Reed Smith names veteran Paris partner to head up global arbitration practice

Peter Rosher succeeds José Astigarraga as chair, who steps down after almost five years in the role

Peter Rosher will head up Reed Smith's international arbitration practice

Reed Smith has appointed Paris-based partner Peter Rosher as its new arbitration practice head, succeeding José Astigarraga who had been in the role since arriving at the firm in 2017.

Rosher takes the helm of a practice that has grown considerably over the past five years, with Astigarraga having expanded the firm’s arbitration offering globally. The firm’s arbitration group has more than 100 lawyers, many spread across the firm’s industry sector practices.

Rosher brings with him nearly 30 years of experience in international commercial and investment treaty arbitration. He is one of the founding members of Paris Arbitration Week and is vice-president of arbitral lobbying group Paris, Home of International Arbitration – where he has served as secretary general for the past seven years. He also sits on the board of the French Arbitration Association.

Peter Ellis, global chair of the firm’s litigation department, thanked Astigarraga for his “strong leadership and sharp strategic focus” in building the firm’s profile. Miami-based Astigarraga will remain at the firm as a partner.

Ellis added: “The team is a core element of the firm’s global disputes capabilities and is an integral component of our 2024 strategic plan,” saying he was delighted Rosher was stepping into the role, who had “already shown tremendous leadership qualities during his time at the firm.” 

Rosher said the firm was “superbly positioned” across key global arbitral centres and noted the combined value of the firm’s sectoral approach and arbitral know-how. He said: “Thanks to José’s incredible efforts, we have exceptionally strong foundations in place,” on which he hopes to build further. 

That strategy for building on Astigarraga’s leadership has three dimensions, Rosher said. First, continuing its regional and sector-specific approach. Second, expanding its presence in emerging markets such as India and Francophone Africa, as well as new fields like the metaverse. And third, adding new arbitral talent.
Both men joined the firm in 2017. Rosher from Pinsent Masons, where he was a partner for more than two years, and Astigarraga from his own firm, Astigarraga Davies, which he ran for 17 years.

The firm’s 2022 partner promotions round included arbitration lawyer Suzie Savage alongside other disputes partners, while Simon Greer was promoted in London in 2021.  

Last year the firm also hired energy disputes partner Timothy Cooke and his team in Singapore, as well as construction partner James Willn in the Middle East, both from Stephenson Harwood. That built on the back of 2019 hires including New York partner James Duffy from Baker McKenzie and counsel Ben Love from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

However, Love exited to join Boies Schiller & Flexner as a partner in September last year, while King & Spalding hired two of Reed Smith’s construction disputes partners, Vincent Rowan and Shareena Edmonds, in January 2021. 

Reed Smith also lost successive commodities partners to HFW in Singapore, with disputes specialist Dan Perera joining former Reed Smith Singapore managing partner Peter Zaman, while Astigarraga’s predecessor Barry Stimpson and shipping partner Jessica Kenworthy also left Reed Smith for Squire Patton Boggs in November 2019. 

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