Dispute resolution: International arbitration in France
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is ‘the top of the tops’, and shows ‘great team spirit’ and ‘the ability to immediately respond to any issue’. Regularly working alongside the firm's New York and London offices, the Paris-based practice is handling a prominent investment and commercial arbitration caseload. The team is acting in several high-stakes arbitrations in the financial services and oil and gas sectors, often relating to Eastern European, African, Russian and Russophone countries. It is also handling complex intra-EU arbitration cases, acting for Austria and Greece. The firm is acting for Iraq in an ICC arbitration against Turkey regarding the use of oil pipelines, and was more recently instructed by Côte d’Ivoire to represent it in an ICSID arbitration brought by Wise Solutions regarding a 15-year waste management services contract in Abidjan. The practice is also handling high-stakes arbitral award enforcement and annulment proceedings before the national courts. In that respect, it is notably representing Telecom Italia regarding an ICC arbitration initiated by Opportunity companies concerning investment in Brasil Telecom. The practice is co-headed by ‘natural-born team leader’ Claudia Annacker, who is ‘highly respected by tribunals and opposing counsel’, and whose ‘academic knowledge, extremely quick mind and brilliant speaking abilities’ impress clients, and the ‘extremely sharp’ Jean-Yves Garaud. They are supported by ‘excellent and promising younger colleagues’, including counsels Laurie Achtouk-Spivak and Guillaume de Rancourt. Senior counsel Robert Greig is another prominent member of the team.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP is ‘just excellent and respected by all, independent and to the point, with the confidence to engage on the issues that truly matter and avoid wasting time and money on unimportant distractions’. The 16-lawyer practice, which ‘successfully handles the most complicated legal issues’, was recently appointed to the panel of some of France’s most high-profile companies to handle their most strategic cases. Dealing with commercial and investment arbitration, the firm has a very impressive caseload in the oil and gas and energy sector in relation with Africa, and notably Algeria and Nigeria, while also handling disputes in many other areas, including a strategic matter in Djibouti. It recently received a high number of new instructions and obtained several landmark victories: representing UP (formerly Chèque Déjeuner) in an ICSID case with Hungary, the team achieved a groundbreaking victory when the arbitral tribunal ruled for the first time that the European Court of Justice’s decision in Achmea cannot defeat the jurisdiction of a tribunal constituted under an intra-EU bilateral investment treaty. The firm also reached an amicable settlement for ExxonMobil and Petronas as claimants in the largest arbitration in the history of the ICC, opposing Chad. It is also acting for CNOOC in a large-scale arbitration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, as well as for Hydro in a renewable energy ICSID arbitration with Albania, and for DNO in three ICC disputes regarding its withdrawal from oil blocks in Yemen. The practice is led by highly experienced partners: Philippe Pinsolle ‘has the strength of a US litigator, with a bit of a French touch’ and ‘exceptional knowledge of the oil and energy sector’; Isabelle Michou ‘is a great lawyer and excellent strategist with cutting-edge knowledge, who never gives up even in the most complicated situations’; Thomas Voisin; and Michael Young, who ‘gets results, understands his clients' needs and advises accordingly and completely appropriately’.
Shearman & Sterling LLP was recently instructed to act in a series of investment and commercial arbitrations for both new and long-established clients, including states and French and international corporations. The 50-lawyer practice remains highly active in high-profile oil and gas, construction and energy matters in relation with North Africa. It is also increasingly visible in cases involving Sub-Saharan Africa, notably on concession issues, and is representing Eastern European states in several matters. Finally, the practice is also dealing with disputes involving the European renewables market and is advising on several matters involving Chinese and Asian parties. Recent highlights include representing Egypt in two long‐term investment arbitrations relating to gas supply agreements dealing with the export of Egyptian gas to Israel, and Sonatrach in an ICC arbitration brought by Saipem regarding the construction of gas liquefaction facilities. The firm also successfully acted for Croatia in an ICSID arbitration with an Austrian party regarding a food products enterprise, and Lithuania in an ICSID arbitration initiated by Veolia Environnement relating to district heating and power generation. Algeria, Ukraine and Areva are clients. The practice is headed at the global level by the very highly regarded Emmanuel Gaillard. Yas Banifatemi is global head of the firm’s public international law practice. Coralie Darrigade, Maude Lebois, Mohamed Shelbaya and Jennifer Younan are all up-and-coming members of the team. The Paris hub recently welcomed Jeremy Sharpe from the London office, while newly promoted partner Daniel Reich joined the New York office. Counsel Benjamin Siino also deserves a mention for his expertise in award enforcement procedures.
