Chambers Lists Top Public International Law Firms
Chambers and Partners has published their list of the top law firms for public international law. The top tier (or “band 1″ as they call it):
Debevoise and Plimpton
Eversheds Frere Cholmeley
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Latham and Watkins
Shearman and Sterling
White and Case
The full post also includes a list of top PIL attorneys who are not affiliated with the top ranking firms.
Chambers’ description of what constitutes a PIL practice, as well as where to find the talent (PhD programs) may be useful for students considering practice in this area:
Public international law (PIL) is not only relevant to governments these days, it is increasingly the concern of multinational corporations and individuals. International law now affects many corporate and financial transactions; companies need to be aware of the impact of such issues as sanctions, export controls, anti-corruption conventions, rules for combating crime and terrorism, and regimes of environmental accountability. PIL also often overlaps with WTO and human rights issues.
Investor-state arbitrations are on the rise. Some may argue that this does not constitute pure PIL work, which traditionally involves state-to-state disputes before international courts such as the ICJ. However, although it involves entities other than governments, it does concern investment treaties that are made between states and there are now very few PIL lawyers who do not handle this type of work. Unlike border disputes or Law of the Sea matters, which can simmer away for years, investment treaty matters are fast-paced and seen by some as the new ‘sexy’ aspect of PIL. Due to the growing number of ICSID disputes relating to Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and the call for expertise in this area, many firms are developing their practices in the field. However, there is a tendency for lawyers to come at this from a commercial arbitration angle rather than the more academic PIL discipline. It is hard to get the balance right, but one leading practitioner commented: “The smart firms have gone out and hired PIL PhD students.”
Hat tip: Danny Sokol.