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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Thought Leader

Thought Leaders - Arbitration 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Jan Spangenberg is "an outstanding lawyer" who is "very thorough, smart and client-oriented". He is able to "identify the main issue immediately and provide clear and helpful advice".

Questions & Answers

Jan Erik Spangenberg has successfully represented clients in many high-stakes arbitrations and frequently sits as arbitrator, including as president and sole arbitrator, under the major arbitration rules (including ICC, DIS, SCC, UNCITRAL/PCA, ICSID, KCAB, CEAC, GMAA, RUCIP). He has handled corporate, shareholder, post-M&A, joint venture, energy, construction (including FIDIC) and machinery, distribution, insurance, cartel, compliance and various contract, trade and other commercial disputes, as well as claims under BITs and the ECT.

Why did you decide to set up your own boutique firm?

A boutique firm is the ideal platform for working as an arbitrator. It avoids conflicts of interest and allows me to truly dedicate myself to my appointments. As counsel, the boutique firm platform enables us to personally commit to our clients and cases, and to provide bespoke advice in a lean and dynamic structure. In my experience, even in very large firms, most arbitrations are ultimately handled by a core team of three to five lawyers. Boutique firms are therefore at least equally well placed to handle arbitrations.

What do you most enjoy working in arbitration?

Working with people. At the end of the day, beyond all legal and factual arguments, arbitration is about communicating with people – arbitrators, witnesses, experts, opposing counsel. Building rapport, winning trust, making your case – language and human psychology play a huge role in winning or losing a case. These are skills that can and should be improved over a lifetime. I also truly enjoy the added layer of cultural diversity in international arbitration and the collaborative spirit of the international arbitration community. Finally, I believe arbitration really does contribute to the peaceful settlement of international disputes.

What has been the biggest change you have seen in relation to the way that arbitration proceedings are conducted since you first began practising?

I see a positive trend for more individually customised arbitration proceedings –to no longer use template procedural orders and timetables, but to actually tailor the proceedings to the specific factual and legal issues at hand, for example, by structuring cases in phases and employing dynamic schedules, or preliminary views conferences.

You regularly act as counsel and sit as arbitrator. How does your experience in each role enhance your performance in the other?

Acting as counsel and arbitrator is a significant advantage in both roles. As counsel, I profit from my experience as arbitrator, because I know how arguments are received, weighted and ultimately decided within the arbitral tribunal. Likewise, as arbitrator I never forget how it feels to stand in the counsel’s shoes. Having both perspectives has made me a better arbitrator and counsel.

What factors should parties consider when nominating or appointing arbitrators?

Parties should not underestimate the importance of selecting the right arbitrators. Experience in the substantive law and industry are certainly important factors, but not the only ones. At least equally important is experience in arbitration and as arbitrator. Procedural issues frequently arise and can significantly contribute to the outcome of a case. Most important, however, is to nominate an arbitrator that prioritises the appointment and has the time and capacity to immerse herself or himself in the details of the case. As counsel, I have never regretted appointing fresh and new faces. Last but not least, diverse teams are more successful – that is also true for arbitral tribunals.

What is the best piece of career advice you have received?

Worry less about making a career in your firm, and focus on building a career in your practice, industry and market. If you do, you will succeed in any firm.

How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?

I could not be happier with the development of my practice since founding my own boutique firm in 2017. Over the coming years, I expect our counsel practice, and our team, to continue to grow. As arbitrator, I strive to merge my experience as arbitrator in significant international commercial arbitrations with my public international law background, and with my experience as counsel in investment arbitrations. In the coming years, I hope to expand my arbitrator practice into this area, too.

Global Leader

Arbitration 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Jan Spangenberg is "an outstanding lawyer" who is "very thorough, smart and client-oriented". He is able to "identify the main issue immediately and provide clear and helpful advice".

Biography

Jan Erik Spangenberg is a German attorney specialising in arbitration and litigation, and a founding partner of the boutique law firm Manner Spangenberg. He acts as counsel and arbitrator, and assists companies, individuals and governments in navigating complex disputes, in particular international commercial and investment arbitrations. He also advises investors and governments on investment and public international law.

Jan Erik Spangenberg has successfully represented clients in numerous high-stakes litigations and arbitrations under the major arbitration rules (including ICC, DIS, SCC, KCAB, CEAC, RUCIP, ICSID, UNCITRAL). He also has significant experience as arbitrator, including as president and sole arbitrator, under various rules (including ICC, DIS, SCC, UNCITRAL/PCA, GMAA, Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, ad hoc). He has handled corporate, shareholder, post-M&A, joint venture, energy, construction (including FIDIC) and machinery, distribution, insurance, cartel, compliance, and a variety of contract, trade and other commercial disputes, as well as claims under bilateral treaties (BITs) and the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).

Before founding Manner Spangenberg, Jan Erik Spangenberg worked for eight years in the international arbitration practice group of a leading global law firm. He studied law in Germany (Bucerius Law School) and the United States (Washington and Lee University).

As well as being recognised by WWL, Jan Erik Spangenberg has been “frequently recommended” for arbitration by JUVE which calls him “dedicated and professional”, adding that he “demonstrates unprecedented confidence as a party representative” and “impressed me in witness examinations – already worldly-wise and seasoned”. He is also named a “rising star” by LMG’s Expert Guide. He is a past co-chair of DIS40 and participated in the revision of the DIS Arbitration Rules. He regularly lectures on arbitration.

National Leader

Germany - Arbitration 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Jan Erik Spangenberg is a “very experienced” arbitration lawyer who wins widespread praise from market sources for his “excellent” work as arbitrator and counsel.

Biography

Jan Erik Spangenberg is a German attorney specialising in arbitration and litigation, and a founding partner of the boutique law firm Manner Spangenberg. He acts as counsel and arbitrator, and assists companies, individuals and governments in navigating complex disputes, in particular international commercial and investment arbitrations. He also advises investors and governments on investment and public international law.

Jan Erik Spangenberg has successfully represented clients in numerous high-stakes litigations and arbitrations under the major arbitration rules (including ICC, DIS, SCC, KCAB, CEAC, RUCIP, ICSID and UNCITRAL). He also has significant experience as arbitrator, including as president and sole arbitrator, under various rules (including ICC, DIS, SCC, UNCITRAL/PCA, GMAA, Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and ad hoc). He has handled matters relating to corporate; shareholders; post-M&A; joint ventures; energy; construction (including FIDIC) and machinery; distribution; insurance; cartels; compliance; and a variety of contract, trade and other commercial disputes, as well as claims under bilateral treaties (BITs) and the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).

Before founding Manner Spangenberg, Jan Erik Spangenberg worked for eight years in the international arbitration practice group of a leading global law firm. He studied law in Germany (Bucerius Law School) and the United States (Washington and Lee University).

As well as being recognised by WWL, Jan Erik Spangenberg has been “frequently recommended” for arbitration by JUVE (which says he “demonstrates unprecedented confidence as a party representative” and is “dedicated and professional”, with one source adding that he “impressed me in witness examinations, already worldly wise and seasoned”). He was also named a “rising star” by LMG’s Expert Guide. He is a past co-chair of DIS40 and participated in the revision of the DIS Arbitration Rules. He regularly lectures on arbitration.

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