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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Peers and clients say

"One of the top counsel and arbitrators of his generation"
"Praised as the number one in Austria"
"He has a wise and balanced approach as an arbitrator"
"Gerold is highly experienced, well respected and can manage complex cases effectively"
"An excellent chairman - well prepared, efficient and a pleasure to work with in an arbitral tribunal"

Questions & Answers

Gerold Zeiler is partner at Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich and an expert in national and international dispute resolution, with a strong focus on international commercial arbitration and complex litigation. He is a graduate of the University of Vienna and the Washington University in St Louis. Gerold has published a comprehensive commentary on Austrian arbitration law (Schiedsverfahren, 2nd edition, 2014). In 2018, the ICC World Council appointed Gerold as the Austrian member of the ICC Court.

What do parties look for in an effective arbitrator?

Parties expect a highly professional conduct of arbitration proceedings, which first requires arbitrators to familiarise themselves with the details of the case at an early stage of the proceedings. Parties expect efficiency in the structure of the proceedings, as well as flexibility on the arbitrators’ side. Throughout all stages of the arbitration, arbitrators must work precisely and to the point and be able to focus on essential issues rather than being side-tracked into procedural detours. 

How can clients be encouraged to pursue methods of alternative dispute resolution?

While many international businesses are familiar with the advantages of arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, I have also encountered clients that either had an inaccurate understanding of arbitration proceedings or were completely unaware of their existence. I, therefore, believe that arbitration practitioners play a vital role in informing clients and the public about the main features of arbitration. That being said, every dispute is unique and state courts can be a suitable forum for a variety of disputes – the key is to find the appropriate dispute resolution mechanism for each individual contractual relationship.  

To what extent has covid-19 had an impact on commercial arbitration? Are parties willing to be flexible in procedure approach to get it over the line?

Parties and arbitration practitioners have reacted swiftly to the challenges posed by the global pandemic, for example, by replacing in-person oral hearings with virtual hearings when necessary. In Austria, this has already led to Supreme Court jurisprudence in support of such flexible approaches - the conduct of a virtual hearing, even with the objection of a party, does not generally violate due process requirements. That is, unless one of the parties identifies concrete circumstances which will likely result in substantial unfairness.

What effect is technology having on the way arbitration is practised?

Communication technology can facilitate many aspects of arbitration practice, but there definitely is no miracle technology that will fundamentally and invariably revolutionise the way we conduct proceedings. Rather, technological impact on arbitration is a constant evolution that is, however, rapidly accelerated by the current pandemic. The need for virtual replacements of in-person hearings has initiated an experimental phase: we are still in the process of adjusting and fine-tuning a variety of digital tools that allow us to continue conducting proceedings despite the pandemic restrictions. Many of these tools, such as conferencing streaming platforms, are undoubtedly here to stay – well beyond covid-19.

What advice would you give to younger practitioners wanting to make a name for themselves in arbitration?

Apart from focusing on arbitration, young practitioners should attempt to specialise in specific areas of substantive law, such as corporate law, IP, transport law, etc. This will set them apart from the continuously growing amount of arbitration generalists. Also, participation in young arbitration associations, such as ICC YAF or YAAP, constitutes a great opportunity to set foot in the arbitration community. 

To what extent are cash flow issues stopping parties from bringing claims?

I have not experienced any cases in which cash flow issues affected the parties’ decision to bring claims over the past year. In the long run, however, I would not be surprised to see a significant rise in insolvencies in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic which will clearly have an impact on dispute resolution strategies. 

Are there any particular jurisdictions you would like to focus your practice on in the future? If so, why?

Many of our clients are conducting business on an international level. This often requires legal expertise that goes beyond a single jurisdiction. After having collaborated with colleagues in the US and the UK for several years, we have decided to merge and form a global team under the new name Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich. We now have offices in Austria, USA, UK, Australia and Mexico, which allows us to advise our clients in integrated cross-jurisdictional teams. Several of our lawyers, including myself, are admitted to practising law in more than one jurisdiction. Our firm’s innovative structure enables us to assist our clients on a global scale.

How does Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich distinguish itself from the competition?

All our lawyers have a true passion for problem-solving. We treat our clients’ matters with a hands-on approach, with full partner involvement and constant personal commitment. We are setting a focus on specific practice areas and industry sectors and work in fully integrated and collaborative international teams, tailored to each specific matter.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Gerold Zeiler is commended for his deep expertise in high-value commercial litigation, including proceedings relating to arbitration disputes. 

Questions & Answers

Gerold Zeiler is a partner at Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich and an expert in national and international dispute resolution, with a strong focus on international commercial arbitration and complex litigation.

He is a graduate of the University of Vienna and Washington University in St Louis. Gerold has published a comprehensive commentary on Austrian arbitration law (Schiedsverfahren, 2nd edition, 2014). In 2018, the ICC World Council appointed Gerold as the Austrian member of the ICC Court.

On what types of matters have clients come to you most frequently in recent months?

