Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International LawThe Queen's Award for Enterpise 2012

Dispute Resolution

The following firms boast a leading contingent of practitioners who stand out for their dispute resolution expertise across a broad range of practice areas including patents, life sciences, aviation contentious and general commercial litigation. Our research identifies globally recognised experts in litigation, arbitration and mediation.

1 Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

2 King & Spalding

3 White & Case

4 Herbert Smith Freehills

5 Allen & Overy

6 Debevoise & Plimpton

7 Clifford Chance

8 Norton Rose Fulbright

9 Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

10 Hogan Lovells

11 Lalive

12 Baker & McKenzie

13 Skadden Arps Meagher & Flom

14 Hanotiau & van den Berg

15 Sidley Austin

16 Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr

17 Three Crowns

18 Clyde & Co

19 Shearman & Sterling

20 Shook Hardy & Bacon

21 Hughes Hubbard & Reed

22 Dechert

23 Linklaters

24 Reed Smith

25 Holman Fenwick Willan

Once again, “global giant” Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer tops this year’s research in the field of dispute resolution. With over 400 litigation lawyers operating in 27 offices across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the US, Freshfields continues to lead the market providing clients with an “unrivalled multi-jurisdictional service”. The firm offers clients support and advice across the full spectrum of contentious matters in a range of industry sectors and boasts a fantastic practice in the energy and mining sector, with clients celebrating the “wealth of expertise” on offer, along with the “pragmatic, solutions-oriented approach”. Recent highlights of the practice include advising a multinational mining conglomerate in a coal off-take dispute in a London-based ICC arbitration.

The “outstanding” Nigel Blackaby, global co-head of Freshfields’ international arbitration practice and the Latin-America group, is renowned as a leading authority in the field and, according to sources, demonstrates an “unrivalled desire for resolving his clients’ issues”. His acute insight and geographical expertise” gives him an edge in disputes in Latin America and, as such, clients regard him as a “go-to practitioner” in the region. In the firm’s Singapore office Lucy Reed, global co-head of the international arbitration and public international law groups, is deemed “one of Asia’s premier arbitrators”. Peers and clients alike describe her as an “irresistible force” in disputes and cite her “fantastic advocacy skills” as the reason behind her success. An experienced international arbitrator, she has worked on well over 100 proceedings across many jurisdictions worldwide.

Appointed Queen’s Council in January 2016, Nigel Rawding QC is head of Freshfields’ London-based international arbitration practice. He is known for his “considerable legal prowess” in his role as counsel, as well as his “careful handling” of high-profile, politically sensitive disputes. Noah Rubins heads the Parisian office’s international arbitration group and the worldwide CIS/Russia dispute resolution group; he is particularly well known for his work in energy-based disputes and for his “in-depth knowledge” of the corporate culture and practices of CIS countries. With over 35 years of experience in arbitral proceedings, the “eminentGünther Horvath is seen as a “prominent fixture” in the field. He continues to operate primarily in international commercial arbitrations.

Paul Bowden is celebrated by peers for his “flawless intuition and judgement” during high-profile, complex litigations. Described as a “joy to work with”, he is “incredibly talented” in the field of environmental and product disputes. In Frankfurt, Rolf Trittmann is described as the “country’s foremost expert in disputes involving the automotive industry”. Dietmar Knopp is described as “one of Germany’s leading practitioners” in dispute resolution. In particular, he is known for his high-profile work in product liability and he has significant industry awareness in the food, pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. According to sources, Christof Pöchhacker is a “top-drawer intellectual property litigator” who also has extensive industry awareness in the pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors with regard to IP and regulatory matters. The head of the firm’s Spanish dispute resolution practice Vicente Sierra is renowned for his “dynamism and versatility” in commercial litigation and product liability.

King & Spalding features highly in our research this year demonstrating the “formidable global reputation” of its dispute resolution practice. Its product liability defence team are “held in huge regard” throughout North America and the world with Chilton Davis Varner and Donald Zimmer Jr, for example, being among the most highly regarded individuals in our international research. King & Spalding is a world leader in foreign investment arbitration and international commercial arbitration. The firm’s “esteemed” practice includes over 90 lawyers worldwide who act in a diverse range of complex, multi-jurisdictional disputes in various industry sectors. In the energy and natural resources sector, the firm represents 9REN Holding Sarl in its current ICSID arbitration proceedings with the government of Spain regarding the generation of a renewable photovoltaic energy enterprise. The firm’s team also acts for the Italian construction and civil engineering specialists Salini Impregilo SpA in its pending ICSID dispute with the government of Argentina, concerning a toll road construction project.

The firm boasts two of the most highly regarded individuals practising in the US product liability defence bar. In Atlanta, Chilton Davis Varner is famed for her “considerable prowess” in the courtroom. She has over 30 years of experience in product liability defence and clients commend her “case-winning strategies”. In particular, she has represented notable pharmaceutical companies in high-profile, product liability lawsuits and her “wonderful” track record is something to behold. Managing partner of the San Francisco office Donald Zimmer Jr is recommended for his “impressive” practice which focuses on the defence of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and toxic substances. According to respondents, he is “an unrivalled talent in product liability litigation” and his “astounding knowledge of the market” ensures that he consistently delivers for his clients.

