The New York boutique has been closely involved with the opening of the city’s new hearing centre
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$3 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 8 (of which 4 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
Based in New York, this boutique was born in 2009 when Peter Chaffetz, global head of litigation at Clifford Chance, and David Lindsey, co-head of that firm’s 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 more recent addition to the partnership is Swiss-US lawyer Andreas Frischknecht, who has been with the firm since it was founded and was promoted in 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 Franco-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 the recently opened New York International Arbitration Centre (NYIAC). She was closely involved with the steering committee that established the centre. Lindsey also sits on the NYIAC board, while Hosking is a member of its programme committee.
Who uses it?
The government of Iran has turned to the firm for a couple of weighty state-to-state matters before the Iran–United States Claims Tribunal, the body in The Hague that is still dealing with the economic fallout of the Iranian revolution of 1979. It’s also defending Liberia in a US$750 million ICSID claim.
But most of the firm’s clients are private companies, including Ashmore Energy International (AEI), AES, Brazil’s Vale, South Korean construction group Samwhan Corporation, Turkish conglomerate Çukurova Holding and German drug maker Bayer. Brazilian private equity fund LAEP Investments is using the firm on an ICC case.
Chaffetz Lindsey is also a useful referral source for US and non-US firms alike, as well as a decent option as 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 worth US$130 million at the Netherlands Arbitration Institute. Impressively, the New York firm was brought in late to the dispute, which was over a licensing agreement. A multinational was on the other side. Chaffetz Lindsey handled all the New York law aspects of the dispute.
In 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.
More recently, the firm says it has successfully negotiated settlements in a US$60 million ICC dispute arising out of the sale of a Latin American power distribution company; and a Singapore-seated case on behalf of an international organisation against a Japanese corporation.
Since the last edition, the firm has added three new associates: Yujing Yue, who joined from Sullivan & Cromwell and is fluent in Chinese; Joshua Anders from Paul Weiss; and Christian Diego Guevara from the São Paulo office of Davis Polk.
The past year has been a busy one, case-wise. There were hearings in an ICDR case, where the firm is representing a Korean party in a complex construction dispute with a US engineering firm concerning a project in Afghanistan. It has teamed up with Korean firm Yulchon for that matter.
Chaffetz Lindsey has also been advising Turkey’s Çukurova group in a Geneva-seated arbitration against Dutch entity Sonera Holding. The Turkish group hopes to overturn a US$1 billion award issued by a different ICC tribunal in Sonera’s favour. The firm also advised (for a time) in US proceedings where Çukurova is resisting enforcement of that award.
The firm was also proud of its performance for Iran in hearings at the Iran–US Claims Tribunal in September 2012, where a Chaffetz Lindsey team of two partners and two associates faced off against 17 lawyers from the US State Department. Hearings in a second case are scheduled for February 2014. The cases concern damages sought by Iran for alleged violations of the 1981 Algiers Accords by the US.
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New York dispute resolution boutique Chaffetz Lindsey LLP has provided top-tier litigation and arbitration advice from a smaller, more economical and flexible platform since its founding in May 2009. 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. Chaffetz Lindsey is highly ranked by all the leading industry guides. In 2011, Global Arbitration Review named it Small Firm of the Year, and in 2014, the firm received the Chambers USA Client Service Award for International Arbitration.
Led by co-founders David Lindsey and James Hosking, Chaffetz Lindsey’s international 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 projects, pharmaceutical licensing, M&A, joint ventures, environmental contamination, business torts, complex commercial contracts, and investment treaty claims for and against states. These proceedings have been governed by the rules of the ICC, ICDR, AAA, SIAC, SCC, LCIA, ICSID and UNCITRAL. While many of its arbitrations are seated in the US, the firm’s current caseload involves jurisdictions in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
The strength of the team lies in the depth of talent at the partner, counsel and associate level, many of whom regularly speak, write and present on developments in international arbitration, and who hold leadership roles in various industry organizations. David contributes to the leading text on international arbitration in New York and James co-authored the first commentary on the ICDR Rules and was on the sub-committee that drafted the revised 2014 ICDR Rules. Partner Jennifer Permesly is the Treasurer of the New York International Arbitration Center and Counsel Yasmine Lahlou is Regional Coordinator of the ICC Young Arbitrator Forum and Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s International Litigation Committee. Several members of the team sit regularly as arbitrators.
Chaffetz Lindsey also has an active US state and federal court litigation practice. The firm’s experience covers all aspects of general commercial litigation, with a particular focus on claims involving finance/securities, re/insurance, cross-border disputes and sovereign immunity issues. The team includes lawyers who are fluent in eight languages and with experience practicing in Europe and Latin America. With its strong network of contacts around the world, the firm values opportunities to co-counsel with lawyers from other jurisdictions.