Most Highly Regarded Firms: Arbitration 2014

This edition identifies 624 arbitrators and counsel from 84 countries around the world, our broadest geographical spread to date. Each nominee stands out for the high number of recommendations they received from the clients, peers and expert witnesses we canvassed and are the outstanding practitioners in the field.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Lawyer Firm
Toby Landau QC Essex Court Chambers, London
Judith Gill QC Allen & Overy LLP, London
VV Veeder QC Essex Court Chambers, London
Gary Born Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, London
Emmanuel Gaillard Shearman & Sterling LLP, Paris
Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler, Geneva
Bernard Hanotiau Hanotiau & van den Berg, Brussels
Julian Lew QC 20 Essex Street Chambers, London
Laurent Lévy Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler, Geneva
Albert Jan van den Berg Hanotiau & van den Berg, Brussels
Constantine Partasides Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, London
Audley Sheppard Clifford Chance LLP, London
Charles Brower 20 Essex Street Chambers, London
William Rowley QC 20 Essex Street Chambers, London
Alexis Mourre Castaldi Mourre & Partners, Paris
Michael Schneider Lalive, Geneva
Yves Derains Derains & Gharavi, Paris
David W Rivkin Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York
Jan Paulsson University of Miami School of Law, Florida
Michael Pryles Independent Arbitrator, Melbourne
Eric Schwartz King & Spalding International LLP, Paris
Lucy Reed Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP, Hong Kong
L Yves Fortier QC Independent Arbitrator, Montreal
Stephen Jagusch Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan UK, London
Pierre Tercier Independent Arbitrator, Fribourg

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer upholds its reputation for excellence with 15 nominees selected for inclusion. The “incredibly knowledgeable” Constantine Partasides heads the firm’s international arbitration group in London and has more than 15 years’ experience acting in over 50 ad hoc and institutional arbitrations. He is “highly recommended” by peers who praise his “sharp mind”. Also based in London, the “very professional” Nigel Rawding acts as director of the London Court of International Arbitration. The “responsive and efficient” Sylvia Noury focuses on emerging markets, particularly Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and is praised for her “exceptional people skills”. Global head of the firm’s international arbitration group Lucy Reed enjoys a “great reputation” as a “natural leader” and is one of the most highly recommended individuals in the research overall. Reza Mohtashami is head of the firm’s global arbitration practice in the Middle East and is “highly influential”.

Four lawyers are selected from the Paris office including the “very bright” Georgios Petrochilos who represents Greece on the International Arbitration Committee of the International Law Association. Head of the worldwide Russia/CIS dispute resolution group Noah Rubins is praised for his “in-depth knowledge of Russian culture and business practices”. Peter Turner heads the international arbitration group in Paris and is “very well respected” while managing partner of the office Elie Kleiman is praised for his “business sense and sound instincts”.

The firm has a strong presence across Europe with further nominees selected from Germany, Austria and Italy. The “pragmatic” Rolf Trittmann represents Germany in the ICC Court of Arbitration in Paris and is praised for his “commercial acumen”. Vienna-based Günther Horvath focuses on energy, company law, industrial engineering and construction and is described as “impressive and efficient”. Domenico Di Pietro represents clients under a variety of arbitration rules and is regarded as an “established name in the international market”.

The firm also has three nominees from the US. The “prominent” Nigel Blackaby heads the firm’s US and Latin America international arbitration group and is commended for his “technical skills”. The “highly sought after” Brian King acts as counsel, chairman, co-arbitrator and sole arbitrator in arbitrations involving energy, construction, joint ventures, licensing and other disputes. Alexander Yanos has been litigating and arbitrating commercial, financial and treaty-based disputes and is praised for his “long-standing expertise”.

