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GAR 100 - 5th Edition

Squire Sanders

05 March 2012

The practice has picked up fresh instructions from the Czech Republic recently.

People in Who’s Who:
2
Pending cases as counsel:
22
Value of pending counsel work:
US$12.5 billion
Treaty cases:
5
Current arbitrator appointments:
7 (of which 3 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
4

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.

Network

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).

Track record

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.

Recent events

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.

Insight

Reviews

Regional analysis from arbitrators around the globe, focussing on key developments in specific industry areas and jurisdictions.

The asia pacific arbitration review 2021 20x5

The Asia-Pacific Arbitration Review 2021

Highlights

Arbitration in mainland China’s free trade zones aiming to match international standards

Disputes in construction and infrastructure projects

Craig Shepherd, Daniel Waldek and Mitchell Dearness

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP