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GAR 100 - 13th Edition

Gorrissen Federspiel

15 April 2020

The Danish firm is working on high-value finance and IT-related disputes

People in Who's Who Legal 1
People in Future Leaders 0
Pending cases as counsel 12
Value of pending counsel work US$725 million+
Treaty cases 0
Third-party funded cases 0
Current arbitrator appointments 7 (3 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 3


Gorrissen Federspiel was opened in 1869 by a Danish Supreme Court attorney and has since undergone a number of mergers to become one of the country’s largest firms.

The foundations for its international arbitration practice were laid in the 1930s, when legacy firm NJ Gorrissen began working on commercial disputes in the maritime insurance and energy sectors. NJ Gorrissen would later merge with another firm that opened that decade, Per Federspiel, which is said to have been the first Danish practice targeted at international clients.

Today, the firm’s 28-strong disputes practice is led by Henriette Gernaa, a dual-qualified lawyer who acts as both counsel and arbitrator and is a board member of the Danish Arbitration Association. Lotte Eskesen leads the practice in the Danish city of Aarhus.

Other names to know are Jacob Skude Rasmussen, a former Danish diplomat who acts in banking and finance, IT and professional liability disputes; and Kenneth Hvelplund Pedersen, who specialises in M&A disputes and is described as a rising star.

Who uses it?

Gorrissen Federspiel has several clients in the financial sector, including Carnegie Investment Bank, Danske Bank, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley. It has also represented accountancy firms Deloitte and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Other users are HBO Nordic and Maersk Oil. The firm also reports advising the Danish Institute of Arbitration and the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

Track record

Much of the firm’s casework cannot be disclosed but previous instructions include acting for a client in a gas pricing arbitration worth over US$300 million.

It represented a well-known energy company in two post-M&A UNCITRAL arbitrations worth a combined US$38 million.

Other past work includes representing a construction company in a dispute over a UK project; a transport company settling an arbitration over delivery of faulty equipment; and a client in a FIDIC arbitration with a state.

Recent events

Gorrissen Federspiel is currently acting in two renewable energy sector disputes, one concerning insurance and the other construction.

It is representing a financial institution in two arbitrations worth a joint US$190 million arising from a share purchase agreement.

A tech company is using it in a US$165 million arbitration concerning the delivery of an IT system and it is also acting in a dispute between an IT developer and subcontractor regarding a public sector educational platform.

It is representing a service-industry company in a US$14 million acquisition dispute and an insurance company in a US$11 million post-M&A arbitration.

Client comment

Thomas Arendt, senior vice president at renewables company Vestas, says Gorrissen Federspiel provides “top notch legal services” and unlike other firms avoids getting “lost” in legal complexities.

A general counsel at one company says he is “very pleased” with the firm and considers Gernaa to be “top class” for complex large-scale matters and a “strong strategic thinker.”



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