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GAR 100 - 10th Edition

Squire Patton Boggs

10 March 2017

Very strong on investment disputes with a Central and Eastern European flavour

People in Who’s Who Legal 3
Pending cases as counsel 55 (excludes shipping cases)
Value of pending counsel work US$15.4 billion
Treaty cases 8
Current arbitrator appointments 27* (of which 21 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 10

*Excludes sports cases

Squire Patton Boggs is the product of a 2014 merger between Squire Sanders and Washington, DC, firm Patton Boggs.

Cleveland-based partner George von Mehren built the Squire Sanders arbitration practice in the 2000s and has led it for more than 15 years. The investment arbitration practice is co-led by Stephen Anway in New York, who joined Squire Sanders in 2004, and Rostislav Pekař in Prague, who began his career at Squire Sanders in 2001 working on the Saluka v Czech Republic case just after graduating from university.

While most of Squire Patton Boggs’ arbitration capability comes from the Squire Sanders side, Patton Boggs had successfully penetrated the Middle East over 30 years and developed a disputes practice led by Doha-based construction disputes specialist Tom Wilson and Dubai-based Alain Farhad (a recent arrival from Freshfields).

Another name to know is Luka Misetic in New York, a US lawyer of Croatian origin who joined the merged firm in 2015 and has acted in cases before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The merged firm has a reputation for representing states in investment disputes and advising buyers in gas price review arbitrations. It reckons to have concluded more than 40 gas price review disputes in Europe or Asia with wins or settlements negotiated prior to the commencement of arbitration for clients including Gas Natural and Edison.

Network

The firm claims to be one of the legal industry’s most expansive, with 1,500 lawyers in 44 offices spanning 21 countries. At least 90 lawyers in 15 offices are focused on dispute resolution.

For arbitration, the key US and European offices are London, Paris, Frankfurt, Prague, New York and Washington, DC. Middle East work is handled from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha and there is also a Riyadh office.

In Asia, arbitration partners Tom Wilson in Doha, Peter Chow in Hong Kong and Brendan Reilly in Perth are building a practice in Singapore as well as their respective jurisdictions.

Who uses it?

Recent state clients include Croatia, Estonia, Ecuador, Gabon, Slovakia and Saudi Arabia. Kosovo has hired it for its first investment treaty arbitration.

The firm has had a long relationship with the Czech Republic – since legacy firm Squire Sanders gained a win for the state in the Nagel case in 2003.

In the energy sector, clients include Gas Natural, Guangdong Dapeng LNG, Edison, Engie and Enelk.

It has also acted for New Doha International Airport and Hitachi, among other Middle East-based entities.

Track record

Together with Dechert, Squire Patton Boggs helped Ecuador convince an ICSID annulment committee to reduce a US$1.76 billion award in favour of Occidental Petroleum by some US$700 million in 2015 – the largest amount ever annulled at ICSID.

Squire Patton Boggs had a victory for Slovakia against Achmea, securing the dismissal of the insurance company’s treaty claim on jurisdictional grounds and an award of costs for the client. GAR recognised the victory as one of the most important decisions of 2014.

Legacy firm Squire Sanders prevailed in three cases brought against the Czech Republic by Phoenix Action, EEE Projecktmanagement International and InterTrade Holding. It also acted in the state’s dispute with Japanese bank Nomura, which reached a settlement in 2008.

In gas price reviews, the firm says it has been unbeaten since 2004 when it represented a Spanish buyer in the first case spawned by the EU liberalisation of national gas markets, helping to establish key principles in the area. It helped an Italian energy company win two ICC awards against different counterparties, for US$580 million and US$395 million.

The firm says its success in obtaining favourable awards has contributed to a series of high-value settlements in its most recent price review cases.

Three awards won by the firm were ranked among the top 20 awards in the world from 2001 to 2013 by The American Lawyer’s Arbitration Scorecard.

Recent events

In the past two years, the firm says it has settled three cases that were each worth more than US$1 billion, and others that involved claims totalling US$10 billion. It was also instructed on an energy dispute potentially worth US$15 billion and a new billion-dollar gas price review case. 

It has paired up with Freshfields to advise Kazakh state entity KazMunayGas on a potential Energy Charter Treaty claim against Romania relating to a corruption probe.

Telecom Kosovo has instructed the firm to challenge a €30 million ICC award in favour of mobile operator Dardafone in the English courts. A different firm had advised it in the arbitration.

A high-stakes case for its client Croatia ran aground in late 2016, when an UNCITRAL panel rejected the state’s contractual claims against Hungarian oil and gas producer MOL. The case had centred on allegations of corruption involving Croatian former prime minister Ivo Sanader. Squire Patton Boggs is helping the state seek annulment of the award in the Swiss courts and defending Croatia against a parallel ICSID claim filed by MOL.

The Paris office welcomed partner José Ricardo Feris, former deputy secretary general of the ICC Court. Canadian former diplomat Haig Oghigian joined as senior counsel and head of the international arbitration practice in Tokyo after two years at K&L Gates.

There were also five promotions to the partnership: James Barratt and Alexis Martinez in London, Stephan Adell in Paris and Santo Domingo, Raúl Mañón in Miami and Carolina Soto-Hernández in Santo Domingo.

Client comment

Andrea Holíková from Slovakia’s ministry of finance said the firm’s “exceptional approach” and “well drafted innovative tailor-suited solutions” has led the state to instruct Squire Patton Boggs on a number of matters.

She highlighted the work of Stephen Anway, whose “broad understanding of international law and jurisprudences, mixed with unusual creativity, makes his writing bulletproof”.  

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