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France: Arbitration 2016

France continues to be a leading seat of arbitration since adopting new arbitration laws in 2011, which has enshrined and modernised the country’s favourable and efficient domestic and international arbitral establishment. Numerous foreign arbitral providers are seated in the country and it hosts several important institutions, including the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). In this chapter, 75 individuals are singled out as leaders in the field. 


Five arbitrators from the Université Panthéon-Assas are listed in our research. Charles Jarrosson is a “veritable luminary” of both domestic and international arbitration. He is renowned for his “deep understanding” of international commercial law, and he has acted as arbitrator and consultant on over 100 cases.  Nicolas Molfessis is known for his “careful handling” and “excellent advice”. Well-respected and active in the field, he has served in arbitration tribunals as co-arbitrator under UNCITRAL auspices. The “outstanding” Bernard Audit is one of the most highly sought after arbitrators in France, famed for his knowledge and familiarity with the ICC, ICSID and French Arbitration Association. Also highlighted in our research is Catherine Kessedjian, whose “impressive” track record ensures that she continues to act as an arbitrator in a number of high-profile transnational cases. Daniel Cohen is highly recommended by his peers for his experience as an arbitrator, which comprises more than 100 arbitrations across a range of industries including construction and energy.

Derains & Gharavi garners an impressive four listings. The “pre-eminent” Yves Derains is once again considered a “leading name” in the field. Sources point to his “considered approach” and “persuasive negotiating skills” for the reasons behind his “overwhelming success”. Hamid Gharavi is recognised by his peers as a “highly proficient counsel” serving in more than 150 cases. Founding partner Bertrand Derains is also known for his “significant understanding” of commercial and investment law. Melanie van Leeuwen is commended for her “exceptional talent” and her “precision and accuracy”. In particular, she is considered a leading light in the energy, media and construction sectors.

At White & Case, four individuals stand out. The acclaimed Christopher Seppälä is held up as a “world-class” arbitrator drawing on over 35 years of experience representing or counselling parties in relation to international commercial arbitrations.  He is considered “one of the greats” of international construction arbitration and he has acted as lead-counsel in state-investor disputes as well as industrial and energy sectors. Michael Polkinghorne is an esteemed international arbitrator. Described as “one of the first ports of call” for the energy, infrastructure and telecoms sector disputes, he is recommended by clients for his “diligent manner” and his ability to “grasp and organise complex issues with ease”. Andrew de Lotbinière McDougall leads the firm’s disputes section in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He is known for his “exceptional advocacy skills” and his “considered approach to proceedings”. Also highly recommended is Charles Nairac, whose technical insight in the construction and energy industries makes him an “indispensable” adviser in this field.

Linklaters boasts three standout performers. The eminent Roland Ziadé is described as an “outstanding negotiator” with significant experience on the international scene. In particular, respondents commend him for his specialist practice dealing with disputes arising in the Middle East in the industrial, telecommunications and media sectors. The newly appointed co-head of international arbitration, Pierre Duprey has substantial experience acting as counsel in many high-profile cases across a broad spectrum of sectors ranging from oil and gas to M&A disputes. Clients praise his “insightful knowledge of commercial law” and his “superb advocacy skills”. Matthieu de Boisséson is a well-established figure in international arbitration, providing “clear and detailed advice” and displaying “superb judgement”.

Three lawyers are commended at Betto Seraglini. Jean-Georges Betto is “highly in-demand” due to his impressive depth of knowledge and expertise in a number of fields ranging from defence to the industrial and energy sectors. Sources laud his “dynamic and personable manner” and his “impressive record in difficult cases”. The “highly regarded” Christophe Seraglini possesses “a deep understanding” of international commercial law and is particularly proficient in the construction, telecommunications and technology industries. The “versatile and cognisant” Julien Fouret is also praised for his work in investment arbitration.

At Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, the “fantastic” Laurent Jaeger is commended as an excellent international arbitrator, “possessing superb attention to detail”. Active in commercial and investment disputes, he primarily focuses his efforts on arbitrations in the energy sector across Europe, the US and Africa. Likewise, Charles Kaplan comes recommended for his “significant breadth of knowledge” in oil and gas, investment and infrastructure disputes. The senior counsel in Orrick’s Paris office, W Laurence Craig is a “famed practitioner” who possesses over 40 years of international arbitration experience. He is praised by his peers as a “splendid arbitrator”, and his “unrivalled experience” makes him a true asset to clients.

At Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Elie Kleiman, managing partner of the Paris office, has over 25 years of experience in international arbitration. He is recommended for his “personable manner” and “business-oriented approach”. Clients are continuously impressed with his “clear, powerful and persuasive advocacy skills”. The “formidable” Noah Rubins is a “dedicated specialist” in commercial and international treaty arbitration, especially in the energy sector. In particular, his command of Russian ensures he is “highly sought-after” in claims and disputes involving the Russian state or state entities. The head of the international arbitration group in Paris, Peter Turner, is a seasoned professional who has acted in over 100 international arbitrations. In particular, he specialises in investor-state arbitration and is commended for his “strong focus and attention to detail”.

Clifford Chance sees three of its lawyers selected for inclusion in this chapter. Jason Fry, co-head of the international arbitration group, has an “outstanding record that speaks for itself”. In particular, he specialises in infrastructure, energy, aerospace, trade, and investment arbitration. The “impressive” Simon Greenberg is tipped as “one to watch” by his peers, who regard his “excellent skill set are the perfect foundations for a glittering career in international arbitration”. Jean-Pierre Grandjean is also included for his “resolute focus” and his “incredible ability to come to terms with even the most difficult and complex of cases”.

Shearman & Sterling boasts two standout arbitrators among its ranks. The head of its 100-lawyer international arbitration practice, Emmanuel Gaillard is universally regarded as a “leading authority” in the fields of both commercial and investment treaty arbitration. Clients consider him to possess “unparalleled abilities”, especially in terms of his “technical and strategic wisdom”. The “trailblazer” Yas Banifatemi is considered “one of the world’s best” in high profile international arbitration, with a particular focus on international investment, and gas and oil disputes.

At Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Jean-Yves Garaud is known for his technical expertise in commercial and public law, with a particular focus on bankruptcy and restructuring. The highly regarded Claudia Annacker is a “distinguished” international arbitrator with a truly global reach. Her practice focuses on international commercial and public law, and she has acted in disputes involving international organisations, as well as state and state entities.

Jean-Christophe Honlet is the global head of Dentons international arbitration group. Recognised as a “shrewd tactician with a sharp mind” his capabilities as a counsel, expert witness and arbitrator have been used in numerous commercial disputes across a wide range of industry sectors, including energy, mining, international construction and real estate. Alongside him, peers regard Bart Legum as one of the “most knowledgeable and experienced investment treaty specialists in the world”.

The “highly recommended” Christian Camboulive of Gide Loyrette Nouel is described as an “extremely talented adviser” in a range of sectors, including international contracts, energy, construction, joint ventures and shareholder relationships. Carole Malinvaud is described as a “leading light” in the field. Her strength in commercial law and investments treaty arbitration is reputed to be “first-rate”.

At Bredin Prat, Raëd Fathallah has built an “outstanding practice” that primarily focuses on disputes between states and state entities in the Middle East. He is celebrated for his “persuasive style”. The “superb” Tim Portwood is a distinguished practitioner in commercial and investment arbitration, and he is well-known for both his “forensic abilities” and “commercial approach”.

The “excellent” Georgios Petrochilos of Three Crowns is a highly regarded international arbitrator with a broad global practice covering inter-state, investment, and commercial disputes. Todd Wetmore is lauded for his “quick grasp of complex issues” and his “impressive breadth of knowledge”.

Two lawyers are listed at Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle. Chair of the international arbitration group Peter Wolrich is known for his “astute legal mind” and his “technical expertise”. Nadia Darwazeh is also highly regarded in the field. She is described as a “star” and her “remarkable intelligence and dynamism” makes her an asset to her clients.

Eric Teynier, founder of the respected boutique dispute resolution firm Teynier Pic, is highly thought of among his peers for his work in commercial and investment arbitration. He has over 30 years of experience as both counsel and arbitrator. Laurence Kiffer is strongly endorsed for her practice, which is focused on construction work, sale, agency, finance, insurance and licensing disputes.

The deputy secretary general of the ICC International Court of Arbitration José Ricardo Feris is described by his peers as “a meticulous operator” and he is highly valued as an arbitrator. Andrea Carlevaris, secretary general of the ICC Court of International Arbitration, is well known for his “technical expertise” in the field of public law. He has served widely as both counsel and arbitrator on many cases under the auspices of the ICC.