Co-head of the firm’s international arbitration practice, Doak Bishop is a “well-reputed name” and “seasoned veteran” of international arbitral proceedings. He is renowned for his “vast wealth of knowledge” in the oil and gas, energy, environmental and foreign investment sectors. Eric Schwartz is a “prized” international arbitrator with a wealth of expertise in disputes relating to the oil and gas industries, major infrastructure projects, telecommunications and information industries. John Savage leads the firm’s arbitration practice in Asia and has “significant” experience acting for, and advising, governments and large corporations in over 150 arbitrations. James Castello is a Paris-based member of the firm’s international arbitration practice and is well regarded for his work in the construction industry. According to sources, he is described as “an impressive advocate” with a “deep awareness” of international construction law.

White & Case has had another “fantastic year” in international arbitration and earns our 2016 Arbitration Firm of the Year award for the first time. The firm prides itself on possessing the largest international arbitration practice of any firm: its international arbitration practice includes over 160 practitioners who between them generated a caseload portfolio valued at around US$88 billion between 2013 and 2015. The firm operates in key arbitral centres worldwide and offer clients global coverage in Europe, North America and the emerging markets. Respondents were effusive in their praise of the firm’s involvement in several big-ticket cases, with some clients stating that it was the “significant contribution in high-profile disputes” that first drew them to the firm.

The firm is well-represented in the US boasting a number of “outstanding practitioners” in the field. In the firm’s New York office, Paul Friedland is a “well-reputed name” on the international scene. He is the global head of White & Case’s international arbitration practice and is regarded as a “guru” by peers who admire his “strategic approach” and “in-depth knowledge of international commercial law”. Friedland’s practice focuses on investor-state disputes as well as disputes in the energy, natural resources, telecommunications, insurance and construction industries. In Washington, DC Carolyn Lamm is a highly regarded counsel whose “fantastic record” speaks for itself. Her practice focuses on international dispute legislation through arbitration, litigation and international trade proceedings. Clients celebrate her “considerable advocacy abilities”, claiming that she is “one of the country’s most distinguished counsel”. Co-leading the international arbitration practice and head of the international public law team at the firm is Abby Cohen Smutny. A renowned counsel, she has represented clients from a variety of different industry sectors. Clients praise her “versatility” and credit her with providing a “top-class, client-focused service”.

Paris-based Michael Polkinghorne is an “esteemed” international arbitrator who is renowned for his “insightful advice and approach” to arbitral and litigation proceedings in the energy, telecommunications, project finance and infrastructure sectors. Polkinghorne is praised for his “international mindset” which has seen him act in disputes in a wide array of jurisdictions. In particular, he has significant expertise in investor-state arbitrations. Clients are impressed with the manner in which he endeavours to understand their businesses citing that he “fully immerses himself in the minutiae of their commercial activities”.

Herbert Smith Freehills’s dispute resolution practice continues to impress in the global market and is awarded our Litigation Firm of the Year in 2016 for the seventh time. The firm offers its clients a “high quality service and global coverage”. Specialising in international arbitration and litigation across a wide range of industry sectors, clients were repeatedly impressed with the market-leading service offered by practitioners in the Asian market, celebrating their “visibility in the market” as a “key factor in their decision to choose the firm”. The firm’s dispute resolution practice has been involved in some high-profile cases in recent years: notably advising Gazprom in its dispute with Norwegian drilling rig contractor SeaDrill over damages to a drilling unit in the Bay of Bengal.

The “esteemed” Paula Hodges QC is head of Herbert Smith Freehills’ global arbitration practice and has over 20 years of experience in dispute resolution and, more specifically, international arbitration. Her “wonderful” practice focuses on energy, natural resources, technology, telecommunications and media disputes. According to clients, she is a “tenacious representative” whose “determination is only matched by her boundless experience”. In New York, the highly regarded Laurence Shore is lauded for his “vast expertise” as an international arbitrator. He has extensive experience sitting as an arbitrator in both ICC and ICDR proceedings and is known for his work in energy, mining, natural resources, telecommunications and financial contracts disputes.

Justin D’Agostino heads the firm’s dispute resolution practice in Hong Kong and is a “well-reputed name” in the Asian market. He is a “leading authority” in the field and is “highly sought after” for his tremendous expertise in sensitive, high-profile cases. In particular, he specialises in energy, natural resources and telecommunications disputes. Head of the firm’s Shanghai office Brenda Horrigan is “a bona fide expert” in complex international and commercial treaty arbitration with a particular emphasis on disputes in the emerging markets. Isabelle Michou is a “visible force in international arbitration”. Based in Paris, she has significant expertise acting in a diverse range of disputes in a multitude of jurisdictions across Europe and francophone Africa.

