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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Georg von Segesser

Georg von Segesser

von Segesser Law OfficesMühlebachstrasse 173ZurichSwitzerland8008
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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader
WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Questions & Answers

Georg von Segesser is an independent arbitrator who has acted as chairman, co-arbitrator, sole arbitrator and counsel in over 200 domestic and international commercial and investment arbitrations. His broad arbitration practice covers disputes related to joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, distributorships, oil and gas, construction, building and manufacturing contracts, service and cooperation agreements, and intellectual property rights.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE ON A CAREER IN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION?

After many years as a general business lawyer, I received a few appointments in international arbitration cases. With my professional background and experience, I decided to focus more and more on arbitration, realising that I could make a useful contribution to a dispute resolution process. The high level of exchange of opinions and the cooperation among versatile and experienced arbitrators creates a working atmosphere that keeps me motivated to continue with my diversified arbitration practice. 

YOU WORK SOLELY AS AN ARBITRATOR. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO EXCEL IN THIS ROLE?

One of the first challenges for success is hard work. An arbitrator must always be well prepared and take the initiative to conduct the proceedings efficiently. An early analysis of the key issues of a case, without prejudice, is indispensable for successfully administering the process.

WHAT IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CASE YOU HAVE WORKED ON IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS?

After several years, I finalised a very complex and time-consuming arbitration with an award that took me several months to write. The amount in dispute was several hundred million euros and counsel on both sides did not leave any stone unturned. Due to divergent expert reports submitted by the parties, the arbitral tribunal instructed two experts for advice on accounting and financial issues with very detailed terms of reference. The case was prominently reported, as the respondent is an international company quoted on the stock exchange. 

HOW HAS THE INTRODUCTION OF ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS CHANGED THE WAY ARBITRATION IS PRACTISED?

The introduction of electronic documents has increased the amount and volume of submissions and exhibits filed by the parties. The result of this is a greater need by practitioners to rely on new applications and search mechanisms allowing for a more efficient processing of the flood of information. The bottom line is that more information does not necessarily mean more information that is relevant for the award.

ARBITRATION IS INCREASINGLY CITED AS HAVING BECOME MORE COMPLEX IN RECENT YEARS. IS THIS SOMETHING YOU HAVE NOTICED? IF SO, WHAT CAN ARBITRATORS DO TO ADAPT TO THIS CHANGE?

Definitely, arbitration cases become increasingly more complex. Arbitrators need more time to get familiarised with complex factual situations and must dig into the details of a case early on so that they can separate the wheat from the chaff. This will allow them to focus on the relevant issues and provide invaluable help in drafting a clear and well-reasoned award.

THERE IS ONGOING CRITICISM OF INVESTOR-STATE ARBITRATION IN THE MEDIA. HOW IS THIS AFFECTING ARBITRATORS’ WILLINGNESS TO TAKE ON CASES?

I do not think that this has any impact on arbitrators’ willingness to take on cases. However, it may call for an even more sophisticated and exhaustive analysis of issues of law and questions on jurisdiction than before. While it will certainly not make the critics disappear, qualitatively irreproachable awards will make their criticism less relevant.

INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION SEES COUNSEL FROM BOTH COMMON AND CIVIL LAW JURISDICTIONS ADVOCATING FOR CLIENTS. WHAT ISSUES, IF ANY, DOES THIS CAUSE?

Arbitrators should address such issues upfront with the parties, in particular the rules governing documentary evidence, witness statements, cross-examination and the use and role of experts. Style and tone of communication may also be an area where guidance by the arbitrators can be helpful. Once those aspects are diligently dealt with, the remaining differences in my opinion, only enrich the quality of the debate.

WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

Be well prepared, and stay succinct and modest.

Global Leader

Arbitration 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Georg von Segesser "brings years of experience at the top of the profession", according to sources. He is lauded for his "high level of analytical skill" and his "efficient, well-organised, calm and robust approach" as an arbitrator.

Biography

Georg von Segesser practises as an independent arbitrator. He has acted as chairman, co-arbitrator, sole arbitrator and counsel in over 200 domestic and international arbitrations (ICC, ICSID, Swiss Rules, DIS, SCC, VIAC, LCIA, UNCITRAL and others) and as co-director of the Claims Resolution Tribunal for dormant accounts in Switzerland. He is an arbitrator of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. His arbitration practice covers a broad range of issues, among them disputes related to joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, distributorships, oil and gas, construction, building and manufacturing contracts, service and cooperation agreements, and intellectual property rights.

Georg von Segesser has authored publications on international arbitration, property and trust law, and cultural and art law. He is a member of the Swiss Arbitration Association, the International Bar Association, the London Court of International Arbitration, the German Institution of Arbitration, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (fellowship), the International Centre for Dispute Resolution of the American Arbitration Association, and arbitration institutions in England, Austria, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Brunei, Hong Kong, etc.

In 1971, Georg von Segesser graduated from Zurich University. After serving as a district court clerk (1971–1972), he worked as an associate and partner at Pestalozzi & Gmür in Zurich from 1973 until 1982, and as a foreign associate with Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts in New York from 1974 to 1975. In 1982, Georg von Segesser co-founded the law firm in Zurich which is now Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd, and became of counsel in 2015. In 2017, Georg von Segesser opened von Segesser Law Offices and continues to practise as an independent arbitrator.

National Leader

Switzerland - Arbitration

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Georg von Segesser is a key figure among Switzerland's arbitration specialists, highlighted for his "impartiality, independence, and experience as an arbitrator in complex commercial cases". 

Biography

Georg von Segesser practises as an independent arbitrator. He has acted as chairman, co-arbitrator, sole arbitrator and counsel in over 200 domestic and international arbitrations (ICC, ICSID, Swiss Rules, DIS, SCC, VIAC, LCIA, UNCITRAL and others) and as co-director of the Claims Resolution Tribunal for dormant accounts in Switzerland. He is an arbitrator of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. His arbitration practice covers a broad range of issues, among them disputes related to joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, investment treaties, distributorships, oil and gas, construction, building and manufacturing contracts, service and cooperation agreements, and intellectual property rights.

Georg von Segesser has authored publications on international arbitration, property and trust law, and cultural and art law. He is a member of the Swiss Arbitration Association, the International Bar Association, the London Court of International Arbitration, the German Institution of Arbitration, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (fellowship), the International Centre for Dispute Resolution of the American Arbitration Association, and arbitration institutions in England, Austria, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Brunei, Hong Kong, etc.

In 1971, Georg von Segesser graduated from Zurich University. After serving as a district court clerk (1971–1972), he worked as an associate and partner at Pestalozzi & Gmür in Zurich from 1973 until 1982, and as a foreign associate with Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts in New York from 1974 to 1975. In 1982, Georg von Segesser co-founded the law firm in Zurich which is now Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd, and became of counsel in 2015. In 2017, Georg von Segesser opened von Segesser Law Offices and continues to practise as an independent arbitrator.

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