Within SJ Berwin a joke runs that some corridors have a sign: “Russian only spoken past here.” Some of its biggest international arbitration work has come from the former Soviet Union.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$15 billion*
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 20 (of which 6 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
In 2008 and 2009, Justin Michaelson led a team that represented the Russian half of TNK-BP in a fight for control of its joint venture with BP. Before that, with co-counsel Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the firm fought a series of parallel arbitrations about ownership of Megafon, one of Russia’s most profitable telecoms companies.
The firm has also developed a niche advising on arbitration as it relates to private funds – a hot topic in the wake of the financial crisis, with various regulatory investigations unfolding in New York.
The team organises a popular annual event – Hot Topics in International Arbitration – every autumn. The event routinely draws a 200-plus audience. It’s also extended its coverage to Asia and the Middle East. Head of international Tim Tyler now works from Dubai. Taylor, who has started to sit as an arbitrator, runs a foundation to educate African lawyers in the basics of commercial law through secondments.
The firm said farewell to co-head of international arbitration, David Goldberg, in 2010. He’s moved to White & Case in London. Sources at SJ Berwin say the arbitration practice is now focused on politically sensitive Russian cases that don’t require a presence in Moscow.
* includes one US$8 billion claim