Co-founder and managing partner of Teynier Pic, Eric Teynier is a recognised expert in international commercial and investment arbitration, and commercial litigation. He has more than 30 years of experience in international arbitration as counsel, before the main arbitration centres (ICC, ICSID, AAA, AFA, CRCICA, OHADA, etc) and before ad hoc arbitral tribunals. He is also regularly appointed as arbitrator before the same institutions or in the context of ad hoc arbitration proceedings.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A LEGAL CAREER?
In my adolescence I attended many criminal proceedings. I was immediately struck by how lawyers had to persuade the judges of their case, either by establishing a connivance with them or by assuming a more aggressive style of defence. I then came to see very quickly that trials are guided by many codes, and that a good lawyer must be able to adapt his or her defence to the bench. This applies equally to arbitration. This understanding of all different elements at stake in a proceeding is what inspired me to become a lawyer.
WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY ABOUT WORKING IN ARBITRATION?
The fact that, in arbitration, we systematically delve into all aspects of the matter: legal, evidently, but also factual, technical and financial. Working with experts on a very regular basis on these diverse issues allows us to partake in their knowledge.
Another fundamental feature is that as arbitration lawyers, we can deploy our case strategy at every stage of the proceedings: designation of the arbitrator, document production phase, cross-examination of witnesses and experts, etc.
WHAT DO CLIENTS LOOK FOR WHEN SELECTING AN ARBITRATOR?
Clients will want an arbitrator who will help them prevail, but it is our duty to explain that things are not as simple.
In fact, when nominating an arbitrator, one must take into account the specifics of the matter at hand, which may require either an academic or a specialist in a given area. For me, lawyers practising as counsel make good arbitrators as, by nature they are adept at understanding more clearly strategies adopted by parties.
In any event, clients look not just for big names: they will appoint arbitrators whom they know will work in depth on a given case.
WHAT DID YOUR ROLE AS A LECTURER AT PARIS NANTERRE UNIVERSITY BRING TO YOUR PRIVATE PRACTICE WORK? HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR TOP LEGAL PRACTITIONERS TO ENGAGE IN TRAINING LAW STUDENTS?
It enabled me to identify the talents of tomorrow. In fact, we have recruited some of our associates from among this roster of students. It also allowed me to meet and teach alongside great colleagues and friends, some of whom even became my partners!
WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE WHEN SETTING UP YOUR OWN FIRM?
The primary challenge was to survive on a market where the main competitors were the major international firms. After this first hurdle, our challenge was to gain access to the best clients and best cases that we were used to having when practising in larger firms. For this, we had to (and were able to) convince the clients that we could efficiently and successfully represent their interests with smaller teams than those mobilised by larger international firms.
Fifteen years after Teynier Pic was established in 2004, we are proud to say that we were pioneers in setting up an independent boutique firm in international dispute resolution. Boutique firms are now key actors on the market of international dispute settlement.
WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN PRIORITIES FOR THE FIRM’S DEVELOPMENT OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
In the past three years, we have started leaning towards the goals we want to achieve in the next five years.
For instance, we always have been market leaders in the Middle East and Africa, and so we are now turning our focus towards Asia and North America by recruiting partners, counsel and associates with experience in these jurisdiction, in addition to our strategic partnership with Griffin Litigation, which already has a presence in London and New York.
Our other objective has been to ensure that this evolution goes hand in hand with the core values and philosophy that guided Pierre Pic and myself when we founded the firm: excellence, rigour and conviviality.
WHERE, IN YOUR OPINION, DOES THE FUTURE OF THE PRACTICE AREA LIE?
In my view, the future of arbitration rests on restoring the confidence of its users and, more generally, that of the general public.
For instance, the fact that newer bilateral or multilateral investment treaties propose a panel from which arbitrators are to be chosen is one manifestation of the increasing hostility towards investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms as they were. It is true that the system under which tribunals were chosen by parties were, often unjustifiably, held responsible for preventing states from exercising their sovereign powers. In reaction to this perception, the newer treaties define more precisely the standards of protection of investors, in particular, the fair and equitable treatment standard. On the other hand, these treaties also reaffirm the powers of a state to regulate policies relating to health, environment, human rights etc.
Another challenge is for the arbitration world to play its part in the fight against financial malpractice, in particular, corruption, so that arbitration is not only seen as a normal dispute resolution mechanism, but also as an ethical one.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER PRACTITIONERS HOPING TO ONE DAY BE IN YOUR POSITION?
Work hard, remain humble, and choose the right firm that will value your qualities and help you enhance your talent.
Eric Teynier is a partner at Teynier Pic, a leading dispute resolution boutique firm in Paris.
He regularly represents clients in commercial disputes in both institutional and ad hoc arbitration procedures. He also has broad experience in setting aside proceedings before French courts. His experience encompasses disputes in several fields including energy, aerospace, telecommunications, construction, mining and chemicals.
Eric Teynier is also widely renowned in the world of investment arbitration where he acts as counsel for both private investors and state entities. For instance, Eric Teynier was representing the Czech Republic in the Eastern Sugar case where the issue of invalidity of intra-EU BITs was raised for the first time in investment arbitration.
Since setting up the firm, Eric Teynier has been appointed more than 30 times as arbitrator in commercial and investment arbitration proceedings, both ad hoc and institutional (ICC, ICSID, CCJA, CRCICA). He is appointed by private investors as well as States.
He is co-editor of the regular feature on international investments and arbitration in the Paris Journal of International Arbitration. He has authored numerous publications on commercial and investment arbitration. He is regularly invited to speak at conferences in this area.
Prior to setting up the firm in 2004 with his co-founding partner, Pierre Pic, he headed the litigation and arbitration department at Ernst & Young, Paris. He started his career in 1988 at Bredin Prat, before moving to Shearman & Sterling.
He is a member of the Paris Bar.
He speaks French and English.