Yas Banifatemi
  • PositionPartner
  • FirmShearman & Sterling
  • Age-
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Yas Banifatemi

Yas Banifatemi

  • Position: Partner
  • FirmShearman & Sterling
  • Age: -

Shearman & Sterling, Paris

Why international arbitration?

Because it offers the perfect balance between legal and technical skills, strategic thinking, the contrast between the significance of the slightest detail and the importance of the big picture (often in an international setting) and an incredible opportunity to learn every day.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

A number of hard-fought victories. Launching a public international law practice that was recognised and respected by the market from the outset (especially given that when I was hired I was told that I might never do any public international law).

Who do you consider your mentor?

Emmanuel Gaillard continues to be an inspiration and a model for his incredible legal mind, as well as his wisdom and generosity.

Who else in the field do you admire?

Johhny Veeder, both as a legal authority and a human being.

What other career might you have chosen?

Perhaps human rights or foreign affairs. Otherwise a career in arts.

What advice would you give someone just starting out?

Always keep learning. Be open-minded. Exercise your sense of judgement and criticism in all circumstances.

Do you sit as an arbitrator?

Yes. I was appointed by a party at the age of 40.

What are the biggest challenges facing arbitration?

Challenges to its legitimacy (many of which may just be a consequence of its success as a dispute resolution mechanism) and safeguarding its defining features.

If you could change one thing about the system...?

I would prevent practitioners or academics practising international arbitration or commenting about international arbitration while lacking familiarity with the field.

What’s your favourite city to arbitrate in?

Paris and Geneva alike. They just feel like the home of arbitration.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

A family-owned Italian restaurant in Paris, where you can have the best saffron risotto. Shhhh, I won’t disclose their name!

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