Pinsent Masons hires senior investor-state arbitration partner in London from Jones Day

Sylvia Tonova joins to co-lead Pinsents’ investor-state dispute settlement team

Sylvia Tonova Image courtesy of Pinsent Masons

UK law firm Pinsent Masons has hired an international arbitration partner in London from Jones Day to co-lead its investor-state dispute settlement and public international law team. 

Sylvia Tonova has joined the UK firm after six years as a partner at Jones Day, having earlier practised at White & Case. She brings extensive experience in international commercial and investment treaty arbitration to her new firm, focussing on complex, high-value disputes, often in high-profile and politically sensitive instructions.  

At Pinsents she will report to international arbitration co-heads Jason Hambury, who works from London, and Hong Kong-based Dr Dean Lewis. The co-head of her team will be unveiled in the coming weeks. 

Hambury said: "Sylvia's skillset perfectly fits our arbitration practice. Our clients will benefit from her experience working on complex cross-border commercial and investor-state disputes across numerous sectors, such as energy, mining and telecoms." 

Tonova is dual qualified in England and the US (New York and Washington DC). She represents clients under all the major arbitration rules and advises on investment treaty disputes, sovereign immunity and managing political risk. She also sits as an arbitrator and was appointed to the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators for a six-year term in 2016.

Tonova has led on arbitrations in EMEA, Latin America and Asia, experience that dovetails neatly with her new firm's strong UAE and Qatari presence, developing German footprint, UK-wide construction law presence and its Hong Kong office, well-established in the Special Administrative Region's legal scene. 

Her practice at Jones Day saw her assist global natural resources and energy companies and sovereign states. Her investment treaty practice is also highly relevant to businesses affected by the conflict in Ukraine and by Russian state actions locally. 

Tonova acknowledged this in joining Pinsents, noting that investment treaty law “plays a pivotal role in the political risk strategy of cross-border investors, particularly in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors."

In her new role, Tonova will focus on advising clients on complex international disputes across various sectors, including energy. 

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Pinsents recently released a study conducted by Queen Mary University of London suggesting that volatility in the commodities and energy sector would fuel a wave of disputes in which international arbitration would play a primary role in resolving international energy disputes – including investor-state ones.  

Debevoise & Plimpton also beefed up its London arbitration team recently, adding Jeff Sullivan KC late last month from US rival Ginson Dunn & Crutcher to co-chair its international arbitration team in Europe. 

And last week, Squire Patton Boggs announced the hire of international arbitration specialist Naomi Briercliffe as a partner from Allen & Overy, where she was counsel. 

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