O’Melveny & Myers cut its teeth in international arbitration in the 1980s at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, before establishing a stand-alone practice in 1991 run from San Francisco. Since then it’s added elements on the US East Coast, Europe and Asia, where the firm as a whole is viewed as particularly strong. A former member of the Asian arbitration practice is Michael Moser, the chair of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre and one of the region’s most in-demand arbitrators.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$2.5 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 1 (of which 1 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
Who uses it?
Thanks to the Moser connection, the Asian practice has established a reputation for China-related work. It acts for Chinese firms as well as foreign investors. At present it’s representing a Chinese copper producer and a car manufacturer in (unrelated) SIAC and SCC cases. In Japan, the firm acted for Google in a dispute with a Japanese licensee, which led to parallel ICC arbitrations in New York and Tokyo before a settlement was reached.
In Europe, members of the firm helped Vivendi defend the outcome of the LCIA-administered Elektrim v Vivendi arbitration in court.
In the US, Bechtel is a client. It’s retained partner Steven Smith to defend in an ICC case by a Brazilian power company that is seeking over US$250 million over the failure of a steam turbine. The firm also acted for Bechtel in its claims against Ecuador over a water and sewage concession, which led to ICC arbitration and an eventual settlement.
The London team has added several associates in the past two years, reflecting an increased caseload. Senior associate Hayley Abdullaha also rejoined the London office after two years with Allens Arthur Robinson in Sydney.
In the US, Steve Smith has begun to split his time between the firm’s offices in San Francisco and Washington, DC.
The firm has also said farewell to Michael Moser, who has now ended a part-time consultancy role.