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GAR 100 - 9th Edition

The GAR 30

17 February 2016

How does one “rank” international arbitration practices?

At first blush, it looks like something that should be easy. After all, they compete head-to-head... so there’s a winner, right? Or how about looking at who’s working on the bigger, “sexier” cases?

There are surveys that do both of those. But with all due respect, neither approach on its own works too well.

A law firm, for example, can often be obliged to take on a stinker of a case – as a favour to a client. Or there’s the opposite scenario: one might win (or seem to win) the battle but lose the war, as one of our readers in fact experienced (he didn’t know he was losing the war because he didn’t have control of the totality of the case). In that matter, the lawyer successfully defended an US$80 million claim. Meanwhile (and out of his hands), the client was losing a parallel case about the same transaction worth US$200 million.

As for “size”, that isn’t always a great indicator of importance either. A story from the back catalogue of Jan Paulsson may help to explain.

A while ago, Paulsson’s then-firm Coudert Brothers received a smallish-looking case from an Asian client, about vested rights. About US$50 million seemed to be at stake. Except – and here’s the rub – when the team scratched the surface, they found the terms in this dispute with a Middle Eastern agent were repeated in lots of contracts.

Worse, most of the client’s corporate loans contained acceleration clauses. A loss of more than US$5 million and those would become eligible for early repayment.

The small case was far from minor, it turned out.

After a “pretty bloody fight” (that included the discovery of forgery), the client lost – but only US$2 million. It was overjoyed.

“A silly summary of the case,” says Jan Paulsson, “would have been that we lost a little case.”

In reality, the client exhaled with huge relief. It treated Paulsson and the rest of the team – plus spouses – to an all-expenses paid trip to the Seoul Olympics.

It’s more normal for things to be the other way around. The so-called “bet the company” case turns out to be worth tens of millions when all is said and done. Indeed, for a period it was noticeable how few of the billion-dollar cases that began at ICSID have produced anything like that amount. This phase may have ended recently (see recent awards such as Yukos v Russia and Occidental v Ecuador), but before that a number of cases produced far less than the amounts claimed. So the point remains. It’s unwise to draw too many conclusions about the “size” of a case until the result is in.

So how can one take the pulse of a practice?

A few years ago, GAR journalists and the magazine’s editorial board pondered that question, leading to the thought: what about a survey built chiefly on the number of hearings conducted by the firm in a two-year period?

For those reading about international arbitration for the first time, the hearing (particularly the merits hearing) is the closest thing that arbitration has to a day in court. It’s the moment the two sides convene in a hotel room, law firm office or arbitration hearing centre for however many days of oral arguments have been agreed.

For the senior counsel (the advocates), it portends a period of isolation beforehand prepping – and perhaps the odd cold towel pressed to the head. (For the younger lawyers, it means sorting out all of the logistics of the presentation, and possibly dealing with a more-jittery-than-usual boss.)

If it’s a very important case, the team may have done some dress rehearsals in front of arbitrators hired specially for the purpose.

So why is the incidence of hearings a good indicator of the health of a practice?

As a metric, the hearing has a number of strengths. First, it’s innate. Just as fissile material emits radiation, so the busy arbitration practice cannot help but produce hearings.

Second, it’s the same for everyone. Although some firms have complained that their cases tend to settle before a hearing, there is no evidence to suggest anyone has a different settlement rate.

Third, it’s checkable. International arbitration is often confidential, but firms can reveal descriptive, generic information about each hearing (such as language, dates, claim size, opposing counsel, chairman of the tribunal, and so on) without breaching that, and so allow its existence to be verified.

Fourth, real experience is gained in merits hearings. Any advocate will tell you there’s no better gymnasium for the legal mind than going into a hearing, big or small.

Of course, there are exceptions that test the rule.

Practices that focus on very low-value commodities cases pose a problem for this method – as there’s a risk they can swamp the chart. We’ve met that by ignoring matters below a certain figure (despite what we said earlier about size not counting).

Practices that have large but slow-moving cases are also difficult: for many DC-based firms, for example, the majority of their work is large, labour-intensive yet slow-moving investment disputes. Again, we’ve met that by asking them to send in their billable hours – as well as their hearings information – to see if we can give them extra credit.

(Click for larger image)

As you can see, we’ve attempted to adapt the approach so it is fair to all. But the core of the survey remains the number of hearings.

