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GAR 100 - 5th Edition

Mannheimer Swartling

05 March 2012

Sweden’s number one player.

People in Who’s Who:
3
Pending cases as counsel:
65
Value of pending counsel work:
US$9.1 billion
Current arbitrator appointments:
19 (of which 7 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
6

Sweden has blessed and encouraged private dispute resolution as long as it has had a legal code. The Stockholm Chamber of Commerce has had an arbitral institution since 1917 and an arbitration act since 1929. There’s almost no such thing as commercial litigation in Sweden (aside from employment cases). As a result, Swedish lawyers grow up with arbitration as part of their professional DNA.

In the 1970s, the US and USSR adopted Sweden for the resolution of their trading disputes, turning it into one of the first centres for international arbitration. In the 1980s, China followed suit.

Little wonder, then, that one of the biggest local practices, Mannheimer Swartling, has emerged to such an extent on the international scene.

Formed by a merger in the early 1990s, members of the firm have long been at the forefront of the practice in Sweden. It was members of Mannheimer Swartling who represented Swedish interests in the UNCITRAL working groups that developed the Model Law and related projects.

The firm has also represented a series of US oil companies before the Iran-US Claims Tribunal.

Today, the practice area is a dominant group within the 400-lawyer firm, and the team is often the highest-ranked firm from a civil law jurisdiction in our GAR 30. The practice is led by the country’s foremost arbitration academic, Kaj Hobér.

The arbitration group has now branched out beyond Sweden into Russia and Hong Kong.

Many of its others members are also active in the wider life of the arbitration community. Jakob Ragnwaldh is a member of the SCC Arbitration Institute’s board, while Nils Eliasson is now on the ICC national committee on arbitration in Hong Kong and has also helped to found a group for young practitioners in the former colony. Robin Oldenstam, who is a member of the GAR editorial board, is head of the Swedish Arbitration Association.

Network

Besides three offices in Sweden, the practice group has senior members on the ground in Moscow, Hong Kong, and Frankfurt.

Who uses it?

RosInvestCo, a distressed-asset fund that invested in Yukos shares, used the firm in a potentially major case against the Russian government. Vattenfall, Endesa, Stena RoRo, Edison and Norwegian chemicals company Yara are all also clients, along with various Russian businesses the firm can’t name.

Track record

The firm won RosInvestCo damages – but not very much. The arbitrators said the investors had known the shares faced dire prospects when they bought them (in an intra-company deal) at a knock-down price, so weren’t entitled to any extra compensation.

Still, it means Mannheimer Swartling and their collaborators – Hughes Hubbard & Reed and V V Veeder QC – are the only lawyers so far to have obtained a liability ruling against Russia in a Yukos case. On a jurisprudential view, the case has far reaching implications.

More recently, the team obtained a settlement worth €200 million for Edison, and potentially more in a gas-pricing dispute with Promgas. The settlement occurred on the eve of the main hearing. Mannheimer worked with Squire Sanders & Dempsey on that case.

It also obtained a settlement for Vattenfall against Germany, after bringing the first ever investment treaty claim against Germany – showing its chutzpah – and managed to reverse a series of anti- enforcement rulings from Russian courts in a long-running matter for Stena RoRo.

Robin Oldenstam, meanwhile, won a €100 million domestic arbitration recently for four banks.

Recent events

Nils Eliasson was promoted to partner in Hong Kong in early 2011, as the firm sought to develop its Chinese practice.

Stefan Brocker, meanwhile, returned to full-time practice in Sweden as a shipping and transport disputes specialist after six years as managing partner.

In Stockholm, Kristoffer Löf was promoted to the partnership. Löf sits with Eliasson on the global advisory board of ICDR Young & International.

Meanwhile, the head of the arbitration practice in Moscow, Richard Chlup, was promoted to counsel.

Jakob Ragnwaldh was proud to be appointed to the CIETAC list of arbitrators. Robin Oldenstam was selected for the new GAR “45 under 45”.

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