The London disputes team of this US firm recently helped a member of the collapsed Lehman Brothers group secure victory in an LCIA arbitration.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$10 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 7 (of which 4 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
Partner Matthew Shankland and associate Jamie Maples represented the US entity – which is in chapter 11 bankruptcy – in a claim to recover tens of millions of dollars from one of the company’s former counterparties, an Asian bank, in respect of various foreign exchange and options contracts. The Lehman Brothers estate is using them on a number of similar matters, with in-house counsel Alanna Lee saying the firm played a “key role” in the result.
The international arbitration practice includes 20 partners across nine offices worldwide. The network spread to eastern Europe in the early 1990s and now has a presence in Budapest, Warsaw and Prague (each has between 30 and 80 attorneys). The firm also has over 100 lawyers working in London.
Who uses it?
Ecuador is a Weil Gotshal arbitration client. It has retained the team on various investment law disputes. The government of Canada also used it for the arbitration of its softwood lumber dispute against the US. In Europe, CEZ – a Czech power firm – has been a regular customer. Recently it retained lawyers from the Prague office to pursue an investment claim against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Prague office secured the Czech ministry of finance’s first-ever win in an investment law case. It defeated a claim by Invesmart (represented by King & Spalding) over a bank bailout. (A parallel claim with a different firm defending the state produced the opposite result.) In Poland, the firm represented part of a consortium of Polish businesses in the long-running row with Vodafone over the transfer of shares in Polkomtel.
The firm recently secured another victory for the Czech Republic. It stopped a claim by Canadian energy company Frontier Petroleum Services at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, begun after Czech courts refused to enforce an award it won in a dispute with a joint venture partner.
It also secured a notable victory for Czech energy group CEZ in its dispute with a state owned power plant over an electricity supply agreement. A panel of arbitrators under the auspices of the Court of Arbitration of the Hungarian Economic Chamber awarded CEZ €6.1 million.
In April, the firm recruited McDermott Will & Emery’s former head of international dispute resolution practice Juliet Blanch, to work from London. Blanch has considerable experience in investment treaty arbitrations at ICSID and Energy Charter Treaty disputes.
On the other side of the ledger, the practice said farewell to a co-head of the international arbitration practice in New York – Mexican trade and arbitration academic Guillermo Aguilar-Alvarez. He’s joined King & Spalding.
* excludes domestic cases.