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GAR 100 - 4th Edition

Chadbourne & Parke LLP

18 February 2011

In 2010, Chadbourne & Parke celebrated 20 years in Moscow with an opulent celebration at what one attendee described as “Moscow’s answer to Versailles.”

People in Who’s Who:
3
Pending cases as counsel:
43
Value of pending counsel work:
US$12 billion
Treaty cases:
10
Current arbitrator appointments:
15 (of which 5 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
3

The US firm was one of the first foreign law firms to open in Moscow and other emerging markets. As well as offices in central Europe and the CIS, the firm has a major outpost in Mexico City and has just opened a new office in São Paolo to serve its increasing Latin American transactional and dispute resolution work.

While dispute resolution has long been a core area, until four years ago that practice was confined to certain national markets or an outgrowth of its global insurance and reinsurance, litigation, energy and project finance practices.

In 2007, a series of arbitration-focused lateral hires started to pull those threads together. In Dubai, where it had previously had a presence, the firm opened an office led by Jack Greenwald, an arbitration specialist with 25 years’ experience in the UAE. Not long after, a team of respected arbitration figures from the now defunct Thacher Profitt & Wood joined in New York – chiefly Oliver Armas and Thomas Pieper in New York together with the highly respected Luis Enrique Graham and Salvador Fonesca in Mexico City. The Spanish-speaking arbitration capability received a further boost with the arrival of investment treaty specialist Ignacio Suarez Anzorena in Washington, DC. Suarez joined from Clifford Chance. He’s a former counsel at Argentina’s Treasury Attorney’s Office (the body that represents the state in international arbitration matters) and worked on many of the Argentina ICSID claims. More recently, the practice has created a foothold in London.

Recent events

A key event this year was the arrival of Melanie Willems, the former head of international arbitration at Howrey, in London. She joined with a three-lawyer team from her previous firm, including associate Markus Esly.

Willems and Esly have been acting in a closely watched case for the aviation industry – a London ICC arbitration brought by an IT services provider against a Canadian airline, over the airline’s use of particular data. The claimant sought in excess of €50 million in profits on the basis that the airline had made sales dependent on the use of protected information. The case has now settled but not before arbitrators rejected the monetary claims against the airline. It has also been allowed to continue marketing using the product in question, subject to conditions.

London has also been strengthened by the return of Mark Pring, from Dubai.

In Eastern Europe, Julia Romanova in Moscow and Sergei Vataev in Almaty were promoted to partner, as was Salvador Fonseca in Mexico City. Thomas Pieper in New York was elevated to counsel.

In Russia, rumours that lead arbitration partner Mikhail Rozenberg was about to join Dechert came to nothing.

A high point for the Latin America dispute resolution practice was to be “vindicated”, it writes, by the Mexican Supreme Court, reinstating an award obtained by Luis Enrique Graham. The team also obtained a favourable settlement in an ICDR case flowing from Argentina’s sovereign default – one of the first “downstream” matters testing whether governmental actions can give a private party the right to invoke “economic hardship” as a basis for force majeure. Chadbourne’s client – Chilean natural gas company Innergy – risked going out of business had it lost the arbitration.

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