidental Petroleum, Philips, Standard Chartered Bank, Telefónica and UBS Securities. The current caseload includes advising the Canadian owners of a mine in a former Soviet state in relation to the government’s demands to renegotiate the concession; counsel to a project development company in relation to measures taken by an African sovereign that suggest gradual expropriation; and representing a European-headquartered bank in regard to three separate ICDR cases brought by Latin American investors in relation to the $60bn Madoff Ponzi scheme. ‘The quintessential arbitrator’ Joseph Neuhaus is ‘absolutely first rate - very smart, very capable, very knowledgeable and very careful’. John Hardiman has extensive experience in telecoms-related disputes and has represented TeliaSonera in a series of arbitrations against Cukurova for control of Turkcell, culminating in a $932m award, one of the largest commercial settlements to date. Ted Rogers and Rick Fessel ‘work as a great team: focused, dedicated and responsive. Veterans in this field, they’re very enjoyable to work with’.
‘Formidable and respectable opponent’, Allen & Overy LLP ‘achieves results’ and is a ‘first-rate advocate in arbitration proceedings’. The practice currently handles a predominantly commercial caseload, but nevertheless has extensive experience in investor-state work where it represents sovereigns and investors equally. Recent ICSID work includes representing claimants OPIC et al against Ecuador in the Quito Airport dispute, and defending Peru against claims brought by Chinese company Tza Yap Shum. Current work includes representing Trinidad and Tobago’s state hydrocarbons company, Petrotrin, in ICC and LCIA claims totalling some $300m against World GTL; and acting for Belize Social Development Limited in the US enforcement of an LCIA award against the state of Belize. Other cases concern the liquefied natural gas, mining and power generation sectors, and arising from issues such as contract and concession cancellations and expropriation. While the firm is growing its US practice, the small team has benefited from its stability: its members ‘know each other well’, ‘work very closely together’ and can ‘integrate others as necessary’, fostering the development of ‘very good relations with clients’. ‘The undoubted leader of the practice’, Louis Kimmelman is ‘a superb trial counsel for international arbitrations’. A ‘great strategist’ with a ‘creativity borne of experience’, he ‘views arbitral cases in their greater global context, which is as important as the result itself when one is looking at a business moving forward’. Moreover, he has ‘continued building and forming his team over the last ten years’ so that his more junior colleagues ‘have developed into independent practitioners’. With a broad practice across a number of international markets, ‘impressive’ senior counsel Dana MacGrath is ‘totally meticulous’ and ‘has a clarity in her writing that is enviable’. With both civil and common-law training, Nicole Duclos is ‘one of the best prepared international arbitration lawyers one is likely to meet’, and ‘exceptionally intelligent, she is exhaustive, absolutely indefatigable, and leaves no stone unturned’.
Traditionally a commercial international arbitration practice, Baker & McKenzie has a growing participation in investor/state treaty work, albeit primarily on the investor side. With practitioners spread across seven US offices - New York, Miami, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Washington DC - the firm has impressive domestic US coverage in conjunction with its network of more than 60 foreign offices. The team is currently handling arbitration cases in Asia, Latin America and Europe. Its recent work includes the successful defence of Petrobras and leasing company BCLC in an ad hoc arbitration under UNCITRAL rules concerning an EPC contract; representing investors in Longreef Investment in a $500m ICSID case concerning the expropriation of a coffee company; and the representation of Grupo Eulen in a consolidated ICC case involving material misrepresentation and fraud by the sellers of an acquisition target. Other matters included cases arising from corporate acquisitions, power and gas projects, and royalties and supply contracts. Co-chair of the firm’s global international arbitration practice group and also head of the 38-strong international arbitration practice for North America, Grant Hanessian is ‘a great practitioner’ with a ‘strong commercial profile’. Brendan Cook and Donald Hayden are also noted and the team can also call on the hugely experienced senior counsel Lawrence Newman.
With ‘service levels commensurate with the top Wall Street firms’, the ‘excellent’ boutique firm Chaffetz Lindsey LLP ‘punches above its weight’. Having carved out a niche handling (predominantly commercial) matters that are uneconomical for larger firms (and ‘having done a great job of doing so’), it is ‘also one of the few top-tier firms in New York to be really flexible in terms of different kinds of fee arrangements with clients’. In present work, the team is, in conjunction with local co-counsel, representing a major Turkish company in a $1bn dispute arising from failed negotiations to sell a controlling stake in a Turkish telecommunications company; representing Iran in a second (pending) case to be heard before the Iran-US Claims Tribunal (IUSCT); and representing Liberia in a $750m case brought by Diamond Fields for an alleged breach of a mining license. Other work includes ICC and ICDR cases, either as lead or co-counsel, in the finance, energy and construction sectors, and concerning issues such as international sales contracts and joint ventures. The firm’s boutique format also limits conflict issues, freeing the partners to provide expert opinion on questions of arbitral law and procedure, and second opinions on the advice proffered by other firms. With ‘knowledgeable and hard-working’ lawyers who are ‘quick to respond to the clients’ needs’ and ‘give sensible, business-oriented, and practical advice’, it is ‘the depth of its team that is a key strength of the firm’. Head of the international arbitration practice at Clifford Chance until 2009, founding partner David Lindsey is ‘a leader in the area’ and clients ‘like knowing he is available if the need arises’. ‘A very measured counsel’, the ‘extremely responsive’ James Hosking ‘picks up on business specifics quickly’, ‘explains things very clearly and concisely’ and displays ‘excellent business judgement’. Counsel Jennifer Gorskie completes a trio whom peers describe as ‘outstanding international arbitration practitioners’. ‘Smart and responsive’, she exemplifies the ‘expertise and young talent’ in a firm that has ‘a bright future’.
