Launched in 2009, this Parisian boutique originally brought together two leading French arbitrators, Yves Derains and Serge Lazareff, with two younger partners, Hamid Gharavi (formerly of Salans) and Derains’ son, Bertrand.
Though Lazareff left to join another boutique shortly afterwards, the renamed Derains & Gharavi has gone from strength to strength, judging from a string of recent victories at ICSID. Yves Derains is a former secretary general of the ICC Court and the newly appointed chairman of the ICC Institute of World Business Law. He is particularly experienced as a counsel and arbitrator in Latin America-related disputes, and the firm’s personnel includes associates from Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
In July 2010, Derains & Gharavi secured a win for the government of Turkey in one of the biggest cases in ICSID’s history – a US$19 billion telecoms expropriation claim by Dutch-Jordanian national Saba Fakes. The tribunal dismissed the claim as frivolous at the jurisdictional phase and ordered Fakes to pay Turkey US$1.5 million in costs. The firm also helped two Turkish telecoms companies fend off an attempt by Kazakhstan to annul a US$175 million award in their favour – an ICSID ad hoc committee dismissed the state’s application in March. Another client is US national Joseph Lemire, whose radio licensing claim against the government of Ukraine moved to the merits stage this year. A Lebanese family has instructed the firm for an expropriation claim against the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Meanwhile Yves Derains was appointed president of an ICSID tribunal hearing a highway construction claim against Peru, and continues to sit as an arbitrator on another panel hearing a dispute between Spain’s Iberdrola and Guatemala.
This year the firm lost a younger member of its team, associate Julien Fouret, who joined the ICC in Paris as counsel.