Shearman & Sterling’s International Arbitration team provides advice and advocacy to companies, States and State entities in investment treaty and commercial arbitrations conducted in accordance with all major international arbitration rules. Widely regarded as one of the very best on the market, the team, led by Emmanuel Gaillard, includes more than 100 lawyers fully dedicated to international arbitration.
Because of our strategic view and thorough knowledge of arbitration processes and comparative law, clients turn to us for their most critical matters. We work together with our clients, ahead of and throughout the dispute, to devise and implement a strategy that meets their objectives and leads to the optimal resolution of their thorniest legal problems.
Our clients have described our team as tenacious, dedicated and focused on winning, yet our approach to conflicts is not adversarial. We assemble teams combining technical excellence and industry expertise to fiercely defend the interests of our clients through a clear and cogent written and oral advocacy, without compromising their long-term goals with their business partners. Our lawyers are trained to be attentive to our clients’ needs and expectations, responsive and organized.
We act as counsel in arbitrations worldwide and are able to conduct proceedings in English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Russian and many other languages. We also appear before national courts to enforce or resist enforcement of international arbitration agreements and arbitral awards. Members of our team also regularly serve as arbitrators or expert witnesses.
Arbitration clauses are commonplace in contracts organizing cross-border business combinations, such as mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. Our clients’ disputes in this area typically concern representations and warranties, price adjustment mechanisms and preemption rights. Current and recent cases include the representation of:
We assist our clients in all aspects of the post-award phase, including in settlement negotiations, global asset tracing and in enforcement and set-aside proceedings.
We act on behalf of private and public entities as well as sovereigns, be they award creditors or debtors, with respect to awards rendered in both commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. We also act in enforcement proceedings involving third parties in possession of award debtors’ assets.
We are widely recognized for our intellectual leadership in the field of international arbitration. With respect to enforcement, over 20 members of our team contributed to the New York Convention Project, a joint research project undertaken with UNCITRAL and Columbia University. The Project led to the publication of the UNCITRAL Secretariat Guide on the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards (co-authored by Emmanuel Gaillard, head of our International Arbitration Group) and its online platform, newyorkconvention1958.org, which notably contains over 1700 decisions from national courts throughout the world.
We represent owners and contractors in international construction and engineering arbitrations arising from projects throughout the world, under a wide variety of applicable laws. Our principal focus is on high value, complex multi-claim disputes concerning power projects (nuclear, hydroelectric and renewable), oil and gas facilities, industrial plants and civil infrastructure projects. Current and recent cases include representation of:
"Team of stellar individuals with expertise in the fields of energy and natural resources, as well as construction and IP disputes."
―Chambers Global, 2016
We have extensive experience across the energy sector, including oil & gas matters (upstream and downstream), nuclear power, hydroelectric power, and renewable energy. We act for multinational corporations, Sovereign States and State-owned companies in disputes concerning, inter alia, issues of consortium and joint-venture relations, contract cancellations and terminations, construction, price review, tax treatment and stabilization and investment. We are also recognized as a market leader on the Energy Charter Treaty (see our investment arbitration experience). Current and recent cases include the representation of:
Our clients increasingly ask us to represent them in their financial and insurance disputes. We have handled arbitrations concerning bank recapitalizations and loans, as well as reinsurance and political risk insurance policies. Arbitrations in the financial and insurance sectors include the representation of:
We represent clients from many business sectors in their commercial disputes, notably matters arising from sales, supply, distribution and agency agreements. Current and recent cases include the representation of:
Shearman & Sterling’s International Arbitration Group frequently represents clients experiencing disputes relating to intellectual property rights. Current and recent experience includes the representation of:
An important aspect of international arbitration is the availability of interim and conservatory relief in support of the arbitral process. This relief includes injunctions, attachments designed to promote the enforceability of a subsequent award, and orders preserving evidence. We represent clients seeking these measures before both courts and arbitral tribunals.
"In any circumstances they produce amazing work."
―Chambers Global, 2020
We have been at the heart of some of the most groundbreaking investment treaty arbitrations over the past 30 years, acting as counsel, arbitrator and legal expert in such disputes. We stand apart from other firms for our ability to effectively address highly complex issues of investment arbitration and international law, both regarding questions of jurisdiction and admissibility, and those going to the substantive protection offered by bilateral and multilateral investment treaties.
Our experience comprises an equal balance of mandates on behalf of states and investors. Representative matters include:
Representation of States
Representation of Investors