Having collected the data, how do we turn it into the “ranking”?

One can compare the GAR 30 to a class of students. The students get different grades per test throughout their year. (Note the grade is always relative to the other students. An “A” doesn’t mean “80 per cent or up” – it means it is in the top 10 per cent of performances (or something close). The more high grades, the better the student’s overall placing.

So it is with our firms (except the tests are columns in an Excel spreadsheet): lots of A grades (or A+ or A-) mean a high final position in the GAR 30; Bs and Cs mean a mid-table score; and so on.

That raises the next question: what do the firms get tested on?

The survey now looks at:

  • merits hearings and jurisdictional hearings in a two-year period and the amount of money at stake;
  • the number of hours billed to arbitration in the past two years;
  • the number of lawyers at the firm who were peer-selected for inclusion in our sister publication Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration; and
  • the number of arbitrator appointments a firm’s members are handling.

Further, we split “hearings” into four categories according to their value: bet-the-company cases (US$1 billion and upwards); large cases (US$250 million to US$999 million); medium-sized cases (US$10 million to US$249 million); and small cases (these are all but ignored, except as a tie-breaker).

“Winning” doesn’t come into it. If it did, Shearman & Sterling would have been the runaway number one last year, having won the US$50 billion Yukos awards – and the likes of Debevoise & Plimpton, King & Spalding, Arnold & Porter and WilmerHale would also all have done well in previous editions.

The problem with comparing arbitration practices is that often it’s apples and oranges. In the past, this survey tended to over-reward high-volume practices. In recent years, we’ve tried to construct it so that everyone has a good chance to shine – from firms who focus 100 per cent on super-complex work to those that are more supermarket-like.

What’s the secret to doing well in the GAR 30?

There are two ways to do well.

One – the easier – is to perform better than average across the board. This is the “well-roundedness” route to success. If one looks at the top of the table, this is how Freshfields, White & Case, King & Spalding and others do well year in, year out, and why some other firms are also regularly in the GAR 30, without particularly standing out in any single column.

The second way is to do exceptionally well in one or two particular columns and averagely elsewhere. This is the “big-game hunting” route to success.

Something to be aware of in the GAR 30 is that it can be a bit changeable – particularly in the middle order. There are various reasons for this.

First, it’s the nature of the endeavour. There is often very little difference, in grade terms, between a firm that finishes, say, 16th or 17th and one that’s in 23rd. But by referring to them as being in 16th and 23rd place, the difference is made to look starker than it perhaps is. It also means that for firms in zones of the table where everyone’s grades are tightly bunched, moving up or down is fairly easy, and the jumps that are made also seem magnified.

This highlights another caveat about the table: it’s relative. The fact that a firm has moved its ranking compared with a year ago in fact establishes nothing about whether the firm’s own practice has changed (improved/not improved).

All it shows is that its performance relative to other firms has changed. In an extreme example of this, a firm may have exactly the same figures this year as a year ago and yet move several places, up or down. It itself hasn’t changed. But others have posted better (or worse) figures.

With that background established, you are ready to find out about this year’s ranking.

This is the ninth edition of the GAR 30. The range of characteristics we looked at per practice remains as it was last year.

We publish all the data relevant to the ranking apart from billable hours (which must remain secret). We include two columns that don’t count towards the overall position (“Value of current portfolio as counsel” and “Number of cases settled in two years”) because they are illuminating nevertheless. There were submissions from over 200 firms this year, of which around 140 were completed in sufficient detail to be considered.

In this year’s GAR 30, nine firms go up, 11 firms go down, while four firms haven’t moved. There are six firms who didn’t appear last year, while another six who were in the table last year have dropped out. There’s also something unprecedented in the table: for the first time, two firms are tied for the number one spot, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and White & Case. This wasn’t a contrivance. As mentioned above, we routinely live with drawing somewhat artificial distinctions between practices that one could argue all finished on about the same final score. So when two firms finish on a par in the 30, it’s because there really was no way to separate them.

The other firms that have risen this year are Herbert Smith Freehills, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, Clifford Chance, Lalive, Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle, Dentons, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Jones Day.

Of these, the highest risers are Dentons, which has jumped nine places; Curtis, which has risen eight places; and Clifford Chance, which is up seven places.