Herbert Smith Freehills has increased its presence in this edition with 14 of its lawyers selected for inclusion. Four are based in London, where Paula Hodges enjoys a “remarkable reputation” representing clients in arbitration proceedings in many jurisdictions across Africa, Asia, Canada and the US. The “talented” Matthew Weiniger has worked under all the major arbitration systems and is valued for his “vast experience” while Christian Leathley is praised for his “great lawyering skills”. Nicholas Peacock leads the firm’s India international arbitration practice and is described as “very knowledgeable”.

The firm has a strong presence in Asia with three lawyers nominated for their expertise including China managing partner Justin D’Agostino. Based in Hong Kong, he leads the firm’s Greater China international arbitration practice and is regarded as “an absolute delight to work with”. In Beijing, Jessica Fei is valued for her “extensive experience” and “incredible knowledge of the field”. Shanghai-based Brenda Horrigan is “in high demand” for disputes related to investments into China as well as other countries in Asia, central and eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In Japan, Dominic Roughton is “highly respected” for his experience of energy-related disputes in particular and Peter Godwin, managing partner of the Tokyo office, is valued for his “impressive abilities”.

Two lawyers are listed in Paris including the “noteworthy” Emmanuelle Cabrol. She successfully represented Eurotunnel against France and the UK, the first arbitration brought against two states simultaneously. Isabelle Michou has appeared before numerous high-profile arbitral tribunals and is “widely recognised for her work in the field”.

In Australia, Bronwyn Lincoln is described as “incredibly hard-working” and Singapore-based Alastair Henderson enjoys a “lengthy track record” as a “high-calibre arbitrator”. New York-based Laurence Shore is “very active internationally” and praised for his “outstanding advocacy skills”.

King & Spalding has increased its presence once more this year and now sees 13 of its lawyers featured. Eight lawyers are based in the US, including head of the firm’s international arbitration practice group Doak Bishop who is praised for being “gentlemanly and professional”. The “eminent” John Bowman has over 30 years of experience representing international oil companies and service companies in a wide range of commercial and investment disputes. Craig Miles enjoys a “formidable reputation” as a “very smart and focused” arbitrator and Roberto Aguirre Luzi is praised for his “wealth of expertise” counselling multinational corporations on complex arbitrations. The “extremely able” Jennifer Price has 20 years’ experience representing energy, oilfield service, power and petrochemical companies while the “excellent” Margrete Stevens focuses on investment treaty claims in Washington. In New York, Edward Kehoe is regarded as an “outstanding advocate” while “superb arbitrator” Guillermo Aguilar Alvarez is commended for his “brilliant mind”.

In the Paris office, Eric Schwartz is one of the most highly regarded individuals in our research. He is current vice-president of the ICC International Court of Arbitration and is described as “among the best in the world”. The “fantastic” James Castello is “well versed” in international arbitrations and actively participated in the revision of the UNCITRAL model law on international commercial arbitration. Managing partner of the Singapore office John Savage is “highly recommended” while Peter Megens is regarded as the “go-to guy” for construction disputes. Frankfurt-based Jan Schäfer is praised for his “good commercial understanding” and has been described as “one of the strongest practitioners in Germany”.

White & Case sees 12 of its lawyers selected including London-based Phillip Capper. He is regarded by peers as a “wise lawyer” and “always my first choice as arbitrator”. David Goldberg splits his time between London and Moscow and is a “highly deserving” inclusion. Four lawyers are selected from the Paris office including the “doyen of the firm” Christopher Seppälä. He has more than 35 years of experience and is described as “one of the greats of construction arbitration”. Andrew De Lotbinière McDougall is praised for his “breadth of expertise” acting in a variety of cross-border disputes, while head of the firm’s Paris arbitration group Michael Polkinghorne is commended for his “amazing technical ability”. Peers have “no hesitation” in recommending Matthew Secomb who focuses on construction and energy-related disputes.

