GAR 100 - 15th Edition

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

Professional notice

Acting in claims against Spain and Kosovo and defending the Czech Republic

People in Who’s Who Legal1
Pending cases as counsel50
Value of pending counsel workUS$11 billion+
Treaty cases as counsel6
Current arbitrator appointments4 (2 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator3

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Morgan Lewis & Bockius featured in some of the early editions of the GAR 100, thanks to the work of former partner Mark Bravin for sovereign states on several high-profile investment disputes. The practice was also supported by Don Wallace Jr, a former White House counsel from the George W Bush administration.

However, the firm dropped out of the GAR 100 in 2011 after that team moved to Winston & Strawn. The firm was reinstated in 2020 after it hired renowned German practitioner Sabine Konrad as partner in Frankfurt.

Konrad, who joined from McDermott Will & Emery, is an investment arbitration specialist best known for defending Germany in a high-profile Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) claim brought by Sweden’s Vattenfall concerning the phase-out of nuclear energy – a case ultimately said to be worth up to €7 billion. She’s also one of Germany’s designees to the ICSID panel of arbitrators and the founder of the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot.

Other names to know include partners Peter Sharp and David Waldron (who formerly worked with Konrad at Dewey & LeBoeuf). Alexandre Bailly leads the dispute resolution practice in Paris. Wendy Tan and Daniel Chia in Singapore also practise commercial arbitration. Dmitry Ivanov is also a member of the practice and was previously based in the Moscow office, which the firm announced in March 2022 would be wound down.

Network

The core arbitration team is in Frankfurt, London and Singapore. The firm has 30 offices globally, 16 of which field arbitration lawyers, including in China, Japan and Kazakhstan.

Who uses it?

In addition to Germany, Konrad’s ICSID clients include German financial institutions pursuing claims against Spain and Italy over renewable energy investments. She has previously acted for a subsidiary of Taiwanese state-owned petroleum company CPC in an ICSID claim against Venezuela, and appeared for the Netherlands as intervener in German court proceedings relating to the Achmea dispute.

Track record

Konrad’s track record at her previous firms includes representing German airport operator Fraport in a long-running ICSID dispute with the Philippines. She has also obtained a US$4 million BIT award against Costa Rica on behalf of German investors in an ecotourism resort, and helped Poland to defeat a US$35 million claim brought by US investors in a blood plasma laboratory.

Recent events

Konrad continues to represent Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) and three other German banks in an ICSID claim against Spain over a nearly US$2 billion investment in its renewable energy sector. In late 2021, the tribunal refused to reconsider its jurisdiction to hear the ECT case following the European Court of Justice ruling that intra-EU claims under the treaty are barred by EU law.

Konrad is also leading a team acting for an Estonian fintech company in an ICC claim against Kosovo, filed after the state’s central bank revoked the business licence of its subsidiary over the interest rates charged on its loans.

On the state side, the firm is defending the Czech Republic in an intra-EU treaty claim brought by French outdoor advertising group JCDecaux.

Konrad’s work in the Vattenfall case formally ended in late 2021, when the energy company discontinued its ICSID claim against Germany following the parties’ earlier settlement.

Along with King & Spalding, the firm had been defending US entity Footprint Power Salem Harbor Development from an ICDR claim brought by an affiliate of Spanish electric utility Iberdrola. In 2021, the affiliate won a US$270 million award over the wrongful termination of its contract to build a power plant in Massachusetts.

Client comment

Mathias Wolkewitz, general counsel at German crude oil and natural gas producer Wintershall, says that Konrad is “the most outstanding person in international arbitration”, particularly in investor-state matters. “Her knowledge, strength on the facts and in advocacy, as well as her dedication are without comparison.”

Clients have praised the firm for its efficiency and thorough analysis. Konrad and associate Maximillian Pika are hailed for their “hands-on approach and willingness to do everything necessary”.

Combining creative dispute management and intercultural insight, Morgan Lewis represents clients in high-profile international arbitrations and international law disputes. Our cross-border team is intimately familiar with all aspects of international arbitral proceedings – handling cases in the Americas, Europe and the CIS, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East under all principal international arbitration rules.

Our lawyers regularly advise investors and governments in matters of investment protection and have acted in some of the largest and most prominent treaty arbitrations under the ICSID Convention and in other fora. With experience in many venues, members of our team are appointed to serve as arbitrators in international commercial and investment cases.

The expertise amassed at Morgan Lewis spans a broad range of industries, with a particular focus on energy, oil & gas, telecommunications, banking, and infrastructure.

For further information: https://www.morganlewis.com/services/international-arbitration

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