The arbitrators-only boutique is now in fact handling counsel work – of a limited type.
- People in Who’s Who:
This boutique practice began in 2007 when the co-founders of Schellenberg Wittmer’s international arbitration practice in Geneva realised their success as arbitrators was starting to impede their protégés’ work as counsel and vice versa. As well as handling the busy caseloads of the two arbitrators, it has lately begun to undertake some counsel work in sports arbitration.
The firm is headed by Laurent Lévy, Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler and Antonio Rigozzi.
Swiss-Brazilian, Lévy’s current positions include vice president of the ICC Court and council member of the ICC Institute of World Business Law, as well as a visiting professor at the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary, University of London. As an arbitrator, he has a great reputation for going the extra mile when it comes to preparation.
Kaufmann-Kohler is similarly praised for her energy and efficiency. Nominated for “Arbitrator of the Year” in last year’s GAR Awards, she’s sitting as chair or co-arbitrator in around a dozen pending cases at ICSID alone. In addition, she’s won plaudits as the founder and course director of the Geneva Master in Dispute Settlement, a one-year postgraduate programme sponsored by the Geneva Law School and Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.
She also helped set up the Court of Arbitration for Sport and presided over its ad hoc division for the Olympic Games until 2000.
Antonio Rigozzi heads the sports practice and is considered to be one of the leading specialists in cases before CAS, where he has represented associations such as FIFA and the United States Olympic Committee, among others. He has also represented individuals including football players, Olympic medallists and a three-time winner of the Tour de France.
Kaufmann-Kohler was recently appointed by Philip Morris to arbitrate its high-profile UNCITRAL claim against Australia over the state’s new tobacco packaging legislation.
At the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the firm successfully represented Judo world champion Wen Tong, allowing her to keep her gold medal. The court rejected the governing body’s allegations that Wen Tong’s challenges to the doping process violated Swiss law.
The firm has hired six new associates.