Gibson Dunn launches judgment and arbitral award enforcement practice

Group will be led by co-chairs Robert Weigel and Matthew McGill

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher has launched a dedicated judgment and arbitral award enforcement practice group, building on a run of successful enforcement actions.

The new practice will be led by co-chairs Robert Weigel in New York and Matthew McGill in Washington DC, who have both notched victories in high-profile arbitration cases. Weigel helped Canadian gold mining company Crystallex secure a $1.4bn judgment against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA, while McGill has previously helped win compensation for terrorist victims. That included a $1.75bn payout imposed by the US Supreme Court on the Iranian government in relation to the 1983 Beirut Marine Corps barracks bombing. 

Ken Doran, Gibson Dunn’s chairman and managing partner, said: “Increasingly, creditors and debtors alike are facing novel hurdles when pursuing global judgment and award enforcement actions, often where there is no template. Gibson Dunn has substantial experience in developing successful bespoke enforcement strategies, giving us a competitive advantage as a market leader in this growing field.”

The practice will draw on a group of enforcement lawyers globally, including in the US, London, Paris, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. The firm says it has collected billions of dollars in judgment and arbitral awards that others had written off, using methods such as prejudgment attachments, fraudulent transfer actions and discovery petitions. 

Weigel said: “Our lawyers have been at the forefront of major cases that have shaped judgment and arbitral award enforcement law in the United States and around the world. This experience is particularly important because every enforcement action is different: different debtors, with different assets in different jurisdictions.”

Other firms have also been beefing up their arbitration-related offerings. Earlier this month Squire Patton Boggs hired two international arbitrations partners to keep pace with its increasing case load. Sabrina Aïnouz and Jérôme Lehucher joined the firm’s Paris office from DWF. 

In addition, at the start of October Beirut’s Alem & Associates hired Brown Rudnick’s London head of arbitration Nicholas Tse and two of his associates to set up an office in Abu Dhabi.

Meantime, the International Council for Commercial Arbitration this month was forced to postpone its biannual congress for a second time. The event, which had already been rescheduled for February after being called off in May, will now take place in September next year.

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