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GAR 100 - 4th Edition

Clyde & Co LLP

18 February 2011

Created to serve international trade, Clyde & Co these days enjoys a large network of offices and impressive strength in core practice areas, such as shipping, commodities, construction and insurance.

People in Who’s Who:
Pending cases as counsel:
Value of pending counsel work:
US$13.5 billion
Treaty cases:
Current arbitrator appointments:
21 (of which 5 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:

Each of those areas in turn throws up a fair amount of international arbitration. At any given time, the 50 partner-strong group that handles international disputes can have as many as 500 cases on the go. The LCIA has mentioned that Clyde & Co is the firm that it sees the most often “by a large margin”, reports one source. The firm makes a selling point out of being better value for money than magic circle competitors, as well as having better connections where it counts. It is also unashamed about using barristers on many of its international arbitration cases, justifying the approach – which others see as outdated – as still the most sensible use of client’s funds.


The firm has 24 offices spanning all major business centres and many jurisdictions where few other international firms are present. The network includes Brazil, nationwide coverage in the US, and India, through an association with ALMT. In some locations, Clyde & Co lawyers have been present on the ground for so long that the firm is viewed as the establishment firm. From an arbitration the London and Dubai offices are particularly active.

In 2010 the firm opened new offices in New Jersey and Dar es Salaam.

Who uses it?

Clyde & Co’s arbitration work reflects the firm’s core practice areas.

In Dubai recently it’s been much in demand on construction related disputes. Partner Michael Grose is acting for UAE construction group Arabtec in its US$450 million claim against Meydan City over the termination of the contract to build the Meydan Racecourse grandstand.

The firm is also acting for the China State Engineering Corporation in a dispute over the termination of a residential development contract in Dubai.

It has also built a portfolio representing governments – it defended the government of Yemen in a US$10 billion ICC arbitration relating to a production sharing agreement and also acted for Serbia in an ICC arbitration against Israeli company ImageSat, in a case about spy satellites. Investors facing difficulties in Central European states are another client demographic.

Big wins

Clyde & Co successfully enforced an US$88 million MKAS award in the English courts. The firm’s client, Gater Assets, acquired the award from the insurers of Gazprom. The underlying dispute arose from a gas transit agreement with the predecessor of Naftogaz. The other side argued Gater should pay a security before pursuing its enforcement application. It also raised public policy objections to enforcement under the 1996 Arbitration Act, based on allegations of fraud.

Recently, a Clyde & Co team that included Michael Swangard defeated a claim brought against the Swiss sellers of 3,000 metric tons of Ukrainian sunflower seed oil, Geneva-based Inerco Trade. In the course of doing so it persuaded FOSFA’s arbitration board of appeal to reverse an extension of time limits that had been granted to the claimant. It also then defended that position in the English courts in a decision that may have broad implications for the timing of claims in soft commodity disputes.

Recent events

2010 was busy, with several additions in the Far East where partner Steven Lim and senior associate Ganesh Chandru joined, in Singapore, and counsel Yong Tong Ang in Shanghai. Both Chandru and Ang have worked at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. Ang was once registrar and Chandru assistant registrar.

Steven Lim meanwhile has over 15 years of international arbitration experience in the region, and specialises in energy and construction disputes.

In Europe, the firm brought in the London-based construction disputes team from Shadbolt LLP. The arrival of two partners and one associate adds substantially to the repository of ICC experience.

The firm said farewell to Jonathan Wood, who is now head of international arbitration at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain in London, and Paul Turner, who has joined another GAR 100 firm – Al Tamimi & Company – in Dubai.

Client comment

Several clients contacted by GAR said they would recommend Clyde & Co, including a counsel to the Serbian government, Miroslav Paunovic. He was particularly impressed by Clyde & Co’s understanding of “the local circumstances and political sensitivity of the case”. He said the firm had managed the case impeccably: “I am certain the government of Serbia received value for money.”

* includes several hundred shipping-related arbitrations

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