The firms that have come down in the table are Shearman & Sterling, Hogan Lovells, Debevoise & Plimpton, Allen & Overy, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Baker & McKenzie, DLA Piper, Norton Rose Fulbright, Dechert, Clyde & Co and King & Wood Mallesons.

Those that fell furthest were Norton Rose (by 11 places) and Clyde & Co (nine places).

Besides White & Case, the firms that haven’t moved since last year are King & Spalding, Linklaters and Latham & Watkins.

Two firms make their debut in the 30 this year: Three Crowns (the boutique founded in 2014 by some of the former leaders of the Freshfields practice) and Sidley Austin, which has regularly featured in our list of runner-up firms (the 31-40) in previous years.

Four other firms make a return to the table after several years away: Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Foley Hoag, Hughes Hubbard & Reed and Homburger.

And six impressive firms slipped just below the cut - Eversheds, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Derains & Gharavi, Weil Gotshal & Manges, CMS and Squire Patton Boggs (some of these appear in this year’s 31-40).

GAR 31-40

Firm (in alphabetical order) Value of Portfolio as counsel
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton US$100 billion
Crowell & Moring US$1.6 billion
Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira US$4.2 billion
Derains & Gharavi US$6.9 billion
Eversheds US$27.4 billion
Mannheimer Swartling US$45 billion
Pinsent Masons US$10.2 billion
Schellenberg Wittmer US$2.95 billion
Squire Patton Boggs US$33.6 billion
Uría Menéndez US$2.5 billion

So that’s what’s different this year. But what to make of it?

One question the GAR team had – inspired by some informal conversations in the market this autumn – was: are firms taking on more work? There is some talk in London that some of the larger IA shops are moving (for various reasons – mostly economic) in the direction of ever greater volume (and leverage).

Do the figures in this year’s table bear that supposition out?

Certainly the combined value of the firms’ counsel portfolios has risen noticeably, and there’s been a general uptick in the amount of billable hours reported. The total number of hearings we counted in the research window also rose slightly (978 this year compared with 955 reported by the same firms a year ago). But there isn’t enough evidence to draw firm conclusions.

What seems clear is that the biggest cases are becoming more unwieldy. Some of the hearings – particularly those reported by the firms at the top of the table – have been marathons (by international arbitration’s standards) of two to three weeks’ duration. Bifurcation is also more common, with some cases generating multiple hearings on merits and quantum issues. For example, a multibillion-dollar ICC dispute over a nuclear power project required three separate merits hearings over 2014 and 2015, lasting a combined 16 days, with further hearings scheduled for this year. Another dispute over a Central American power plant required four merits hearings, culminating in a 12-day hearing in Dublin last July, with testimony from 30 witnesses.

This news may not delight those who care about arbitration’s average time and cost.

(It also poses some difficulties for GAR, as we apply a rule of counting only one “merits hearing” per case. While we continue to believe that’s probably the right approach, we are keeping the policy under active review.)

Turning to the table, Freshfields’ return to the number-one spot (albeit shared with White & Case) will be gratifying for the firm – and perhaps the market. Freshfields stood firm in the top position for the first seven editions of the GAR 30, before White & Case overtook it in last year’s edition. The timing was unfortunate, as it came soon after a couple of leading names left the Freshfields practice to form Three Crowns. This led to some speculation about the future of both Freshfields and international arbitration practices at larger firms. Does international arbitration fit comfortably into the economics of a large corporate law firm?

This time around, we found the two firms too evenly matched to separate. Freshfields was slightly ahead in the bet-the-company and large hearings categories, but a little behind in Who’s Who Legal and arbitrator appointments. Freshfields also reported more hours billed to arbitration than any other firm in the GAR 100 (though the figure was lower than last year’s).

Both firms, it must be said, have had very busy years. Freshfields saw various treaty cases against Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina reach a hearing; a mammoth case over gas fields in Kurdistan (in which it’s co-counselling with Three Crowns); and a multibillion-dollar gas pipeline dispute involving Egypt that’s been playing out in four different arbitrations (Shearman is acting for the state).

White & Case’s biggest ICSID hearings during the research window included Fraport v Philippines, Gold Reserve v Venezuela, Vigotop v Hungary and Abaclat v Argentina – which have all led to either an award or settlement. There was also the Oxus v Uzbekistan case, and a construction dispute in the Middle East in which Shearman was once again acting for the state.

