Winston & Strawn has, for many years, had arbitration specialists on the ground in the US and Europe. It continues to, but who they are, and where, are very different from when the 100 started publishing.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$9 billion*
- Treaty cases:
In 1993, the firm merged with Geneva boutique Surrey & Morse, a unique local outfit that housed US litigators and Swiss lawyers who focused on WTO work and advocacy before international tribunals, including the US–Iran Claims Commission. That created the starting point for the practice,which later expanded to Paris when the firm opened there, reportedly to help Disney as it embarked on operating a European theme park, and DC as investment arbitration took off. More recently, the demise of Heller Ehrman LLP in 2008 allowed the firm to add a ready-made arbitration practice in Hong Kong.
Events during the last two years have altered the detail of the picture considerably.
First, a number of investment treaty specialists in DC have left – three well known names in all - going to Foley Hoag and Arnold & Porter. More recently, a commercial arbitration specialist, Marc Palay, quit the Geneva office after 17 years for Sidley Austin.
In response, Ricardo Ugarte has relocated from Chicago to Geneva to head the office there – he’s a member of the ICC investor-state arbitration task force. The Paris office remains home to Bruno Leurent, formerly of Salans. As this edition was going to press, the firm also announced it was adding a team of international arbitration specialists formerly at Morgan Lewis & Bockius in Washington DC, along with a respected Of Counsel, a dual qualified Swiss and US individual, in Geneva.
Who uses it?
The firm is continuing to work for Ecuador in a range of arbitration and US court matters, most notably the protracted, multi-front dispute with Chevron over liability for an environmental clean-up in the Amazon jungle. The value of that case has reportedly now risen from US$27 billion to an astonishing US$113 billion (almost twice Ecuador’s GDP). Chevron has taken Ecuador to The Hague over the matter. In another Ecuador matter, it secured dismissal of a claim by Murphy Oil over a windfall tax. The Kingdom of Jordan has been using the Geneva office for a couple of railway disputes. Members of the Paris office recently helped Senegal in an ICJ case, defeating an attempt by Belgium to compel the extradition of the former president of Chad.
* excludes Chevron v Ecuador environmental claim.