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Who's Who Legal
Who's Who Legal
Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Global Leader

Arbitration 2021

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

Peers and clients say

"Nils is highly visible and on almost every shortlist of arbitrators"
"An exceptional lawyer who is very business-oriented and very strategic"
"Outstanding performer with the sharpest legal mind and impressive clients"
"Excellent arbitrator, legally exact and to the point"
"He is a class act"


Dr. Nils Schmidt-Ahrendts is a Partner at HANEFELD, a boutique dispute resolution firm based in Hamburg, Germany and Paris, France. Before joining HANEFELD, he worked for several years in the arbitration group of a major international law firm.

Nils primarily acts as arbitrator (chairman, sole arbitrator and co-arbitrator) as well as counsel in domestic and international arbitration proceedings. He has been involved in more than 70 cases under the rules of the ICC, DIS, SCC, LCIA, DIA, FAI, SWISS, VIAC as well as in ad hoc proceedings. The cases with which Nils has been involved have proceeded under, inter alia, German, Austrian, Swiss, Belgian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Italian, French, Serbian, Ukrainian and Qatari law as well as under the CISG.

Nils has also acted as counsel in various international dispute adjudication board (DAB) proceedings. In addition, he represents domestic and international clients in litigation proceedings before German state courts and assists them with the enforcement of foreign awards and judgments.

Nils has particular expertise in the areas international trade, international construction, post-M&A, energy (including offshore wind energy) and competition (in particular ‘follow-on damages claims’).

Nils holds a Doctor of Laws in international sales law (CISG) and is a visiting professor on international arbitration at the University of Freiburg. Nils is also a co-founder of the International Dispute Resolution LL.M. program and visiting professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He also regularly speaks at international conferences and is the author of a number of publications. He is fluent in German, English and French.

Nils was a member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR’s Task Force on Maximizing the Probative Value of Witness Evidence. Just recently, he has been recognized by JUVE as one of Germany’s 30 most renowned arbitrators, and is the youngest member on the list.

Nils’ professional background goes hand in hand with the international focus and practice of HANEFELD. The unique background and experience of the firm’s lawyers ensures that clients benefit from a particularly profound knowledge and familiarity with the perspective of parties’ counsel, arbitrators and mediators, as well as that of arbitral institutions. HANEFELD’s expertise encompasses commercial and investment arbitration. In 2017, HANEFELD received the prestigious JUVE Award for “Law Firm of the year” for Dispute Resolution in Germany and has been distinguished as having “become a benchmark […] with the scope and number of international arbitrations handled by the Hanefeld team as arbitrators or counsel [being] rather comparable to that of big law firms than boutique firms.”

The opening of the firm’s Paris office in 2020 reflects the firm’s noteworthy involvement in high profile international commercial and treaty-based cases. The firm’s portfolio includes arbitrations subject to a variety of laws and seated in various jurisdictions (Europe, including Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Scandinavia, the Middle East and Africa, the Asia Pacific region and the United States). In addition to their work as counsel, all of the firm’s partners sit as arbitrator in international matters.     

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended
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