A prominent Ukrainian client has kept the London-based firm’s arbitration group especially busy
|People in Future Leaders||3|
|Pending cases as counsel||28|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$15 billion+|
|Treaty cases as counsel||6|
|Third-party funded cases||0|
|Current arbitrator appointments||6 (4 as chair or sole)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||2|
NEW ENTRY. Fieldfisher can trace its origins to a London law firm established in 1835. It opened offices in Brussels, Hamburg and Paris in 2007, and further mergers mean that it now has 25 offices in 11 countries, mainly in Europe.
The firm was, until recently, better known for its commercial litigation chops, particularly in the energy, commodities and technology sectors. It has also been closely associated with work coming from the Russia/CIS region.
Its international arbitration practice owes a lot to one client in particular: Ukrainian businessman Igor Kolomoisky. The firm has counselled Kolomoisky-linked companies in various arbitrations against Ukrainian and Russian state interests, including treaty claims arising from the expropriation of assets in Crimea.
Growing work in this area led the firm to formally launch an international arbitration group in 2019, which it says has now grown to over 80 fee earners, including 25 partners.
The group is co-led by Simon Sloane in London, who joined from Reed Smith in 2016 and acts in oil and gas, construction, insurance and natural disaster cases.
The other co-head, Daniel Hayward, has experience with disputes in the CIS and Africa. He is also based in London alongside partners Colin Gibson and James Lewis, who advise on commercial disputes, and Tracey Wright, who also acts in investment treaty cases.
Arik Aslanyan in London is head of the Russia and CIS group at the firm, a team that includes lawyers qualified in Russia, Armenia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Marily Paralika joined from White & Case in 2019 to launch the firm’s arbitration practice in France. Other names to know are Alessandro Scagliarini in Milan and Mercedes Caral in Barcelona.
Most of the team is in London, with others in Birmingham, Brussels, Munich, Madrid, Barcelona and Milan. The wider firm has a presence in several other German and Italian cities as well as Belfast, Dublin, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Silicon Valley.
Who uses it?
Its client roster includes oil and gas, financial services and commodities companies, as well as high net worth individuals. This includes state-owned oil and gas companies in the CIS region, notably Kazakhstan, and instructions for two states in Europe and Africa.
One of the firm’s biggest instructions to date has been representing companies beneficially owned by Kolomoisky and his business partner Gennadiy Bogolyubov in a US$6 billion Energy Charter Treaty claim against Ukraine relating to their interests in Ukraine’s largest oil and gas producer, Ukrnafta.
The companies had alleged that state-owned company Naftogaz and Ukraine’s energy regulator had unlawfully sought to fix prices and prevent Ukrnafta from selling its natural gas on the open market. An SCC tribunal threw out the case in 2021 because of the investors’ “unclean hands”. The firm continues to advise the same companies in a related LCIA case against Naftogaz.
The firm also got its first ICSID instruction from Kolomoisky-linked entity Gilward Investments, which is pursuing a claim against Ukraine over the bankruptcy of what was once the country’s largest commercial airline. The US$650 million case cleared the jurisdictional phase in 2021 but has been suspended in light of the war in Ukraine.
Many of its cases remain confidential but it has acted in an LCIA proceeding in London over the sale of a technology company and in a €10 million ICC arbitration in Vienna concerning delay in a transnational electricity project.
Shivani Sanghi arrived in London from Covington & Burling in 2022 as a partner to front the firm’s new India practice. Koen Van den Broeck joined in Brussels from Allen & Overy in 2021.
Fieldfisher is acting for four Kolomoisky-associated companies in a treaty case against Russia over real estate assets in Crimea. An award is pending.
The firm helped Kolomoisky defeat a US$380 million fraud suit brought by a Russian oil and gas producer in the English courts in 2021. Claims that Kolomoisky and others had siphoned off funds from an oil refining venture were dismissed for being time-barred under Russian law.
Fieldfisher has also been acting for Georgian–UK businessman and national politician Zaza Okuashvili in a treaty dispute against Georgia. In 2019, the client obtained an emergency arbitrator award restraining the state from selling attached assets belonging to his tobacco business.
The firm says it is also acting in significant LCIA and ICC cases for new state clients.
Fieldfisher is a European law firm built around its people. We are a full-service firm with market-leading practices in technology, financial services, energy and natural resources and life sciences.
Our network of more than 1,700 expert people spans 26 offices in 11 countries, including our US and China locations, acting alongside our international partner firms, enabling us to advise clients around the world with seamless efficiency and dedication across time zones and disciplines.
A Times Top 20 Law Firm, we are highly commended by the European Financial Times Innovative Lawyers rankings and repeatedly nominated for awards in areas including M&A, dispute resolution, public and regulatory and IP.
Our lawyers are consistently recognised by legal directories as leading professionals in their areas of specialism and we are ranked tier 1 or 2 in a number of our key practice areas.
For more information about our firm, please see: About | Fieldfisher.