GAR 100 - 3rd Edition

Crowell & Moring LLP

Professional notice

Crowell & Moring is one of a group of US arbitration practices - all of whom begin with a C - that have been on growth-charge in the past few years. Other members of the club include Chadbourne & Parke and Curtis Mallet-Prevost. Among them, though, Crowell & Moring stands out.

No. of pending cases:
19
Value of all claims:
US$11.424 billion
No. of appearances in Who’s Who Legal:
4
No. of treaty cases:
8
No. of arbitrator appointments (no. as chair or sole):
5(2)

A few years ago, it was possible to paint the practice as a fusion of DC litigators who’d gained some international experience on a few big cases, on the one hand, and a lateral team comprising senior and mid-level specialists who’d worked at Fulbright & Jaworski and Freshfields on the other. At that point the combination had only recently conjoined but had made a good fist of two ICSID cases: one was a matter for Duke Energy that had come with the laterals. Meanwhile, some amazing events taking place in another arbitration, in which the firm was representing Cypriot investors against Turkey (represented by Freshfields), showed a certain fearlessness. Anyone seeking more information on that topic should see the GAR news report about allegations that Turkey’s secret service attempted to interfere in the conduct of the case (Turkey wasn’t sanctioned but was warned by the arbitrators; its law firm, Freshfields, was cleared of anything to do with the unwelcome actions). Now, following the arrival of several more laterals, and the smoothing effect of time, it’s harder and harder to spot the join between old and new..

Explaining the ethos to a GAR writer soon after the practice came together, a partner said the goal was to offer a group that was a little more “international” than was the norm in Washington, DC or the US, where the speaker said “international is usually shorthand for ‘speaks a bit of Spanish’.” To that end, he noted, the practice could already offer - in addition to English and Spanish - French, Urdu, Bengali, Hindi and decent Portuguese, and had recently made the lateral hire of an Arabic speaker.

Recent events

A year on, the big news is everything still seems to be going through a growth spurt. The firm had reports adding six associates, all of whom had an arbitration focus. They added Russian, Brazilian-Portuguese and NAFTA (if that can be counted) to the languages the team could now speak. On top of that, it made two partner-level laterals, plus it enjoyed the group’s first homegrown success in Crowell & Moring partnership elections.

Meanwhile, on the work front the proportion of commercial arbitration in the overall mix seems to be up.

The two lateral-partner level lawyers were Pieter Bekker and Ian Laird. Bekker, previously of McDermott Will & Emery, is now the firm’s head of public international law. He is continuing to work from New York. Laird, who was with Fulbright & Jaworski and is currently the editor-in-chief of the website www.investmentclaims.com, has joined as a consultant to comply with Washington, DC bar rules. The homegrown partner is Baiju Vasani.

On the other side of the ledger, a senior associate who’d joined reasonably recently from another Washington, DC firm opted to take a partnership with a law firm in Miami.

Describing the team’s work-related highlights, a member of the practice identified a case that a client had asked them to take over, in mid-stream, from Williams & Connolly. He did not mention the reason the client wanted the change, and Williams & Connolly was not approached by reporters for comment on the point.

The lawyer said that the team was also proud of an order it had obtained from an ad hoc committee hearing the annulment proceedings for an ICSID award (one of the awards won for Duke Energy). The order means Peru has agreed to pay the award expeditiously if it withstands annulment.

Meanwhile, a survey of various rankings found the firm now being bracketed in the third tier in a US list - the same level as, for example, Arnold & Porter, Baker Botts, Cleary Gottlieb and Fulbright & Jaworski - making it the newest entrant to that band.

The Crowell & Moring lawyers to know:

  • New York: Pieter HF Bekker and Samaa Haridi; and
  • Washington DC: Arif Ali, Stuart Newberger and Alexandre de Gramont, Ian Laird and Baiju Vasani.

Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with more than 500 lawyers practicing in litigation, international dispute resolution, antitrust, environmental, government contracts, corporate, intellectual property and more than 40 other practice areas. Based in Washington, D.C., the firm also has offices in New York, London, Brussels, California and Alaska.

Our International Dispute Resolution Group, which consists of more than 35 attorneys in our various offices, has represented private parties, sovereign governments, and state-owned enterprises in virtually every type of international arbitration and litigation – including some of the largest and most significant disputes in the world. Our practice is centered around a talented group of multi-cultural, multi-jurisdictional, and multi-lingual dispute resolution specialists who have proven themselves able to manage and try arbitrations and litigations anywhere in the world, regardless of the underlying industry, the parties’ nationalities, the substantive law, the arbitral rules, or the language of the proceeding. Our attorneys have handled disputes involving energy; construction and engineering; intellectual property; mining; manufacturing and commercial distribution; technology and telecommunications; transportation; terrorism; and the hotel and hospitality sector. Our experience spans nearly the entire globe, with cases involving North, Central, and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union.

Visit Crowell & Moring at: www.crowell.com

For more information, please contact any of the partners of the international arbitration practice:

Arif Ali, Chair, International Arbitration (Washington, D.C. & London)

[email protected]

Tel: 202.624.2888

Pieter Bekker, Head of Public International Law (New York)

[email protected]

212.895.4305

Henry Burnett (New York)

[email protected]

212.895.4256

Alex De Gramont, Co-Chair, International Arbitration (Washington, DC)

[email protected]

202.624.2517

Baiju Vasani (Washington, D.C. & London)

[email protected]

202.624.2936

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