Although it slipped to fourth place this year, Shearman topped all the other firms in terms of bet-the-company hearings (nine), and also reported a 14 per cent rise in hours billed to arbitration compared to last year’s figures. There’s no doubt it continues to be retained for some of the world’s biggest disputes. But for the purposes of the GAR 30, it’s hampered by a relatively low number of arbitration stars listed in Who’s Who Legal – just two names, Emmanuel Gaillard and Yas Banifatemi. The team also has a smaller amount of arbitral appointments, though in fairness the firm notes it has an informal cap on the amount of time a partner can devote to sitting as arbitrator (as do a number of bigger firms).

One of the most obvious movers in this year’s table is Herbert Smith Freehills, which achieves its highest-ever position in the 30 – third. The jump is largely down to a sharp rise in its caseload. Herbert Smith completed more than twice as many large hearings compared to last year’s figures, and the same is true for its medium-sized hearings. Much of that seems to be energy and natural resources-related, though there was also a substantial inter-state matter it conducted on behalf of Malaysia.

It’s worth noting that Herbert Smith’s pending counsel work has seen a six-fold increase in the space of a year, rising from US$21 billion to US$121 billion. That’s the highest figure in the table, and includes one case worth over US$80 billion and several others worth more than US$5 billion each. Herbert Smith also benefits from a large number of peer-recognised specialists across its offices. The firm now has 15 people featured in Who’s Who Legal, more than any other firm in the GAR 30 apart from White & Case (also at 15). And it’s this that has given it the edge this year in the ranking.

Hogan Lovells and Debevoise have slipped slightly on previous years. In both cases the most reason is fewer higher-value hearings compared with last year’s figures. (Our policy of discounting ICSID annulment hearings disadvantaged Debevoise, which spent a long time defending its award for Occidental against Ecuador). The value of both firms’ pending counsel work also dipped (in Debevoise’s case, mainly because it settled one matter involving a vastly inflated claim by the other side). On the other side of the ledger, both firms have actually improved their Who’s Who Legal showing compared to last year (Hogan Lovells now has seven names in that book; Debevoise has eight).

In the meantime WilmerHale and Clifford Chance have gone up. WilmerHale in particular has benefited from some sizeable hearings relating to the financial services, pharmaceuticals and automotive sectors, while a high-profile matter on behalf of the government of Kurdistan (the same on which Freshfields is engaged) generated a lot of work. Clifford Chance also received a leg-up from a bet-the-company case against Indonesia at ICSID, and a high-stakes agroscience dispute in Germany.

Rising two places to 10th position, Lalive remains the only firm from a civil-law jurisdiction to have featured in every single edition of the GAR 30. It has 10 names in Who’s Who Legal (more than some of the US and UK firms immediately above it in the ranking) and its members are sitting as arbitrator in 87 cases – more than any other firm in the table. It’s also striking how much of the firm’s casework has no connection to Switzerland.

Paradoxically, although Allen & Overy acquired four new Who’s Who Legal names this year and saw an US$11 billion rise in the value of its counsel work, the firm in fact dropped in this year’s table – largely because it reported fewer bet-the-company hearings than last year.

Quinn Emanuel also fell in the table after experiencing a slowdown in hearings. This may be only temporary, as anecdotal evidence suggests the firm is offering some extremely generous fee deals when pitching for new work. (It’s not the only firm that’s doing that either. Various sources suggest that a number of firms in the GAR 30 that one might expect to be above “buying market share” are in fact doing just that, and a period of intense price competition is under way.)

Dentons is at its highest-ever position in the table (14th), in part thanks to a series of mergers with firms in the Asia-Pacific region. We’ve taken the liberty of incorporating figures from the arbitration practice at Singaporean firm Rodyk & Davidson (a GAR 100 firm in its own right, whose tie-up with Dentons had yet to be completed at the time of going to press). Even so, it was the European arm of the Dentons practice that provided the bigger boost in our ranking, thanks to work on a significant ICSID matter against South Sudan, and for Gazprom in a gas pricing dispute with Lithuania.

