Herbert Smith Freehills

Arbitration (International) Department

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What the team is known for Teams in London and Paris handle high-value investment treaty and commercial arbitrations, with a particular focus on African and Middle Eastern energy sector disputes. Benefits from experienced partners in Russia who often lead significant construction, financial sector and post-M&A arbitrations, while the Spanish team stands out for work both on the defendant and claimant sides of investor-state arbitrations. Also noted for its increasing presence in the German market, with teams in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Berlin advising international companies on post-M&A and contractual disputes. Has notable experience in sectors such as telecoms, construction and infrastructure.

Strengths One interviewee praises their "very strong performance on international law matters," and adds that "a particular strength is their ability to draw talent from so many jurisdictions."

Sources also appreciate that "the firm is clearly dedicated to achieving the best possible results for their client."

Work highlights Advised Vedanta Resources on a BIT claim concerning the imposition of retrospective tax by the Indian tax authorities.

Notable practitioners

Sources state that Madrid-based David Arias is "someone you can really trust to be impartial" and highlight his "knowledge of procedure" as well as his "efficiency and experience." He has experience in commercial arbitrations, including high-profile construction cases and contractual disputes relating to projects in Latin America and continental Europe.

London-based Paula Hodges QC attracts praise for her experience in the field and frequently acts on energy and technology arbitrations involving projects and commercial agreements. Interviewees value her hands-on role in arbitrations, saying: "She seamlessly manages not only the legal advice, but deals with client expectations and manages a team to make sure we all get what we need, which is greatly appreciated. I know everything is being covered."