Legal Marketplace Analysis

In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to recognise the firms and lawyers who stand out for their arbitration expertise on a global level. This year, we identify 733 practitioners from 441 firms and 86 countries as the leading practitioners in the field, following votes from clients and peers.

Who's Who Legal: Arbitration 2015
Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Lawyer Firm
Toby Landau QC Essex Court Chambers, London
Judith Gill QC Allen & Overy, London
V V Veeder QC Essex Court Chambers, London
L Yves Fortier CC QC Arbitration Place, Toronto
Gary Born Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, London
Bernard Hanotiau Hanotiau & van den Berg, Brussels
Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler, Geneva
Albert Jan van den Berg Hanotiau & van den Berg, Brussels
Constantine Partasides QC Three Crowns, London
Henri Alvarez QC Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, Vancouver
Julian Lew QC 20 Essex Street Chambers, London
David Rivkin Debevoise & Plimpton, New York
Alexis Mourre Castaldi Mourre & Partners, Paris
Audley Sheppard Clifford Chance, London
Emmanuel Gaillard Shearman & Sterling, Paris
Pierre Bienvenu Norton Rose Fulbright, Montreal
Laurent Lévy Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler, Geneva
William Rowley QC 20 Essex Street Chambers, London
Yves Derains Derains & Gharavi, Paris
Michael Pryles Michael Pryles, Melbourne
Stephen Jagusch Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, London
Michael Schneider Lalive, Geneva
Charles Brower 20 Essex Street Chambers, London
John Beechey Chairman, ICC International Court of Arbitration, Paris
Kaj Hobér Mannheimer Swartling Advokatbyrå, Stockholm


Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer maintains its leading position in our research with 15 nominees selected for inclusion. Global head of the international arbitration group Lucy Reed splits her time between the Singapore and Hong Kong offices and is known for setting a “clear strategy” and her “resolute focus”. Nigel Rawding is head of the London-based international arbitration practice and is a “sensational practitioner” who acts as counsel and sits as arbitrator. He is joined in that office by Sylvia Noury and Reza Mohtashami. The Paris office is represented by a trio of lawyers including Noah Rubins, a “top choice” for cross-border disputes particularly those involving the CIS and Russia. Rolf Trittmann in Frankfurt is consistently recommended for his “astute legal mind” and his experience in disputes arising out of M&A transactions and post-compliance issues. He acts as counsel and sits as an arbitrator. Günther Horvath is located in the firm’s Vienna office where he focuses on energy, corporate, post-M&A, industrial engineering and construction disputes. He regularly acts as counsel, chairman and party-appointed arbitrator. Washington, DC-based Nigel Blackaby heads the US and Latin America international arbitration groups and is a “frontrunner” in the sector. Two lawyers are also recommended from the firm’s New York office: Brian King and Alexander Yanos. King is lauded for his “technical abilities” while Yanos earns praise for his “strong command of the law”. The “very bright” Domenico Di Pietro in Milan also earns high praise.

White & Case has increased its presence this year and now sees 14 of its lawyers featured. The Paris office is best represented with five nominees selected for inclusion. Michael Polkinghorne is a “leading figure” in the field and heads the office’s arbitration group. He has experience serving as counsel and arbitrator and specialises in the area of foreign direct investment. Christopher Seppälä has significant experience in the field of arbitration and is known for his “straightforward and practical advice”. Matthew Secomb garners praise for his work in the construction and energy fields serving as counsel and arbitrator. Abby Cohen Smutny is located in the firm’s Washington, DC office and is “extremely able”. She is joined by three other DC-based lawyers, including Carolyn Lamm, who primarily represents foreign corporate clients and foreign sovereigns. Paul Friedland serves as global head of the firm’s international arbitration group and is “very effective” in cases. He serves as counsel and arbitrator and is “highly respected” for his experience in this sector. Phillip Capper is a “disputes expert” providing “sound advice” as counsel in arbitrations.