Three Crowns appears for the first time in the table – in 15th place. Is that impressive, or underwhelming? Some may be surprised that it isn’t a bit higher, given the calibre of its personnel and the work it’s known to be doing. In fact, it looks like an auspicious debut when one bears in mind that the firm has only been operational since April 2014. Therefore these hearing figures represent only 16 months of work rather than the 24 months for everybody else in the table. (We didn’t import any hearings that partners had been involved in before they left their former firms.) Three Crowns quite clearly hit the ground running and it would be very surprising if it doesn’t climb higher in time.

Baker & McKenzie’s drop also isn’t all that it appears. The firm in fact saw its number of pending cases almost double in the past year, with the portfolio value rising from US$32 billion to US$50 billion. It also conducted 58 medium-sized hearings in the research window – more than any other firm in the GAR 100 – and continues to boast an impressive 11 Who’s Who Legal names across its many offices.

Orrick, which last appeared in the 2012 edition, benefited this year from various matters it’s handling for the government of Guinea, as well as a gas pricing case heard in France. The hire of Herbert Smith’s former arbitration practice co-chair Charles Kaplan in 2013 appears to have led to more work.

Foley Hoag returns after last featuring in 2013, thanks to a number of ICSID matters for Venezuela that reached a hearing during the research window.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed’s reappearance (for the first time since 2009) may also have something to do with a lateral hire. In this case, Alex Yanos from Freshfields in 2014. Some recently filed treaty claims relating to Russia’s annexation of Crimea may see the firm climb further up the ranking in the next few years. Unfortunately, there’s only so much we can tell you about the health of its practice – unique among firms in the GAR 30, Hughes Hubbard refuses to divulge the value of its pending counsel work. It’s also one of the few firms in the table that won’t tell us about its billable hours. (That decision can count against a firm in the event of a tie breaker – so Hughes Hubbard’s position in the GAR 30 is a little unsecure.)

Some on the GAR desk were surprised to see Zurich-based Homburger rubbing shoulders with international firms in the ranking (it has been in the GAR 30 before, but not since 2010). In contrast to Lalive, it is regarded as keeping itself to Switzerland a bit more. It’s true that all but one of Homburger’s hearings during the research window were seated in Zurich. But the size of some of those cases is not to be sniffed at – one pharmaceuticals-related matter that reached a hearing in 2014 (in which it’s co-counsel with a US firm) is valued at US$1.6 billion. It’s also acting in a similarly sized case under Swiss Rules relating to an investment in the Middle East. The firm also reports six treaty cases on its books – including a recent instruction from Jordan. It may be that the firm’s appearance in the GAR 30 says something about the success of the Swiss Rules and the good work that the Swiss Arbitration Association has done in marketing the country as a seat for the modern world.

Linklaters and Latham & Watkins remain in 25th and 26th place respectively, the same positions they held last year. Coincidentally, both firms have been involved in a pair of arbitrations brought by the German government over a toll collection system. The cases, worth a combined US$10 billion, are thought to be among the largest arbitrations ever heard in Germany.

It’s worth recalling that Linklaters only made its debut in the 30 last year, having acquired a new team in Paris who brought a number of active cases. The addition in London of investment treaty specialist Matthew Weiniger QC from Herbert Smith suggests that there may be more to come, if a London team can start to tap into the firm’s great client network.

Sidley Austin makes a possibly overdue entrance in the GAR 30 in 28th position. In some respects it’s odd that the firm hasn’t made the ranking before – though it’s come pretty close in previous years. What changed? Well, high-stakes hearings in the Lone Star v Korea and Philip Morris v Australia case took place during the research window, as well as in an ICC case concerning a nuclear power plant project in Bulgaria (with White & Case on the other side). The firm’s pending counsel work is valued at US$81 billion, with puts it on a par with Freshfields.

Finally, King & Wood Mallesons’ figures were bolstered by hearings relating to a Nigerian telecoms company, a Central American power plant project and a racecourse in Dubai. Its caseload has risen in value from US$2 billion to almost US$8 billion.

Methodology

The GAR 30 ranks firms according to a “score” built by adding up several T-scores. What’s a T-score? In brief, it’s a way of converting performance in a particular test so it can be more easily compared with performance in a different test. Thus, law firms, or students, or football teams, can be compared by aggregating a series of different performances without fear than any single test will come to dominate the final “score”. The GAR 30 T-scores cover:

  • the number of merits and jurisdictional hearings during the research period (two years);
  • the number of hours billed to arbitration in two years;
  • the number of lawyers who qualified for the latest edition of Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration, our sister publication; and
  • the number of arbitral appointments members are handling.