Allen & Overy boasts a formidable reputation in international dispute resolution. The firm’s dispute resolution practice has a significant presence in Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific; and offer global business the full range of services in litigation, arbitration, regulatory and mediation matters. The firm is particularly proficient in corporate risk management in the commercial and financial sectors. The firm’s dominant global position is reflected by its prominent position in this year’s research.

In Singapore, the “pre-eminent” Judith Gill QC is recognised as “first rate” and is renowned for her “superior advocacy skills” and for providing clients with “supreme legal acumen and adaptability” in the course of arbitral proceedings. Global co-head of the international arbitration group Matthew Gearing QC is a “highly proficient lawyer” involved in some of the highest-profile cases in recent years. According to sources he is blessed with an “incredible talent for oral advocacy” and a “fantastic analytical mind made for dynamic and challenging cross-examination”. He is active in investor-state disputes and contractual disputes between large corporations.

In Frankfurt, Daniel Busse heads Allen & Overy’s German dispute resolution practice. His primary focus is international arbitration, in which he specialises in disputes in the commercial and banking sectors including post-M&A, insurance and reinsurance matters. He is credited as having a “deep understanding” of public international law issues and is “exceedingly talented” in complex, cross-border litigation. The “charismatic” Michael Young is “extremely well thought of” in the field with respondents citing his “personable manner” as a particular highlight. He has a wide variety of expertise across an array of industry sectors; in particular, he specialises in energy, chemicals and natural resources disputes, in which he is “extremely proficient”.

US law firm Debevoise & Plimpton offers a premier arbitration practice with “market-leading practitioners, a global perspective and strong New York roots”. The team at Debevoise & Plimpton is well-equipped to deal with arbitral proceedings in a range of industry sectors on both the US and international stage. The firm’s impressive client list includes states, such as the Republic of Korea and Russia, and large multinationals. The firm is representing Royal Dutch Shell in claims brought by the community of Ogale in Nigeria – a landmark case, and the first of its kind to be tried in London featuring a claim by foreign claimants over third-party damage by a foreign subsidiary.

Co-head of Debevoise’s international dispute resolution group, David Rivkin is a “famed practitioner” and renowned as “a true heavyweight in the courtroom”. His practice focuses on complex, transnational disputes and he has significant experience acting in investor-state arbitrations and high-stakes commercial litigation. Head of the international disputes group is the “fantastic” Donald Francis Donovan, a member of the most highly regarded individuals in this year’s international arbitration research. He is renowned for his “natural talent and proficiency in public international law” and respondents commend him as “one of the world’s leading lawyers” in commercial, investment and international law cases.

In London, Lord Goldsmith QC chairs the firm’s European and Asian litigation groups and is famed as a “leading light” in both litigation and arbitration. His “clear and powerful presentation of arguments in court” has earned him the reputation as “one of the finest barristers of his generation”. Sophie Lamb’s impressive practice focuses on commercial arbitration, investment treaty arbitration and public international law. A “gifted advocate”, she is “highly sought after” in cases involving complex domestic and international business and human rights cases. She is active as an arbitrator across a variety of industry sectors including the automotive, banking, energy, natural resources, pharmaceuticals, private equity and telecommunications. In Hong Kong, Mark Johnson has built an impressive practice focusing on commercial litigation, white collar and regulatory defence matters. With over 25 years of experience in the Asian market, Johnson is a “seasoned veteran” and has deep industry experience as well as “valuable insight into the proceedings and customs of the Asian legal marketplace”.

International law firm Norton Rose Fulbright is a highly reputable firm in the field of dispute resolution. Norton Rose Fullbright garners mentions across the international arbitration, commercial litigation, product liability defence, aviation contentious and shipping sections of this year’s research. The firm enjoys a commanding presence in the market with lawyers in Europe, North and south America, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Middle East, and advises large multinational corporations in the energy, natural resources, pharmaceuticals, financial and banking sectors in the full range of dispute resolution practices. Recently, the firm assisted one of the largest international oil and natural gas companies in a drilling contracts dispute brought by Mexico’s national oil company and was successful in winning a dismissal.

Co-chair of the firm’s international arbitration practice Pierre Bienvenu is one of the world’s leading practitioners and is consistently recommended as one of the field’s most highly regarded lawyers in international arbitration. He is described by peers as an “irresistible force” with an impressive practice covering international commercial arbitration, corporate and commercial litigation. Active in both the domestic and international sphere, Bienvenu is celebrated for his considerable expertise in the telecommunications, aeronautics, international distribution and joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, construction and foreign investment sectors.

At the helm of the firm’s international arbitration practice is Mark Baker, who specialises in commercial arbitration, business litigation and alternative dispute resolution and offers clients “extensive experience” in both international and domestic construction contracts, power purchase and sale agreements, energy contracts, joint ventures and project finance and development agreements. In the firm’s Johannesburg office, Jeffrey Kron leads the corporate and commercial litigation practice. He is regarded as a “top-drawer” practitioner in disputes involving the banking, corporate and mining sectors with clients lauding his “excellent judgement” and “decisive approach”. He is also credited with having “intimate knowledge of the evolving legal framework surrounding foreign investments and safeguarding their interests”.

