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GAR 100 - 4th Edition

CMS network*

18 February 2011

Borrowing a structure more usually found in the accounting industry, the CMS network comprises nine law firms offering tax and legal advice focused on European jurisdictions

People in Who’s Who:
Pending cases as counsel:
Value of pending counsel work:
US$11.16 billion
Treaty cases:
Current arbitrator appointments:
70** (of which 21 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:

A number of the member firms – particularly Cameron McKenna in the UK and CMS Hasche Sigle in Germany – have busy arbitration practices, and the Polish and Swiss members are also often selected in legal guides for commercial disputes, including arbitration.

In 2005, CMS made international arbitration one of its cross-organisation practice groups. That has enabled common training of associates to take place among the member firms, along with an increase in secondments and more cases in which different offices collaborate.

Initially, Guy Pendell in London led the practice group; now it’s Torsten Lörcher in Cologne. CMS Germany is also home to Klaus Sachs, the much in demand arbitrator. In 2009, the firms collaborated to produce a 1,000-page guide to international commercial arbitration in 30 jurisdictions. The group spans 16 jurisdictions.

Who uses it?

CMS London has recently been working for Shaher Abdulhak, one of Yemen’s wealthiest individuals, in a dispute about oil with a Norwegian opponent. CMS Poland took on Cleary Gottlieb in a series of linked cases for a former subsidiary of Belgian manufacturer Agfa-Gaevart. The member firms have strengths in oil and gas, insurance and construction. CMS Switzerland recently represented Atlético Madrid in arbitration at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Big wins

For Atlético Madrid, CMS Switzerland overturned a CAS award on the grounds of breach of public policy. It’s one of the first times that the Swiss Federal Tribunal has accepted such a challenge. The organisation also helped GALP, a Portuguese energy business, deflect a large claim relating to LNG from Nigeria. Following that outcome, GALP’s chief executive, Ferreira De Oliveira Manuel told reporters: “the arbitration has been completed with results that we are happy with.”

Recent events

2010 saw the network extend to Rio de Janeiro. In Russia, CMS Russia joined the ICC Russia arbitration committee and began to host committee meetings. It has also started to hold client seminars on arbitration with lawyers from other CMS offices as speakers.

In London, the team welcomed a mid-level associate from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Paris: Jeremy Wilson. While at Freshfields, Wilson worked on one of the firm’s major arbitrations about the pricing of North African gas.

For senior associate Zsolt Okányi in Budapest, the year saw the release of his book Arbitration in Hungary in Domestic and International Matters, while Olexander Martinenko has found himself in demand as an expert witness on Ukrainian regulations on cross-border shipment of oil and gas. Martinenko is serving as an expert in three commercial arbitrations being held elsewhere.

Aside from his regular work, Klaus Sachs was one of four figures appointed to a special ICC panel that will hear Formula One-related disputes. He was also asked to present on his method for taking expert evidence – “the Sachs method” – at this year’s ICCA meeting.

On the work side, CMS UK and CMS Germany together ran a large reinsurance arbitration, and CMS UK and CMS Ukraine collaborated on a complex case featuring preparation of BIT-based claims. CMS says that more cooperation of that type is occurring.

* including CMS Hasche Sigle and CMS Cameron McKenna.

** figure includes 24 K Sachs cases.

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