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

Pierre-Yves Gunter
Office:
Quai de la Poste 12
1211
City:
Geneva
State:
Geneva
Country:
Switzerland
Tel:
+41 58 261 57 00
Fax:
+41 58 261 57 01

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Pierre-Yves Gunter has been active in international commercial arbitration since 1991. He has acted as counsel and arbitrator in over 200 cases. After 19 years with PYTHON (formerly Python & Peter), he joined Baer & Karrer in January 2017 as partner and co-head of the international arbitration group, which consists of 40 lawyers. He has been described as “among the leaders in Switzerland” (Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration, 2017) and “a top-notch professional” (Chambers Global, 2017).

What attracted you to a career in international arbitration?

During the LLM programme at Harvard, I became increasingly interested in international law. I was then hired as junior associate by Professor Pierre Lalive and his brother Dr Jean-Flavien Lalive, my mentors, who gave me a unique opportunity to become familiar with arbitration.

What skill or skills are most important to being a successful arbitrator?

A deep knowledge of the file combined with a good organisation and a reasonable balance between a strong personality and diplomacy skills.

In your career thus far, what has been your greatest achievement?

As counsel: to have acted as co-counsel in a gas dispute with a value of over US$30 billion. As arbitrator: to increasingly sit in cases involving over US$500 million to US$1 billion.

What have been the most significant developments you have witnessed during your time in practice?

When I started as a young associate, arbitration was a club involving only a few players and most of the time arbitrators were university professors. Moreover, there were only a very limited number of investment treaty cases or sport arbitration cases.

What are the most significant challenges facing arbitrators at the moment?

There was a time when the ties between all arbitration institutions and arbitrators were strong with a true mutual respect and understanding. I regret what appears to be an increasing lack of trust in relation to the arbitrators who are also subject to constantly increasing rules, guidelines and administrative forms.

The Swiss arbitration market is very competitive. What distinguishes Bär & Karrer from other firms operating in the space?

At all times, Bär & Karrer manages to have an entrepreneurial spirit and to combine solid Swiss law expertise and language skills with a good understanding of the international environment and clients’ expectations.

As co-head of the firm’s practice group, how would you like to see it develop in the future?

With my co-head Daniel Hochstrasser and the partners of our arbitration team, we wish to strengthen our role and presence in all arbitration areas (commercial, investment treaties, energy, sport) to remain one of the leaders with a strong team spirit between the various offices. We also intend to increase the balance between men and women.

What advice would you share with others looking to build a successful career in arbitration?

Work hard; have a deep knowledge of the facts and a good command of the law; develop your own network; be open to and respect the different cultures and mentalities.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Switzerland - Arbitration

Pierre-Yves Gunter is a partner and co-head of the international arbitration group at Bär & Karrer.

He has been acting since 1991 in the field of international commercial arbitration.

Up to December 2016, he has acted as counsel and arbitrator (chairman, sole arbitrator and party-appointed arbitrator) in Switzerland and abroad in a total of 191 arbitration proceedings, both ad hoc (including UNCITRAL) and administered (ICC, Swiss Rules, LCIA, ICDR, WIPO, FOSFA, Vienna International Arbitral Center, Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, etc).

He is regularly appointed as arbitrator by the leading arbitration institutions.

He is experienced in several fields, in particular disputes relating to agency, sales, distribution, joint-venture, construction and complex projects, oil and gas, telecommunications and IT, intellectual property, pharmaceutical, real estate, hotel management, commodity and international trade, and corporate/post-M&A.

He also frequently represents parties in arbitration matters before the Swiss Supreme Court (appeals filed against arbitration awards) and before other Swiss courts.

Before joining Bär & Karrer, Mr Gunter worked for 19 years with Python (previously Python & Peter) and previously for four years with Lalive & Partners in Geneva, as well as for two years as a foreign associate in London and Paris with the international arbitration group at Clifford Chance.

Between 1996 and 1999, he was a member of the arbitration committee of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Industry (now the Geneva Swiss Chamber) and between 1991 and 1998 he was a member of the editorial board of the Swiss Arbitration Bulletin (Bulletin ASA). Between 2007 and 2009 he was co-chair of the international arbitration committee of the American Bar Association (section international law and practice). From March 2009 until March 2013, he was sitting as board member of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and during that period was part of the rules revision committee.

He graduated in 1987 from the Law School of Neuchâtel University (summa cum laude) and holds an LLM (1991) from Harvard Law School. He has written various articles on international arbitration and frequently appears as speaker at conferences on arbitration. He is fluent in English and French and has a good command of German.

WWL says: Pierre-Yves Gunter excels in international commercial arbitration and is identified by peers as a “very effective” operator.

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

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Lawyers

Pierre-Yves Gunter is a partner and co-head of the international arbitration group at Bär & Karrer.

He has been acting since 1991 in the field of international commercial arbitration.

Up to December 2016, he has acted as counsel and arbitrator (chairman, sole arbitrator and party-appointed arbitrator) in Switzerland and abroad in a total of 191 arbitration proceedings, both ad hoc (including UNCITRAL) and administered (ICC, Swiss Rules, LCIA, ICDR, WIPO, FOSFA, Vienna International Arbitral Center, Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, etc).

He is regularly appointed as arbitrator by the leading arbitration institutions.

He is experienced in several fields, in particular disputes relating to agency, sales, distribution, joint-venture, construction and complex projects, oil and gas, telecommunications and IT, intellectual property, pharmaceutical, real estate, hotel management, commodity and international trade, and corporate/post-M&A.

He also frequently represents parties in arbitration matters before the Swiss Supreme Court (appeals filed against arbitration awards) and before other Swiss courts.

Before joining Bär & Karrer, Mr Gunter worked for 19 years with Python (previously Python & Peter) and previously for four years with Lalive & Partners in Geneva, as well as for two years as a foreign associate in London and Paris with the international arbitration group at Clifford Chance.

Between 1996 and 1999, he was a member of the arbitration committee of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Industry (now the Geneva Swiss Chamber) and between 1991 and 1998 he was a member of the editorial board of the Swiss Arbitration Bulletin (Bulletin ASA). Between 2007 and 2009 he was co-chair of the international arbitration committee of the American Bar Association (section international law and practice). From March 2009 until March 2013, he was sitting as board member of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and during that period was part of the rules revision committee.

He graduated in 1987 from the Law School of Neuchâtel University (summa cum laude) and holds an LLM (1991) from Harvard Law School. He has written various articles on international arbitration and frequently appears as speaker at conferences on arbitration. He is fluent in English and French and has a good command of German.

WWL says: Pierre-Yves Gunter is described as being "among the leaders in Switzerland" and "one of the best arbitrators of his generation".

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

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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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