International heavyweight Clifford Chance continues to impress in our research drawing upon its extensive network of offices to provide clients with a “seamless service” in complex, transnational disputes and investigations. Clients praise Clifford Chance’s in-house forensic accounting team maintaining that “The synthesis of legal representatives and industry experts at the firm ensures that case-winning strategies based on expert testimony are developed quickly.”

In London, Audley Sheppard QC is highly regarded on the international arbitration stage as “one of the best around” in international arbitration. He is widely recognised by peers as providing clients with “invaluable insight” in the industries of energy and resources, oil and gas, power and energy networks, mining and metals, and real estate. His “strategic acumen” and “commanding presence” makes him a “formidable foe in arbitral proceedings”. In Paris, Jason Fry co-leads the international arbitration group. Fry is a hugely experienced practitioner with an “intimate working knowledge of ICC proceedings” having spent five years serving as secretary general. Clients are impressed with the way in which “he structures his cases to provide optimal solutions”. His “comprehensive” practice focuses on disputes surrounding infrastructure projects, energy, aerospace, trade and investment, and he is also “well-versed in ADR proceedings”. In Madrid, José Antonio Caínzos heads the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution practice. He is a “hardened veteran” boasting an impressive 28 years of practice in well over 100 arbitral proceedings. According to sources he is a “stellar negotiator” with “an eye for the finer commercial details”.

Hogan Lovells’ 700-strong litigation and arbitration practice operates in 40 offices worldwide and is ideally placed to serve clients in complex cross-border disputes. The firm is recognised as a market-leader in product liability defence garnering 15 listings in this practice area alone, with two of its lawyers singled out as the most highly regarded practitioners in the market. Respondents celebrate the firm’s ability to “consistently deliver” for clients in high-stakes cases. The firm’s diverse litigation practice is staffed by practitioners with vast experience in government procedure and commercial law given that a multitude have served in government positions themselves. According to clients, this “intimate knowledge and industry-specific expertise is unbeatable in the field”. The team is also extremely proficient in assisting clients in avoiding litigation if there is preferable solution and, as such, they have extensive expertise in alternative dispute resolution.

Head of the Parisian office’s dispute resolution practice Thomas Rouhette is a “giant in the product liability defence bar”, and “extremely well thought of” in the field. According to sources, he is a “veritable expert” in disputes relating to product liability offering clients extensive experience in the aviation, automotive, consumer goods and telecommunications industries. Also in Paris, Laurent Gouiffès heads up the international arbitration practice. He specialises in litigation and arbitration in technological and energy-related disputes. With over 20 years’ experience, Gouiffès is described by peers as an “intelligent, thoughtful and experienced practitioner” whose industry-specific expertise makes him a “valuable asset to the firm”.

John Meltzer is a “leading authority” and one of our most highly regarded individuals in the product liability field. He provides clients with “extensive experience” in litigation and risk management and has over 20 years of experience defending product liability claims in a diverse array of industries including life sciences, oil and gas, and telecoms. Karl Pörnbacher heads the firm’s arbitration practice in Germany. He has experience in all forms of dispute resolution and is “greatly respected” for his work. His practice covers disputes in connection with energy, projects, construction, M&A, insurance and reinsurance, and general commercial relationships.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is the largest business dispute specialist firm in the world and its lawyers are “renowned trial specialists” with “unparalleled abilities”. Peers describe the firm as a hotbed for trial enthusiasts, and maintain that their impressive success rate is a product of “careful specialisation” and “a culture of relishing contentious cases”. The firm is involved in high-profile cases across the globe but, recently, the Quinn Emanuel’s Australian team were able to foil a dispute brought by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia against ABC learning Centres Limited over its corporate collapse and subsequent liquidation.

Global chair of Quinn Emanuel’s international arbitration practice Stephen Jagusch is a “noteworthy figure” in the market. He has vast experience in ICSID disputes and is known as “a determined advocate who fights very hard for the victory”. According to sources, Jagusch is blessed with a “wealth of knowledge” in international commercial law and is “particularly knowledgeable in energy disputes”. Philippe Pinsolle is a highly regarded practitioner on the European circuit. Active in over 200 arbitral proceedings, he is “intimately acquainted with the method and approach needed to bring proceedings to a favourable conclusion”. As such, he is a “highly sought-after” practitioner in the European market and his skillset is such that “he consistently delivers results”. His impressive practice focuses on the energy, natural resources, construction and defence industries and he is considered “a go-to advocate” in these sectors. Co-chair of the firm’s global product liability and mass torts practice Sheila Birnbaum is a “highly sought after” and “talented advocate”. According to sources, she possesses “a brilliant legal mind” and is “an excellent strategist and analyst”. She has been involved in a number of high-profile cases, including the historic victory for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in which she successfully secured the reversal of a $145 million award by appealing to the Supreme Court.