White & Case LLP has an ‘exceptional reputation’ and ‘always provides the best personnel to solve a problem, utilising its worldwide connections’. With a very large Paris base of some 50 lawyers, the firm houses ‘lawyers who have far-reaching legal knowledge and extensive experience, which enables them to successfully win awards for their clients in complex international claims’. The ‘very responsive, informative and approachable’ practice is also praised for ‘keeping clients up-to-date with every step of the process and responding promptly to enquiries’. The firm manages an impressive caseload of high-end matters, including some of the world's largest construction disputes. It successfully represented TVO in complex disputes with Areva and Siemens' consortium relating to the construction of the Finnish Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant. The practice is also representing Grupo Unidos por el Canal in a dispute with the Panama Canal Authority over the $5.5bn Panama Canal expansion project. The firm is also acting for Portuguese telecoms company PT Ventures in $3bn ICC arbitration proceedings over the control of one of Africa’s leading GSM network operators. The practice also has a strong oil and gas practice, especially for gas price review matters. It is handling several highly strategic investment arbitration disputes in that sector, especially in Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The team includes many talented names, such as practice head Michael Polkinghorne, Charles Nairac and Elizabeth Oger-Gross, who are all ‘endowed with the highest standard of ethics and are able to utilise a very well-thought-out legal approach’; highly regarded of counsel Christopher Seppälä; Nicolas Bouchardie; Christophe Von Krause, who is praised as making the ‘utmost effort to understand his clients' fundamental needs and having the capability to tailor the best strategy’; Andrew McDougall; Kirsten Odynski; John Willems; and newly promoted partner Noor Davies.
Dechert LLP's 25 Paris-based lawyers are ‘very efficient, hardworking and dedicated to finding creative solutions’. The team provides ‘very careful analysis, always keeping a sharp eye on the details’, in addition to being ‘accurate, prompt and very client-centred’. The practice is the market's leader for Latin American investment arbitration, and is also becoming a key player in representing Eastern European states in major cases. The firm is notably acting for Ecuador in six cases, including a dispute with Chevron Corporation and Texaco Petroleum over major environmental pollution and corruption allegations. The firm, which handles both commercial and investment arbitration, is also handling disputes in the telecoms sector and increasingly in the construction field; it is representing European investors Rizzani de Eccher, OHL and Trevi in Kuwait's first ICSID investment arbitration over a billion-dollar expressway construction project. Finally, the practice also has expertise in handling exequatur cases involving states. The Czech Republic, Poland, Colombia and Bolivia are clients. Eduardo Silva Romero, who co-chairs the firm's global practice, is highly recommended. Other key members of the team include Xavier Nyssen; José Manuel García Represa, who is an ‘excellent tactician and litigator who combines all the skills required for successful international arbitration’, including ‘strong leadership and a talent for making difficult legal issues understandable and solvable’; ‘top-quality lawyer and litigator’ Philip Dunham, who is ‘exceptionally intelligent, creative and hardworking’, and has ‘impressive organisational and leadership skills and outstanding analytical ability, along with a profound knowledge of FIDIC rules’; and national partner Erica Stein.
