The firm promoted an investment law specialist to partner in the past year.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$4.7 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 65 (of which 34 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
Python & Peter was founded in 1981 by a breakaway group from what is now Lenz & Staehelin. The arbitration practice is based in Geneva, where senior partner Wolfgang Peter leads the team. He founded the international arbitration group after many years in M&A and as chief executive of Swiss watchmaker Breguet. In addition to his work for the firm, Peter is also a leading arbitrator; he chaired the LCIA tribunal that handed down a €1.9 billion award in Elektrim v Vivendi.
Christoph Brunner, who became a partner in 2010, heads the Berne office but spends part of his time in Geneva. The practice now includes 12 full-time practitioners.
As well as 65 lawyers in offices around Switzerland, it operates in Brussels and Tokyo. It is the first Swiss firm to enter the Japanese market.
Who uses it?
The arbitration practice has a wide ranging clientele, from financial institutions to corporations, construction companies, pharmaceutical groups, investors with BIT issues and state-owned enterprises from the gas and oil industries.
Sébastien Besson – a partner in the Geneva office – was on the winning side in one of the more remarkable Court of Arbitration for Sport matters of 2011. He defended the World Chess Federation, FIDE, in a case begun by Anatoly Karpov, the former world chess champion, with the support of Garry Kasparov, his great rival and eventual conqueror. The panel ruled that FIDE had respected its own statutes and regulations in the run-up to its leadership elections in Siberia.
The firm has won compensation for German warehousing company Advanced Cargo Logistics in a dispute with Malaysian Airlines.
In January 2011, Anne Hoffman was promoted to partner in the Geneva office. Hoffman has been instrumental in developing the firm’s investment arbitration practice. At present, she is advising a client in an investment dispute in which a state’s decision to roll back energy subsidies has imperilled its business. Hoffman was also appointed an associate lecturer at Humboldt University in Berlin.
Python & Peter also hired a barrister from a London firm last year – a native speaker of both English and German. The firm has a long made a point of seeking lawyers with diverse backgrounds and legal qualifications. It also boasts native speakers of Japanese, Farsi and Russian, among others.
Besson, a member of the working group for the revision of Swiss arbitration rules, featured in GAR’s “45 under 45”.