Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International Law

France: Arbitration 2017

France remains a key seat for international arbitration and as a result there is a very strong arbitration bar in France. Overall we have identified 90 of the very best counsel and arbitrators who excel at acting for clients across a comprehensive range of industries and sectors.

Most Highly Regarded
1. Emmanuel Gaillard Shearman & Sterling, Paris
2. Yves Derains Derains & Gharavi, Paris
3. Eduardo Silva Romero Dechert, Paris
4. Philippe Pinsolle Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Paris
5. Alexis Mourre Independent Arbitrator, Paris
6. Michael A Polkinghorne White & Case, Paris
7. Jason Fry Clifford Chance, Paris
8. Roland Ziadé Linklaters, Paris
9. Noah Rubins Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Paris
10. Yas Banifatemi Shearman & Sterling, Paris

Global powerhouse WHITE & CASE unsurprisingly remains one of the leading firms in France for arbitration. Four of its best practitioners are listed in this edition.
Michael Polkinghorne is described as “a pleasure to see in action” in arbitration matters, where he “superbly handles” matters. He acts as both arbitrator and counsel on a wide range of telecoms, energy and infrastructure disputes.
Andrew de Lotbinière McDougall draws widespread praise from sources who call him “really, really good!” He is noted as a superb advocate whose broad expertise in commercial arbitration covers energy and natural resources and cross-border M&A and joint ventures.
Christopher Seppälä is “an institution” in French arbitration, according to interviewees who cite his legendary expertise in arbitration matters. He is particularly well known for his understanding of FIDIC.
Charles Nairac is also recommended as a “great lawyer under 45 who is increasingly active” in arbitration.

DERAINS & GHARAVI’s three listings include one of the leading names in global arbitration as well as two other highly accomplished practitioners.
Yves Derains has an extraordinary reputation for his capability as an arbitrator and is a ubiquitous figure in the French market, with sources calling him “simply unavoidable on big matters”.
Hamid Gharavi is an “extremely successful” practitioner who has a standout reputation as both arbitrator and counsel. He provides “an open mind when handling complex issues”, say impressed clients.
Melanie van Leeuwen is a “leading” arbitration expert who splits her time between counsel and arbitrator roles, with notable experience in construction and real estate projects. Sources call her “one of the best in France”, with “great ability” in the area.

SHEARMAN & STERLING has three listings this year – including Emmanuel Gaillard, the most-nominated arbitration expert in this edition. He is “the godfather of Shearman’s arbitration practice” and a practitioner who “receives accolades” for his “very aggressive approach” as counsel. Gaillard is widely regarded as one of the best arbitration counsel not only in France, but worldwide.
Yas Banifatemi is a truly outstanding arbitration attorney who is “well known for her assertive litigation style”. She is particularly highly regarded for her work in investment arbitration.
Jennifer Younan is an up-and-coming partner who is “capable of great things”, according to peers.

QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART & SULLIVAN is another firm with an excellent French offering. Four attorneys are nominated.
Philippe Pinsolle “really stands out” in the market “with a top rating”, according to sources who “think the world of him”. He handles both commercial arbitrations and investor-state disputes across a wide array of industries and is experienced both as counsel and arbitrator.
Michael Young is a “real star” in arbitration, say sources, who also highlight him as an “exceptional lawyer”, particularly in relation to gas pricing disputes. Young recently joined the firm from Allen & Overy, a move that was described as “a great catch for Quinn Emanuel”.
Isabelle Michou is also highly regarded, with sources calling her “one of the finest advocates and legal scholars working in international arbitration today”, thanks to her “encyclopaedic knowledge of the law”.
The “very smart” Thomas Voisin is another lawyer with a strong reputation for his arbitration expertise.

FRESHFIELDS BRUCKAUS DERINGER’s team in Paris boasts four listings this year.
Noah Rubins handles both investor-state and commercial arbitration and is an “excellent” lawyer who is a “definite inclusion”. He is particularly well regarded for his expertise in Russia and CIS countries.
Team head Peter Turner QC is similarly highly regarded for his expertise as both counsel and arbitrator, particularly on construction disputes.
Elie Kleiman scores very highly in our research, with sources identifying his deep experience in arbitration as a key strength, with expertise across pharmaceuticals, transportation, construction and energy among many others.
Ben Juratowitch “has a hugely impressive knowledge of public international law” as well as “a calm and clear way of presenting”. Sources note him as a “leader in interstate, public international law arbitration”.