Herbert Smith Freehills sees 14 of its lawyers selected representing its offices in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US. In London, Paula Hodges QC heads the global arbitration practice and is “top notch” according to peers and clients. Alongside her, Matthew Weiniger QC is described as a “formidable opponent” who advises in cases across all major industries. He is a “superb advocate” in arbitration cases and has worked on many cases involving Russian parties. New York-based Laurence Shore impresses with his “sharp intellect”, while in Paris Isabelle Michou is lauded for her “specialist knowledge” of the hotel and leisure, oil and gas, aerospace and infrastructure sectors. In Asia, several lawyers are recommended. Justin D’Agostino in Hong Kong is global head of the firm’s dispute resolution practice and he has experience in arbitrations under the rules of all the major insitutions. He serves as counsel and sits as presiding arbitrator, co-arbitrator and sole arbitrator. Brenda Horrigan is head of the Shanghai office and specialises in commercial and investment treaty arbitration with particular experience in disputes involving emerging markets while Alastair Henderson heads the firm’s arbitration practice in South East Asia and is “top drawer”. Further names are recommended from the firm’s Tokyo and Melbourne offices.

King & Spalding is represented by 13 individuals, five of whom are based in the firm’s Houston office. Head of the firm’s international arbitration practice, Doak Bishop is a “revered practitioner” who is noted for his “stellar work” in the field. He has over 37 years’ experience advising on oil and gas, energy, construction, environmental and foreign investment disputes. John Bowman is also widely recommended for his arbitration practice which sees him heavily involved in oil and gas disputes. A trio of lawyers are recommended from the New York office, including Guillermo Aguilar Alvarez who sources say is a “sensational lawyer” in the field. Eric Schwartz in Paris is a “standout” figure in the arbitration market. He has extensive experience in disputes arising out of infrastructure projects, oil and gas, telecommunications and information industries. Singapore-based John Savage leads the firm’s arbitration practice in Asia and has represented governments, corporations and high-net worth individuals in over 140 international arbitrations. Jan Schaefer in the Frankfurt office is revered for his experience in “complex and high-value” arbitration proceedings, while Margrete Stevens in Washington, DC specialises in investment treaty claims.

At Baker & McKenzie, 13 names are also recommended. Vladimir Khvalei heads the firm’s CIS dispute resolution practice in Moscow and is “extremely impressive”. Two lawyers are recommended in Frankfurt, including Joerg Risse, who peers describe as “top of the game”. Grant Hanessian is based in New York and serves as co-chair of the international arbitration group. He is joined by Lawrence Newman, who serves as counsel and acts as arbitrator in a broad range of matters. Stefan Riegler in Vienna is increasingly active as an arbitrator and is a “top choice”, while Guenter Pickrahn in Frankfurt is “incredibly talented”. The “notable” José María Alonso in Madrid has acted in more than 150 proceedings in Spain and internationally as an arbitrator. Lawyers are also recommended from the firm’s Dubai, Singapore, Tokyo and Istanbul offices.

Lalive garners 10 listings in this edition including the “pre-eminent” Michael Schneider. A founding partner of the firm, he has over 35 years’ experience in international arbitration and his main areas of practice include construction, industrial engineering and infrastructure projects, natural resources, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications. The “distinguished” Matthias Scherer is recommended for his “tremendous abilities” while Domitille Baizeau has acted as counsel and arbitrator in over 50 arbitral proceedings. Teresa Giovannini is a “greatly respected” lawyer with experience in disputes relating to procurement contracts, sales, licence, agency, joint venture and shareholder agreements. In Zurich, Philipp Habegger is regarded as the “go-to lawyer” for complex disputes.