Swiss firm Lalive has built a strong reputation in the field of dispute resolution and is considered a “pioneer” in international investment arbitration due to its involvement in the very first ICSID arbitration. Lalive continues to build upon its “well-founded pedigree” and has developed a commanding international investment treaty arbitration practice that is truly global in scope. Lalive frequently competes with larger, multi-jurisdictional law firms despite its humble size.

Founding partner Michael Schneider is a “titan” in the international commercial arbitration scene. He is regarded as a “founding father of Swiss arbitration” and has been active for over 40 years working on some of the largest and more complex cases in the European market. Clients praise his “strategic genius” and the “ease at which he manages diverse parties in complex, cross-border disputes” likening him to “a gifted conductor that is extremely proficient in his work”. The highly regarded Teresa Giovannini has established a reputation as that of a “leading figure” in the field and is well known internationally given the breadth and depth of her work across a range of sectors including the aviation, technology, construction and insurance industries. According to sources, she is particularly adroit when acting in disputes involving procurement contracts, sales, licensing, agency, joint venture and shareholder agreements. Matthias Scherer is “a top-of-the-range arbitrator and litigator” with considerable expertise in international construction disputes. Sources praise him for possessing “wisdom beyond his years”. Bernd Ehle is “well versed in international commercial law” having gathered experience in proceedings under Swiss, English, French, German, New York, Turkish and Ukrainian law. Peers describe him as a “prodigious talent” in the construction, telecommunications and energy sectors.

In the firm’s Zurich office, the “esteemed” Philipp Habegger is a “determined figure” in international commercial arbitration. His considerable expertise in international contractual and transactional law ensures that his peers consider him a “doyen” in disputes arising out of joint ventures, M&A, shareholders’ agreements, international sales and related transactions. He is particularly proficient in the energy, construction, real estate and infrastructure, as well as pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industries. According to clients, Habegger is “incredibly perceptive during negotiations” and a “gifted orator” who is known for his “clear and powerful arguments”.

Clyde & Co’s impressive dispute resolution practice rests upon the “considerable talents” of its transport practitioners, many of whom are “highly proficient” in handling contentious issues. The firm has invested heavily in its global arbitration group over the past two years adding to its ranks in its Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Singapore and New York offices. In particular, the firm has bolstered its presence in the Asian market envisaging this region as a key centre for disputes in the future, with respondents quick to praise the firm’s “strategic awareness of the market’s development” offering “newfound strength across the board”.

In New York, the winner of our Transport – Aviation Contentious Lawyer of the Year 2016 award Andrew Harakas heads the firm’s US aviation law practice group and focuses his practice primarily on litigious matters in the aviation, complex tort, regulatory, insurance and product liability fields. As one of the most highly regarded individuals highlighted in our research, he is renowned in the field for his “exceptional abilities in the courtroom”. According to clients, he is a “dynamic tour de force” who “really knows his stuff”. In London, the “highly regarded” Maria Cetta is “fast becoming a household name” in the aviation industry. Her broad practice is commended for its strength in the subrogation and insurance sector. According to clients, she is a “top-drawer practitioner” who “navigates complex issues with ease”.

The “eminent” Alec Emmerson is noted for his “meticulous preparation and insightful questioning”. Formerly the head of the dispute resolution group in Dubai, Emmerson resigned from the post in 2008 in order to focus his attention on arbitral matters and advising clients in complex disputes. Highly regarded by his peers, he is commended for providing clients with a “treasure trove of knowledge” in arbitral proceedings, investment disputes, disaster and commercial contract litigation. Kevin Sutherland has a strong reputation as one of the most talented aviation lawyers in the US. He repeatedly garners praise from his clients who consider his work in the field “second to none”. His has extensive experience litigating on behalf of airlines, airports, manufacturers of commercial, aviation, space and military products and their insurers. He also has experience acting in subrogation recovery claims and assisting clients in involved in the multi-modal transportation and passengers and cargo.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed has developed one of the most impressive litigation practices in the US, with clients regularly recommending the firm’s litigators for their “superior individualised service”. The firm offers clients global coverage with several offices spanning key centres in the US, Europe and Asia. The firm not only acts in commercial arbitration, but also investor-state and state-to-state disputes. In January of this year, the firm initiated five arbitration proceedings against Russia ranging from $20 million to $1 billion in value on behalf of a number of Ukrainian businesses seeking to allay damages following Russia’s invasion of the Crimea in 2014.

As head of the firm’s dispute resolution and ADR practice, the “erudite” John Townsend is famed for hisstrong tactical instincts” during negotiations. Boasting over 40 years of experience in dispute resolution, Townsend has significant expertise in handling international and domestic commercial disputes, as well as investment treaty arbitrations. John Fellas co-chairs the firm’s international arbitration and dispute resolution practice. An active practitioner in both the US and England, clients are continually impressed with the “ease at which he digests complex information”. In the firm’s New York office, Stephen Hammond co-chairs the firm’s international practice. He is lauded by clients for his “stellar performance as both counsel and arbitrator”, and is also described as a “joy to work with”. Hammond specialises in international arbitration and litigation, advising and defending multinational and state enterprises in connection with a broad range of commercial activity. Described as a “champion in contentious proceedings”, clients celebrate his “ability to draw out the truth in an expert line of questioning”.

