New in 2011. Orrick’s international arbitration group began on the West Coast of the US. It gained its momentum, though, thanks to steps taken in Europe. In Germany, it absorbed Holters Elsing, home to Siegfried Elsing, one of Germany’s pre-eminent practitioners and arbitrators. Elsing leads the current practice group.
- Who’s Who Names:
- W Laurence Craig and Siegfried H Elsing
Since then, it has also absorbed Rambaud Martel, one of Paris’s elite M&A boutiques, giving it credibility in France. Then in 2005, Coudert Brothers collapsed and Orrick picked up several members of its highly respected Coudert Brothers arbitration group, including the venerable Laurie Craig in Paris. Its continued to make lateral hires: in 2009 it was joined by Laurent Jaeger, formerly of Latham & Watkins’ Paris office.
Given it can trace its origins back to late 19th-century California, Orrick took a while to venture beyond its homebase. The firm remained a solely West Coast player until 1984 when it opened its first New York office. Since then it has spread its wings and now has a network across Asia and Europe. Through its mergers with Rambaud Martel and then with Germany’s Hölters & Elsing, the firm has established a strong footprint in Europe. It’s handled some substantial matters in New York too.
In 2010, the firm secured a favourable settlement for Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor that marked the end of a bitter dispute with the Russian-owned Alfa Group over a Ukranian telecoms joint venture.
The settlement was precipitated by two orders from New York courts fining Alfa US$100,000 per day for its failure to implement an award issued by a sole arbitrator in 2007.
In March, again in New York, the firm obtained an antisuit injunction restraining Indian proceedings against its client Amaprop, in a shareholders’ dispute with Indianbulls Financial Services. Amaprop has initiated arbitration under ICDR rules.
From Paris, the firm is bringing an ICSID arbitration claim against Gabon at ICSID under the Belgium-Luxembourg investment treaty. As part of that, the firm successfully blocked an application for the removal of French-Lebanese arbitrator Ibrahim Fadlallah by Gabon (represented by Shearman & Sterling partners Emmanuel Gaillard and Yas Banifatemi). Gabon challenged the arbitrator on the basis of his role on another tribunal that heard an earlier case against the state. (The case now looks likely to be discontinued by ICSID because of the parties’ failure to pay their fees.) The firm has also acted for a European subsidiary of Telecom Italia in a claim against Bolivia under UNCITRAL rules.
The team has made associate-level additions in Paris and Hong Kong, but has also said goodbye to a French-Algerian associate and polyglot Amal Bouchenaki, who left the Paris office to join Gibson Dunn & Crutcher as counsel in New York.
Jalal Ahdab, from the Paris office, was promoted to counsel. The French-Lebanese lawyer edits the Journal of Arab Arbitration.