Derains & Gharavi
The multinational 11-lawyer team at arbitration boutique Derains & Gharavi handles commercial arbitration and manages a significant investment arbitration caseload. The firm represents both investors and state entities. It is involved in oil and gas, construction, and commercial partnership and investment disputes, often relating to the Middle East and Western Asia. The firm is notably involved in a high-profile Middle Eastern oil and gas arbitration and recently won several cases, including one in Asia. The firm also successfully represented Sudan in an ICSID arbitration regarding an investment in the Sudanese telecoms sector. It is also defending Romania in an ICSID dispute brought by a foreign investor, and representing Turkish businessman Muhammet Çap in a dispute with Turkmenistan concerning 31 construction projects. Hamid Gharavi ranks among the best in his field and is instructed to act both as counsel and as an arbitrator. Yves Derains is one of the market's most frequently appointed arbitrators. Also recommended are Bertrand Derains; Melanie van Leeuwen, who ‘does a fantastic job’; Nada Sader; and Marie-Laure Bizeau. Senior associate Julie Spinelli joined Le 16 Law as a partner to set up the firm's practice.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has ‘excellent knowledge of all aspects of complex international arbitration’, and its lawyers are ‘professional, reliable and passionate about their work’, and have ‘brilliant individual skills’. The 20-lawyer Paris team deals with a diverse range of large-scale and sensitive commercial and investment arbitration cases on behalf of many leading French corporations, as well as international companies and state entities. The firm is regularly involved in highly strategic gas and energy cases, and often handles matters affecting Russian and Israeli interests in addition to its African caseload. Highlights included representing pipeline owner East Mediterranean Gas in a high-profile multibillion-dollar dispute against Egypt, and the Kenyan government in an ICSID arbitration brought by WalAm Energy regarding the exploitation of geothermal energy. The firm is also handling European renewable energy disputes. In the area of public international law, the firm ‘has a team of bright and excellent lawyers’ who stand out for ‘their ability to easily recognise the key concepts behind a dispute’, ‘delivering high-quality work with minimal fuss, on time, every time’. The practice recently represented Chile in an International Court of Justice case brought by Bolivia regarding access to the sea. Practice head Noah Rubins is one of the ‘market’s strongest litigators’. Peter Turner (QC) is another highly respected name. Heading the international public law practice, Ben Juratowitch (QC) ‘has an outstanding ability to communicate complex legal arguments with conceptual clarity and persuasiveness, and a real ability to influence people’. Also recommended are Will Thomas and counsel Robert Kirkness, who ‘has an impressive command of international law, human rights law and comparative domestic law’. Former managing partner Elie Kleiman is now at Jones Day.
King & Spalding LLP's Paris team has grown in strength after attracting two high-profile names: Marc-Olivier Langlois from Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and Laurent Jaeger from Orrick Rambaud Martel. They join forces with an office which includes ‘excellent’ practice head James Castello, who has ‘very strong forensic skills and is detail-oriented’, Ken Fleuriet, Joël Alquezar and Amy Frey. The team, which works closely with the firm’s international offices, notably in the US, handles commercial and investment arbitration disputes. It is assisting companies with highly significant cases relating to North Africa and recently obtained a series of victories. It successfully represented Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction in an ICC dispute with Damietta International Port Company and Kuwait Gulf Link Ports International. The practice is also representing Unión Fenosa Gas in one investment and two commercial multibillion-dollar disputes with the government of Egypt and Egas, as well as acting in a number of ICSID investment arbitrations relating to renewable energy on behalf of investors challenging various EU countries, such as Spain, Italy, Bulgaria and Romania.
Three Crowns LLP
International boutique Three Crowns LLP's 13-strong Paris team is ‘deeply knowledgeable, extremely responsive, highly ethical and tactically farsighted’. The team advises leading companies, such as Canadian Nexen Petroleum, Chevron Corporation and Eni, in investment and commercial cases. The firm is particularly well versed in large-scale oil and gas price review cases, while construction is another field of strength. The practice handles cases dealing with many parts of the world and is particularly involved in the Middle East and Africa. The highly experienced Georgios Petrochilos often handles investment and public international law assignments; he is representing Crescent Petroleum in a billion-dollar dispute with Iranian state entity National Iranian Oil Company; Louis Dreyfus Company in an investment treaty arbitration with India; and Bahrain in public international arbitration matters regarding the Qatar blockade. ‘First-class practitioner' Todd Wetmore, who ‘has a lightning-quick mind and profound insight’, was recently appointed vice-president of the ICC Court of Arbitration. Kathryn Khamsi handles sensitive oil and gas cases and is one to watch closely. Newly promoted partner Simon Elliot is ‘a rising star whose passion and dedication, combined with a relentless work ethic, make him an invaluable part of the team’. Partners also regularly receive mandates to act as arbitrators.