‘Over time, I’ve worked with quite a number of law firms in the United States but I keep going back to’ Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, comments one client: ‘I value our relationship because of the lawyers’ reactivity, and business and industry knowledge’. The team is representing: a large French company in an ICC case in London arising out of a patent licensing agreement; a Middle East energy joint venture in a variety of on-going disputes under ICC rules; and Total in ICC arbitration with a South American state entity in a breach of contract case. It also recently successfully defended a large French aerospace company in a $350m ICDR damages-claim arising from a satellite purchase agreement. Head of the firm’s international arbitration practice group, the ‘first rate’ Elliot Polebaum is lauded for his ‘availability and appropriate advice’ and clients note the value of his fluency in French when working in francophone jurisdictions. Moreover, in Douglas Baruch and younger partner Joseph LoBue, both of whom have experience acting as ‘first chair’, ‘he has gathered around him a team of real quality’ whose ‘expertise and experience imbues clients with confidence’.
With established strength in energy, oil & gas, hospitality and mining, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s arbitral practice is growing its involvement in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors. As well as its broad engagement in commercial and treaty work, the practice also has a notable specialisation in political risk insurance arbitration, where it works extensively with multilateral agencies such as OPIC and MIGA, as well as with private insurers. The team’s current caseload includes representing: California-based real estate firm H&H Enterprises in a pending ICSID dispute relating to a multi-hundred million dollar investment in the Egyptian tourism sector; Pac Rim Cayman in a $700m case against El Salvador; and a $500m case against the Sultanate of Oman arising from the expropriation of a major limestone quarry. On the sovereign side, the team is presently working with the governments of Canada, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Co-chair of the firm’s international arbitration practice, Arif Ali is ‘a well-known figure in arbitration circles’, ‘deeply experienced’ and ‘a very strong lawyer’. His fellow Washington DC partners Alexandre de Gramont and Ted Posner, arrived with him from Crowell & Moring LLP in early 2012 and ‘the practice is now is now beginning to fire on all cylinders’. Charles Roh and the ‘very experienced’ Eric Ordway recently won a $400m settlement on behalf of The Williams Companies in an ICSID case against Venezuela. ‘A great up-and-coming lawyer’, the New York-based Samaa Haridi also came over from Crowell & Moring LLP; fluent in French and Arabic, she is equally at home in both civil and common law traditions.
Repeatedly applauded for excellence on ‘response times, business acumen and industry knowledge’, and for ‘providing appropriate advice and value for money’, WilmerHale ‘is a great firm’ and ‘clearly world class’. The US-based disputes team has recently handled matters for clients from around the globe, and at all the important arbitration venues, in the electronics, finance, insurance, medical, hydrocarbons, pharmaceutical, technology, telecoms, and transportation sectors. With its ‘significant experience in international arbitration’, ‘well-considered procedural tactics’ and ‘deep knowledge of the economic aspects of the business’ in question, the ‘highly professional’ team is characterised by ‘excellent service levels’. Vice-chair of the firm’s international arbitration practice, the ‘excellent’ Rachael Kent is regarded as ‘top in the field’. Arriving recently from Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, James Carter is ‘a very good guy indeed’ and ‘an extraordinary practitioner’, but is increasingly dedicated to sitting as an arbitrator rather than as counsel. John Pierce and John Trenor split their respective New York and Washington DC practices with time in the firm’s London office.
With the arrival of Aldo Badini from Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, and Joseph Tirado from Norton Rose LLP at the firms New York and London offices respectively, Winston & Strawn LLP is ramping up its resources in this practice. Clients report ‘an experienced, responsive and client-focused team made up of talented international advocates of a very high quality: it’s astute, strategically gifted and acts as if the clients concerns were its own’. With ‘extremely impressive experience’ in the investor-state treaty work that constitutes the bulk of its caseload, and ‘a wide and appropriate knowledge of US law and the US legal system’, one peer comments the team would be ‘our first choice of co-counsel’. The team is representing: a Middle Eastern government in competing proceedings under ICSID and ICC rules and stemming from construction and public tender matters; Mckesson Corporation, in a long-running case against Iran at the IUSCT; and Ecuador in its long running case against Chevron & Texaco, under UNCITRAL rules. It also recently obtained an ICSID counterclaim win on behalf of a European state. Global co-chair of the international arbitration practice Mark Bravin ‘is one of the most knowledgeable investor-state arbitration lawyers practising today, with exceptional knowledge of and enormous experience in state responsibility and investment treaty protection’. ‘The experience, knowledge and gravitas that Mark brings to the table are extremely valuable’. ‘A knowledgeable and strategically gifted attorney’, John Roesser’s hands-on approach and good availability make him a client favourite, as does his ability to ‘see the path to a resolution and achieve it in minimal time’. Senior counsel C MacNeil Mitchell, and Eric Bloom and Tomás Leonard, are all recommended. Of counsel Maria Kostytska, who works out of both the Washington DC and Paris offices, ‘is younger but already has experience sitting as an arbitrator and is very promising’.