Sidley Austin fields a team with “unmatched knowledge and experience” in commercial and investor-state arbitrations. The firm’s dedicated international arbitration practice cements the firm’s place in our top 25 dispute resolution firms worldwide. Respondents were impressed with Sidley’s global network which sees the firm actively operating in the key arbitral centres worldwide, as well as its commercial litigation practice which is credited with comprising of “outstanding” litigators especially in the product liability field. The firm has an enviable client list including the likes of AT&T, Bank of America, Exelon, Duke Energy, Tyson Foods, GE and Deloitte. Sidley Austin is also active in the emerging markets and has offered significant advice and insight regarding the drafting of new arbitration laws in Mongolia in order to augment the legal process behind the building of infrastructure projects.

The “illustrious” Sara Gourley is commended for her impressive practice in pharmaceutical and medical device product liability defence cases. Our Life Sciences – Product Liability Lawyer of the Year in 2016, She has acted in a many complex, high-profile disputes in the pharmaceutical, medical device and blood products industries and is considered a “leading light” in the field. Praised for her ability to rise to the occasion in high pressured and sensitive litigations, Gourley is “one of the best around”. The head of Sidley’s product liability and mass torts practice in Los Angeles, Debra Pole is celebrated as “a visionary in the field” who is gifted with “a precise, decisive and assured leadership style” as well as a “profound insight of complex litigation proceedings”. Louis Kimmelman co-leads the firm’s global international arbitration practice and is primarily active in complex commercial and investment treaty disputes. He is also active in litigious proceedings designed to ensure that arbitration proceedings are enacted and any awards are enforced.

Hanotiau & van den Berg is a major player on the European and international market specialising in international arbitration. The “prestigious” boutique offers clients “matchless experience” in international arbitral proceedings across the full spectrum of industry sectors. Clients laud the Belgian firm’s “deep-rooted industry specific knowledge” and “longstanding links with firms and practitioners across the globe”, citing these as the key factors allowing the firm to compete with heavyweights on the international stage.

The “preeminent” Bernard Hanotiau is a “titan” in the international arena and the recipient of our Arbitration Lawyer of the Year 2016 award. Active for almost 40 years and serving in over 350 arbitrations as either counsel, sole-arbitrator or chairman, Hanotiau is famed for his “world-class abilities” and “clear and powerful arguments”. Clients repeatedly praise the “poise and determination” with which he attacks every case. Fellow founding partner Albert Jan van den Berg also ranks as one of the most highly regarded individuals in this year’s international arbitration research. He is considered a “veritable authority” in international arbitral proceedings and respondents were effusive in their praise of van den Berg’s case preparation: “He is blessed with considerable foresight and seemingly limitless strategic acumen.”

Baker & McKenzie enjoys a significant presence in the global market with an 800-strong team of lawyers dispersed among its 35 offices worldwide. The firm recognises that the number of complex cross-border disputes are growing in line with the increasing globalisation of commercial activity and has moved quickly to ensure that it is ideally placed to offer clients the support they need, wherever they need it. According to respondents, it is Baker & McKenzie’s “considerable foresight” as well as its “numbers and geographical positioning” that make the firm a market leader in dispute resolution.

Grant Hanessian in New York is a “seasoned veteran” with over 25 years’ experience acting as arbitrator or counsel in a vast array of disputes concerning contract, investment treaty, energy, construction, commodities, financial services, insurance, and intellectual property. His “client list is the envy of lawyers worldwide” and he has represented the commercial interests of a variety of multinationals. In the firm’s Frankfurt office, the “well-respected” Joerg Risse is “well versed” in international commercial law, acting primarily in post-M&A disputes including price adjustment issues as well as transactional claims. Clients regularly cite his “composed approach” as “a calming influence during high-pressure, complex issues” and credit him with offering “solutions-oriented advice”.

Chairman of the UAE office Habib Al Mulla is “a fixture in the local market”. His 30 years’ experience has seen him involved in the drafting process for many of Dubai’s modern legislative structures. Al Mulla’s impressive practice focuses mainly on arbitration and litigation in the construction, financial, commercial and maritime industry sectors. Working out of the firm’s Sydney office, Amanda Turnill co-chairs the firm’s life sciences group and has significant regulatory expertise in the sector. With over 25 years of experience, she is “a consummate professional” and her impressive practice is centred on her expertise in the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries. 

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom’s international litigation and arbitration practice is an “experienced outfit” with significant expertise in complex, transnational disputes including expropriation claims and investor-state disputes. The firm is credited with providing clients with “a vast breadth of knowledge” and “sophisticated understanding of public and private international law” coupled with global reach across the US and Europe.

