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04 May 2021

Freshfields arbitration veteran Nigel Rawding moves to Twenty Essex

Former head of international arbitration departs for the Bar after 30 years as a partner

Nigel Rawding QC Image courtesy of Twenty Essex

Nigel Rawding QC, once head of international arbitration at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, has joined London’s Twenty Essex, a leading set known for its work in that field.

Rawding, who is leaving Freshfields after almost 40 years at the firm, played a major part in building its success in international arbitration along with other recognised figures such as Alan Redfern, Martin Hunter and Jan Paulsson.

Sylvia Noury, Freshfields’ co-head of arbitration, said: “Nigel, following in the footsteps of Alan Redfern and Martin Hunter, helped to build – and then led for many years – our phenomenal arbitration team here in London. He has been an inspiration, mentor and friend to generations of Freshfields lawyers, not just in London but across our network globally.”

Rawding, who was appointed silk in 2016, developed the firm’s reputation for arbitral advocacy during his partnership and, along with Nigel Blackaby QC, Ben Juratowitch QC, Will Thomas QC, Peter Turner QC and Noah Rubens QC, achieved the honour of making Freshfields the Magic Circle firm with the highest concentration of silks.

A member of the ICC’s UK Commission on arbitration, Rawding also serves as a director of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), while developing his firm’s own thought leadership in the field. He also appeared, for the LCIA, in the Halliburton v Chubb appeal in the UK Supreme Court, which now stands as the leading judgment on arbitrator impartiality.  

Rawding told Global Arbitration Review: “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have played a part over so many years in the development of the market-leading international arbitration practice at Freshfields. The group has been populated by so many talented individuals – too many to mention – at so many points in time since its origins and it will continue to thrive in the hands of the exceptional group of partners now at the helm.”

He added: “As to my own future, if I have learned anything at all in my years as counsel it is what makes a good arbitrator in the eyes of the parties; whether I will be able to practice what I have preached will be for others to judge in due course.”

Twenty Essex’s co-heads, Duncan Matthews QC and Stephen Atherton QC, said Rawding would “make a seamless transition to being a pre-eminent international commercial arbitrator and we are delighted he has chosen to do so at Twenty Essex. He has the whole skill set required".

Rawding’s move to Twenty Essex mirrors that of Redfern and Hunter in choosing the Bar for his arbitrator practice; Redfern retired from practice at One Essex Court in 2020, while Hunter still practices from Essex Court Chambers. Former Allen & Overy arbitration partner Matthew Gearing QC was due to join Essex Court but subsequently joined Fountain Court this month, while Alexander Uff joined Quadrant Chambers last week from Shearman & Sterling.

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