This Paris boutique is regularly found on some of the biggest and most sensitive cases
Launched in 2009, this Parisian boutique originally brought together two leading French arbitrators, Yves Derains and the late Serge Lazareff, with two younger partners, Hamid Gharavi (formerly of Salans) and Derains’ son, Bertrand.
Though Lazareff left to join another boutique not long afterwards, the renamed Derains & Gharavi has gone from strength to strength to judge from the cases it is found on and its results.
It has extended that track record during the past year. The firm’s client, US radio investor Joseph Lemire, won big at ICSID. His opponent, Ukraine, was ordered to pay him US$8.7 million for breaching the US-Ukraine bilateral investment treaty. (The award hasn’t yet cleared the annulment phase.)
The firm helped to knock out early on one of the biggest cases in ICSID’s history: defending the government of Turkey in a US$19 billion telecoms expropriation claim filed by Dutch-Jordanian national Saba Fakes. The tribunal dismissed the claim as frivolous at the jurisdictional phase and ordered Fakes to pay Turkey US$1.5 million in costs. The firm also helped two Turkish telecoms companies fend off an attempt by Kazakhstan to annul a US$175 million award in their favour.
Both Yves Derains and Hamid Gharavi sit as arbitrator. At ICSID, Derains is hearing a highway construction claim against Peru, and a dispute between Spain’s Iberdrola and Guatemala. Gharavi, meanwhile is hearing a claim against Egypt brought by US H&H Enterprises Investments and has recently been appointed to hear a claim against Romania filed by a US businessman.
Derains, who is a former secretary general of the ICC Court, was appointed chairman of the ICC Institute of World Business Law in 2010.
Dutch lawyer Melanie van Leeuwen has joined the firm as a partner. She arrived in September 2011 from Loyens & Loeff in Paris.
The firm recently won a pitch to represent French businessman Frank Charles Arif in his ICSID claim against Moldova over duty-free shops (as co-counsel with Moldovan law firm Paduraru Brasoveanu & Partners). The claim was registered just three months after Moldova ratified the ICSID Convention. Gharavi and associates Nada Sader and Cédric Soule are handling the case.
As well as featuring in GAR’s new “45 under 45”, Hamid Gharavi was on the working group which assisted with the recent reforms to French arbitration law. The firm also served as party-appointed French law experts in Dallah v Pakistan.