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Philippe Pinsolle
Office:
6 rue Lamennais
75008
City:
Paris
Country:
France
Tel:
+33 1 73 44 60 00
Fax:
+33 1 73 44 61 00

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: Arbitration

Philippe Pinsolle is a partner of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP. He is the head of international arbitration for continental Europe and is based in Geneva. Philippe is a recognised expert in international arbitration. Over the past 25 years, he has appeared as counsel or served as arbitrator in virtually all arbitration fora, be it institutional arbitration or ad hoc. He has also served as expert witness on issues of French law.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

After 20 years with another law firm, I created Quinn Emanuel’s Paris office in January 2013, which now has four partners and 20 associates dedicated solely to international arbitration. I have since moved on to another challenge: chairing the firm’s international arbitration practice in continental Europe.

WHAT SKILLS ARE NEEDED TO BE A SUCCESSFUL ARBITRATOR? 

Many, but it takes at the very least a combination of authority, an ability to listen and change one’s mind, and, of course, hard work and humility.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN THE MANNER IN WHICH ARBITRATION IS CONDUCTED AND ITS EFFICACY SINCE YOU BEGAN YOUR PRACTICE?

The move from paper to electronic; consequently, the length of written submissions and the number of documents on the record have increased considerably. This is not necessarily more efficient and we now see a (welcome) fight against too-voluminous submissions.

INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION HAS RECENTLY BEEN CRITICISED FOR A LACK OF DIVERSITY AMONG ITS PRACTITIONERS. WHAT MORE CAN BE DONE TO ENSURE DIVERSITY IN THE INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION COMMUNITY?

Considerable progress has been made over the past 10 years but there is much more to be done. A new generation of very talented practitioners, from far more diverse horizons, will help solve the problem. Diversifying the offer of arbitrators and counsel is essential to successfully diversifying arbitration.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE MAURITIUS CONVENTION FOR THE FUTURE OF INVESTOR-STATE ARBITRATION?

It is too early to tell. The Mauritius Convention was a great achievement but it represents a compromise among very differing views. States are likely to resort to it with very different purposes in mind.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST ISSUE THAT ARBITRATION NEEDS TO ADDRESS IF IT WISHES TO CONTINUE TO GROW AND IMPROVE ITS EFFICIENCY AS A FORM OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION?

Its cost-benefit ratio. The ability to deliver fair decisions swiftly for a contained cost is the major challenge of arbitration. Reducing the volume of documentation is part of the solution.

DEBATE CONTINUES OVER THE UTILITY AND LEGITIMACY OF INVESTOR-STATE ARBITRATION. IN WHAT WAY HAVE YOU SEEN THIS SCRUTINY AFFECT THE FIELD?

This debate is a by-product of the debate on the legitimacy of investment protection in general; arbitration is a collateral victim. The risk of spill-over to commercial arbitration is real, even though it is unaffected by the underlying issues. This explains why some, like me, have advocated for the creation of a permanent body tasked with settling investment disputes.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER PRACTITIONERS LOOKING TO SPECIALISE IN ARBITRATION? 

You must first be an excellent lawyer in a given legal system (civil or common law it does not matter). Studying arbitration can only be secondary. You must then work in a firm that practises international arbitration regularly and not merely claims to do it.

Biography:

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Lawyers

Philippe Pinsolle is currently head of international arbitration for Continental Europe.

Philippe Pinsolle has over 25 years’ experience as counsel, expert and arbitrator in international arbitration, with a particular focus on investor-state arbitrations and commercial disputes involving the energy, power, oil and gas, major infrastructure projects and defence industries.

Philippe Pinsolle is vice chair of the IBA arbitration committee.

Chambers Global reports that clients have described him as an “outstanding strategist” with a “great tactical sense”, and adds that his “pragmatic approach, great intellect and technical prowess set him apart.” He has also been praised as an “oil and gas specialist.” Global Arbitration Review wrote in its GAR 100 Survey that “Philippe Pinsolle is by many accounts a leader in his generation in Paris – possibly the leader”. In January 2012, Philippe was awarded the Swiss Arbitration Association’s ASA Prize for Advocacy in International Commercial Arbitration. In 2014, he was recognised by Best Lawyers as a leading practitioner in arbitration and mediation and international arbitration. In October 2014, he was awarded the French Arbitration Counsel of the Year prize at the Benchmark and Expert Guides Global Arbitration Awards. In December 2014, he was named Energy Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year in France at the Corporate INTL Legal Awards 2015. More recently, he was named Lawyer of the Year for Arbitration and Mediation by Best Lawyers (2016); and ranked "excellent" (“France’s Best Arbitrators”, Leaders League, 2016). In 2017, he was ranked in the top tier for both international arbitration (Europe-wide) and dispute resolution in France by Chambers Europe.

WWL says: Philippe Pinsolle is “extremely knowledgeable” and “an amazing strategist” according to impressed market sources.

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

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