Nine individuals are recommended at Clifford Chance representing eight of the firm’s offices. Audley Sheppard in London has a “tremendous reputation” in the field and concentrates his practice on disputes arising out of infrastructure and energy projects, international trade and investment. Jason Fry is global co-head of the international arbitration group. He recently rejoined the firm having served as secretary general of the ICC International Court of Arbitration and director of ICC Dispute Resolution Services for five years. Also in Paris, Simon Greenberg is a “well-known figure” in the market with experience in ad hoc arbitration and proceedings under the rules of numerous international commercial arbitration institutions. Fabian von Schlabrendorff in Frankfurt is recommended for his experience in corporate, banking and construction and engineering matters while Nish Shetty in Singapore is praised for his “flair” in international arbitral proceedings.

Norton Rose Fulbright is represented by eight leading lawyers. In Montreal, global co-head of international arbitration Pierre Bienvenu is revered for his “exceptional abilities” in this field. He serves as counsel, sole arbitrator, party-appointed arbitrator and chairman. Martin Valasek in the same office is also highly recommended for his arbitration practice. Mark Baker in Houston is a fellow co-head of the practice and has represented clients in matters regarding international and domestic construction contracts, power purchase and sale agreements, energy contracts, joint ventures and project finance and development agreements. Patricia Nacimiento in Frankfurt is “creative and a quick thinker” while New York-based Aníbal Martín Sabater is a “pioneer” in the field, having acted as lead counsel in an award enforcement case that led to the overruling of earlier anti-arbitration jurisprudence in several European jurisdictions.

Debevoise & Plimpton also garners eight listings in this edition, eight of whom are based in the New York office. David W Rivkin is a “huge name” in the sector and is praised as a “great strategist”. Donald Francis Donovan is another “star” in the sector who is “extremely able”. London-based Lord Goldsmith QC is famed for his “impressive intellect” while Sophie Lamb is noted for her work in commercial and investment treaty arbitration representing clients across a broad range of industry sectors. Christopher Tahbaz splits his time between the Hong Kong and New York offices and currently serves as the co-chair of Asian litigation. Clients praise his “diligent manner” and “finely tuned skills”.

Seven lawyers are featured from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. In London, Stephen Jagusch enjoys a “fantastic reputation” in the field. He serves as global chair of the firm’s international arbitration practice and is praised for his “effective counsel” and “astute legal mind”. At the same office, Anthony Sinclair concentrates his arbitration practice on dispute sin the oil and gas, energy and mining, telecommunications, infrastructure and utilities sectors. Managing partner of the Paris office, Philippe Pinsolle has acted as counsel in more than 200 arbitrations. David Orta in Washington, DC is also recommended for his “quick grasp of complex issues” and “user friendly manner”.

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr garners seven inclusions. Chair of the international arbitration practice group Gary Born is a “pleasure to deal with” and is ranked for his “unparalleled abilities” in this sector. Steven Finizio is a “talented individual” who serves as counsel and arbitrator in disputes focusing on complex commercial and regulatory matters. Franz Schwarz is noted for his significant work in relation to arbitration having been involved in more than 200 proceedings as counsel and arbitrator. Maxi Scherer is a special counsel in the firm’s London office and a “distinguished figure” in the sector. James Carter is one of two lawyers listed from the firm’s New York office and has extensive experience acting as arbitrator or counsel in international cases.

Allen & Overy is represented by six lawyers, including Judith Gill QC in London. Gill is “quick and decisive” and scores very highly in our research. She has experience of projects, joint ventures, distributorships, investor protection disputes, insurance claims and warranty claims. Matthew Gearing QC is global co-head of the international arbitration group and resides in the Hong Kong office. He is “enormously talented” and “very versatile”. Frankfurt-based Daniel Busse represents clients in arbitration proceedings as well as acting as arbitrator in ad hoc and institutional proceedings. He specialises in banking, corporate and insurance/reinsurance disputes.

Six names are featured from Hanotiau & van den Berg in Brussels. Bernard Hanotiau has a “long-standing reputation” for his work in the arbitration field. He is praised for his “very sharp mind”. Albert Jan van den Berg is equally well regarded. He is “highly sought after” as an arbitrator. Pascal Hollander represents clients in complex arbitration cases and is a “marvellous advocate”. He also acts as arbitrator and is “greatly respected”.