Global co-head of the international litigation and arbitration group, Karyl Nairn QC is a “prominent” practitioner in the field that has amassed a considerable amount of experience during her time practising in complex international commercial arbitration and litigation proceedings. She is renowned for her significant work on post-M&A disputes and has acted for governments and multinational corporations in a variety of industry sectors including finance and banking, oil and gas, commodities, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications. Julie Bédard is “an expert on the drafting of dispute resolution clauses” and provides “top-quality advice” when serving as counsel in international arbitration proceedings. She also has extensive experience when acting as a litigator in patent and IP litigation.

In the firm’s New York office, Timothy Nelson is recognised as an “outstanding” practitioner with a “wealth of expertise” in complex, international disputes involving contracts, international trusts, partnerships and corporate law. According to peers, Nelson is “an incredibly bright practitioner” who is able to draw upon his “excellent command of the facts” during arbitration proceedings. Leading Skadden’s mass torts, insurance and consumer litigation practice is John Beisner. A “sensational litigator”, he is primarily active in the courts defending major US and international corporations in product liability cases.

WilmerHale offers clients a premier international arbitration and dispute resolution practice. The firm’s “prodigious practice” boasts involvement in some of the most significant institutional and ad-hoc arbitral proceedings of recent years. Clients are continually impressed with WilmerHale’s practitioners who they describe as “incredibly efficient” and “completely unflappable” even in the face of adverse circumstances.

Chair of the firm’s international arbitration practice Gary Born is a “preeminent” figure in the field of international commercial arbitration and litigation. Peers and clients alike regard him as “one of the world’s premier arbitrators” and his “glittering career” has seen him act in over 600 arbitrations during his 20 years of practice. In London, Steven Finizio is celebrated by clients for his “intuitive and commercial approach”. He is a “distinguished practitioner” with wide-ranging experience across a number of jurisdictions and industry sectors. James Carter is a practitioner of “strong repute” in the US whose longstanding service in the field has seen him serve in over 150 arbitrations. In his 40 years’ service, he has built an impressive practice founded on significant expertise and experience in a wide array of contentious matters including joint-venture, investor-state and international sports law disputes. The “luminary” Franz Schwarz is commended for his “superb practice” focusing on joint ventures, M&A, financial services, project finance, and corporate and commercial disputes.

The “highly specialist” Three Crowns provides clients with international coverage with offices based in London, Paris and Washington, DC; all crucial centres in the field of arbitration. According to clients, the firm is not only ideally located but is home to some of the best practitioners in the world. The firm specialises in commercial arbitrations of all sizes and sensitivities, as well as prominent investment treaty arbitrations. Recently, the firm began representing four Ukrainian claimants in a series of LCIA arbitrations regarding an M&A dispute following on from the recent political crisis in the region.

In the firm’s London office, founding partner Constantine Partasides QC is celebrated as a “top-drawer practitioner”. Consistently involved in some of the largest commercial arbitrations of the last decade, Partasides is known for his “exemplary handling” of large, complex cross-border disputes. He regularly advises states and investors in disputes under bilateral and multilateral investment treaties. Gaetan Verhoosel is a “famed arbitrator” who, according to sources, is “extremely adept at getting to the bottom of damages issues”.

In Washington, DC Jan Paulsson receives widespread acclaim and respect for his specialist skillset and “uncanny ability to develop dispute-winning strategy”. In Paris, Georgios Petrochilos garners praise from peers for his formidable practice involving commercial disputes, inter-state and investment issues. He is known for representing clients in the largest maritime delimination case to date and for his involvement in some of the most critical cases in the European energy sector in the past decade. The “excellent” Todd Wetmore has notable expertise in energy, construction, technology and agribusiness disputes.   

Shearman & Sterling is home to some of the most significant and influential practitioners in the market. The firm’s international arbitration practice includes over 100 fully dedicated lawyers operating in offices across Europe, Asia and the US. The firm’s market leading practitioners were “instrumental” in securing two of the largest awards ever rendered in international arbitral proceedings cementing their position as the “go-to firm” in high-pressure, complex disputes.

Head of the firm’s global arbitration group Emmanuel Gaillard is a “renowned practitioner”, universally held in high esteem by clients and peers alike. He has “significant experience”, having served in well over 100 arbitrations across a diverse range of industry sectors and his “awe-inspiring talents” are said to be “matchless”. Sources were effusive in their praise: “I have not come across another lawyer with the same degree of mastery”. His colleague in the firm’s Paris office, Yas Banifatemi, is described as “an omnipresent force in Shearman’s Paris-based arbitration practice” whose “assertive style makes her a true asset to the firm”.

Shook Hardy & Bacon’s formidable product liability practice earns the firm our Product Liability Defence Firm of the Year award for the 12th time this year, and ensures that the firm maintains a significant position in this year’s research. As one of the world’s foremost firms in this respect, Shook Hardy is known for its work defending the interests of some of the world’s largest multinationals. Clients celebrate the firm’s “adaptive approach” that plays a key role in the formulation of case-winning strategies.

