Hon-ProfDr Irene Welser > Cerha Hempel > Vienna, Austria > Lawyer Profile

Cerha Hempel

Work Department

Contentious Business


Senior Partner
Head of Department Contentious Business
Areas of practice:


Admitted 1992, (Attorney at Law), Austria

  • Chair of the Management Committee
  • Honorary Professor of Private Law (Civil and Commercial Law), Institute of Economics and Law, Faculty of Economics and Information Technology, University of Vienna, since 2003
  • Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC) (Board Member)
  • Bundesbeschaffung GmbH (Supervisory Board Member)
  • LEX MUNDI Global Chair Emeritus Litigation Arbitration Dispute Resolution
  • Contact Person of LEX MUNDI The World‘s Leading Network of Independent Law Firms
  • Examiners for the bar examination in Vienna (Board Member), since 1995
  • ÖGEBAU (Member of the scientific advisory council)
  • Legal publication „bauaktuell“ (Advisory Board Member)

Irene Welser became a Partner at CERHA HEMPEL before she turned 30. She heads the Contentious Business Department of the firm, with a team of approximately 20 lawyers. She has been practising law for more than 25 years and is also a former managing partner of the firm. Irene is a passionate litigator and arbitrator and advises domestic and international clients on commercial and civil law. She has a strong academic background and in 2003 she was appointed the youngest ever Honorary Professor (of Private Law) at the University of Vienna. ​ Irene became the first female board member of the Vienna International Arbitral Centre. She is also a LEX MUNDI Global Chair Emeritus Litigation Arbitration Dispute Resolution and a member of numerous other advisory boards. Irene regularly lectures and speaks at international conferences and seminars around the world.


German, English, French, Italian


  • Vienna Bar Association
  • International Bar Association
  • Austrian Arbitration Association
  • ASA – Association Suisse de l‘Arbitrage
  • Arbitral Women
  • LCIA – The London Court of International Arbitration
  • CELA – Chinese European Legal Association
  • Verein der Freunde Rechtswissenschaft
  • Scottish Arbitration
  • Wiener Advokatengesellschaft UNION
  • Lex Mundi – The World’s Leading Association of Independent Law Firms


University of Vienna (Mag. iur. 1986, Dr. iur. 1998); Hon. – Prof. 2003

Lawyer Rankings

Austria > Dispute resolution: commercial litigation

(Leading individuals)

Irene WelserCerha Hempel

Cerha Hempel‘s dispute resolution group is led by litigator and arbitrator Irene Welser, who has a specialism in liability cases but, together with her team, she has recently been most active in shareholder disputes alongside competition, construction and (Covid-19-driven) tenancy law-related litigation. Its client base spans various industries, most notably retail, real estate, finance and energy, and also includes private clients and private foundations, who benefit from Welser’s expertise in inheritance law, as well as public sector players. With Holger Bielesz, the team is also well placed to handle matters at the intersection with white-collar crime and compliance alongside work for financial intuitions faced with consumer claims.

Austria > Dispute resolution: arbitration and mediation

(Leading individuals)

Irene WelserCerha Hempel

Irene Welser heads the team at Cerha Hempel and has recently been particularly active as party-appointed (co-)arbitrator but the team is also well versed in party counsel work. Recent mandates include various national and cross-border commercial and contractual disputes including those pertaining to power plants as well as infrastructure and construction projects.