2010 saw a changing of the guard at Simpson Thacher’s international arbitration group. At the beginning of the year, Robert Smit and Peter Thomas took over from John Kerr as co-heads of international arbitration practice.
- Who’s Who Name:
- Robert H Smit
Kerr, who was recently appointed chair of the American Arbitration Association, has left the firm to pursue a career as a full-time arbitrator.
Although it doesn’t have a high volume of cases, the practice has a track record of acting in high-value matters with good results. When Korea’s Hanwha Group needed a firm for a billion-dollar claim against a government agency to be heard in Vancouver, it “interviewed every firm in New York” and then chose Simpson Thacher, according to a member of the firm interviewed by The American Lawyer. The opposition in that case included both co-chairs of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s international arbitration practice. The tribunal ruled Hanwha should be allowed to purchase shares at a pre-arranged price. Simpson Thacher claims this result was worth US$1billion to the client.
General Electric and Bechtel, as well as states including the Dominican Republic, have all turned to the firm in recent times. Simpson Thacher also successfully represented management consultancy firm Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) in its final separation from defunct accountancy firm Arthur Andersen and Andersen Worldwide – the result of an ICC case involving some US$14 billion in claims. The firm says that case it is “believed to be the largest ICC arbitration ever filed.”