Michelle Fujimoto is “a towering figure in the product liability defence bar”. Known for her work in the pharmaceuticals and medical devices sectors, she has “wide-ranging experience” having represented the pharmaceutical manufacturers of therapeutics, hormone therapies, contraceptives, dietary drugs, immunosuppressants, smoking cessation and obesity therapies, allergy medications, anti-depressants and anti-inflammatories. She is known for her “strong preparatory work”; according to clients, “she goes above and beyond in order to ensure that all bases are covered come litigation time”. Scott Sayler comes highly commended for his work inside and outside of the courtroom with clients praising both his advocacy and negotiating styles. He is enormously experienced having acted in several hundred class action product liability cases. In the firm’s DC office, Madeleine McDonough leads the firm’s pharmaceutical and medical device litigation practice. She has represented clients across a host of industries including pharmaceutical, animal health, medical device, food, cosmetic and beverage. She is well known for her creative and intuitive approach to cases that regularly sees her outfox her opponents.

Dechert’s team of litigators, arbitrators and mediators represent clients in a wide range of disputes. Dechert endeavours to offer clients “sophisticated, case-specific solutions” in order to best serve the clients’ needs. Dechert’s international arbitration team recently acted in an investment treaty dispute for a South American country against a major US oil company in an ICSID arbitration valued at over $4 billion. The firm’s litigators also have significant experience acting in high-profile disputes for large companies or private individuals. In the Cherney v Deripaska case, for example, the Dechert team represented Michael Cherney in a commercial dispute regarding a stake in the world’s largest aluminium company, United Company Rusal.

Co-chair of Dechert’s global international arbitration practice Eduardo Silva Romero is a prominent figure in the market who was widely recommended during this year’s research. His impressive practice is focused on Latin America and, according to sources, he is known for being a “powerful and persuasive speaker”. In Beijing, Jingzhou Tao manages the firm’s burgeoning Asia practice. A specialist with over 30 years of experience advising American and Japanese companies on their dealings with China in the commercial sector, Tao is a prominent figure in the Asian market whose “invaluable insight” makes him indispensable to major multinationals with commercial dealings in the region. Erica Stein is at the forefront of the firm’s Belgian practice and continues to have a strong reception on the international stage. She is particularly active in the life sciences, energy and telecommunications sectors.

Linklaters’ prestigious practice is founded on an impressive track record in the field. According to sources, its practitioners are “tireless in their efforts to succeed” on behalf of the client. Linklaters arbitration and commercial litigation practices are considerably “well-versed in complex, cross-border matters”.

Matthew Weiniger QC is a practitioner of strong repute, especially in cases involving clients from Russia and other CIS states. He is particularly proficient in energy and financial disputes given his wealth of knowledge in public and private international law. Matthieu de Boisséson also features highly in this year’s research. According to sources he is “a well-known figure in the Paris arbitration community” who offers clients sophisticated counsel in a wide range of industries, including the energy and natural resources, construction, gaming and defence sectors. Roland Ziadé is an experienced counsel who has acted in a number of disputes on behalf of states and large corporations. In particular, he has significant experience in the natural resources, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and media sectors.

Reed Smith impresses this year moving into the top 25 firms and achieves our 2016 Life Sciences – Product Liability Firm of the Year award. Particularly adept in the life sciences sector, the firm has built an impressive practice founded on over 40 years of industry specific experience. Reed Smith offers clients a well-established life sciences practice boasting “a number of high-flying product liability defence lawyers” in the pharmaceuticals and medical device industries. Recently, a team from the firm’s multidisciplinary life sciences group was involved as co-counsel in the successful defence of Medtronic in Infuse bone graft claims.

Michael Brown is described by sources as an “all-star” in the field. As the former head of the firm’s life sciences health industry group, he has substantial expertise in complex product liability and commercial matters. His enviable client list has included the likes of Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and Medtronic. Splitting her time between the firm’s San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices, Colleen Davies has a prestigious practice dealing with drug and medical device product liability. Her litigation experience focuses on complex product liability and commercial defence work. She is also a distinguished counsel who advises firms on enterprise risk management, product warnings, design development, claims management and product recalls.

Holman Fenwick Willan is a “giant” in the transport sector, boasting an impressive team across Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and South America. Lawyers consistently deliver results for their clients, and are aligned in sector-focused groups – allowing the firm to offer a “comprehensive and all-encompassing service”. As such, it is a “go-to firm” for transport-related disputes.

Robert Springall focuses his shipping practice on dispute resolution arising from charterparties, bills of landing, casualty investigation and pollution. A prominent figure in Holman Fenwick Willan’s Melbourne office, Springhall is noted for being “an excellent client-facing practitioner who combines significant industry awareness with a forthright personable manner”. Heading the firm’s office in São Paulo is Jeremy Shebson, commended for his “astute mind” and “careful management of cases”.  Based in Hong Kong, Peter Coles is a well-known figure in the Asian market. He is particularly active in the regulatory aspect of the aviation industry and has acted for airlines, GA and business jet operators, airports, manufacturers, ground handlers and MROs in complex cases spanning jurisdictions across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. He is “bright and able”, sources say.

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