Two practitioners from CLIFFORD CHANCE appear in the listings.
Jason Fry garners nominations from across the market, with sources saying that he offers clients “business-focused advice” in relation to arbitration. His vast experience includes five years spent as secretary general of the ICC Court of Arbitration.
Simon Greenberg is “a top lawyer” and “a big name” who is “very sharp” and “clearly switched on, with a very good grasp of the issues”. He possesses deep expertise in metals, mining and energy work as well as aviation-related disputes.

Three of ORRICK HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE’s excellent team garner nominations in this year’s research.
Senior counsel Laurence Craig, deemed “one of the great arbitrators in Paris”, is an expert who can boast more than 45 years’ experience as both arbitrator and counsel.
Charles Kaplan is a “very prominent” practitioner who is frequently mentioned by sources for is prowess in arbitration. He particularly stands out for his skill in gas pricing and international joint ventures.
Laurent Jaeger is an “insightful, well-prepared and fair” arbitrator as well as a “first-class counsel” who is “highly sophisticated and extremely effective”. He has notable expertise in energy-related disputes.

BETTO SERAGLINI has three lawyers listed in this edition.
Julien Fouret is a “dynamic” lawyer with “a very international practice”, according to commentators. He focuses his practice on investment arbitration, acting as both arbitrator and counsel.
Jean-Georges Betto handles both domestic and international disputes. He has notable depth of expertise in construction cases, and additional experience in defence and construction matters.
Christophe Seraglini is a “true star” at the firm and “one of the top guys at the Paris bar”, according to sources. He is well known for his proficiency in energy and construction matters.

At THREE CROWNS, two top lawyers are highlighted.
Todd Wetmore is “a construction specialist and one of the best out there for that”. Interviewees additionally cite him as an “excellent technical lawyer”.
Georgios Petrochilos is a “very sharp lawyer” who sources call “very smart and hard-working”. He covers the full range of arbitration disputes, with notable experience in energy and maritime law.

Leading French firm GIDE LOYRETTE NOUEL has four listings.
Experienced partner Carole Malinvaud offers clients “extremely good advice on negotiation strategy” and “does a very impressive job” on complex cases.
Christian Camboulive is a very well-regarded figure in the Paris arbitration community, with notable experience acting as counsel and arbitrator on disputes involving franchising, joint ventures and construction.

Eduardo Silva Romero at DECHERT is a “clear standout” in the market who “presides on arbitrations in a very professional manner”, comment interviewees. He is noted as “a leader in the field” who, as counsel, is praised for his representation of clients in investment arbitration cases.

INDEPENDENT ARBITRATOR Alexis Mourre is “strongly recommended” by a variety of sources for his deep arbitration expertise. He is the current president of the ICC International Court of Arbitration.

Roland Ziadé of LINKLATERS “stands out as a very pleasant and sharp lawyer”, say interviewees. He focuses his practice exclusively on arbitration and has experience in energy, mining and infrastructure matters.

The “excellent” Brigitte Stern of UNIVERSITÉ PARIS I, PANTHÉON-SORBONNE is a well-known and very active arbitrator with particular expertise in investment arbitration.

At DENTONS, the highly experienced Bart Legum is a “great mind” in arbitration who heads the firm’s investment treaty arbitration team. 

Pierre Mayer at Pierre Mayer is described by one source as “top of the French market in terms of arbitators; simply excellent”. He has vast experience as both counsel and arbitrator across a range of arbitration rules.

James Castello of KING & SPALDING is a “serious and excellent lawyer” who is highlighted particularly by sources for his depth of technical expertise. He has acted as counsel on arbitrations around the world including in Asia, the US and Mexico.

Raëd Fathallah of BREDIN PRAT is a “leading person” in the French arbitration community and someone who “will be one of the top specialists in international arbitration for years to come”. He concentrates his practice on representing states and state entities.

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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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W11 1QQ, UK