The co-chair of Hughes Hubbard & Reed’s global arbitration practice, José Rosell, draws numerous recommendations. Involved in more than 100 arbitrations as either counsel or arbitrator, he has considerable expertise in the field of investment treaty arbitrations and is known for providing clients with a “clear, strategic approach”. Marc Henry is a respected practitioner in the international arbitration scene, and is known as “a good operator”.

Two leading lawyers represent Herbert Smith Freehills. Isabelle Michou is an “acclaimed” member of the international arbitration scene, regularly acting as both counsel and sole arbitrator in proceedings in the hotel and leisure, gas and oil, aerospace and infrastructure sectors. Emmanuelle Cabrol is praised by her peers for her “innovative work” in the field, including representing Eurotunnel in the first arbitration brought against two states simultaneously – the British and French governments.

At the head of our research this year is Pierre Mayer, who is widely considered the “best arbitrator in France”. He is said to possess “an unsurpassed depth of knowledge and expertise” in both international and national cases. He previously co-led Dechert’s international arbitration global practice, but in early 2015 chose to withdraw from the partnership in order to concentrate on working as an independent arbitrator.

The current co-chair of Dechert’s international arbitration global practice is Eduardo Silva Romero, who receives widespread recommendations. In particular, he is considered a “top-notch” operator in international disputes and his “great depth of expertise” is evident in his involvement in over 100 cases, ranging from international sales and distribution contracts to energy related disputes.

The “greatly respected” Alexis Mourre also features highly in our research this year. His “comprehensive insight in commercial and investment law” and linguistic abilities ensures that he is highly sought-after arbitrator in disputes involving Latin America.

At King & Spalding, James Castello is an “illustrious” senior arbitrator and counsel. He is seen as a “top specialist” in large infrastructure and commercial projects, especially in the energy sector.

Brigitte Stern of the Université Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne, has a “formidable reputation” among her peers due to her “encyclopaedic knowledge” of international public and administrative law. She has considerable experience acting as both counsel and arbitrator in many national and international arbitration proceedings.

With experience in over 200 international arbitrations acting as counsel, Philippe Pinsolle of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is considered by many as “a leading global figure in the market”. In particular, he is a specialist in investor-state relations and commercial disputes involving the energy, power, oil and gas, construction and defence industries.

At Latham & Watkins, the “excellent” Fernando Mantilla-Serrano is commended by his peers for “brilliant mind” and for his expertise in Latin American claims and disputes.

The “outstanding” Michael Bühler of Jones Day is recognised as a prominent practitioner in arbitration proceedings in the civil construction and engineering, industrial or power plants, and oil and gas sectors. Sources were effusive in their praise, claiming that his “commanding presence” makes him a “true asset” during proceedings.

 Co-head of Allen & Overy’s global arbitration practice Michael Young is singled out as a highly prominent figure, who a number of respondents see as being “one of the country’s premier advocates”. In particular, he specialises in energy, chemicals and natural resources disputes across Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Laurent Aynès of Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier is a “top-of-the-range arbitrator”. His expertise has been employed in over 140 proceedings in the fields of international trade, joint ventures, civil engineering, distribution, telecommunications, oil and gas, and intellectual property sectors.

At the Université Paris X Nanterre, Ibrahim Fadlallah is an “acclaimed” professional who has acted in numerous international arbitration proceedings. He has “a considerable technical knowledge base” which informs his oft-mentioned brilliance as an arbitrator.

The “dynamic” Bruno Leurent of Foley Hoag has extensive experience in international arbitration. He has represented a number of sovereign states in a wide range of commercial and investment arbitrations with a particular focus in maritime and land-bound disputes in the investor-state sector.

Sole practitioner Thomas Clay is a “skilful practitioner”. Sources praise him for his “intimate understanding of French arbitration law”.

Mayer Brown’s Dany Khayat is “extremely well thought of” due to his particular expertise in investment treaty arbitration and the protection of foreign investments.

Philippe Leboulanger of Leboulanger & Associés achieves widespread commendation in our research for his reputation as a “seasoned advocate” in disputes concerning state contracts, construction, sales, distribution, investments, oil and gas, technology and joint-ventures.

