A new entrant in the 100 that frequently partners with firms such as King & Wood Malleson and recently scored an ICSID win for Ukraine
|Pending cases as counsel||4|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$10.9 billion|
Lexwell & Partners was founded in 2005, as a break away from one of the then larger full-service practices.
The firm is based in Kiev, and managing partner and head of arbitration Andrei Kolupaev has been there from the outset. He and colleagues have steadily gained a reputation as co-counsel to international firms fighting Ukraine-related disputes.
The Ukrainian government is now a regular customer. Lexwell is helping defend it, as well as national oil and gas company Naftogaz, against parallel treaty and contractual claims, each worth US$5 billion, brought by entities belonging to Igor Kolomoisky, the Ukrainian oligarch.
Who uses it?
The government of Ukraine and various Ukrainian state entities including Naftogaz have used it on high-profile matters, as have high-net-worth individuals such as Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian billionaire Mikhail Spektor.
Other clients include US conglomerate DuPont, Ukraine’s VS Energy and steel companies ArcelorMittal, East Metals and Evraz.
Lexwell represented Abramovich and others in an LCIA claim against Igor Kolomoisky in a row over the acquisition of US$3 billion in metallurgical assets. The matter ultimately settled (favourably to Abramovich, according to Lexwell).
The firm also helped Spektor settle a US$800 million LCIA claim brought against him and two other respondents by fellow Ukrainian billionaire Viktor Pinchuk (in another dispute about metallurgical assets). That dispute also given rise to a US$2 billion litigation before the High Court in London.
In 2017 Lexwell helped knock out 95% of a US$250 million treaty claim brought against Ukraine at the SCC; the opponents, the UK’s JKX Oil & Gas, were awarded just US$12 million.
Acting as co-counsel with King & Wood Mallesons, the firm helped Ukraine defeat a US$137 million ICSID claim brought by a UK company that accused it of expropriating real estate in Kiev.
Lexwell also continues to defend Ukraine and Naftogaz in the aforementioned claims brought by three Cypriot entities controlled by Kolomoisky. The dispute concerns Ukraine’s largest oil and gas producer, Ukrnafta, which is controlled by Naftogaz; the Kolomoisky entities are minority shareholders. In the treaty claim Lexwell is co-counsel with Latham & Watkins, while in the LCIA claim it is working alongside King & Wood Mallesons.
Lexwell and King & Wood Mallesons secured a positive partial award in the LCIA claim in 2018, with the tribunal upholding Naftogaz’s argument that corporate governance provisions in its shareholders’ agreement with the Kolomoisky entities are unenforceable.
Lexwell is also defending Ukraine in a US$100 million PCA-administered treaty claim brought by a US-Russian national over the alleged expropriation of his chocolate factory.
Yurii Martyniuk, the head of ArcelorMittal’s international arbitration division, reports obtaining a “100% desired outcome” in all of the matters he’s had with Lexwell. He praises Kolupaev for his “practical and efficient approach” and overall responsiveness.
Valery Tarsyuk, vice-president of Forbes & Manhattan Ukraine, says it used Lexwell in a high-profile dispute about industrial assets. Lexwell is “one of the best groups of lawyers I have dealt with,” he reports, describing them as hard-working, resourceful and “a pleasure to have as counsel.”
Meanwhile VS Energy’s head of legal Olexander Samchenko says Lexwell acted for it in a series of interconnected LCIA arbitrations that were “very important for our group.” Lexwell helped VS Energy settle the dispute which Samchenko says was the best result. He describes Kolupaev’s work ethic as “unbelievable.”