The American Lawyer’s Arbitration Scorecard Profiles Secret Billion-Dollar Disputes, 274 International Arbitrations in all
Top Firms Handling Burgeoning Caseloads
NEW YORK – June 26, 2013 – ALM’s biennial Arbitration Scorecard, published in the Focus Europe supplement to The American Lawyer and posted today at www.americanlawyer.com, lays out a secret and growing world of huge international disputes dominated by a small but elite group of law firms and arbitrators.
The 10th-anniversary Arbitration Scorecard profiles 165 treaty arbitrations and 109 contract arbitrations active in the 2011–12 period, including a record 121 billion-dollar disputes.
“What makes these cases interesting goes beyond dollars and cents,” writes The American Lawyer’s Senior International Correspondent Michael D. Goldhaber. “They also capture the
political and economic crosscurrents of our time. Investors have challenged bank regulators’ response to the global financial crisis, Greece’s debt restructuring, Germany’s ban on nuclear power after the Fukushima meltdown, Zimbabwe’s treatment of white farmers, the division of spoils after the breakup of Sudan, and Egypt’s economic relations with Israel after the Arab Spring.”
Topping the survey is an arbitration filed against Russia by the majority shareholders of the
defunct Yukos Oil Company, with a current damages claim of $114 billion before
interest. Among contract arbitrations, the largest is a $53 billion dispute between UAE’s Crescent Petroleum Company Ltd. and Germany’s RWE A.G. over RWE’s commitment to build a gas pipeline network in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Among the top arbitration firms reported in the Arbitration Scorecard, five are dominant, accounting for at least 23 international arbitrations each. The biggest change since the last survey is Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle’s move up to a second place tie with Shearman & Sterling at 34 arbitrations each. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer remains the leader with 43 cases. White & Case is in fourth place with 30, followed by King & Spalding with 23.
The busiest arbitrator is still Charles Brower of London’s 20 Essex Street, but he now shares the top spot with the former number-three, Brigitte Stern of Université de Paris I. Each has had 27 cases during the survey period.
The most striking long-term trend over the Arbitration Scorecard’s 10-year history has been the emergence of investor-state arbitration. Annual filings at the International Centre for Investment Tribunals, which account for two-thirds of the treaty disputes in the Scorecard, have risen steadily from 14 to 50 this millennium, while annual filings at the ICC International Court of International Arbitration, accounting for half of the contract disputes in the survey, have fluctuated from 566 in 2001 to 1,230 in 2008 to 759 in 2012.
The Arbitration Scorecard includes a searchable database of 274 large arbitrations; a map of the world’s treaty arbitration hot spots; league tables of top arbitration firms and top arbitrators; tables of biggest awards, biggest defense wins, and biggest settlements in 2011-13; and tables of largest investor-state awards and largest commercial awards, 2001-2013. Full data is available for purchase in searchable, sortable Excel format from ALM Legal Intelligence at http://almlegalintel.com/Surveys/arbitrationscorecard.
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