With over 40 years of experience in international arbitration and business law, Carl Salans of 5 Boulevard Malesherbes is singled out and celebrated as an “innovator”. Sources note his “distinguished reputation” and “impressive record” in a number of high profile cases.

At Kuckenburg Bureth Boineau et Associés, Joachim Kuckenburg is a well-respected practitioner in international arbitral proceedings. In particular, he is singled out for his expertise in international contracts, sale of goods, technology transfer, construction and technical installations disputes. He is described as a “dynamic” advocate with a “fantastic working knowledge” of procedural issues.

As the founder of Castineira Law, Eliseo Castineira is a “brilliant lawyer” with an “exceptional insight” into the rules and procedures of the ICC International Court of Arbitration.  His particular expertise lies in M&A and joint ventures disputes, as well as in the fields of distribution, construction and energy law.

The “esteemed” Laurent Gouiffes heads Hogan Lovells’ international arbitration practice. He is well known for his expertise in energy, aviation and technology disputes.

Sole practitioner Paul-A Gélinas is a “celebrated” arbitrator who has “significant expertise” in technological and energy-related disputes. His practice focuses on the oil and gas, mining, electricity, nuclear, aerospace, telecommunications and investment sectors.

Independent arbitrator Sigvard Jarvin is a “highly regarded authority”. His colleagues laud his “magnificent depth of knowledge” and note his reputation as an “outstanding negotiator”.

At Lazareff Le Bars, founding partner Benoît Le Bars is an experienced practitioner serving as both counsel and arbitrator. In particular, he is a known expert in the relationship between international arbitration and OHADA.

The “impressive” Nathalie Meyer-Fabre of Meyer-Fabre Avocats focuses her practice on the resolution of international business disputes. She possesses a broad range of expertise in numerous sectors, with a focus on contract law disputes.

With experience in over 95 high-profile cases, Louis Degos of K&L Gates is recognised as “a leader” in international arbitration proceedings across a range of industry sectors. Peers praise his “sound judgement” and “strong negotiation skills”.

Jeffrey Hertzfeld is a sole arbitrator with a “wealth of experience” in sectors such as international trade, natural resources and construction with a particular focus in Russia, the CIS and Eastern Europe.

Expert Witnesses

In this chapter we recommend nine expert witnesses.

Accuracy achieves three listings. Founding partner Christophe Schmit has particular expertise in the quantification of damages as well as financial and economic analysis. He has been appointed expert witness in international arbitration cases under ICC, ICSID, French arbitration institutes and ad hoc rules. The “impressive” Erik van Duijvenvoorde has over 20 years’ experience in financial services and specialises in the assessment of complex damages claims. Jean-Baptiste de Courcel is also highly commended for his “technical expertise” in the financial, accounting and economic aspects of claims.

The executive vice president in the competition policy group at Compass Lexecon, David Sevy has acted as economic expert in several, high-profile arbitration cases involving sectors such as transportation, energy, defence systems and pharmaceuticals. Formerly the managing director in the LECG Paris office and currently the adjunct professor of economics, he blends “deep industry expertise” with the ability to “quickly grasp the complex issues” at the heart of international arbitration proceedings.

The “extremely capable” James Nicholson is the senior managing director at FTI Consulting and head of the Paris disputes team. His “first-rate practice” focuses on the identification and valuation of lost profits and wasted costs, as well as the valuation of businesses and financial assets. As a “highly respected authority” in France, he is currently an expert for separate claimants in the energy and media sectors who are both seeking damages greater than $1 billion.

Jean-Luc Guitera heads KPMG’s forensic department in Paris. An accountant for over 20 years, he is described by his peers as “one of the top expert witnesses” in France. He specialises in international arbitration support providing valuations services for loss of profits and long-term contract claims in various sectors such as defence, infrastructure and construction.

At Deloitte France, Anthony Charlton leads the international arbitration team. With 20 years’ specialist experience of forensic accounting, damages qualification and business valuation, he is considered a considered a go to expert in this respect.

The “meticulous” Dominique Perrier of PwC regularly acts as an expert witness in ICC international arbitrations. She is highly regarded among her peers for her “methodical approach” and “considerable experience”.

Sorgem Évaluation founder Maurice Nussenbaum is very active as an expert in international arbitration proceedings. Respondents were impressed by the “clear and thorough manner” of his reports.

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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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