Impressive hires and a billion-dollar win have landed the Chicago-headquartered firm in the GAR 100 for the first time
|People in Future Leaders||2|
|Pending cases as counsel||9|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$2 billion+|
|Third-party funded cases||2|
|Current arbitrator appointments||4 (3 as chair or sole)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||1|
Jenner & Block was founded in Chicago more than a century ago, but didn’t establish its international arbitration practice until the early 2000s, through long-serving partner Larry Schaner.
It opened its New York office in 2005 and two years later hired Richard Ziegler as the new practice co-head. Ziegler, a former general counsel for US multinational 3M Company, had spent two decades at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
The next big milestone came almost a decade later when the firm opened its London office, hiring White & Case partner Charlie Lightfoot to lead that team. Two former White & Case colleagues joined Lightfoot at Jenner & Block shortly afterwards: Jason Yardley joined as a senior partner, while Elizabeth Shimmin moved over as special counsel, but was promoted to partner in 2019.
In 2017, the firm boosted its investor-state practice by hiring the former chief of investment arbitration for the US State Department, Patrick Pearsall, to lead a newly formed public international law group in Washington, DC.
That same year Schaner left the firm after almost three decades, leaving Ziegler and Lightfoot to co-chair the arbitration practice, which centres around the Chicago, New York and London offices.
Finally, in March 2019 Jenner & Block added Latin American expertise with the hire of Mélida Hodgson from Foley Hoag in New York, where she had helped Venezuela defeat a string of investment treaty claims.
Jenner & Block secured a big win for Japanese-owned pharmaceutical company Takeda in 2012, helping it defeat its former US partner’s US$1.5 billion ICC claim over the commercialisation of a constipation drug.
It successfully defended the US’s General Dynamics Land Systems in a US$300 million ICDR contract dispute with an Israeli armour manufacturer. It also beat a set-aside attempt and had the award confirmed in the US.
The firm’s biggest win to date arrived in late 2017 as it won a US$1.4 billion ICC award for the world’s largest steel company, Luxembourg-registered ArcelorMittal. It has since had that award (one of the largest commercial awards of 2017) confirmed in Minnesota and it is also applying for enforcement in the Mauritius.
Jenner & Block says it achieved an award of more than US$100 million for a major oil company in an arbitration held under the rules of the Swiss Chambers of Commerce.
It also helped a multinational manufacturer to favourably settle two related ICC arbitrations arising from an Asian sovereign entity’s attempt to rescind a €150 million supply contract, despite the manufacturer’s insistence the contract had been fully performed.
Lightfoot has also been instructed by the liquidators of a Central European hard coal producer, which has threatened the Czech Republic with a claim under the Energy Charter Treaty worth hundreds of millions of euros after its local operations were sold to a state-owned entity following an insolvency process.
Following Pearsall’s arrival, the firm picked up an undisclosed engagement for the European Union and has also been providing training and advice to the UK’s Department of International Trade concerning matters of public international law and investment arbitration.
Elizabeth Shimmin and James Woolrich were promoted to the partnership in London, while Laura MacDonald was promoted to partner in New York.
The general counsel of the manufacturer involved in the two settled ICC arbitrations praised the Jenner & Block team for its “genius in coupling a well-considered and principled strategy with tactical flexibility and agility”.