GAR 100 - 16th Edition

Leaua Damcali Deaconu Paunescu

Leaua Damcali Deaconu Paunescu

Professional notice

A regular advisor to Romania in treaty disputes

People in Who’s Who Legal1
Pending cases as counsel2
Value of pending counsel workUS$6 billion
Treaty cases as counsel1
Third-party funded cases0
Current arbitrator appointments5 (3 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator1

Leaua Damcali Deaconu Paunescu (LDDP) was set up in 2005 as an arbitration boutique – then called Leaua & Cadar – headed by Crenguta Leaua. She is a former vice president of the ICC Court and sits on the ICC commission on arbitration and ADR, and the board of directors of the Silicon Valley Arbitration & Mediation Center.

Less than a year after it was launched, the firm defended Romania in an ICSID case alongside Swiss firm Lalive, a collaboration that has continued. The firm has since had a string of successes acting for the state in investment treaty arbitrations.

The practice also spans environmental and energy-based disputes, construction, infrastructure and public law, as well as intellectual property and tax.

Several of its lawyers are listed as arbitrators in various arbitral centres in Romania and abroad, and the firm’s senior partner, Ștefan Deaconu, was appointed president of the arbitration court at Romania’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2015.

In 2018, the firm expanded its offering beyond international dispute resolution to encompass international transactions and business restructuring. To this end, it hired two new name partners, as well as adding Deaconu’s name to the brand.

Who uses it?

Romania is a regular client at ICSID, and its Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests, a state-owned hydropower company and a state-owned road company have used it in some ICC matters. The municipality of Bucharest is another client.

Private clients in ICC cases have included telecoms operator UTI Systems (now UTI Grup) and US engineering and construction company Louis Berger.

Track record

In 2013, LDDP and Lalive defeated a US$139 million ICSID claim brought against Romania by a Dutch investor in the Rompetrol oil refinery business. Two years later, the same co-counsel team defeated the bulk of a €440 million ICSID claim brought against Romania by a US citizen concerning a press distribution business and a boutique hotel.

In 2020, the collaboration yielded two more wins. The firms helped Romania defeat an ICSID claim worth US$2 billion filed by the Micula brothers over the state’s alleged failure to police the alcohol black market. The tribunal said Romania had taken “serious and visible” efforts to tackle tax evasion by illegal producers.

The pair also persuaded an UNCITRAL tribunal to dismiss a €330 million claim brought against Romania by Italian construction company Fincogero over frustrated efforts to build two real estate projects and an airport.

The firm also successfully defended Romanian state electricity supplier Hidroelectrica against a €43 million ad hoc claim by a Swiss energy trader over the alleged failure to comply with an energy supply contract. The firm acted as co-counsel alongside Lenz & Staehelin.

Recent events

LDDP and Lalive fended off a bid from the Micula brothers to revive their US$2 billion ICSID claim against Romania in an annulment proceeding, with the tribunal ultimately awarding 75% of the expenses incurred in the proceedings to the client.

Romania continues using the two firms to defend a US$4.4 billion ICSID claim brought by Canadian gold mining company Gabriel Resources.

Crenguta Leaua has helped to launch the Swiss Institute for Alternative Thinking, a Lugano-based training and consultancy firm.

Client comment

Dana Dunel-Stancu, former head of legal at Hidroelectrica, says partner Andreea Simulescu is “one of the best lawyers” she has worked with. “Her fairness and constructive approach to any conflict are strengths that differentiate her from other lawyers.”

The Firm

LEAUA DAMCALI DEACONU PAUNESCU – LDDP is a dynamic firm on the Romanian legal market with a distinct feature of outstanding quality. LDDP’s goal is to provide its clients with a start-to-finish sophisticated legal advice.

Principles of the Firm

LDDP’s activity is anchored in its main values: professionalism, trustworthiness and innovation.

Professionalism means that we undertake all our professional activity with excellence in mind.

Being trustworthy in the relationship with our clients is the foundation that allowed our team to build long term solid relations with our clients.

Innovation is the key word that allows our team to provide creative legal solutions that allow our clients to always find the path to solve their legal problems. The motto of the firm is: Either we will find a way, or we will make one!

The Team

LDDP has a homogenous team that brings together some of the most reputed specialists working in different areas of the law and covers the entire range of legal assistance services that any first rate client might require.

Many of the partners have a Ph.D. and are professors at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies (Faculty of Law and Faculty of Cybernetics Statistics and Informatics in Economy) or at the Faculty of Law of the Bucharest University, while the other partners or managing associates have graduated specialized LL.M programs.

International Recognition and Rankings

Starting in 2008, LDDP received annual awards and various professional recognitions as top Romanian firm. Since 2013 LDDP is placed among world’s top 100 Law Firms specializing in international commercial arbitration by Global Arbitration Review.

Three of the Partners of the firm – Prof. Dr. Crenguta Leaua, Prof. Dr. Stefan Deaconu and Corina Tanase - are arbitrators on the lists held by various arbitral centers in Romania or abroad. Two members of the firm are mentioned in WWL Arbitration – Crenguta Leaua as Thought Leader and Liliana Deaconescu as Future Leader. Both Prof. Dr. Crenguta Leaua and Prof. Dr. Stefan Deaconu were appointed on the Panel of Investment Arbitrators of the CIETAC Investment Dispute Settlement Center.

Prof. Dr. Crenguta Leaua is included in the pool of individuals eligible for appointment as arbitrator and TSD experts in bilateral disputes of the European Union under trade agreements with third countries. She is also included on the list of individuals to serve as members of an arbitration tribunal under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part.

Prof. Dr. Crenguta Leaua is listed as arbitrator on Silicon Valley Arbitration and Mediation Center’s (SVAMC) List of the World’s Leading Technology Neutrals (the "Tech List"), as well as by a number of arbitral institutions in Austria, Slovenia, Poland, Moldova, United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia and others. She is a former vice-president of the International Court of Arbitration ICC Paris. Currently, she is a member of the Board of the SVAMC and a chair of the SVAMC Initiative on Arbitration and Mediation and Blockchain-based Transactions.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Deaconu is the president of the Court of International Commercial Arbitration attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Romania.

LDDP is affiliated, as a sole representative for Romania, to L2B Aviation which is recognised by Chambers and Partners as the Best Global Aviation Law Network.

Areas of Activity

LDDP provides legal assistance and representation services to its clients in international transactions and dispute resolution proceedings (litigation and arbitration and ADR), in a wide array of legal fields, such as: transport law, aviation law, international and Romanian business law, corporate law – mergers and acquisitions, insolvency law, competition law, civil law and rights in rem, public law, administrative and constitutional law, public procurement, fiscal law, financing and banking law, insurance law, construction and urban planning law, energy and natural resources law, environmental law, intellectual property law, data protection, IT law and new technologies, labour law.

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