Peter & Kim
Successfully defended a Korean city in an ICC dispute and now defending Korea in a new treaty case
|People in Who’s Who Legal||7|
|People in Future Leaders||8|
|Pending cases as counsel||34|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$75.3 billion|
|Treaty cases as counsel||3|
|Third-party funded cases||0|
|Current arbitrator appointments||49 (28 as chair or sole)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||12|
Peter & Kim launched in 2020 when two prominent international arbitration lawyers, Wolfgang Peter of Switzerland and South Korea’s Kap-You (Kevin) Kim, decided to set up a boutique exclusively dedicated to arbitration and arbitration-related litigation.
Peter is a leading counsel and arbitrator who co-founded the Swiss firm now known as Python in the 1980s. He worked there for 34 years before breaking away with a team in 2015 to launch his own GAR 100 boutique, Peter & Partners.
With a background in M&A, Peter was counsel in a seminal ICC case in the 1990s concerning the break-up of Arthur Andersen. These days, he is much in demand as an arbitrator. He recently chaired a politically sensitive €600 million dispute between a Russian state entity and Bulgaria over a nuclear power plant.
Kim spent more than two decades at GAR 100 firm Bae Kim & Lee (BKL). He co-founded that firm’s international arbitration practice and is widely regarded as a pioneer of the field in Korea. He is the first chair of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board’s international arbitration committee and the president of the ICC Korea arbitration committee. Previously, he served as a vice president of the ICC Court (2014–2021) and secretary general of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (2010–2014).
Peter brought his entire team over from Peter & Partners, including partners Christoph Brunner and Konstantin Christie and of counsel Julia Xoudis. All are based in Geneva except for Brunner, who is in Berne.
John Bang, who co-founded and led the international arbitration practice at BKL, followed Kim to the new firm in 2021. Around the same time, former ICC International Court of Arbitration president Pierre Tercier joined as senior counsel in Geneva.
The firm has a Sydney office headed by partner Jim Morrison, another former BKL practitioner who had been an independent practitioner for the past few years. It also has a Singapore office led by Charis Tan, a former Eversheds practitioner who brings experience in investor-state disputes and public international law.
The firm has offices in Geneva, Bern, Seoul, Sydney and Singapore.
Peter has been acting for the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) in a multibillion-dollar dispute with the Israeli government over an abandoned oil pipeline venture. The diplomatically sensitive case has spawned at least three arbitrations and various French and Swiss court actions over more than two decades.
As part of that dispute, Peter and his team helped NIOC secure a US$1.1 billion award in 2015 against an Israeli state-owned entity in compensation for oil shipments pre-dating the Iranian revolution of 1979. They later saw off a challenge to the award in the Swiss courts.
While at Python, Peter and his team helped Turkish client Doğuş defend an UNCITRAL award against a Ukrainian state railway company, obtaining a landmark ruling from the Swiss Supreme Court on the res judicata effect of foreign court decisions.
They have also acted for major European energy conglomerates in several gas price reviews worth more than €1 billion.
At BKL, Kim and Bang’s work included defending Korea against a US$5 billion ICSID claim brought by US private equity firm Loan Star Funds. The duo have continued to work on that case – in which an award is now due – at Peter & Kim.
Kim also acted for Hyundai Heavy Industries in a US$2.3 billion ICC dispute. Among his last cases before leaving BKL, Kim helped that same client settle an US$8.4 billion ICC claim brought by Qatar Petroleum over repairs to an offshore gas project.
Peter & Kim helped the South Korean city of Incheon win a dispute over an abandoned US$290 billion plan to transform a fishing village into a rival of China’s Macau. A consortium including German–Swiss hotel group Kempinski saw its ICC claim worth US$53 million rejected after the tribunal ruled that Incheon was justified in cancelling the contract.
The firm has teamed up with Arnold & Porter to represent South Korea in a new treaty claim brought by Iran’s Dayyani family. The case relates to the state’s delay in satisfying a US$63 million award the family obtained in a prior treaty arbitration (in which the two firms were not involved). The Korean government announced in 2022 that it had received clearance from US sanctions authorities to pay the award.
On the investor side, Peter & Kim is acting for a Singaporean businessman in a US$10 billion treaty claim against China over real estate investments expropriated while he was under house arrest. The claim was initially filed at ICSID but is now being administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
Peter & Kim also has several pending billion-dollar commercial cases.
Korean construction company POSCO E&C is using it in a US$2 billion ICC dispute with two US real estate companies over a US$35 billion project to build a sustainable city near Seoul.
It is joint lead counsel to a methane gas exploration company in a US$1.8 billion joint venture dispute with major Asian state-owned enterprises. That case is governed by Chinese law.
Another instruction sees the firm representing South Korea’s DL E&C (formerly known as Daelim) in an US$80 million SIAC dispute over the construction of a power plant in the Philippines.
Peter & Kim continued its rapid expansion by poaching partner Seokchun Yun from Kim & Chang in Seoul. Former Korean Commercial Arbitration Board president Ho Won Lee joined the Seoul office as senior counsel.
In Geneva, the firm hired counsel Flavio Peter and promoted Nhu-Hoang Tran Thang to counsel.
Partner Daniel Greineder, who worked with Wolfgang Peter for more than a decade and followed him to the new firm, left the Geneva office in 2022 to become senior counsel at barristers’ chambers McNair International.
Alexander Krefft of Triple P Capital, which used Peter & Kim in a SIAC case over a failed M&A, says the firm is “fast, responsive and incredibly commercially minded” with a “true focus on the business goals a client wants to achieve, which is rare”. Morrison and Tan possess “deep technical international arbitration expertise”.
Another client says Bang is the “premier practitioner, not just at Peter & Kim but in Korea,” providing “elite oral advocacy”. Partner Yunsoo Shin is also a “top-notch advocate that will be one to watch in the coming years at the top of the Korean market”.
Peter & Kim is a specialist international arbitration and cross-border litigation firm with offices in Switzerland, South Korea, Singapore, and Australia. The firm was launched under the joint leadership of two of the world’s most prominent international disputes lawyers: Dr. Wolfgang Peter and Kap-You (Kevin) Kim.
Peter & Kim represents clients through all stages of disputes – from initial advice on navigating the dispute resolution process through to pre-arbitration negotiations, drafting written submissions, conducting oral advocacy at hearings, acting in post-award challenges and asset recovery. The firm also acts in setting-aside and enforcement proceedings in multiple jurisdictions, especially before the Swiss Federal Tribunal (Supreme Court) and at all levels of the Korean court system and is also engaged by clients to manage litigation in foreign jurisdictions, particularly in the US.
Relying on the depth and diversity of its lawyers and the close cooperation between its offices, with its 40 lawyers being qualified in over 9 jurisdictions (England & Wales, Switzerland, US (New York, New Jersey, California), Germany, France, Korea, India, Singapore and Australia) and fluent in over 14 languages, Peter & Kim can assemble bespoke teams combining different legal qualifications, linguistic abilities and industry knowledge to meet the specific needs of its clients across continents and time zones.
- Automotive and heavy industry
- Banking and financial services
- Commodities transactions
- Distribution and agency agreements
- Energy and pricing disputes
- International construction and engineering projects
- Investor-state disputes
- Joint venture agreements
- Long-term supply contracts
- M&A contracts
- Pharmaceuticals and life sciences
- Software and online games