The practice has picked up fresh instructions from the Czech Republic recently.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$12.5 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 7 (of which 3 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
Like the dimpled golf ball and air-flight, Squire Sanders started out in Cleveland and went global.
The firm’s arbitration practice took shape in 2000, when a partner in that office – George von Mehren – decided there was scope to build a successful practice. He joined forces with a newly arrived lateral team in Hungary that included the well-known Iván Szász. Since then, in parallel with the firm’s more general international expansion, the group has made some targeted lateral hires and built up a good track record, particularly in energy and construction matters. It was one of the first firms to be retained on investment arbitration work and to win a gas-pricing dispute.
The group’s footprint has recently expanded further following a merger with the UK firm Hammonds, which has filled in some of the gaps in Europe and taken it into Asia.
The practice is led by George von Mehren with Paul Oxnard – the head of Hammonds’ team as deputy practice leader.
Ivan Szász is a past vice president of ICCA and often sits as an arbitrator.
The firm now has 36 offices in 17 countries. Its coverage is particularly strong in eastern Europe and (through an association) in Latin America.
In arbitration terms, the key offices are probably those on the East of the US, Budapest, Prague, London and Paris. It’s also present in Perth.
Who uses it?
The Czech Republic is a regular client. It has used Squire Sanders on seven investor-state matters, including the important Saluka, Phoenix Action and Nagel cases.
Other users include Edison, OHL, Gas Natural and Entertainment Distribution Company Inc and the Republic of Ecuador (as co-counsel on a major case against Occidental).
The team has won seriously big twice now, on both occasions for Gas Natural in gas-pricing disputes. In 2005, it obtained US$500 million from Nigeria LNG and in 2008, up to US$1 billion (depending how you slice the award) from Atlantic LNG. The tribunal in the Atlantic case famously “rewrote” the pricing formula.
Members of the Hammonds arbitration team meanwhile won €17 million for Chelsea Football Club at the Court of Arbitration for Sport from former Chelsea player Adrian Mutu. The tribunal found the Romanian footballer had breached his contract.
The practice lost two Miami partners in February 2011 when Pedro Martinez-Fraga and Ryan Reetz decamped to DLA Piper’s new office in the city. De Fraga had an extensive Latin American practice, including counsel work for El Salvador and Chile and sitting as an arbitrator in a case against Argentina at ICSID.
Rostislav Pekar? in Prague was promoted to the partnership. Pekar? joined the firm on graduation from law school. His first assignment was as junior associate on the Saluka case.
Partners Stephen Anway in Cleveland and David Alexander in Columbus were tapped by the Czech Republic to be part of a “dream team” of lawyers defending the state against potential Energy Charter Treaty claims from solar power investors.
The firm has also seen an increase in the number of gas-pricing arbitrations. In both the investment law field, and gas pricing, it’s noticed an uptick in the number of requests to sit on another firm’s shoulder, giving second opinions.
Disputes involving multi-nationals and multiple jurisdictions can present complex challenges, requiring deep understanding and practical experience of a range of governing laws and applicable rules. Members of the Squire Sanders’ International Dispute Resolution (IDR) team have experience in many international dispute resolution forums and knowledge of local litigation rules in regions all around the world.
Squire Sanders now has over 1300 lawyers across 36 offices in 17 countries following its combination with Hammonds LLP in the UK and Europe and its combination with 80 lawyers of the Perth-based partnership of Minter Ellison, significantly expanding its presence in the fast-growing Asia Pacific market. With one of the strongest integrated global platforms, the new Squire Sanders provides seamless legal counsel worldwide. We are able to draw upon the resources of any office or jurisdiction whenever and wherever needed.
The IDR team specialises in international commercial arbitration, treaty arbitration, international litigation, advocacy, risk and crisis management, dispute prevention and mediation. Beyond representation in an international dispute, we are also called upon to assist clients proactively with creating alternative dispute resolution agreements to protect their rights in international transactions. As trusted advisors, we instinctively see the problems posed by a particular dispute in the context of our clients’ broader business interests. Our lawyers work with clients on structuring advantageous measures and proactive defences whilst ensuring that judgments or awards are enforceable.
Squire Sanders refers to an international legal practice which operates worldwide through a number of separate legal entities. Please visit www.squiresanders.com for more information.
George von Mehren