Six lawyers are based in the US including global head of the firm’s international arbitration practice group and “outstanding lawyer” Paul Friedland. Abby Cohen Smutny has experience in disputes involving numerous industries and is regarded as a “terrific advocate”. Carolyn Lamm has “substantial experience” with international proceedings involving states and is a “top choice” for foreign corporate clients and foreign sovereign entities. Ank Santens has over a decade of experience in international arbitration and is “equally impressive as counsel and arbitrator”. Andrea Menaker is praised for her ability to “get to grips with complex issues” while head of the firm’s Latin American arbitration Jonathan Hamilton is described as a “favourite among clients”.

Nine nominees are selected from Baker & McKenzie, led by the “extremely impressive” Lawrence Newman. He is co-editor of several publications on international arbitration, earning his title as “a teacher of the craft”. Also in New York, the “very proficient” Grant Hanessian acts as vice chairman of the Arbitration Committee of the US Council for International Business. Vladimir Khvalei heads the firm’s CIS dispute resolution practice group in Moscow and is praised for the “professionalism of his work”. Frankfurt-based Joerg Risse is frequently appointed as an arbitrator and is commended for his “high level of commercial understanding”. The “very responsive” Stefan Riegler acts as counsel in various institutional arbitrations, particularly under the Vienna, ICC and DIS rules. Habib Al Mulla is appreciated for his “common-sense approach” and described as “one of the best UAE lawyers out there”. The “excellent” Alexander Petsche heads the firm’s litigation and arbitration practice group in Vienna while the “highly rated” Haig Oghigian co-chairs the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution practice group in Tokyo. Managing partner and head of the litigation and arbitration department in Madrid José María Alonso is commended for his “pragmatism”.

Norton Rose Fulbright grows its contingent to eight lawyers in this edition. Pierre Bienvenu is global co-head of the firm’s international arbitration practice and peers describe him as “top of the game”. Also in Montreal, the “outstanding” Martin Valasek has acted in many arbitrations covering a wide range of industries including aerospace, construction, energy and pharmaceuticals. Frankfurt-based Patricia Nacimiento is considered a “real specialist” in investment arbitration while the “first rate” Elisabeth Eljuri is commended for her experience as co-counsel in international arbitrations in Venezuela. Guy Spooner is head of Asia international commercial arbitration and dispute resolution in Singapore and is “tremendously experienced” in a variety of industry disputes.

Three lawyers are based in Houston including the “pre-eminent” Mark Baker. He joins Bienvenu as the global co-head of international arbitration and is regarded as a “pleasure to work with”. The “highly skilled” Aníbal Martín Sabater regularly serves as counsel in complex cases conducted in English and Spanish and Kevin O’Gorman is a “superstar” who serves on the board of the Houston International Arbitration Club.

Seven lawyers from Lalive are selected this year including the “extremely thoughtful” Michael Schneider who is regarded as “encyclopaedic in matters of arbitration”. Matthias Scherer is praised for his “vast knowledge” and is a veteran of more than 100 proceedings, while founding partner Teresa Giovannini is commended for her “personable approach”. The “brilliant” Domitille Baizeau is a “real star” who earns the appreciation of clients, counsel and arbitrators alike. Veijo Heiskanen is “very active internationally” and is widely praised. Bernd Ehle is regarded as an “excellent strategist” and one source described him as “among the best of the new generation of experts”. The “top notch” Joachim Knoll is experienced in disputes in a variety of sectors and peers praise him for his “versatility”.

Clifford Chance performs well once again with seven lawyers selected for inclusion. Audley Sheppard is global co-head of the firm’s international arbitration group and is “greatly admired” for his experience sitting as an arbitrator. The “talented” Jason Fry is described as a “wise addition to the firm’s roster” alongside the “notable” Simon Greenberg. Singapore-based Nish Shetty has a “sophisticated” practice specialising in complex cross-border disputes and Fabian von Schlabrendorff is a “number one choice” for corporate, banking, construction and engineering arbitrations. The “exceedingly good” Timur Aitkulov has acted as counsel in Stockholm, London, Moscow and Zurich while Washington-based Ignacio Suarez Anzorena is likewise recognised for his “growing international presence”.

