This Swiss firm was founded in 1981 by a breakaway group from what is now Lenz & Staehelin. Its international arbitration practice was founded by Wolfgang Peter – today a leading arbitrator as well as counsel. Peter chaired the LCIA tribunal that handed down a €1.9 billion award in Elektrim v Vivendi, one of the biggest awards made in a commercial case of recent years. Peter, who has a background in industry, is often credited with introducing expert witness “hot-tubbing” to international arbitration.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$8 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 90 (of which 52 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
Today, the firm has 65 lawyers and an office in Tokyo (the first Swiss firm into that market). The arbitration practice has grown several times in recent years by way of internal promotions. In the group’s senior ranks, a high proportion of the names to know sit regularly as arbitrators, often in the chair. The practice is home to Sébastien Besson, author of a popular book on comparative arbitration law.
Clients include governments and a variety of European and Asian businesses. For a German warehousing company Advanced Cargo Logistics, the firm won a €7 million award in a dispute with Malaysian Airlines.
The international arbitrations on its books are all contract cases, but in a memo to researchers the practice said it is now working on investment disputes.
In 2010, the firm promoted Christoph Brunner and Anne K Hoffmann to partner and Julia Xoudis to counsel. Meanwhile, Pierre-Yves Gunter was part of a committee producing the SIAC’s revised rules. On the work front, in an unusual case, Sébastien Besson successfully represented the World Chess Federation – FIDE – before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The case established FIDE had respected its own statutes and regulations in the run-up to its recent leadership elections in Siberia. That result was a disappointment to former chess world champion Anatoly Karpov who’d been hoping to take over control of the federation, which has been under the same leadership for 20 years. Among the witnesses was former chess world champion: Garry Kasparov.
In a more mainstream instruction, Peter and Brunner acted in a matter for one of Turkey’s largest and most well known construction companies. The firm also heard that one of its longest-running matters – a commercial dispute between two states – would soon produce a final award.
Who’s Who nominees
- Pierre-Yves Gunter, Wolfgang Peter & Sebastien Besson