At the newly founded Three Crowns, five individuals come highly recommended. Constantine Partasides QC in London is a “famed practitioner” who has served as counsel in some of the largest and highest-profile commercial arbitrations of late. Washington, DC-based Jan Paulsson is an “all-time great” of the bar having acted as advocate or arbitrator in hundreds of arbitrations. Georgios Petrochilos in Paris represents states, international organisations and private parties in hearings and his representative work includes the largest maritime delimitation case to date in the International Court of Justice.

Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler in Geneva is represented by three “star lawyers”. Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler acts primarily as an arbitrator in commercial, investment and sports arbitration proceedings. She is “extremely talented”. Laurent Lévy is “simply one of the best”. He specialises in investment, oil and gas, joint ventures, bankruptcy, finance and banking disputes. Antonio Rigozzi is a “dedicated practitioner” who is “truly excellent” according to our sources.

Two lawyers are recommended from Shearman & Sterling, both in the Paris office. Emmanuel Gaillard heads the international arbitration practice and acts as counsel, arbitrator and expert witness. He “cannot be recommended highly enough”. Alongside him, Yas Banifatemi is noted for her “sensible advice”.

Alexis Mourre at Castaldi Mourre & Partners in Paris stands out for his “sensational” work as counsel, co-arbitrator, sole arbitrator or expert in arbitral proceedings. He is “hard-working” and “highly sought after”.

Yves Derains at Derains & Gharavi in Paris is one of three lawyers to be singled out at the firm. He is a “stellar” lawyer with a “great track record”.

John Beechey is the chairman of the ICC International Court of Arbitration in Paris and serves as sole arbitrator or a member of the tribunal in proceedings. He has particular experience in disputes relating to projects and investment, construction, telecommunications and general contractual matters. 

Mannheimer Swartling Advokatbyrå garners three listings, including the “highly effective” Kaj Hobér in Stockholm. He is “creative and thoughtful” and displays “great flair”.

Four practitioners are recommended at Arbitration Place in Canada, including Yves Fortier CC QC, an “esteemed lawyer” with a “sensational practice”. He is “unsurpassed” in terms of his experience in this sector.

Also in Canada, Henri Alvarez QC at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin garners high praise for his abilities in this field. He acts as both arbitrator and counsel in proceedings involving investments, trade, franchising, licensing, distributorship, construction, forestry, oil and gas, energy, banking, corporate and general commercial disputes. He is located in the firm’s Vancouver office.

In Mexico, Claus von Wobeser, managing partner of Von Wobeser y Sierra is a “tremendous lawyer” who is praised for his “thoroughness”. He acts as counsel and arbitrator.

Francisco González de Cossío at González de Cossío Abogados in Mexico is also highly recommended for his “excellent attention to detail”. 

In Peru at Miranda & Amado Abogados, José Daniel Amado is a “top talent” in the sector. He has extensive experience in disputes arising from investment projects. 

Melbourne-based Michael Pryles is “highly rated” for his work as an arbitrator in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. He has sat in over 400 cases, both ad hoc and institutional, and is “without doubt” a “leading player” in the market. 

The UK bar is also home to some of the area’s top lawyers.

Toby Landau QC is an “extremely talented” barrister who comes highly recommended in our research. He has argued over 280 major international arbitrations worldwide. V V Veeder QC is noted for his “diligent manner” and “specialist advice”; he acts as advocate or arbitrator in arbitration proceedings. Julian Lew QC has a “great track record” and has acted as counsel and arbitrator in different countries and under all the major arbitration systems. William Rowley QC is a “star” in the arbitration field having participated in proceedings involving a variety of national laws and investment treaty systems. Charles Brower has a “fantastic reputation” for his work in the field of arbitration having acted as counsel or arbitrator in cases on all six continents. Hilary Heilbron QC is a “first-class” barrister specialising in international arbitration, while Alan Redfern continues to be praised for his “brilliant legal mind”.

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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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