The Clifford Chance offshoot now counts the governments of Iran and Liberia among its clients
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$3 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 4 (2 as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
Based in New York, this boutique was born in May 2009 when Peter Chaffetz, Clifford Chance’s global head of litigation, and David Lindsey, co-head of the Americas international arbitration group, decided to break away. “The key drivers were wanting to rid ourselves of the conflicts and fixed cost structures that come with a full-service international law firm,” Lindsey said. Their boutique won “Small Firm of the Year” at the 2011 GAR Awards.
Today, Lindsey and younger partner James Hosking spearhead the international arbitration work, while Chaffetz and others focus more on insurance, reinsurance and securities disputes, including arbitration in those areas. Lindsey is an active promoter of New York as an arbitral venue and a founding member of the New York Arbitration Club. Hosking, a New Zealander, has co-authored the first stand-alone commentary on the ICDR rules. Both have featured in GAR’s “45 under 45” (Lindsey in 2006 and Hosking in 2011).
A recent addition to the partnership is Swiss-US lawyer Andreas Frischknecht, who has been with the firm since its founding and was promoted in early 2013.
The firm is home to some experienced younger practitioners – including Yasmine Lahlou and Jennifer Gorskie, who were recently promoted to counsel. Formerly of Castaldi Mourre in Paris, Lahlou has a French-Moroccan background and is fluent in English, French, Italian and Arabic. She co-chairs the ABA International Law Section’s Middle East committee.
Gorskie joined from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in 2011 and is treasurer of New York’s new arbitration hearing centre, scheduled to open this summer.
Who uses it?
Ashmore Energy International (AEI) and AES are both long-term clients of the firm. Others include Brazilian private equity fund LAEP Investments, South Korean construction group Samwhan Corporation, Barbados’ Concorde Bank and AIG. The firm has also acted for Delaware-based Excalibur Ventures in an ICC arbitration with the UK’s Gulf Keystone over oil rights in Iraqi Kurdistan – the case has spilled out into the English courts, where the firm is also providing assistance.
The firm also counts some governments and intergovernmental bodies among its clients. Liberia has retained it for a US$750 million ICSID claim brought by a Cayman investor concerning a gold mine. Unusually, Iran has also instructed the firm for two state-to-state claims before the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, the Hague body that is still dealing with the economic fallout of the Iranian revolution of 1979. The firm reckons it’s the first time Iran has turned to US lawyers in the tribunal’s 32-year history.
Chaffetz Lindsey is also a useful referral source for US and non-US firms alike, as well as a decent option to be co-counsel when, as the firm puts it, “you want international arbitration experts but don’t want to engage a big firm that will dominate the matter.”
One of Chaffetz Lindsey’s European clients won an award at the Netherlands Arbitration Institute worth US$130 million. Impressively, the New York firm was brought in late to the dispute – over a licensing agreement. A multinational was on the other side. Chaffetz Lindsey handled all the New York law aspects of the dispute.
In June 2011, another of the firm’s clients won damages and costs in a post-M&A dispute over a power plant in Pakistan. The case was heard in Singapore under SIAC rules and involved parallel litigation in Singapore, Pakistan and the UK.
Frischknecht made partner while Gorskie was promoted to counsel in early 2013. The firm also made two new associate hires: Lisa Vincent, an Australian practitioner who worked at Mallesons Stephen Jaques and then Linklaters; and Andrew Poplinger, who has clerked at the US Court of International Trade and was previously with a litigation boutique.
Brazil’s LAEP Investments recently turned to the firm for an ICC dispute with one of the world’s largest hedge funds. Chaffetz, Lahlou and partner Cecilia Moss are working on that case, which also entails litigation in São Paulo and New York.
Meanwhile, James Hosking is acting as co-counsel to a Korean construction company in an ICDR arbitration arising out of a project in Afghanistan.
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New York dispute resolution boutique Chaffetz Lindsey LLP was founded in May 2009 to provide top-tier litigation and arbitration advice from a smaller, more economical and flexible platform. The firm stands apart from others because of the reputation and track record of its lawyers, its flexibility on fees, and freedom from conflicts. Having previously worked together for ten years at Clifford Chance, the founding partners have an unusually strong international practice. Despite its recent formation, Chaffetz Lindsey has been highly ranked by all the leading industry guides. In March 2011, Global Arbitration Review named it Small Firm of the Year.
Led by co-founders David Lindsey and James Hosking, Chaffetz Lindsey’s arbitration team has handled cases in all the world’s major arbitration fora, involving disputes arising out of infrastructure projects, engineering/construction claims, oil and gas ventures, mining and natural resources, pharmaceutical licensing, M&A deals, joint ventures, environmental contamination, business torts, complex commercial contracts, and investment treaty claims for and against states. David and James also have specialized skills in public international law.
While many of its arbitrations are seated in the US, the firm’s current caseload involves jurisdictions throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. The proceedings are governed by the rules of the ICC, ICDR, AAA, SIAC, SCC, LCIA, ICSID and UNCITRAL. David and James, and other members of the team, regularly speak, write and present on developments in international arbitration. Recently, David contributed to the leading text on international arbitration in New York and James co-authored the first commentary on the ICDR Rules. Both sit regularly as arbitrators and are involved in various bar associations.
Chaffetz Lindsey also has an active US state and federal court litigation practice. The firm’s expertise encompasses all aspects of general commercial litigation, with particular experience in claims involving finance/securities, re/insurance, cross-border disputes and sovereign immunity issues. The firm’s lawyers are fluent in eight languages and many have experience practicing outside the US. With its strong network of contacts around the world, the firm values opportunities to co-counsel with lawyers from other jurisdictions.