Herbert Smith, Paris
Why international arbitration?
For the pleasure of practising law in a truly international context, working with or against lawyers from all over the world, and being at the meeting point of different legal systems and cultures.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
The Eurotunnel arbitration against France and the UK. This was probably the first arbitration ever brought against two states simultaneously, and it raised issues of public international law that were truly unique.
Who do you consider your mentor?
Pierre Mayer, with whom I first learnt about international arbitration.
What other career might you have chosen?
I started out as a litigator. Arbitration arrived quite unexpectedly, and I now devote all my time to it.
What advice would you give someone just starting out?
To focus on developing a strong legal and practical expertise and to try to work with a variety of experienced practitioners, so as to observe different approaches.
Do you sit as an arbitrator? When did you start?
Yes. Aged 37.
What’s been your most memorable moment in a hearing?
Maybe when we were setting up our files in a hotel room to prepare for the hearing and realised that we were in fact in the room of the chairman of the tribunal when he arrived with his suitcase for the night.
What’s your favourite city to arbitrate in?
I like The Hague. The Peace Palace feels like a place out of another era.