Another successful year for gas price review and investment treaty cases.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$10.25 million
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 33 (of which 12 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
Like the dimpled golf ball, Squire Sanders started out in Cleveland and went global.
The firm’s arbitration practice took shape in 2000, when a partner in that office – George von Mehren – decided there was scope to build a successful practice. He joined forces with a newly arrived lateral team in Hungary that included the late Iván Szász. Since then, in parallel with the firm’s more general international expansion, the group has made some targeted lateral hires and built up a good track record, particularly in energy and construction matters. It was one of the first firms to be retained on investment arbitration work and to win a gas-pricing dispute.
The group’s footprint has recently expanded further following a merger with the UK firm Hammonds, which filled in some of the gaps in Europe and took it into Asia. The firm also recruited Singaporean lawyer Peter Chow from Bryan Cave to lead the Asia disputes team.
The practice is led by von Mehren, now based in London, with Paul Oxnard (who came from Hammonds) as deputy practice leader. Other names to know, particularly for investment treaty matters, are Stephen Anway in New York and David Alexander in Columbus. In 2011, the pair were tapped by the Czech Republic to be part of a “dream team” of lawyers defending the state against potential Energy Charter Treaty claims from solar power investors.
Squire Patton Boggs now has 37 offices in 18 countries. Its coverage is particularly strong in eastern Europe and (through an association) in Latin America.
In arbitration terms, the key offices are probably those on the East Coast of the US, Prague, London and Paris. It now also has a presence in Perth, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Who uses it?
The Czech Republic is a regular client. It has used Squire Sanders on numerous investor–state matters, including the important Saluka, Phoenix Action and Nagel cases. Ecuador also used it as co-counsel on the Occidental Petroleum case at ICSID.
Other regulars include Edison and Gas Natural, who have instructed the firm in numerous gas price review and supply contract cases.
OHL, Entertainment Distribution Company Inc and technical services provider Imtech are also clients.
The team has won seriously big for Gas Natural in a pair of gas-pricing disputes. In 2005, it obtained US$500 million from Nigeria LNG and in 2008, up to US$1 billion (depending how you slice the award) from Atlantic LNG. The tribunal in the Atlantic case famously “rewrote” the pricing formula.
More recently, it has helped Edison redraft its long-term gas supply contract with Qatari company RasGas, winning an award worth around €450 million to the Italian side. The same client used Squire Sanders (and co-counsel Mannheimer Swartling) in a 2011 price review arbitration with Russia’s Promgas that ended in a settlement. Another case for Edison against Algeria’s Sonatrach also ended happily (see “Recent events”).
For the Czech Republic, the firm brought home a win in an investment treaty case filed by a German investor that missed out in a tender to acquire some of the state’s forests. A majority UNCITRAL panel dismissed the €150 million claim in 2012, holding that the actions of the entity that handled the tender weren’t attributable to the state under international law.
Members of the Hammonds arbitration team have won €17 million for Chelsea Football Club at the Court of Arbitration for Sport from former Chelsea player Adrian Mutu. The tribunal found the Romanian footballer had breached his contract. Partner Stephen Anway and senior associate Raul Manon obtained recognition and enforcement of the award in a Florida court in February 2013.
Chris Caulfield left the firm’s London office at the end of 2012, where he had practised for almost a decade, to join the partnership at Baker Botts. Around the same time, Cris Cureton joined in Perth from Minter Ellison. Partner Stuart McInnes also joined the sports law group in London from Pritchard Englefield (he’s a Court of Arbitration for Sport arbitrator who was part of the ad hoc panel for the London 2012 Olympic Games).
The firm gained two new senior associates: Alexis Martinez in London (from Allen & Overy) and Stephan Adell in Paris (from Derains & Gharavi).
New York partners Richard Mattiaccio and Kenneth Bond became members of the executive committee of the New York International Arbitration Centre, with Bond also taking on the role of committee secretary.
Following its success for Edison against RasGas, the firm brought another win home for the same client in April against Sonatrach. That award was worth around US$300 million.
It also repeated prior successes for the Czech Republic, getting a US$95 million UNCITRAL claim by a German project management company dismissed in October, with the state being awarded most of its costs and legal fees.
A new instruction came from Slovakia, which is using Squire Sanders to defend an investment treaty claim brought by a Dutch healthcare insurer. Finnish defence company Patria Land Services has also retained it for a €130 million claim against Poland. Meanwhile Imtech is using it for a new claim against Repsol.
China’s ministry of commerce also added Squire Sanders to two lists of international firms it has put together to advise on trade and investment law matters.
Disputes involving multi-nationals and sovereign states across multiple jurisdictions can present complex challenges, requiring deep understanding and practical experience of a range of governing laws and applicable rules. The Squire Patton Boggs’ International Dispute Resolution team has experience in many international arbitration forums and knowledge of local litigation rules in regions all around the world. Our lawyers work with clients on structuring advantageous measures and proactive defences whilst ensuring that judgments or awards are enforceable. The team specialises in international commercial arbitration, treaty arbitration, energy disputes, international litigation, advocacy, risk and crisis management, and dispute prevention and mediation.
Over the last fifteen years, we have built one of the pre-eminent investment treaty arbitration practices in the world, which embraces our longstanding one-firm philosophy and leverages our global resources to protect our clients around the world. Our investment arbitration specialists master the unique blend of advocacy skills; experience; effective, efficient and visionary leadership; sound business approach and deep expertise in international public law that is required to succeed before an investment arbitration tribunal.
We are also renowned in representing clients in price review arbitrations under long-term natural gas and LNG supply contracts. Our track record of successes in this area is evidenced by having achieved substantial balancing payments and/or price adjustments for our clients as noted in The American Lawyer Arbitration Scorecard.
Squire Patton Boggs is one of the world’s strongest integrated legal practices with more than 1,500 lawyers in 44 offices across 21 countries. For more information, visit www.squirespattonboggs.com.
George von Mehren
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