I currently advise clients on complex construction disputes, corporate matters such as shareholder disputes, post-M&A as well as transactional disputes before state courts and arbitral tribunals. 

Your disputes practice spans various areas. Which areas do you see becoming busier in the long term, following the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic?

Since the beginning of the worldwide lockdown measures last year, I noticed a rise in contractual disputes relating to late or non-delivery of goods due to disruptions of supply chains or a shift in global demand. While the full extent of the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic remains to be seen, this development has fuelled a considerable increase in parties’ need for interim relief. 

Have the skills needed to be an effective litigator substantially changed in light of covid-19?

An effective litigator needs to be able to focus on the key issues of a dispute and at the same time have a precise knowledge of every underlying detail and legal argument. This requires not only diligent preparation but also curiosity and dedication. The current pandemic has not changed any of these general requirements. However, covid-19 has undoubtedly expedited the use of digital tools in dispute resolution, and litigators are therefore well advised to adapt their communication skills to advocate effectively via videoconference. 

To what extent are cash flow issues stopping parties from bringing claims?

I have not experienced any cases in which cash flow issues affected the parties’ decision to bring claims over the past year. In the long run, however, I would not be surprised to see a significant rise in insolvencies in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, which will clearly have an impact on litigation strategies. 

What effect is technology having on the way litigation is practised?

Communication technology can facilitate many aspects of litigation practice, but there definitely is no miracle invention that will fundamentally and invariably revolutionise the way we conduct proceedings. Rather, technological impact on litigation is a constant evolution that is, however, rapidly accelerated by the current pandemic. The need for virtual replacements of in-person hearings has initiated an experimental phase: we are still in the process of adjusting and fine-tuning a variety of digital tools that allow us to continue conducting proceedings despite the pandemic restrictions. Many of these tools, such as conferencing streaming platforms, are undoubtedly here to stay, well beyond covid-19.

Which practice areas do you see growing in the next year?

Technology is not only impacting the way we conduct proceedings, but it will affect nearly every facet of our daily lives. I therefore think that there will be a growing need for multi-faceted approaches to legal issues arising in the context of technological innovation, involving IP and competition law.  

How did your firm adapt to your clients’ needs in the past year?

Many of our clients are conducting business on an international level. This requires expertise that goes beyond a single jurisdiction. Having collaborated with colleagues in the US and the UK for several years, we have decided to merge and form a global team under the new name Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich. We now have offices in Austria, USA, UK, Australia and Mexico, which allows us to advise our clients in integrated cross-jurisdictional teams. Our innovative structure enables us to assist our clients on a global scale.

How does Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich distinguish itself from the competition?

All our lawyers have a true passion for problem-solving. We treat our clients’ matters with a hands-on approach, with full partner involvement and constant personal commitment. We focus on specific practice areas and industry sectors and work in fully integrated and collaborative international teams, tailored to each specific matter.

Global Leader

Arbitration 2021

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

Peers and clients say

"One of the top counsel and arbitrators of his generation"
"Praised as the number one in Austria"
"He has a wise and balanced approach as an arbitrator"
"Gerold is highly experienced, well respected and can manage complex cases effectively"
"An excellent chairman - well prepared, efficient and a pleasure to work with in an arbitral tribunal"

Biography

Gerold Zeiler is a founding partner of Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich. His practice focuses on national and international commercial arbitration, investment arbitration and international litigation.

Gerold has over 20 years of experience, acting as chairman, sole arbitrator, party-appointed arbitrator and expert witness, as well as counsel in more than 200 ad hoc and administered arbitration proceedings, including proceedings under the Vienna Rules (VIAC), ICC Rules of Arbitration, LCIA Rules, UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, Rules of the Arbitration Court of the Economic Chamber of the Czech Republic, as well as ICSID arbitration proceedings. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb), currently the Austrian member of the ICC Court, and a former board member and president of the Austrian Arbitration Association. He is listed on the panel of arbitrators of the Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB), the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Arbitration Court at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania, the Russian Arbitration Center at the Russian Institute of Modern Arbitration, the Indian Council of Arbitration, the Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC) and  the Czech Arbitration Court. He is fluent in English and German, and speaks Italian.

Gerold Zeiler is the author of numerous articles and books on international litigation and arbitration, including a commentary on the Austrian Arbitration law, Schiedsverfahren (“Arbitration”) (second edition 2014), and is a co-editor of the Austrian Yearbook on International Arbitration. He is the editor of an extensive English language commentary (Austrian Arbitration Law, 2016), and co-editor of The European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration – A Commentary (2019, Kluwer).

Gerold obtained his law degrees from the University of Vienna (Mag iur, 1988; Dr iur, 1996) and Washington University in St Louis (LLM, 2016). He was admitted to the Austrian Bar in 1993 and the Californian Bar in 2018.

Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich is an international commercial law firm with offices in New York, Vienna, London, Mexico City, Chicago, Houston and Sydney. One of the main practice areas the firm specializes in is international commercial arbitration, adding to employment, shipping, litigation, commodities and energy specializations.

WWL Ranking: Recommended
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