Betto Perben Pradel Filhol
Betto Perben Pradel Filhol has ‘vast experience of ICC proceedings and in-depth knowledge and understanding of complex procedural issues, and can predict the ICC Court's decisions with a high degree of reliability’. The ‘very efficient and hands-on’ team is also ‘good at co-ordinating parallel proceedings and at interacting with co-counsel in multiple jurisdictions’. The boutique is instructed by many of France's most iconic companies to handle their strategic commercial and investment arbitration cases. The 14-lawyer team is particularly strong in the defence and aerospace industries and also handles key cases in the energy and mining sectors. The practice has acted in several very significant cases with African, European, Russian and Asian components: highlights included representing businessman Sergei Pugachev in a multibillion-dollar UNCITRAL arbitration with Russia; Pan African Minerals in a multibillion-dollar ICC arbitration with Burkina Faso relating to mining; and African Petroleum in an ICSID arbitration with Senegal over gas sector expropriation. Safran, Accor and Eni are key clients. Jean-Georges Betto and Christophe Seraglini, who ‘is a brilliant legal mind, able to provide fine legal advice without missing the commercial aspects’, are the founding partners. Gaëlle Le Quillec and counsel Alexandre Reynaud ‘are extremely responsive and diligent in case preparation’. Julien Fouret is ‘very effective at leading a case in his chosen direction’. Also recommended are Dominique Perben and Gaëlle Filhol, who is ‘always ready for a good fight’. The firm also handles litigation and was recently joined by white-collar crime partner Martin Pradel, who previously ran his own practice.
Bredin Prat is retained by large French corporations and international companies to handle commercial arbitration, including M&A-related cases. The 24-lawyer team is also highly active in investment arbitration, notably advising North African and Middle Eastern states and companies in ICSID cases relating to the energy and mining sectors, among others. It regularly acts for the Egyptian state, which recently instructed it to act on new cases. Lebanon is also a key client. The practice is also representing UC Rusal’s subsidiaries in a major ICSID arbitration with Ukraine pertaining to the expropriation of a Ukrainian aluminium plant, and Croatia in an ICSID arbitration brought by a Dutch investor relating to a biomass power plant. The practice is co-headed by the ‘exceptional’ Louis-Christophe Delanoy, who deals with cases ‘with passion and dedication’, Raëd Fathallah and Tim Portwood.
Clifford Chance's ‘hugely experienced’ 16-lawyer Paris-based team has first-hand knowledge of the ICC Court. The practice acts for French and international corporations facing shareholder, partnership, mining and construction disputes. It is handling a series of cases for a key client in the aviation sector, and is also acting in investment cases, including representing a state in its first treaty claim. Practice head Jason Fry is highly recommended, along with the ‘determined, brilliant and reasonable’ Simon Greenberg. Counsel Sandrine Colletier is also noted.
Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP ‘does an excellent job’: ‘partners are highly trained and easy to work with, and think analytically and conscientiously'. The ‘knowledgeable, courteous and friendly’ nine-lawyer Paris practice has particular strength in investor state arbitration, in which it solely represents governments and state entities. The firm is managing an important caseload for Kazakhstan in various sectors and also acts for several Eastern European states. Finally, the practice handles commercial arbitration and award enforcement proceedings. It is notably acting in cases relating to the energy, oil and gas, M&A and banking sectors. The Paris practice is co-headed by Geoffroy Lyonnet and Peter Wolrich, who also co-chairs the firm's global practice group, ‘is always a few steps ahead tactically’ and ‘stands out for his ability to see both the details and the bigger picture of a case’. Nadia Darwazeh is now at Clyde & Co LLP.
Dentons' ‘multilingual and friendly’ 11-lawyer team pays ‘great attention to detail, ensuring that no avenue is overlooked’. The team has ‘unparalleled knowledge of the ICC arbitration process’ and handles a wide variety of cases, including matters relating to the M&A, construction and pharmaceutical sectors. The ‘very solid’ practice has an equally strong investment arbitration caseload and is handling matters relating to various parts of the world, including Egypt, Western and Eastern Europe, Asia and North America. It recently obtained a favourable award for Swedish investor Misen Enterprises in a Stockholm Chamber of Commerce arbitration relating to a joint activity agreement on the development of gas fields in Ukraine. Acting for GPF GP, the team also obtained the annulment of an investment treaty award for the first time, together with a negative jurisdictional ruling from the High Court in London. The practice is also representing investors in a billion-dollar ICSID arbitration against Romania regarding the sale of alcohol in the country, and OmniTrax Enterprises in a Nafta arbitration against Canada. Jean-Christophe Honlet, who co-heads the firm's global practice, is ‘an exceptional communicator able to convey the most complex issues in layman's terms’. The ‘very solid’ Barton Legum heads the firm's global investment treaty arbitration practice. Anna Crevon is also recommended.
