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GAR 100 - 11th Edition

Squire Patton Boggs

04 April 2018

Helped Slovakia defeat a billion dollar claim

People in Who’s Who Legal 3
People in Future Leaders 5
Pending cases as counsel 76
Value of pending counsel work US$18.7 billion
Treaty cases 13
Current arbitrator appointments 14 (of which 7 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 6

Squire Patton Boggs is the product of a 2014 merger between two US firms: Cleveland-based Squire Sanders and Patton Boggs in Washington, DC.

Partner George von Mehren, who divides his time between Cleveland and London, 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 Pekarˇ 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 the merged firm’s 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 (who joined 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 practice is best known for its work on behalf of states in investment disputes and buyers in gas price review arbitrations. It reckons to have concluded more than 40 gas pricing 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 has 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.

In Asia, arbitration partners Peter Chow in Hong Kong and Brendan Reilly in Perth are building a practice in Singapore as well as their respective jurisdictions. There is also a Tokyo practice headed by senior counsel and Canadian former diplomat Haig Oghigian, a recent hire from K&L Gates.

Other arbitration-literate partners are found in Budapest, Houston, Columbus, Miami and Santo Domingo.

Who uses it?

Recent state clients include Croatia, Estonia, Ecuador, Gabon, Libya Slovakia and Saudi Arabia. It has acted for Kosovo in its first investment treaty arbitration and for the country’s telecoms operator in English set-aside proceedings.

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, Enelk and state entities KazMunaiGas of Kazakhstan and PDVSA of Venezuela.

It has also acted for New Doha International Airport and Hitachi.

Track record

Together with Dechert, Squire Patton Boggs helped Ecuador convince an ICSID annulment committee to shave US$700 million off an award in favour of Occidental Petroleum in 2015 – the largest amount ever annulled at ICSID. Ecuador paid US$980 million to satisfy the award in the following year.

For Slovakia, the firm secured the dismissal of a treaty by Dutch insurer Achmea 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

The firm scored another big win for Slovakia in 2017, defeating a US$1.65 billion ICSID claim brought by investors in a talc mine. The award is now the subject of annulment proceedings, while one of the claimants has promised to submit a new claim.

An UNCITRAL case brought on behalf of Croatia failed to come off, however, with a tribunal rejecting allegations that Hungarian oil company MOL had bribed Croatia’s former prime minister Ivo Sanader. Croatia later lost a challenge to the award in the Swiss courts. Squire Patton Boggs continues to defend Croatia in a parallel ICSID claim by MOL.

Venezuela’s national oil and gas company PDVSA retained the firm for a trio of sensitive ICC arbitrations worth more than US$400 million. It is also defending Libya in three investment treaty arbitrations being heard at the ICC.

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”.

Sebahedin Ramaxhiku of Kosovo Telecom was “extremely impressed with the speed and dedication” of the team, with James Barratt in London showing “professionalism” and “creative thinking”.

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