Furthermore, we subdivided “hearings” into four categories: bet-the-company cases (more than US$1 billion dollars); big cases; medium cases; and small cases (which don’t count towards ranking).

On the next page is a bit more about the columns in the spreadsheet that count towards the final score (and those that don’t), and the “accounting” principles our researchers use.

The GAR 30 chart

  • People in Who’s Who Legal – shows how many members of a firm won entry to the 2016 edition of Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration. (Counts towards the ranking.)
  • Pending cases (as arbitrator) – shows the number of cases in which a lawyer from the firm has been asked to sit as an arbitrator (snapshot on 1 August 2015). It ignores CAS matters and a few similar bodies. (Counts towards the ranking.)
  • Merits hearings completed in two years – shows how many merits hearings the firm participated in as counsel or co-counsel during the past two years. (Counts towards ranking.)
  • Jurisdictional hearings completed in two years – shows the same, but for jurisdictional matters. (Counts towards the ranking.)
  • Bet-the-company hearings – shows how many hearings were in the US$1 billion-plus range. (Counts towards the ranking.)
  • Large hearings – shows how many hearings were in the US$250 million to US$999 million range. (Counts towards the ranking.)
  • Mid-sized hearings – shows how many hearings were in the US$10 million to US$249 million range. (Counts towards the ranking.)
  • Pending cases as counsel – the number of cases the firm has on its books as counsel or co-counsel. (Counts towards the ranking.)
  • Cases settled – number of arbitrations that ended in a settlement in two years.
  • Value of current portfolio as counsel – the value of all the claims the firm is now handling as counsel.

Unpublished

Billable hours – the number of hours billed to international arbitration in a two-year period (excluding the work of paralegals, support staff and trainees).

“Accounting” policies

When deciding whether to include a particular reported matter and what value to assign it, we use the following rules:

  • “If in doubt, leave it out” – if a matter is insufficiently described (information missing on start date, duration of hearing, name of opposing firm, value at stake, names of arbitrators (or at the very least, the chair)), it can’t be included in the score.
  • Jurisdictional hearings in commercial cases are only counted if they exceed a certain duration.
  • “One dispute/multiple panels” (different arbitrators) – each hearing is counted.
  • “One dispute/several merits hearings” – count it once.
  • “Disagreement over the amount at stake” (usually affects higher value disputes only) – standardise the value, based on the highest total, and apply that to all firms.
  • “Large claim/small award” – if arbitrators have ruled on the value of a dispute, that award becomes the amount.

The research period was 1 August 2013 to 1 August 2015.

Q&A on methodology

How do you get this data?

Law firms provide it, subject to us agreeing to keep it confidential.

Why do you include jurisdictional hearings as well as merits hearings?

At the request of some firms that do mainly investment treaty work. We count jurisdictional hearings in commercial cases too but only if they exceed a certain duration – to prevent too many essentially “procedural” hearings being included.

Why do you include billable hours?

At the request of firms that felt they were disadvantaged by the exclusive focus on hearings.

Do you accept the claim sizes asserted at face value?

Yes, but where we know that an award has been handed down, the size of the award becomes the value of the case.

What do you do in the following scenarios: (i) requests for declarative relief; (ii) emergency arbitrations, hearings on interim measures, ICSID annulment hearings or summary dismissal procedures; (iii) baskets of public international law matters before unique claims tribunals; (iv) test cases; and (v) hearings “happening soon”?

(i) The firm usually provides (on background) an estimate of the value of the relief sought, so we use that.

(ii) We don’t count these.

(iii) We tend not to aggregate these into a “bet-the-company” case.

(iv) Again, the firm usually explains the value at stake.

(v) These aren’t counted. They can go in next year’s survey.

We try to use common sense and caution.

Aren’t these figures entirely self-reported?

Yes, but we do cross-reference the cases mentioned with the other side, where possible. The exception is billable hours, but there it becomes obvious pretty quickly who the outliers are, whereupon we go back to the firm seeking further explanation.

Are there any weightings in the formula?

The scores for the different categories of hearing (particularly the bet-the-company and large range) count a little more. Appointments as arbitrator count a little less.

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