DLA Piper ‘provides useful advice and is always in good control of the way its cases are going forward’. The 12-lawyer Paris team is ‘great, co-operates excellently, has a lot of experience and always stands with you when you have a problem to solve’. The practice handles commercial and investment arbitration. It also does a large amount of Africa-related work, touching upon sensitive mining and defence issues, environmental liabilities, construction, telecoms and commercial partnerships. Guinea is a key client which has instructed the team in several highly strategic matters, including a long-running multibillion-dollar ICSID arbitration brought by BSG Resources over the expropriation of one of the world's most important mining concessions. The firm is also representing Hungary in ICSID proceedings and is handling a case relating to a major renewable energy construction project in North Africa. Finally, the team is acting in several enforcement proceedings, including for Vodacom and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Paris team is co-headed by Michael Ostrove, who is also global head of the firm's arbitration group, and the ‘very good’ Alexander Brabant, whose ‘ideas and advice are very convincing and work well’. Théobald Naud was promoted to partner.
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. has ‘the capacity to mobilise great resources’. The ‘available, quick and efficient’ 22-lawyer team, based in Paris and London, recently handled a large amount of Algerian gas and industrial construction work, notably on behalf of Italian and French construction companies. The practice acted for Saipem in an ICC arbitration with two oil and gas companies regarding the construction of an oil and gas treatment facility in Algeria. The team is also handling exequatur cases and is representing the ICC in a landmark dispute regarding the liability of the court. The practice is co-headed by the ‘very experienced’ Christian Camboulive, who applies ‘sharp analytical skills to complex situations’; Carole Malinvaud, who also regularly acts as an arbitrator in ICC and ICSID disputes; Rupert Reece; and Alexandra Munoz, who has ‘great analytical skills and judgement’ and ‘understands the strategic stakes of a case very well’.
Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP
Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP's 11-lawyer team is praised for its ‘efficient involvement, ability to quickly get to the point, and understanding of clients' concerns', while its ‘critical judgement and skill during court hearings, including the pleading and cross-examination aspects, are impressive’. The practice is highly involved in African energy cases, and is also handling an important Middle Eastern TMT commercial arbitration and another major commercial arbitration case connected to the mining sector. The practice has strong Spanish-speaking abilities and recently obtained positive outcomes in several investment disputes for the Venezuelan government following alleged expropriation in the coffee, food and fertiliser sectors. The government of Mongolia is also a client. The ‘very smart and energetic’ Laurent Gouiffès ‘gets to the bottom of every issue no matter how difficult or challenging it is’. Carmen Nuñez-Lagos is ‘extremely good at bridging the cultural gap, especially between Latin American countries and Europe’, in addition to having ‘exceptional skills as an arbitrator’. The ‘brilliant’ Thomas Kendra ‘is very diligent’.
Jones Day's 15-lawyer team recently strengthened its capabilities after hiring highly regarded arbitration and litigation partner Elie Kleiman, who joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in 2018 after serving twice as managing partner. The practice handles both commercial and investment arbitration on behalf of many leading French and international corporations, often relating to Africa and the Middle East. It has particularly strong knowledge of the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA), and recently advised the organisation on the reform of its arbitration act and the creation of a mediation act. The practice is managing a large caseload dealing with energy matters, including gas price, pipeline and plant construction, and solar-related issues. The team is also handling matters in other areas, including construction and telecoms. The practice is co-headed by Michael Bühler, Elie Kleiman and Jean-Pierre Harb.
The ‘extremely well-prepared and efficient’ Latham & Watkins ‘provides the confidence a company needs in difficult arbitration’ thanks to its ‘well-structured and sophisticated arguments, special attention to detail and the permanent availability of the whole team to attend to clients' needs’. The 12-lawyer Paris-based practice is particularly recognised for its Latin American and Iberian caseload. It recently dealt with newly raised intra-EU investment issues, as well as tax and environmental matters. The practice is handling numerous ICSID cases for Colombia, including disputes with foreign mining companies over the protection of the Santurban moorlands. It is also acting in numerous oil and gas and energy cases, such as representing a state-owned Central American oil and gas company in an ICC arbitration brought by an Asian state-owned oil and gas company subsidiary regarding the modernisation of a refinery in Latin America. It is also involved in a dispute over a billion-dollar hydroelectric project and is handling commercial arbitration. Global co-chair Fernando Mantilla-Serrano ‘is always present and available and shows exceptional involvement in cases’. Newly promoted partner John Adam is ‘extremely well qualified and experienced’. Fabrice Fages is also recommended.
