Christopher Boog
Office:
Löwenstrasse 19
PO Box 2201
8021
City:
Zurich
State:
Zurich
Country:
Switzerland
Tel:
+41 44 215 5252

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Christopher Boog is a partner and vice-chair of Schellenberg Wittmer’s international arbitration practice group based in Singapore and Zurich. He has extensive experience representing clients in complex international commercial, investment and sports arbitration matters as well as in setting-aside proceedings before the Swiss Supreme Court, and also sits as arbitrator. His practice focuses largely on the energy, construction, mining, commodities, automotive, aviation and pharma/life sciences sectors.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

I started doing international arbitration as a junior associate some 15 years ago. I got my first arbitral appointments quite early in my career, so when I was made up in 2012 I had a solid amount of experience under my belt as both counsel and arbitrator. In 2014, I had the opportunity to open the firm’s arbitration practice in Singapore, and today split my time between the Singapore and Zurich offices, working on disputes related to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A LEGAL CAREER?

To be honest, I was one of those kids who did not know what to do – so I chose the law because I thought it would give me the broadest options. I have not regretted that choice.

WHAT DID YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT ENTERING THE WORLD OF ARBITRATION?

I was very fortunate in that I started my traineeship in one of the world’s leading arbitration practices, led at the time by Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler and Georg von Segesser, so my entry was as smooth as it was simply coincidental, so to speak. I did not have to go through the struggles many young practitioners go through today.

MANY OF THE DISPUTES YOU HANDLE ARE IN THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR. WHY DO YOU THINK ARBITRATION IS SUCH A POPULAR FORM OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION IN THIS AREA?

There are numerous reasons and they differ from case to case, but one of the key reasons is the technical complexity of many construction disputes, which makes it imperative to have decision-makers with the necessary knowledge of the industry, which often simply cannot be found in courts. The flexibility of the process allows you to deal with construction disputes, and especially experts, efficiently. Transnational enforcement is, of course, another benefit of arbitration over litigation.

AS HEAD OF THE FIRM’S INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION PRACTICE, HOW DO YOU ENSURE THE FIRM STANDS OUT AMONG ITS COMPETITORS?

Teamwork; both within our team and with the client’s in-house team. In-depth knowledge of the industry and the client’s business and operations. In-depth experience in international arbitration matters, especially in cross-border and multicultural and multilingual settings. I believe what our clients appreciate most is the combination of an international team with written and oral advocacy skills that you would expect from a large international firm in London or New York, but with a down-to-earth, reasonable, maybe slightly more civil law-focused approach to handling, staffing and conducting arbitrations. That’s what I am told sets us apart.

TO WHAT EXTENT DO YOU THINK THE EMERGENCE OF NEW REGIONAL ARBITRATION CENTRES AROUND THE WORLD WILL HAVE AN IMPACT ON SWITZERLAND’S POPULARITY AS A CHOSEN SEAT OF ARBITRATION?

I believe it will have less of an impact on Switzerland than on other arbitral seats. Switzerland, due to its neutrality and ideal legal framework, will always be a go-to seat for parties wanting to efficiently resolve their international disputes. If anything, I believe that technology which allows hearings to be held without having to physically be present in one place will increase Switzerland’s popularity as a seat. I also see a steep increase in ad hoc investment disputes being seated in Switzerland.

WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE GREATEST CHALLENGE FACED BY THE GENERATION OF ARBITRATION PRACTITIONERS BEHIND YOU?

Meeting clients’ expectations of efficiency; cost pressure; public (mis)perception of arbitration, especially investment arbitration; and most importantly, staying on top of technological developments; and convincing firms of the need for substantial technological investment.

WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENTS IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

When an engineer I was working with on a complex construction matter – clearly very surprised – told me I was “not so dumb for a lawyer” after realising I had understood what he was explaining to me.

Winning a case some years ago that seemed entirely hopeless at the outset based on the documentary record, thanks to a sound strategy developed together with the client and decent advocacy.

And we managed to get 28 Russian athletes who had been banned for life by the IOC fully cleared before the Court of Arbitration for Sport earlier this year. Feeling the athletes’ gratitude made me proud of all the hard work the team had put in.

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Switzerland

Christopher Boog is a partner and vice-chair of Schellenberg Wittmer’s international arbitration practice group based in Singapore and Zurich. He has extensive experience representing clients in complex international commercial, investment and sports arbitration matters as well as in setting-aside proceedings before the Swiss Supreme Court, and also sits as arbitrator. His practice focuses largely on the energy, construction, mining, commodities, automotive, aviation and pharma/life sciences sectors.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

I started doing international arbitration as a junior associate some 15 years ago. I got my first arbitral appointments quite early in my career, so when I was made up in 2012 I had a solid amount of experience under my belt as both counsel and arbitrator. In 2014, I had the opportunity to open the firm’s arbitration practice in Singapore, and today split my time between the Singapore and Zurich offices, working on disputes related to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A LEGAL CAREER?

To be honest, I was one of those kids who did not know what to do – so I chose the law because I thought it would give me the broadest options. I have not regretted that choice.

WHAT DID YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT ENTERING THE WORLD OF ARBITRATION?

I was very fortunate in that I started my traineeship in one of the world’s leading arbitration practices, led at the time by Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler and Georg von Segesser, so my entry was as smooth as it was simply coincidental, so to speak. I did not have to go through the struggles many young practitioners go through today.

MANY OF THE DISPUTES YOU HANDLE ARE IN THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR. WHY DO YOU THINK ARBITRATION IS SUCH A POPULAR FORM OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION IN THIS AREA?

