In an unique interview, Lawyer Month-to-month speaks with Tim Foden, Accomplice at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, about his profession up to now.
What profession milestones are you most happy with?
I can consider three: Becoming a member of Boies Schiller Flexner as a associate felt like an actual milestone as a result of I’ve at all times held David Boies and Jonathan Schiller in excessive regard. I’m proud to be a part of this agency. I really feel like I’ve arrived.
Rising LALIVE’s workplace from 2 individuals to almost 30 additionally stuffed me with immense satisfaction. We’re searching for to copy that success at BSF London, however on a grander scale and with a platform that’s broader than simply arbitration. However the profession milestone I’m most happy with is working to acquire President Obama’s first-ever presidential commutation for my consumer, the late Eugenia Jennings. Apart from elevating my youngsters, that’s most likely the very best factor I’ve performed with my life.
What does it take to develop a profitable legislation agency?
You must have a transparent thought of what you need the agency to be, the place you need to place it out there and what sort of dynamic you need to have within the workplace. After getting that imaginative and prescient, you possibly can then drive the varied duties wanted to develop the agency. With BSF, the imaginative and prescient is obvious – we’re within the technique of constructing an workplace that mirrors the complete vary of dispute disciplines that we have now in the USA: advanced business litigation, arbitration and investigations. We’re additionally searching for to align the London and Milan places of work extra intently with the USA. I used to be at Quinn Emanuel in London for almost 5 years and noticed Richard East and Sue Prevezer QC do precisely that, so I realized from a number of the greatest. You then must promote that imaginative and prescient to the shoppers. And hear, shoppers like it – they love listening to that your agency does one factor, disputes, and does it nicely. My shoppers are typically mining firms and are primarily centered on one commodity and even one asset, to allow them to relate to a legislation agency that isn’t attempting to be all issues to all individuals.
As for the workplace dynamic, it’s rather a lot simpler to develop a profitable workplace if individuals truly need to work there. With the form of work we do at BSF and our compensation package deal, we have now a pure benefit in recruitment. However I consider that the success I’ve had in recruitment springs from the truth that I create a enjoyable place to work, one that’s each severe in regards to the work however irreverent in most different respects. I’ve tattoos and take heed to punk rock in my workplace, when individuals see that they have an inclination to calm down and be extra themselves, which is what we wish. On the identical time, I present associates respect for his or her time and real curiosity in creating their careers. As soon as phrase of that received round London, it turned rather a lot simpler to recruit nice expertise. Cash and high-profile work are nice, however individuals need to study and be revered as nicely. It’s remarkably straightforward to supply these latter two issues, however funnily sufficient, it’s uncommon.
What have been a number of the most difficult circumstances you’ve labored on all through your profession?
Circumstances could be difficult for myriad causes. For years I litigated claims in opposition to Iran and Libya on behalf of victims of acts of terrorism that we alleged these States sponsored. That was emotionally draining as we needed to adduce proof of the emotional and bodily hurt precipitated to victims and their relations. These occasions passed off within the Eighties so we have been, successfully, reopening previous wounds.
I’ve additionally had circumstances that have been difficult as a result of our consumer, shall we embrace, didn’t at all times have the legislation or the information on its facet. That is the check of an excellent disputes lawyer – overcoming the weaknesses in your consumer’s case. I as soon as had a colleague who each time we had a difficult case, wished he might argue the opposite facet’s place. I assumed that was loopy. The job is about that problem.
How has the Ukraine Conflict and the next exacerbation of inflation/the cost-of-living disaster impacted power disputes?
The obvious subject created by the conflict is that, previous to the conflict, Ukraine had made vital modifications to its regulatory framework for renewable power and traders had began to line as much as convey claims in opposition to Ukraine for these modifications. I can’t think about that these circumstances will proceed any time quickly.
Sadly, occasions of financial disaster could be extremely useful for legal professionals within the power disputes area. Take, as an example, the 2008 financial disaster’s affect on Spain’s renewable power framework. A excessive feed-in tariff for solar energy producers appeared an excellent factor when financial occasions have been good. With the disaster, Spain thought of these feed-in tariffs unsustainable as its so-called “tariff deficit” grew worse, resulting in a radical regulatory overhaul that has now produced near 40 totally different circumstances in opposition to Spain. The present disaster is prone to immediate comparable regulatory conduct and, almost certainly, extra claims in opposition to Sovereigns.
What’s the commonest causation of mining disputes in Africa and the way are these disputes sometimes resolved?
Many of the latest disputes in Africa have resulted from a wave of useful resource nationalism that swept the continent from roughly 2015 to current. Thoughts you, this type of nationalism isn’t peculiar to Africa; you will discover it in Europe, Latin America and Central Asia as nicely. In Africa, many States take into account that mining earnings haven’t been shared equally with the federal government and society as a complete. Though this age-old grievance does have some foundation in reality in sure jurisdictions, States typically take a sledgehammer to their regulatory framework when a scalpel would suffice to right the financial imbalance. The sledgehammer could cause a number of collateral injury, significantly for smaller firms which might be pumping much-needed capital into States for exploration.
Generally disputes with a State could be resolved by way of negotiation, however in circumstances the place a coverage is electorally pushed, the State could be locked right into a place. In the event you’ve demonised international mining firms with a purpose to get elected, it turns into tough to clarify to the voters why you’ve then reached a cope with these firms. In that zero-sum recreation situation, most frequently you will see that your self in worldwide arbitration. That’s the place I have a tendency to come back in.
That mentioned, I’m proudest of the work I’ve performed with mining firms to achieve amicable settlements with African States. Miners need to mine, not litigate. I dealt with one case in West Africa the place we have been capable of assist the consumer obtain a extremely beneficial consequence, which was additionally to the State’s profit when it comes to tax and royalty income. I’m typically requested by shoppers whether or not beginning an arbitration is like pulling a pin on a grenade, you possibly can’t put it again in. The reply isn’t any, as demonstrated by that West African expertise. It’s trite to say, however in the end, we as legal professionals are there to attain good outcomes for our shoppers. That doesn’t at all times imply an enormous money award.
What recommendation do you may have for anybody trying to pursue an analogous profession path to your self?
To my thoughts, practising worldwide arbitration is essentially the most enjoyable one can have in legislation. It’s fairly attractive stuff – huge greenback figures, plenty of worldwide journey, dramatic listening to moments, and continually studying about new industries and authorized methods. Younger legal professionals are, understandably, interested in that. However you can not go far on this area in case you are not a strong lawyer. And also you turn into a strong lawyer by litigating in your house jurisdiction earlier than changing into a world lawyer. You must have roots in a home authorized system. Too typically I see younger legal professionals who, say, do an LLM, and suppose that they’ll soar proper into worldwide arbitration with out having practised substantive legislation in anyone jurisdiction. That doesn’t work and leads to a lawyer who, as a good friend would say, is “all hat and no cattle”. I mentor a number of younger arbitration legal professionals and I encourage them to get expertise in litigation.