GAR 100 - 7th Edition

Clyde & Co

Professional notice

The UK firm now has a one-stop shop in Singapore

People in Who’s Who:
Pending cases as counsel:
Value of pending counsel work:
US$35 billion
Current arbitrator appointments:
47 (of which 37 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:

*excluding maritime work

Originally one of the City’s big shipping firms, Clyde & Co has spent recent years growing beyond those beginnings and “making a huge success of it”, according to one UK publication. It now does a lot of corporate work and a third of all revenue comes from overseas.

All the same, it has disputes – particularly international ones – in its DNA. Sure enough, even the reinvented Clyde & Co has one of the largest dockets of commercial arbitration of any firm in the GAR 100. The LCIA has described it in as its biggest single user “by a large margin”.

And while some is fast-paced shipping and commodities work, not all is. For example, a few years back, Clyde & Co turned up representing Yemen in one of the largest ICC arbitrations of the day (worth around US$10 billion). And it worked on one of the first large Russian oligarch cases (the TadAZ matter). In fact, about 35 to 40 per cent of its arbitration activity is more complex work. The sheer volume of cases means it’s also in front of the London courts on arbitration matters a lot.

Over the years it’s added relevant expertise (notably a construction law boutique in Paris, Shadbolt, which filled a gap in ICC expertise) and more recently Barlow Lyde & Gilbert. There’s still one eccentricity, however. In contrast to most in this report, Clyde & Co partners seldom perform advocacy – they feel using barristers to be better and more efficient.

The arbitration practice benefits from having one of the broadest networks of offices, and much of its work emanates from the further reaches of that network.


It’s hard to exaggerate how amazing Clyde & Co’s network is. It is present in 27 countries, which includes a string of offices all across the US, not to mention São Paolo, Dar es Salaam, Jakarta, Nantes, Guildford in southern England and Tripoli. The more important offices for arbitration are in London, the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha) and Asia (especially Singapore and India).

Who uses it?

Governments, trading houses, energy companies and construction firms for the most part, often from somewhere remote. The office in Brazil is now bringing in some big clients too, helped by the firm’s strong links with the London insurance market.

Some name clients are Republic of Yemen, the government of Comoros, Glencore Xstrata, Inerco Trade, Holcim Trading, and Norilsk Nickel, Labroy Offshore and KazMunaygaz.

Clyde & Co’s also rumoured to have worked on a matter for the new Libyan regime.

Track record

The team has always been very successful at winning interesting instructions – from the Yemen matter a few years back to a new instruction this year to handle a billion-dollar matter being fought out in London (representing a “regional state-owned oil company”).

Its results aren’t bad either – if not always quite in the billion-dollar range. In 2012, Ben Knowles won US$200 million for Yemen’s ministry of oil and minerals in a dispute with a local oil firm. John Whittaker, meanwhile, won €45 million for Serbia a few years back in a hard-fought dispute about spy satellites.

There’s been a lot of interesting court work and insurance arbitration over the years. In Dubai, it was the first firm to enforce an international award under the New York Convention while in London it was on one side of the Chantiers de l’Atlantique v GTT matter, a leading case. Its now taking part in one of the largest insurance disputes yet to emanate from Latin America, about an all-risk insurance policy for a hydroelectric project.

Recent events

For last year’s edition, the news was all about the Barlow Lyde & Gilbert merger (which brought in Maurice Kenton and Eurof Lloyd-Lewis) and a lateral hire from Freshfields (Devika Khanna), and how it would boost the team in London.

This time around, the focus seems to have been Asia. In July 2013, the firm strengthened its Singapore disputes offering immensely by forming a joint law venture with Singaporean firm Clasis. The venture enables it to provide advice on foreign and Singapore law under one roof – a service most foreign firms in Singapore cannot perform because of the city-state’s strict bar regulations. Trading as “Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore”, the venture reunites Clyde & Co with former partner Steven Lim, also adding Prakash Pillai (a senior disputes partner from Rajah & Tann). Chris Metcalf has also been promoted to partner in the new venture.

The firm also strengthened the disputes team in Shanghai by moving Andrew Rourke, also a new partner, there.

Meanwhile, Clyde & Co’s senior figure in Dubai, Alec Emmerson, is reported to be an increasingly influential member of the local arbitrator pool.

Client comment

Counsel to the Serbian government, Miroslav Paunovic´, said he’d be happy to recommend the firm. After praising the team he worked with for its “understanding of the local circumstances and political sensitivity of the case”, he said he was “certain the government of Serbia received value for money”.

Our dedicated international arbitration team has more than 200 lawyers. The group includes over 60 partners from across our network with experience of all the major arbitration rules and centres.

In 2014 we continued to strengthen and expand our practice in major arbitral centres across the globe with the hire of key laterals: Patrick Zheng, a specialist in international arbitration and China-related litigation, joined our Beijing office; Christopher Jobson, a highly regarded arbitration and litigation lawyer with 10 years' experience working across the Middle East, joined our Abu Dhabi office; and Brian Dunning, an experienced New York lawyer with a practice focused on the litigation and arbitration of international commercial disputes, joined our New York office.

Through this continual global investment we constantly build on our expertise and attract an ever increasing number of high-value, business critical instructions. Recognised by GAR as possessing “one of the largest, if not the largest, dockets of commercial disputes of any firm,” at any given time we have hundreds of arbitrations on our books with billions of dollars at stake.

We advise clients at every stage of the process – from drafting effective arbitration clauses to enforcing arbitral awards. Adept at conducting large-scale, complex arbitrations on a global scale we can swiftly mobilise teams to manage major cross-border disputes using our substantial network of international offices.

Our experience stretches across all the world’s main arbitral centres and rules including:









• Stockholm Chamber of Commerce

• UNCITRAL rules


• Swiss rules

• Lesser known rules in China, South East Asia and Eastern Europe

• Ad-hoc arbitrations

We routinely act for and against governments in investment disputes in many of the most rapidly expanding and sometimes unpredictable markets of the world. We have recognised ‘experts’ in South America, North Africa and the Middle East, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Balkans, Russia and Ukraine.

Several of our practitioners sit as arbitrators on LCIA, DIAC, ADCCAC, UNCITRAL, SIAC and ICC arbitrations, among others. During 2014 this group sat on over 40 cases.

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