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GAR 100 - 9th Edition

Squire Patton Boggs

18 February 2016

Post-merger, the firm has added partners in Dubai and New York, got an award against Ecuador cut by US$700 million and taken on Kosovo’s first treaty case

People in Who’s Who Legal: 2
Pending cases as counsel: 85
Value of pending counsel work: US$33.6 billion
Treaty cases: 13
Current arbitrator appointments: 49 (of which 23 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator: 11

Squire Patton Boggs is the product of a 2014 merger between Squire Sanders and Washington, DC firm Patton Boggs. The international dispute resolution practice is led by Cleveland-based partner George von Mehren, who built the Squire Sanders arbitration practice in the 2000s and has led it for 15 years. The investment arbitration practice is co-led by Stephen Anway in New York, who joined Squire Sanders in 2004, and Rostislav Pekaarˆ in Prague, who began his career at Squire Sanders in 2001 working on the Saluka claim against the Czech Republic 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 partner and construction disputes specialist Tom Wilson (now supported by Dubai-based partner Alain Farhad).

The merged firm has a reputation for sovereign representations and advising buyers in natural gas price review disputes – it says it has concluded more than 40 such 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?

Guided by Anway and Pekaarˆ, Squire Patton Boggs has significantly increased its sovereign representation. Its 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 represented the Czech Republic for 13 years – since legacy firm Squire Sanders gained a win for the state in the Nagel case.

In the energy sector, clients include Gas Natural, Guangdong Dapeng LNG, Edision, Engie (formerly GDF Suez) and Enelk.

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

Track record

Among legacy firm Squire Sanders’ wins for sovereigns were three landmark cases brought against the Czech Republic by: Phoenix Action; EEE Projecktmanagement International; and InterTrade Holding The first case was under ICSID rules, and the last two under UNCITRAL rules. It also acted in the state’s dispute with Japanese bank Nomura, which reached a settlement in 2008.

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

In natural gas price reviews, the firm reports being 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 recently 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 November 2015, an ICSID ad hoc annulment committee partially annulled a US$1.76 billion award gained against the firm’s client Ecuador by Occidental Petroleum – reducing the damages by an unprecedented US$700 million. Squire Patton Boggs was co-counsel with Dechert.

Earlier in the year, the firm achieved a victory for Slovakia at the provisional measures phase of its ICSID arbitration with Eurogas. The tribunal also ordered the claimants to disclose the identity of their third-party funder – one of the first times such an order has been made.

A claim against another state client, Gabon, was withdrawn by the Panamanian claimant after the firm’s response to the request for arbitration.

Luka Misetic, a US defence lawyer of Croatian origin who has appeared before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, joined the New York group after 11 years as a sole practitioner in Chicago. Since 2013 Misetic has been a part of a Squire Patton Boggs-led counsel team to Croatia in its two largest international arbitrations – ICSID and UNCITRAL cases arising from the state’s dispute with Hungarian oil and gas producer MOL. Mistetic is understood to be a celebrity in the former Yugoslavia countries, where his appearences have been televised.

In Dubai, Alain Farhad joined as a partner from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, to assist with cases in the region and elsewhere. The firm also hired of counsel Jirayr Habibian from the Abu Dhabi judicial department.

In Perth, partner Brendan Reilly joined from Allion Legal, where he led the project and infrastructure group, and, in Paris Valérie Ravit and Carole Sportes joined from a specialist insurance litigation firm co-founded by Sportes.

Kenneth Reisenfeld, who led the international arbitration practice at Patton Boggs, moved to BakerHostetler.

Almost a dozen firm members sat as arbitrator, the most prolific being Peter Chow for the HKIAC, Richard Mattiaccio for the ICDR and Stuart McInnes for the Court of Arbitration for Sport.