Eric Schwartz
Office:
150 East 58th Street
25th Floor
10155 USA
City:
New York
State:
New York
Country:
USA
Tel:
+1 646 478 7045

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Eric Schwartz is an American and French international arbitration lawyer. Based in New York, he practises independently as an arbitrator and as an arbitrator member of Fountain Court Chambers in London. Eric was formerly a partner of King & Spalding in New York and Paris, after having been a Paris-based partner of Freshfields. From 1992-1996, he served as Secretary General of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, of which he was a Vice-President from 2012-2015.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

Following graduation from Yale Law School in 1976, I qualified as a lawyer in California, before moving to Paris in 1978 to practise as a conseil juridique and, as from 1992, as a member of the Paris Bar. From 1976 to 2016, I spent 35 years in private law practice, mostly in Paris, and five years at the ICC. At the end of 2016, I left private practice. Over the course of the last 40 years, I have acted as arbitrator or counsel in over 100 international arbitrations, mostly in Europe, but also in North America, Africa, Asia and South America. A substantial part of my practice has concerned construction arbitrations, but I am also regularly involved in energy, IP/IT and investment treaty disputes, in addition to commercial disputes of different kinds.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

Initiating and helping to bring to fruition the changes made to the ICC Rules in 1998, the first major reform of the Rules in more than 20 years, and more generally, from my perch as secretary general of the ICC Court, contributing to the evolution of ICC Court and international arbitration practice in the 1990s.

WHAT WERE THE MAIN CHALLENGES YOU FACED WHEN SETTING UP AS AN INDEPENDENT ARBITRATOR IN JANUARY 2017?

Becoming more computer literate than I ever needed to be in my former life and forcing myself to become less dependent on hard-copy files that would otherwise quickly overwhelm me, while at the same time learning to deal with the security risks posed by our increasingly cyber-based environment.

HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE AS SECRETARY GENERAL AND VICE PRESIDENT OF THE ICC ENHANCED YOUR OFFERING AS AN ARBITRATOR?

In addition to impressing upon me the importance of what has been referred to as “international-mindedness”, the greatest benefit of my ICC experience was the exposure that I gained to such a vast number of arbitration cases (more than 2,000 during my tenure as Secretary General) being conducted all over the world and to the wide variety of issues that arose in those cases – mainly procedural but sometimes also substantive. It was an education unlike any other in the practice of international arbitration, particularly given the, by comparison, limited exposure to cases that even the busiest arbitrators and counsel will have during the course of their careers.

THERE IS AN INCREASING EMPHASIS ON TRANSPARENCY IN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION. HOW IS THIS TO BE BALANCED WITH CLIENTS’ DESIRE FOR PRIVACY IN ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS?

Transparency can refer to many different things: transparency in institutional decision-making, transparency of arbitrators in the disclosures they make and transparency in relation to the arbitration itself. With respect to the last of these, it will generally be for the parties to decide how much light they wish to allow to shine on what generally remains a very private process, at least in the sphere of commercial arbitration. When the public interest is at stake, however, as in treaty arbitrations and other arbitrations involving states, transparency, or at least some amount of it, has understandably come to be seen as appropriate.

TO WHAT EXTENT HAS THE RISING NUMBER OF APPLICATIONS FOR INTERIM RELIEF IMPACTED THE PRACTICE OF INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION?

Twenty-five years ago, applications for interim relief were infrequent in international arbitrations. Today they are widespread. On the positive side, this has made the international arbitration process far more versatile than it once was – there was unquestionably a need for interim relief to be available as part of the process. On the negative side, the proliferation of such applications is one factor, among others, that has contributed to making the process more complex, expensive and hard-fought than it was when I started out in this field.

HOW DO YOU EXPECT THE DISCIPLINE OF INVESTMENT TREATY ARBITRATION TO EVOLVE OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

I suspect that the next five years will be very much like the last five, but over the longer term, the field will, of course, be impacted by changing government attitudes towards ISDS.

