GAR 100 - 14th Edition

Youssef & Partners

Youssef & Partners

Professional notice

Instructed for a US$3 billion claim against Egypt

People in Who’s Who Legal1
Pending cases as counsel16
Value of pending counsel workUS$5.42 billion
Treaty cases as counsel6
Third-party funded cases0
Current arbitrator appointments2 (0 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator1

This Egyptian full-service firm was set up by Karim Youssef in 2016, after he’d spent more than five years as partner at Amereller Legal Consultants in Cairo and Dubai, where he headed the Middle East arbitration practice. Before that, he practised for two years at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

Youssef has worked on some high-profile commercial and investment treaty arbitrations, often relating to public contracts awarded by states in the region. In 2019, the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration appointed him to its advisory committee and he is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Arab Arbitration. He sits as arbitrator in CRCICA, DIAC, and ICC arbitrations.

The firm has recently expanded after acquiring another Cairo firm, Moharram Law, whose founding partner has significant experience in construction disputes. It now has a 20-strong practice, including a counsel and a group of senior associates.

It takes pride in having an unusually large proportion of female lawyers compared with its competitors in the region.

Who uses it?

The firm has advised the Arab African International Bank; the Arabian Cement Company and its parent Cementos La Union Group; Veolia Proprete; IGI Group; CTIP Oil and Gas; Kuwait’s KGL; Egypt Kuwait Holding Company; the Arab Contractors Company; and EgyptAir.

Track record

Karim Youssef’s greatest hits include helping Egyptian television station CBC prevail in a claim against Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef, who has been described as Egypt’s answer to US comedian Jon Stewart. He has also successfully defended the Egyptian branch of a major energy conglomerate in a dispute over the supply of power generators.

The firm helped developer Al Kholoud obtain a US$89 million settlement that brought an end to an UNCITRAL case against Egypt arising from the judicial unwinding of a Mubarak-era privatisation of a steam boiler manufacturer in the wake of the 2011 revolution.

The firm enjoyed a headline-grabbing win for a consortium led by Kuwaiti logistics group KGL in an ICC claim against the Damietta port authority arising from the termination of a 40-yeart concession to build a terminal at the port. A Cairo-seated tribunal awarded the clients US$490 million, also dismissing a counterclaim for roughly the same amount. Youssef & Partners co-counselled with Crowell & Moring on the case.

Recent events

Youssef & Partners is representing Spanish investors Cementos La Union and Aridos Jativa as they seek to partially annul an ICSID award that held Egypt liable but declined to award any of the €240 million they sought in damages.

The firm was subsequently instructed by the same investors for a brand new treaty claim against Egypt over alleged breaches that occurred after the first claim – thought to be for as much as US$3 billion.

Regional conglomerate EKH, meanwhile, has retained it for a US$250 million treaty claim against Lebanon over sovereign bonds.

In another development, the firm says it secured a favourable settlement for investors in major commercial claims in the high-profile Steam Boilers case, relating to the judicial unwinding of the privatisation program in Egypt.

Client comment

Karim Mostafa, CEO of Starlight Education, who took Dubai’s Real Estate Investment Trust to arbitration over delayed payments in relation to the construction and operation of a school, says the firm’s performance was “very solid” on all fronts.

Youssef & Partners is a full-service firm with a cosmopolitan and international outlook, exercising regional influence and delivering client services to truly global standards. The firm’s renowned flagship practice is international commercial and investment treaty arbitration, focusing on high-value claims. The firm is famous for its unparalleled multinational expertise, strong business sense, superior strategy, and remarkable track record of maximizing clients’ results. The firm also provides high-end transactional and corporate services to its clients across various critical industries, including construction, mega-projects, fin-tech, and structuring and restructuring transactions. 

As Egypt and the MENA region’s premier international arbitration practice, the firm represents local and foreign investors in unquestionably some of the largest and most significant investment treaty cases and commercial claims involving Egyptian or MENA parties. We handle major local and international disputes and advise some of the world’s leading corporations and high-net worth families across the MENA region.

The firm’s global outreach is second to none in the region. We represent our clients in arbitral proceedings and disputes in four continents. Geographical boundaries are less relevant by the day, and our core belief is that clients should not have to suffer less than state-of-the-art lawyering and counsel services simply because they do business in emerging or foreign markets. The firm focuses on what matters most to clients: winning, and our reputation in the local and international markets is that we do.

Website: www.youssef.law

Get unlimited access to all Global Arbitration Review content