The seven nominees from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom include the “distinguished” Paul Mitchard QC. He is head of the firm’s Asian litigation and arbitration group and co-head of the global international litigation and arbitration practice. The “revered” Karyl Nairn QC is regarded as the “go to lawyer” for complex international commercial disputes while David Kavanagh is “greatly valued” by clients. In New York, Julie Bédard is “renowned” for her work on investment and commercial arbitration while Judith Kaye is valued for her “great judgment”. Barry Garfinkel is praised for his “broad range of expertise” and Timothy Nelson is described as a “dedicated specialist”.

Lawyers from Hanotiau & van den Berg appear seven times in this listing. The “quick and decisive” Bernard Hanotiau scores very highly in our research and is regarded as “one of the big names in the field”. Albert van den Berg is praised for his “sound analysis of both facts and law” and is described as “a world-leading arbitrator”. Pascal Hollander is commended for his “wealth of experience” which he “successfully transposed” into the field of international arbitration. Erica Stein is a “name to watch” while Niuscha Bassiri is rated as an “extremely sharp arbitrator and counsel”. The “very professional” Oliver Caprasse is noted for his “high quality of work” while Paul Lefebvre is described as a “widely respected international practitioner”.

Debevoise & Plimpton also boasts the inclusion of seven lawyers including the “phenomenal” David W Rivkin. He has handled international arbitrations throughout the world and before nearly every major arbitration institution. The “outstanding” Mark Friedman represents clients in commercial and investment treaty cases while the “formidable” Donald Francis Donovan focuses his practice on international disputes in the US. Catherine Amirfar acts as counsel in arbitration cases in a wide variety of subjects and is praised for her “tremendous intellect”. Former chairman of the firm’s litigation section

Robert von Mehren is described as a “towering figure” while Lord Goldsmith QC is regarded as an “obvious inclusion” in our list. The “spectacular” Sophie Lamb is also well regarded in our research with peers commending her “hard work” and “tenacity”.

Six lawyers feature from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. The “fantastic” Gary Born chairs the international arbitration practice group and is described as “one of the leading arbitration counsel of his generation”. Wendy Miles deals with both private and public international law issues and is “amazingly smart”. The “incredible” Franz Schwarz focuses on complex multi-jurisdictional disputes and the “exceedingly good” Steven Finizio focuses on commercial and regulatory disputes. James Carter is regarded as the “dean of international arbitration in New York” while the “versatile” John Pierce “performs brilliantly” in venues throughout the world.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan features five lawyers including global chair of the international arbitration practice Stephen Jagusch. He specialises in international commercial and investment treaty arbitration and is a “first choice for clients”. Anthony Sinclair is praised for his “astounding knowledge” and managing partner of the Paris office Philippe Pinsolle is commended for his “marvellous advocacy”. Hong Kong-based John Rhie is “very sharp minded” and Fred Bennett enjoys a “lengthy track record” as “one of the greats” in California.

The four nominees from Allen & Overy include the “simply terrific” Judith Gill QC. She is noted for her “strong reputation” and peers regard her as “simply one of the best”. Michael Young leads the Paris arbitration team and is a “connoisseur of international arbitration”. Head of the firm’s German dispute resolution practice, Daniel Busse “continues to impress clients” and Matthew Gearing is “immensely experienced” in a large variety of arbitration rules.

Lawyers from Shearman & Sterling appear four times in this listing, all of whom are based in the Paris office. The “exceptional” Emmanuel Gaillard has advised and represented corporations, states and state-owned entities in international arbitrations for over 25 years. The “dedicated” Yas Banifatemi is praised for her “combination of big picture understanding and consideration of the smaller details” and Fernando Mantilla-Serrano is commended for his “commercial wisdom”. Todd Wetmore has a broad range of experience handling complex international arbitrations and is a “true specialist” in construction disputes.

 Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler features two of the world’s most highly regarded individuals. The “hard-working” Laurent Lévy has experience with all major arbitration institutions and is “quite simply brilliant”. Gabrielle Kaufmann–Kohler is “everything her reputation says she is” and “consistently among the best prepared arbitrators despite her busy schedule”.

Also based in Switzerland, independent arbitrator Pierre Tercier is highly respected for his “academic excellence” and “case management skills”. He is former chairman of the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Independent arbitrator Michael Pryles is based in Australia and “highly commended” for his “hearing management skills”. He has sat as an arbitrator in over 300 cases in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia.

In France, the “highly sought after” Alexis Mourre of Castaldi Mourre & Partners has been involved in over 160 international arbitrations and is “one of France’s premier arbitrators”. Founding partner of Derains & Gharavi, Yves Derains has over 40 years’ experience and is “among the leading names in international arbitration”.

In Canada, independent arbitrator L Yves Fortier QC has served on numerous investor-state international tribunals and is “tremendously effective”. Henri Alvarez QC of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin regularly conducts arbitrations in English, Spanish and French and is a “major player in the field”.

Jan Paulsson is a “legendary figure” and scores highly in this edition once again. Formerly of Freshfields, he is now based at the University of Miami School of Law and is president of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration.

The UK bar also features some of the area’s top lawyers. The “absolutely wonderful” Toby Landau QC is the most highly nominated expert on our list for this edition. He has argued over 280 international arbitrations worldwide and is “incredibly knowledgeable”. V V Veeder QC is also extremely well regarded, described to researchers as “sensible and sophisticated” and “tough enough to keep parties under control”. The “very intelligent” David Williams QC has been involved in over 120 international arbitrations and currently serves as a member of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration. Martin Hunter is current chairman of the board of trustees of the Dubai International Arbitration Centre. Peers regard him as a “splendid arbitrator”. The “stellar” Salim Moollan is commended for his “steadfast approach”. He is current chairman of the UNCITRAL arbitration work group and vice-president of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC.

The “truly exceptional” Vaughan Lowe QC has worked on matters such as the territorial status of boundaries in the Caspian Sea, international law aspects of privatisation programmes and claims arising out of the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Lord Michael Mustill is one of the founding members of Essex Court Chambers and is “held in high regard” for “always being on top of the facts”. The “legendary” Ian Hunter QC is “well known” in the field, particularly for his expertise in insurance and reinsurance arbitrations. The “highly acclaimed” Joe Smouha QC has appeared in proceedings in many jurisdictions outside England and is described as “extremely sharp”. Sir Frank Berman QC is regarded as a “leading silk” and his recent appointment as the legal member of the court of arbitration between Pakistan and India under the Indus Waters Treaty is testament to his standing.

The “extraordinarily good” Michael Collins QC is “renowned” for his wide-ranging practice as an arbitrator. Julian Lew QC is praised for his “extensive knowledge and experience” and peers commend his ability to be “completely in command of the court room”. William Rowley QC “lives up to his to reputation” and Charles Brower is praised for his “brilliant legal mind”. The “absolutely splendid” Michael Lee is also highly recommended in our research.

Several Asia based experts stood out in our research. In Hong Kong, Michael J Moserdeserves all the accolades he gets” according to our sources, “he is a really brilliant arbitrator". Neil Kaplan CBE QC SBS "One of the most experienced arbitration specialists in Hong Kong”, praised for his efficiency by clients and peers alike. Teresa Cheng SC is said to be a “supremely skilful advocate and arbitrator”, commended as “diplomatic and to the point”. Michael Hwang SC is based in Singapore and is internationally renowned for his work in this field, while in Australia Douglas Jones AO is a “first class arbitrator, no nonsense and he gets things done.” He was described as “my new first choice arbitrator for anything complex” by one interviewee. Gavan Griffith QC also scores very highly. 

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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