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GAR 100 - 4th Edition

Eversheds LLP

18 February 2011

2010 started dramatically for Eversheds with the widely publicised departure of its co-head of international arbitration, Stewart Shackleton. More positively, it took advantage of restructuring at other firms to bring in several partners and associates to strengthen its London office. One of the practice’s senior partners also received the official endorsement of the Sultan of Brunei.

People in Who’s Who:
2
Pending cases as counsel:
62
Value of pending counsel work:
US$15.25 billion
Treaty cases:
7
Current arbitrator appointments:
7 (of which 2 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
4

The roots of Eversheds’ international arbitration practice were laid in the 1980s when Rodman Bundy began to represent states in maritime boundary disputes at the International Court of Justice. Iran and its state-owned oil company became regular clients in cases before the Iran-US Claims Tribunal. The addition of David Sellers in Paris complemented Bundy who had started to include a series of ICC arbitrations for a number of state entities. Coupled with its experience in public international law – where it can boast a panoply of high-profile ICJ instructions – the past decade saw Eversheds’ portfolio of international commercial arbitration expand.

More recently, a team was at the heart of one of the first arbitrations to be broadcast on the internet, which took place at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, to resolve a boundary dispute between Sudanese factions – an important arbitration ahead of the referendum that took place earlier this year (Eversheds represented the government). Other eye-catching matters include a successful challenge to a barrister-arbitrator in an LCIA matter, and the continued assistance given to Franz Sedelmayer, the German businessman who is waging a one-man crusade against the Russian Federation over an unpaid SCC arbitral award issued twelve years ago.

In all, some 30 lawyers work in the arbitration practice, and in addition to Bundy and Sellers there are five partners who regularly feature in front of international panels, including a former state advocate to Malawi (Stuart Dutson) and a vice-president of the ICC Court (Loretta Malintoppi). The firm has a growing international network supporting the arbitration practice that now includes Singapore, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi and Tirana. It’s also one of the few firms in this particular book that can cover South Africa.

Recent events

An almost immediate response to Shackleton’s resignation in 2010 was the hire of Neville Byford as a partner in London. He joined from US firm Morgan Lewis, which had experienced its own shake-up. Two associates also followed him: co-chair of the LCIA’s Young International Arbitration Group, Andy Moody, joined the London office as senior associate and Claudius Triebold (Zurich) was appointed chair of Eversheds’ international arbitration group. In Paris, Will Thomas, an arbitration and PIL specialist, made partner. In Singapore, associate Charis Tan arrived from the chambers of well-known arbitrator Michael Hwang QC, and the office drafted in a former deputy registrar at SIAC (Jun Wang).

In tandem with the staff expansion, the firm integrated the international dispute resolution and public international law practices in its offices in Paris, London, Singapore, Switzerland and some other key locations. A merger with Swedish firm Södermark took effect in January 2010, giving Eversheds enhanced presence in Stockholm.

Bundy and others travelled to Darussalam last July for a state banquet to celebrate the 64th birthday of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei, he told researchers. At celebrations held at the Istana Palace, he was given the Brunei equivalent of a knighthood – the first of its kind to be granted to an American – in recognition of his work for the government.

On the work front, Sellers and Thomas are acting for Iran – which is facing its first BIT claim – against an investor in the telecoms sector who is claiming over US$600 million. 2010 also saw Malintoppi continue her defence of Colombia against Ecuador’s claims in the Aerial Spraying ICJ case. Thomas told researchers much of his time has been taken up by two major telecoms arbitrations (each worth over US$500 million) – one of the disputes being a commercial ICC arbitration, the other a BIT dispute under the UNCITRAL rules. Dutson led a three-lawyer team that successfully resisted an application by Nigeria to stay the enforcement of an arbitration award. The same team is acting for a Russian bank and its enforcement agent in pursuing a Russian individual in LCIA arbitration over a personal guarantee for more than US$40 million owed by his group of companies.

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