The firm’s investor-state arbitration experience stretches back four decades. It remains a highly specialized area of the law, in which Debevoise’s partners are some of the world’s most highly regarded lawyers. Members of the group have regularly lectured on investor-state arbitration and related public international law topics.
Lawyers on the firm’s European team act as counsel in investor-state arbitrations both for and against sovereign states. The team includes former advisers to government, giving it a valuable insight into the state issues in play. The practice includes Lord (Peter) Goldsmith KC, who served as the UK’s Attorney General and who also serves as Co-Chair of the ICC’s Task Force on arbitration involving states or state entities; as well as lawyers who have worked in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This background gives the team unrivaled understanding in how governments operate.
In addition, Debevoise’s lawyers have particular experience in quantum/damages modeling, which is a key component of the scale of the firm’s success. Built on this experience, the team regularly wins the biggest awards for private investors against foreign governments. Debevoise has won three of the largest arbitration awards for breaches of bilateral investment treaties that have ever been ordered. These include two for Occidental Petroleum in the amounts of $1.8 billion ($2.3 billion including interest) and $120 million, and another CME in the amount of $350 million.
The team is recognized by leading legal directory Chambers & Partners, which ranks the firm in the top band for global public international law work, quoting sources as saying “they always produce impeccable work.”
Working both independently and in conjunction with Debevoise’s investor-state arbitration lawyers in New York and Hong Kong, the firm’s European team advises clients on disputes arising in jurisdictions around the world. Chambers & Partners cites client sources commenting that “the firm interacts seamlessly between the various geographies.”