The US firm hired respected names in Hong Kong and Dubai as it continues to deliver good results
|People in Who’s Who Legal||5|
|People in Future Leaders||4|
|Pending cases as counsel||276|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$30.5 billion|
|Treaty cases as counsel||14|
|Third-party funded cases||10|
|Current arbitrator appointments||25 (14 as chair or sole)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||11|
Reed Smith broke into the GAR 100 after acquiring a team from respected Miami boutique Astigarraga Davis in 2017. Since then, the practice has been on something of a charge, adding additional talent around the world and seeking to harness existing elements (many already successful) into a coherent whole.
Founded in Pittsburgh in 1877, Reed Smith has enjoyed a name in energy and natural resources, life sciences, entertainment, shipping and financial services. Although lawyers within its industry groups did international arbitration, there was no central practice in this area for many years.
The current practice began to take shape around 2007 when Reed Smith merged with UK firm Richards Butler, well known for disputes in London. A construction team from Pinsent Masons arrived soon after.
During that period, London was the centre of the practice. Work tended to be led by Gautam Bhattacharyya, who has a focus on India, and Belinda Paisley, who specialises in investment treaty disputes and public international law.
Between 2008 and 2013, the practice extended to Hong Kong (when Reed Smith acquired Richards Butler’s local operations), Singapore, Houston and Astana – the latter in response to increasing work from the Kazakh government.
Renowned Latin America specialist José Astigarraga joined with his team in Miami in 2017 and served as global practice head until 2022. That role has now passed to Peter Rosher in Paris – a well-known construction and energy practitioner who also joined in 2017 from Pinsent Masons.
The Miami office grew further in 2022 with the hire of a trio from Akerman including Francisco Rodriguez, who is now vice-chair of international arbitration for the US.
The firm has recruited other former Pinsent Masons lawyers in the Middle East, including Sachin Kerur and Michelle Nelson.
The key offices are Miami, London, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and Houston, with others in Frankfurt and New York.
The wider firm has 32 offices across the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. As of 2016, it also has a formal law alliance with Singaporean firm Resource Law.
Who uses it?
Clients include big players in the energy and natural resources, construction, pharmaceuticals and shipping industries.
Kazakhstan has used the practice for two decades in investment treaty matters, some worth billions of dollars. Gabon has used the firm too. Bolivia’s state-owned telecoms company Entel and Tanzania’s national electricity company Tanesco have used members of the firm, as have General Electric and Canada’s SNC-Lavalin.
Another client is EDF’s nuclear reactor business Framatome.
Reed Smith has delivered a string of successes for Kazakhstan, including defeating a pair of ICSID claims each worth over US$1 billion lodged by KT Asia and US power company AES. It also won the complete dismissal of a US$200 million ICSID claim and significantly reduced the damages award in other cases.
Reed Smith secured a US$69 million award against Ghana for client West Africa Gas – a joint venture between India’s Sahara Group and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. The dispute concerned an emergency contract signed during an energy crisis.
The team also won a US$46 million award for a European engineering client in an ICC case over a signalling system on a metro system in Asia.
Further success came defending Tanesco in two ICC arbitrations over a power project worth a combined US$150 million. One arbitration went entirely the client’s way; another became the subject of Tanzanian and English litigation that eventually settled.
There was another success for Kazakhstan, with the firm defeating a US$460 million ICSID claim by Nevada-registered Big Sky Energy over the expropriation of an oil venture.
The firm also helped the Central Asian state knock out a significant portion of a US$100 million claim by Canada’s Alhambra Resources. Both sides are now trying to annul the awards.
In Singapore, it is representing local engineering group Asiatic in a SIAC arbitration with Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, concerning electricity tariffs under a joint venture agreement.
In the Florida courts, Astigarraga helped the Panama Canal Authority to defend a US$270 million ICC award against a construction consortium.
Apparel company American Eagle used the firm for an emergency ICDR arbitration against a European licensee, with US$15 million in dispute. Reed Smith helped secure a worldwide injunction for the client.
In Hong Kong, partner Stephen Chan left for Ince, while Matthew Townsend joined the partnership from Chinese firm Fangda Partners. Partner Zeldar Wang joined the Shanghai team from Ince.
In Dubai, the practice welcomed partner Antonia Birt from Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle.
It also promoted new partners Evan Knott in Chicago, Susan Riitala and Suzie Savage in London and Antoine Smiley in Austin.
Alexander Brandt was promoted to counsel in London, as were Sujey Herrera in Miami, Arturo Muñoz Holguin in Houston and Ian Turetsky in New York.
Marcus Khoury of Emirates Food Industries praises the firm’s “excellent performance”, saying it was “very client-focused” and provided “a tailor-made solution” that addressed the particular needs of the client. He commends Nelson as an “outstanding lawyer” with “great and inspiring leadership skills” and an “affable and down-to-earth manner”.
A client praises the “very special” French team at Reed Smith, particularly partner Andrew Tetley and associates Aurélie Lopez and Diana Stekhnovych.
Another client called the firm “driven, adaptive, creative and goal-focused” and said Tetley was “tenacious and creative in pursuing solutions”. He also said partner Alan York in Houston was “committed, focused and a winner”.
London partner Alexander Sandiforth is praised by a client as a “great lawyer”, who was “very knowledgeable, nice to work with and goes the extra mile”.
Reed Smith’s international arbitration practice spans the globe. With offices in the world’s leading arbitral centers, including London, Paris, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Miami, and Houston, we are ideally positioned to represent clients in international business disputes.
We have grown our practice strategically by recruiting leading international arbitration lawyers across our platform, including in Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, and entire market-leading teams for the Middle East and Latin America in Dubai and Miami, respectively.
With the continuing growth of our practice through the addition of such recognized talent to our already strong and multi-jurisdictional team of international arbitration lawyers, we now have one of the largest and most diverse international arbitration practices in the world, with the ability to represent clients in every significant arbitral center and seat around the globe.
As one of the world’s leading disputes firms, we also represent clients in arbitration-related proceedings in first instance and appellate courts, including stay and enforcement proceedings.
Our geographic reach is coupled with deep industry knowledge. Many of our arbitration lawyers are embedded within industry groups, giving them real-life experience of the workings of our clients’ businesses and industries in a wide range of sectors, including construction, projects and infrastructure, energy and natural resources, shipping and transportation, international trade and commodities, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, entertainment and media, financial services, telecoms, insurance, and manufacturing.
Our team has significant experience in investor-state disputes involving bilateral and multilateral treaties under the auspices of ICSID and under the UNCITRAL rules, and in claims under the Energy Charter Treaty, advising and representing international investors, states, and state-owned entities in a wide range of disputes.
Many of our international arbitration practitioners hold leadership positions within the global arbitration community and frequently speak at conferences on arbitration.
For more information on our international arbitration capabilities, or to learn about Reed Smith’s innovative Arbitration Pricing Calculator app, please visit our International Arbitration page on reedsmith.com or contact
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 34 80 95).