Linklaters advises on high-profile commercial and investment disputes in many areas, including oil and gas, energy, mining, construction, defence and distribution. The 15-lawyer Paris-based team regularly handles Latin American (particularly Brazilian), Middle Eastern and African cases; it represented an African state in several high-stakes disputes, successfully defended Senegal in an ICSID arbitration brought by Vicat, and recently handled several Lebanese cases in the media sector. The team obtained a victory for Elf Neftegaz in a very high-profile UNCITRAL ad hoc arbitration initiated by a private Russian company and two Russian Federation regions for non-performance of an oil and gas exploration and production agreement. It is also representing LG Electronics in proceedings brought before the Paris Court of Appeal relating to an ICC patent arbitration which raised complex entwined FRAND, EU competition and international public policy questions. Pierre Duprey co-heads the firm’s global practice. Arnaud de La Cotardière, Roland Ziadé, and counsels Andrew Plump and Christian Albanesi are top advisers. Matthieu de Boisséson left the firm to set up his own practice at Boisséson Arbitration.
Orrick Rambaud Martel has ‘superb legal knowledge and strikingly precise wording in writing’. The practice also shows ‘excellent time management and is very organised, and has transparent working and billing’. The firm handles commercial and investment arbitration. It regularly acts on African cases, especially in the mining field; it notably represented two investors in an ICSID arbitration with Mauritania relating to a mining permit. The firm also regularly deals with energy disputes, and is notably representing Voigt & Collegen in ICSID proceedings launched against Spain over renewable energy. Guinea and Engie are clients. The core team is made up of five lawyers following the departure of Laurent Jaeger and two associates for King & Spalding LLP. Practice head Charles Kaplan has ‘profound experience and skills’, including ‘a superb memory for details’, and ‘full comprehension of his customers' needs and knowledge of gas market dynamics and of related economics’, in addition to being ‘deadly in any cross-examination’. Also recommended are Frédéric Lalance and of counsel Sarah Achille.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP is handling a large volume of energy cases against Spain following changes made to the country's renewable energy regulatory framework through a combined Paris and Madrid team that ‘delivers exceptional legal work that goes far beyond expectations in assessing the situation and human factors’ at stake. The practice recently obtained several major victories for Eiser, Masdar and Antin in three separate ICSID cases where Spain was ordered to pay damages of more than €300m in total. The Paris-based practice also handles a large amount of oil and gas work and represents Middle Eastern clients in various disputes; it notably acted for Oman in an ICSID arbitration with Samsung concerning the bidding process organised for the expansion of a major multibillion-dollar oil refinery project. It is acting for Shell as one of the co-respondents in complex ICC proceedings initiated by SPSE concerning the use of its pipeline. Engie, Steel Reef Infrastructure, RWE and UniCredit are clients. The Paris-based practice is co-headed by Marie Stoyanov, who is praised for her ‘international mindset and excellent pleading skills’, and Christopher Mainwaring-Taylor, who joined in April 2018 from the Dubai office.
Brown Rudnick LLP’s London and Paris-based integrated ten-lawyer team has been recently instructed on a series of commercial construction disputes and by new high-profile French clients. The firm also regularly receives instructions from Middle Eastern and Saudi clients and is involved in significant ICC construction cases in the region and in Africa. The practice is also handling a very sensitive dispute involving several oil majors. Nicholas Tse heads the firm’s international practice, while Sébastien Bonnard manages the Paris office. Hervé Le Lay is also recommended.
Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier's ‘very knowledgeable, experienced, responsive and well-organised’ team mainly handles commercial arbitration, while also dealing with some investment arbitration. The practice handles a diverse range of matters relating to commercial contracts, public sector procurement and construction project issues in France, Africa and other parts of the world. It is dealing with a high-profile arbitration following the withdrawal of the award of a major public sector contract, and represents leading clients in the aerospace and defence sector. The firm is also adept at handling combined arbitration and litigation cases. The practice is co-headed by the highly regarded Laurent Aynès and Carine Dupeyron, who is ‘very knowledgeable in French arbitration practice and has impressive advocacy skills’. Also recommended is Cyril Bonan.
