Crenguta Leaua
10, Zborului Street, sector 3
+40 31 405 43 04

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Arbitrator in over 100 cases, Crenguta Leaua is listed at WIPO and in Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Poland, Slovenia, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Shanghai. Since 2015, she is vice president of the ICC International Court of Arbitration. She is managing partner of Leaua & Asociatii Romania (a GAR 100-listed firm), and acts as counsel in commercial and investment arbitration. She is also an associate professor at two Bucharest universities, teaching comparative international arbitration, construction arbitration, business law and EU Law.

Why did you decide to focus your practice on international arbitration?

I was attracted by the flexibility of the procedure and the possibility to adapt it to the parties’ needs.

What is the most memorable case you’ve worked on?

The first investment arbitration case I was involved in: The Rompetrol Group NV v Romania. It was a very complex case where the defence had to address many issues related to the organisation, functions and activity of a very large number of state institutions and agencies, over a period with significant legislative and institutional changes, due to the accession to the EU.

You currently act as counsel and sit as an arbitrator. Have you considered becoming a full-time arbitrator in the future? If so, how would you work towards that goal?

The understanding brought by these two sides of my activity helped me better perform in each position I took, counsel and arbitrator. I realise that, over the years, the balance inclines slowly towards the role of arbitrator, but for me it is not yet the moment for an exclusive choice.

How can younger lawyers build an effective and successful practice?

I would say that the passion for a high-quality work and the respect for the people one interacts with are the foundation of any solid professional practice. The remaining architecture of success is unique for each person and economic context.

What are the major challenges currently facing arbitration practitioners?

There is an increasing expectation of the parties for efficiency in terms of time and costs of arbitral proceedings. While procedural rules and arbitral institutions are nowadays more and more responsive to this need, it remains for both arbitrators and counsel to make sure that the due attention to all details of the case remains characteristic of arbitration.  

As managing partner, how would you like to see the firm develop in the next few years?

In the last 10 years, the firm has developed a wider range of legal areas other than arbitration and this diversity is going probably to increase.

In an increasingly global legal marketplace, how does Leaua & Asociatii compete with the big international firms?

Being a medium-sized firm, our costs are competitive by definition, so we decided to simply focus on top-quality work. The team of lawyers is a blend of experienced practitioners and professors and academics in business law, constitutional law, administrative law and tax law.

What do you anticipate the future holds for the Romanian legal market?

In my view, the Romanian legal market is already mature. The changes I expect to take place in the future shall probably follow the evolution of the Romanian economy.


Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Lawyers

Crenguta Leaua is an experienced arbitrator, in over 120 cases, acting frequently in arbitrations under the ICC rules she is also listed as arbitrator by various institutions in Austria (VIAC), Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Poland, Slovenia, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and Beijing (CIETAC) as well as on the WIPO list of neutrals for intellectual property disputes.

She is a vice president of the ICC International Court of Arbitration (since 2015), after having been a member of the Court (2012–2015) and of the ICC commission on arbitration, as well as of the task forces on decisions as to costs and criminal law and arbitration. She is a past vice president of the Romanian Court of International Commercial Arbitration (2008–2012).

Crenguta regularly acts as counsel in commercial arbitral proceedings under the ICSID rules as well as in commercial arbitration under the rules of ICC, WIPO and of other arbitral institution or under UNCITRAL rules. She is a founding partner of Leaua & Asociatii law firm in Bucharest, Romania.

Crenguta holds a PhD from Bucharest University and has completed an executive education programme at Harvard University. She is currently a visiting associate professor at the Bucharest University faculty of law, teaching international comparative arbitration and construction arbitration, and an associate professor of business law and EU law at the Bucharest University of Economics. She was a visiting scholar at Columbia Law School in New York and was invited to give lectures on specific topics by professors or students’ arbitration associations at a number of universities including Science Po, Georgetown University, and Columbia University.

She is an editor and co-author of the book Arbitration in Romania: A Practitioner’s Guide (Kluwer, 2016) and has written a number of books on business law and numerous articles on international arbitration, including “The appointing authority in international commercial arbitration”, “The impact of the new Romanian Civil Code on the application of New York Convention (1958) in Romania”, “The un-constitutionality exception and arbitration”, “Contractual requirements for environmental compliance in agreements with state and state entities and arbitration” and “Independence and impartiality of experts”. She is a member of the publications advisory board for the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) since 2015.

Crenguta is a frequent speaker at arbitration conferences. Recent topics include “Independence and Impartiality of Experts” (at the 36th annual meeting of the ICC institute of world business law, Paris, 2016) “Regional challenges to arbitration in Europe: The unbalance between the access of national judges and the arbitrators to judicial mechanisms to address unconstitutionality and compliance with EU law.” (at the first ICC European conference on international arbitration, 2017).

She is fluent in Romanian, English and French, has a good command of Italian and basic knowledge of German.

WWL says: Crenguta Leaua is held in high esteem as an "extremely professional and capable" counsel in complex domestic and international arbitration proceedings.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Arbitration which can be purchased from our Shop.

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