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GAR 100 - 5th Edition

Hamilton Advokatbyrå

06 March 2012

Hamilton has earned a place in the GAR 100 after merging with an offshoot of Cederquist

Sweden’s Hamilton Advokatbyrå (no relation to the Madrid firm of the same name) became a name to know in the local international arbitration market thanks to a merger.

In late 2010, it merged with disputes boutique Nilsson & Co, which had been set up three years before by six partners from full-service firm Cederquist in Stockholm. Collectively, those lawyers are responsible for one of the biggest domestic Swedish awards in recent times – a 1.4 billion kronor payout obtained for life insurer Skandia Liv following a dispute with its parent over the distribution of dividends.

After the merger, Ola Hansson – the former head of Nilsson & Co’s team – took the reins of the dispute resolution practice at Hamilton, which had two existing arbitration partners (Hans Renman and Björn Samuelson). He duly passed the title of head of arbitration to partner Johannes Ericson.

With the promotion of Johan Danelius to the partnership in July 2011, the firm has become one of the bigger players – in partner numbers – in the local market. The group focuses primarily on arbitration at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and the ICC and ad hoc cases.

At the time of the merger, the Nilsson & Co team told GAR that the logic was to shed some of the burdensome marketing duties and overheads associated with a small practice, and to join forces with Hamilton’s established insolvency and construction arbitration groups.

Q&A with Hamilton’s head of arbitration, Johannes Ericson:

Since the merger, you are no longer a boutique; but you are smaller than the big Scandinavian firms such as Vinge or Mannheimer Swartling. What niche do you now fill?

As we see it, Hamilton’s arbitration practice is now one of the largest in the Nordic market. That means of course that we expect our referral work to drop in number. On the other hand we expect mandates from new clients to rise in number.

We believe that our new position will have an impact in the market for several reasons: we have a unique combination of two extremely well-reputed arbitration and litigation practices, which is an advantage as clients increasingly demand strong capabilities in both; our age structure is one of the best in the Swedish market, so we can tend to our clients with senior, mid-level and junior partners, all of whom are very experienced arbitration specialists; and in comparison to all of our Nordic colleagues, our fee earners are exclusively and 100 per cent devoted only to dispute resolution.

How has the international arbitration practice fared since the merger?

2011 was a very busy year. We had several major international arbitrations under different rules such as the SCC and ICC, as well as ad hoc arbitrations. In addition, we received prestigious mandates by referrals from other law firms. We were also very happy to welcome Johan Danelius, a well-reputed arbitration specialist, to our partnership.

Can you tell us who you’re working for?

We are representing an international financial services firm in a dispute against a leading retail company, where the disputed value exceeds €1 billion. We are also representing an international telecoms company in several disputes against an international energy company, in which the disputed value exceeds €70 million. And finally, we are acting for one of the Big Four accountancy firms in a major professional negligence dispute.

When and how did you pick up your most recent client?

In December, as a result of a beauty parade involving several other well-regarded Nordic firms.

How many international arbitrations are you working on as counsel at the moment?

Six.

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