Fulbright & Jaworski’s international arbitration practice celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$7.5 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 22 (of which 9 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
It was one of the first US firms to treat it as a specialist area in its own right – a milestone it owes to C Mark Baker, founder and co-head of the group. An early highlight was being instructed on one of the post-Yukos disputes (Yukos v Sibneft). Since then it has played an active part in many of the field’s key institutions, projects and cases, in the process growing as a practice beyond its US roots. The firm won two awards for Duke Energy against Ecuador and Peru. Unlike many other firms, all Fulbright lawyers conduct their own advocacy. Eleven members of the practice are also sitting as sole or co-arbitrator in international cases. They seem to be in high demand, but some partners are restricted in taking appointments, the firm told researchers, because of risks of conflict of interest. C Mark Baker for one had to turn down 12 appointments in 2010, Fulbright reported.
Following the departure of a couple of recognised figures a few years ago, the firm has made a number of shrewd hires. Practice co-head David J Howell joined from Baker & McKenzie, while in London two senior associates came on board – Lucy Greenwood from Linklaters and James Rogers from Herbert Smith. In Dubai, it poached Philip Punwar, the head of top-rank local firm Al Tamimi & Company (also listed in this book). In addition it relocated an up-and-coming name, Richard Hill, to Hong Kong and recruited a former CIETAC research fellow and case manager, Jessica Fei, as counsel in Beijing. Around nine partners are now dedicated to the practice area, working from Houston, New York, London, Hong Kong and Dubai. Its recent focus, say researchers, has been to develop a more cohesive global unit in which experience rather than location influences the allocation of work. Oil and gas companies in particular continue to keep the firm busy all over the globe. The Houston office reports an increasing amount of issues arising from Latin America.
The co-head of the Latin America practice in New York, Harry Burnett, left the firm at the start of 2010 to join other ex-Fulbright colleagues at Crowell & Moring (Arif Hyder Ali, Baiju Vasani and, more recently, Canadian NAFTA specialist Ian Laird all made the same move). Meanwhile Fulbright admitted to the partnership its long-term Saudi Arabia contact, Mohammed Al-Ghamdi – a Riyadh-based international arbitration lawyer.
Baker steered the inaugural GAR Live conference in London in October. He told researchers one of his highlights was being labelled “One of the lawyers who defined legal practice for the last decade” by The National Law Journal.
As part of its pro bono activities, Kevin O'Gorman lead a team that brought a federal court case under the Hague Convention on behalf of a father whose seven-year-old daughter had been abducted from Mexico and brought to Houston illegally by her mother. The court ordered the girl’s return. The US State Department commended Fulbright for its “extraordinary assistance”.
Who’s Who nominees:
- Kevin O'Gorman
- C Mark Baker
- Jonathan Sutcliffe
- Philip Punwar
- Richard Hill
- Anibal Martin Sabater
- David J Howell