Eversheds Sutherland (France) LLP ‘manages very complex, long-running cases with good co-ordination and keeps on top of a wide range of often-changing information’. The 16-lawyer Paris practice is managing a high-profile Iranian investment arbitration caseload and is also regularly instructed to advise on international Iranian sanctions. The team is also acting in diverse commercial arbitrations relating to Africa and the Middle East, including a large amount of work in the energy and oil and gas sectors. The practice is co-headed by David Sellers, who ‘demonstrates deep knowledge of the energy sector, the ability to think through the commercial aspects of legal matters, and strong command of details’, and Wesley Pydiamah, who is ‘always helpful and business savvy’. Also recommended are counsels Nanette Pilkington and Athina Fouchard, who is ‘very responsive and provides high-quality work’.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP ‘benefits from an extremely powerful international network, especially in Hong Kong and Singapore’, and ‘has a striking ability to cover all sorts of cases in an efficient manner thanks to its unique experience of both litigation and international arbitration’. The Paris office, which is rebuilding its capacity at full speed and hired six new associates in 2018, covers investment and commercial arbitration. It is handling matters in relation with Africa and Brazil, and is especially involved in the mining, energy and telecoms sectors. The practice is also acting in a very high-profile award revision case. ACP Axos Capital, JKX Oil & Gas, Ortiz Corporation, Tunisia and several French blue-chip corporations are clients. The 14-lawyer team is co-headed by Andrew Cannon and Thierry Tomasi, ‘an extremely shrewd and imaginative lawyer who also speaks perfect Portuguese’. Also highly active are of counsels Laurence Franc-Menget and Emily Fox.
Lazareff Le Bars
Mayer Brown is ‘incredibly knowledgeable, thoughtful, intellectually creative and client focused’, and shows ‘outstanding availability and the ability to work long hours’. The ‘very involved and proactive’ ten-lawyer Paris-based team ‘perfectly understands situations involving complex disputes and elaborates the best strategy to achieve goals and mitigate possible losses’. The up-and-coming practice recently gained several victories and is raising its profile by winning high-profile clients and instructions. Often acting alongside the London office, the team is handling a large roster of investment and commercial arbitrations. It represents state entities and private companies and regularly acts in energy and construction cases involving the Arab world and Africa. It successfully represented Egypt in an ICSID case initiated by Veolia Propreté regarding waste management services, and is acting for The Gambia in an ICSID arbitration. The firm also handles Latin American matters; it represented Lion Mexico Consolidated in a Nafta and ICSID arbitration against Mexico in which it obtained a new decision on jurisdiction, which found that mortgages qualify as investments under Nafta. Veolia and Morocco are clients. Practice head Dany Khayat ‘knows the game by heart, is business-driven, knows how to navigate complex in-house organisation and has an extensive network’. The ‘very proactive, practical and always available’ Alejandro López Ortiz shows ‘great technical skills and a very commercial approach’, ‘always meets his deadlines and delivers very high-quality work’. Counsel José Caicedo is also recommended.
Reed Smith has strong knowledge of the shipping, international trade, energy and natural resources sectors. The firm regularly handles commercial arbitration cases in those areas relating to Africa and the Middle East. Thanks to Peter Rosher, the practice is also well known for its construction arbitration ability and is handling significant cases in that area. Ana Atallah is another key name in the practice, while counsel Andrew Tetley is also noted.
Dispute resolution boutique Teynier Pic houses an experienced team of 13 lawyers, including recent addition Shaparak Saleh, who joined as a partner from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, where she was counsel. The team, which combines strong arbitration and litigation expertise, recently handled a high number of award enforcement cases before the French courts. It is representing Zakhem in proceedings over the annulment of a €50m ICC award obtained against Sonatrach, as well as Japan Tobacco International in proceedings with British American Tobacco to set aside a €22m ICC award. The firm is also handling commercial and investment arbitration cases, including matters dealing with telecoms and industrial projects in Africa. Orange and Cameroon are clients. Partners are also regularly appointed as arbitrators. Eric Teynier, Pierre Pic, Laurence Kiffer and Raphaël Kaminsky are recommended.