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

Find a mentor, become the best writer that you can, avoid adverbs, master foreign languages and become an excellent lawyer in a domestic legal system first and an arbitration practitioner second.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Lawyers

Eric Schwartz retired as a partner in the international arbitration group of King & Spalding and now practises independently as an arbitrator and as an arbitrator member of Fountain Court Chambers in London. He is a former secretary general (1992–1996), court member (2006–2012) and vice president (2012–2015) of the ICC International Court of Arbitration. He currently serves as a vice-chair of the ICC institute of world business law.

Over the course of four decades of legal practice, Eric has acted as counsel and as an arbitrator in international arbitration proceedings in all the principal European arbitration venues, as well as in Africa, Asia and North America. He has particular expertise in relation to disputes concerning large infrastructure projects as well as investment treaties and complex cross-border transactions in the energy, IP or IT and pharmaceutical sectors.

Although Eric is especially well known for his ICC arbitration experience, he has also acted in arbitrations under the rules of the American Arbitration Association, CIETAC, the European Development Fund, the ICDR, the Netherlands Arbitration Institute, the LCIA, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the Vienna International Arbitration Centre, in addition to ICSID and UNCITRAL. He has experience of disputes under a variety of legal systems, including those of France, England, Switzerland, the United States and multiple jurisdictions across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Eric is the author of dozens of articles on international arbitration practice as well as the co-author (with Yves Derains) of A Guide to the ICC Rules of Arbitration (Kluwer, 2nd ed, 2005) and the editor of several other books, including (with B Hanotiau) Multiparty Arbitration (ICC 2010) and Class and Group Actions in Arbitration (ICC 2016).

Eric was educated at Dartmouth College (BA 1973) and Yale University (JD 1976) and is a member of the California Bar and an emeritus member of the Paris Bar. He is fluent in English and French.

WWL says: Eric Schwartz earns high praise as “one of the very best”, and is described by sources as “very impressive, talented and a true role model in the space”.

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

Who's Who Legal Construction: Lawyers

After forty years of legal practice, most recently as a partner at King & Spalding in New York and Paris, Eric Schwartz now practices independently as an arbitrator and as an arbitrator member of Fountain Court Chambers in London. He is a former secretary general (1992-1996), court member (2006-2012) and vice president (2012-2015) of the ICC International Court of Arbitration. He currently serves as a vice chair of the ICC Institute of World Business Law.

Over the course of his career, Eric has acted as counsel and as an arbitrator in international arbitration proceedings in all of the principal European arbitration venues, as well as in Africa, Asia and North America. He has particular expertise in relation to disputes concerning large infrastructure projects as well as investment treaties and complex cross-border transactions in the energy, IP/IT and pharmaceutical sectors.

Although Eric is especially well known for his ICC arbitration experience, he has also acted in arbitrations under the rules of the American Arbitration Association, CIETAC, the European Development Fund, the ICDR, the Netherlands Arbitration Institute, the LCIA, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the Vienna International Arbitration Centre, in addition to ICSID and UNCITRAL. He has experience of disputes under a variety of legal systems, including those of France,  England, Switzerland, the United States and multiple jurisdictions across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Eric is the author of dozens of articles on international arbitration practice as well as the co-author (with Yves Derains) of A Guide to the ICC Rules of Arbitration (Kluwer, 2nd ed, 2005) and the editor of several other books, including (with B Hanotiau) Multiparty Arbitration (ICC 2010) and Class and Group Actions in Arbitration (ICC 2016).

Eric was educated at Dartmouth College (BA 1973) and Yale University (JD 1976) and is a member of the California and Paris Bars. He is fluent in English and French.

Alternate email address: eas@fountaincourt.co.uk

WWL says: Eric Schwartz is lauded as "one of the most impressive individuals in the country on construction arbitration".

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

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