There are numerous reasons and they differ from case to case, but one of the key reasons is the technical complexity of many construction disputes, which makes it imperative to have decision-makers with the necessary knowledge of the industry, which often simply cannot be found in courts. The flexibility of the process allows you to deal with construction disputes, and especially experts, efficiently. Transnational enforcement is, of course, another benefit of arbitration over litigation.

AS HEAD OF THE FIRM’S INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION PRACTICE, HOW DO YOU ENSURE THE FIRM STANDS OUT AMONG ITS COMPETITORS?

Teamwork; both within our team and with the client’s in-house team. In-depth knowledge of the industry and the client’s business and operations. In-depth experience in international arbitration matters, especially in cross-border and multicultural and multilingual settings. I believe what our clients appreciate most is the combination of an international team with written and oral advocacy skills that you would expect from a large international firm in London or New York, but with a down-to-earth, reasonable, maybe slightly more civil law-focused approach to handling, staffing and conducting arbitrations. That’s what I am told sets us apart.

TO WHAT EXTENT DO YOU THINK THE EMERGENCE OF NEW REGIONAL ARBITRATION CENTRES AROUND THE WORLD WILL HAVE AN IMPACT ON SWITZERLAND’S POPULARITY AS A CHOSEN SEAT OF ARBITRATION?

I believe it will have less of an impact on Switzerland than on other arbitral seats. Switzerland, due to its neutrality and ideal legal framework, will always be a go-to seat for parties wanting to efficiently resolve their international disputes. If anything, I believe that technology that allows hearings to be held without having to physically be present in one place will increase Switzerland’s popularity as a seat. I also see a steep increase in ad hoc investment disputes being seated in Switzerland. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE GREATEST CHALLENGE FACED BY THE GENERATION OF ARBITRATION PRACTITIONERS BEHIND YOU?

Meeting clients’ expectations of efficiency; cost pressure; public (mis)perception of arbitration, especially investment arbitration; and most importantly, staying on top of technological developments; and convincing firms of the need for substantial technological investment.

WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENTS IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

When an engineer I was working with on a complex construction matter – clearly very surprised – told me I was “not so dumb for a lawyer” after realising I had understood what he was explaining to me. 

Winning a case some years ago that seemed entirely hopeless at the outset based on the documentary record, thanks to a sound strategy developed together with the client and decent advocacy. 

And we managed to get 28 Russian athletes who had been banned for life by the IOC fully cleared before the Court of Arbitration for Sport earlier this year. Feeling the athletes’ gratitude made me proud of all the hard work the team had put in.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Lawyers

Dr Christopher Boog is vice-chair of Schellenberg Wittmer's international arbitration practice. He is based in the firm's Zurich and Singapore offices and represents clients in international commercial, investment and sports arbitration matters.

Christopher has been counsel and arbitrator in close to 100 complex arbitrations seated in common law and civil law jurisdictions worldwide, involving a wide array of matters and under many different laws. His main areas of specialization include construction and engineering, energy, commodities, investment and sports law, as well as the pharmaceutical/life sciences, automotive and mining industries

Examples of Christopher's recent work include: representation of an international construction consortium in several parallel multibillion-dollar arbitrations regarding one of the world's largest infra-structure projects; lead counsel to the licensor in a multibillion-dollar licensing dispute regarding one of the world's best-selling drugs and the payment of royalties under the related licence agreement; representation of a state in two investment arbitration matters in proceedings before the Swiss Supreme Court to set aside interim awards on jurisdiction rendered by a tribunal seated in Geneva; and successful representation of 39 Russian athletes who challenged lifetime bans imposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Two CAS panels cleared 28 of the athletes of any wrongdoing and reduced the bans for the other 11 athletes.

Christopher regularly publishes and speaks on topics related to arbitration and teaches arbitration at the EBS Law School in Wiesbaden, Germany. He is a member of the Court of the Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution and a vice chair of the IPBA international construction projects committee. Christopher holds a PhD from the University of Zurich (summa cum laude; Professor Hug Prize).

WWL says: Christopher Boog is "a real thought leader" with "vast experience and a hands-on approach". He is "one of the best in the business" for international arbitration and is recognised for his "strategic thinking and ability to mitigate risk".

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Arbitration which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Switzerland - Arbitration

Dr Christopher Boog is vice-chair of Schellenberg Wittmer's international arbitration practice. He is based in the firm's Zurich and Singapore offices and represents clients in international commercial, investment and sports arbitration matters.

Christopher has been counsel and arbitrator in close to 120 complex arbitrations seated in common law and civil law jurisdictions worldwide, involving a wide array of matters and under many different laws. His main areas of specialisation include construction and engineering, energy, commodities, investment and sports law, as well as the pharmaceutical/life sciences, automotive and mining industries

Examples of Christopher's recent work include: representation of an international construction consortium in several parallel multibillion-dollar arbitrations regarding one of the world's largest infrastructure projects; lead counsel to the licensor in a multibillion-dollar licensing dispute regarding one of the world's best-selling drugs and the payment of royalties under the related licence agreement; representation of a state in two investment arbitration matters in proceedings before the Swiss Supreme Court to set aside interim awards on jurisdiction rendered by a tribunal seated in Geneva; and successful representation of 39 Russian athletes who challenged lifetime bans imposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Two CAS panels cleared 28 of the athletes of any wrongdoing and reduced the bans for the other 11 athletes.

Christopher regularly publishes and speaks on topics related to arbitration and teaches arbitration at the EBS Law School in Wiesbaden, Germany. He is a member of the Court of the Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution and a vice chair of the IPBA international construction projects committee. Christopher holds a PhD from the University of Zurich (summa cum laude; Professor Hug Prize).

WWL says: Christopher Boog is an “internationally respected name” in the Swiss arbitration community, with peers describing him as an “excellent and impressive practitioner”. 

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Switzerland which can be purchased from our Shop.

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