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GAR 100 - 12th Edition

Gleiss Lutz

05 April 2019

Bringing a new ICSID claim against Turkmenistan

People in Who's Who Legal 1
People in Future Leaders 2
Pending cases as counsel 13
Value of pending counsel work US$679 million
Treaty cases 1
Third-party funded cases 1
Current arbitrator appointments 12 (3 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 4

Gleiss Lutz started as an antitrust boutique in Stuttgart in 1949. It opened in Brussels 13 years later and began an evolution into a full-service firm, adding international offices, and entering an alliance with Stibbe and Herbert Smith that lasted until 2011.

Experienced arbitrator Gerhard Wegen joined in 1983 and built the firm’s name in this area. The arbitration group was formed in 1997 upon the arrival of Stephan Wilske, who continues to head it to this day. The wider dispute resolution team is led by Stefan Rützel in Frankfurt. Another name to know is Claudia Krapfl in Stuttgart, who is a rising star and active arbitrator at the firm.

The firm built its arbitration specialism on the back of its renowned competition law practice – which should bear fruit now that arbitration is tipped to be the new preferred forum for cartel damage claims.

Gleiss Lutz has also developed a specialism in arbitrations that involve insolvent parties, or issues related to insolvency, drawing on the expertise of its corporate restructuring group.

Network

The firm has international arbitration capability in Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich (where partner Wolf von Bernuth moved with a team in 2013).

US attorney at law Todd Fox offers common law as well as civil law expertise at the Stuttgart office. In Düsseldorf, the firm has partner David Quinke, a member of the DIS, Germany’s main arbitral institution, who helped to draft the institution’s new arbitration rules.

The firm’s reach also extends to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan thanks to the strong connections to the Asian arbitration market that Lars Markert built during his secondment there.

Track record

Gleiss Lutz was the first German law firm to bring an investment treaty claim – against Turkmenistan. German client Adem Dogan won a €9 million award in 2014 when a tribunal concluded that Turkmenistan had expropriated his interest in the revenue of a poultry farm.

The firm is now acting in another potential claim against Turkmenistan on behalf of the insolvency administrator of a German construction company that allegedly went bankrupt because of the state’s failure to pay for certain projects.

It also acted for a group of Korean energy companies against a German insolvency administrator in a DIS case that ended with the client having to pay only 25% of a purchase price adjustment sought by the opposing side.

Recent events

Gleiss Lutz has been retained by an administrator for insolvent German construction company Unionmatex Industrieanlagen in a new third-party funded ICSID claim against Turkmenistan. The firm is acting as co-counsel with German insolvency firm Schultze & Braun.

The firm reports reaching a favourable settlement for a German investor prior to commencing an investment arbitration against a Central Asian state.

Another settlement was reached for an Asian client just prior to the publication of a final award in the dispute.

Gleiss Lutz continues to represent a wind-farm developer in a €24 million dispute over the delayed delivery of an offshore substation, with an anticipated counterclaim of €50 million. It is also acting in a dispute involving US and German companies concerning the delivery and installation of food-processing machinery.

Lars Markert, a partner who had spent more than a decade in the firm’s Stuttgart office, left to join Japan’s largest firm Nishimura & Asahi, where he had previously been on secondment.

Client comment

Jenny Dvorak, in-house counsel for Groz-Beckert KG, describes the team as “well organised, well prepared” and “always available to discuss matters”. She notes that the firm was able to stay objective during an arbitration that raised strong emotions on the opposing side.

An in-house source at POWRX, an exercise machine company which used Gleiss Lutz for a South Korean arbitration, reports that the team negotiated “a cost-efficient and pragmatic solution that allowed both parties to successfully keep on doing business”.

After Gleiss Lutz secured a favourable outcome for a German producer of specialist construction machinery, a senior manager said: “Stephan Wilske was always in control of all issues – his strategic advice worked out well – and Lars Markert did a great job on the damages.”

Insight

Reviews

Regional analysis from arbitrators around the globe, focussing on key developments in specific industry areas and jurisdictions.

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The Asia-Pacific Arbitration Review 2020

Highlights

DCF: Gold Standard or Fool’s Gold?

Montek Mayal and Alexander Davie

FTI Consulting

Distinction and Connection: Hong Kong and Mainland China, a View from the HKIAC

Sarah Grimmer

Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre