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Franz Schwarz Honored with Swiss Arbitration Association's Inaugural Advocacy Prize

February 1, 2010

Franz Schwarz, partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, has been awarded the inaugural Swiss Arbitration Association’s (ASA) Prize for Advocacy in International Arbitration. The award, established in 2008, was given for the first time at ASA’s annual conference in Geneva on 29 January 2010.

According to the ASA Charter, ASA’s Prize for Advocacy in International Arbitration is awarded wit h the objective of promoting the effective resolution of international commercial disputes through arbitration. Specifically, the Charter states:

“The arbitral process must be tailored to meet the needs and legitimate expectations of the users, namely the parties. The parties’ representatives, referred to here as “Counsel,” have a key role to play in this process. First of all, Counsel owe loyalty and effective services to their clients. However, the ASA Charter considers the role of Counsel in its entirety, which encompasses all of the required skills that Counsel need to master in order to ensure that the international commercial arbitration process is responsive to the needs and expectations of its constituency. It is these skills that form effective advocacy in international commercial arbitration and that the ASA Charter seeks to promote.”

On that basis, the prize is being awarded at regular intervals – and for the first time this year – to “recognize counsel who, through their exceptional talents in advocacy, contribute most effectively to the promotion of effective resolution of international commercial disputes through arbitration.” The prize is not restricted to ASA members; the laureate may be an established or an up and coming practitioner.

Professor Bernard Hanotiau of Hanotiau & van den Berg (Brussels) delivered the eulogy for the inaugural laureate. Praising Mr. Schwarz as “one of the most exceptional talents of his generation,” Professor Hanotiau noted his determination, skill, and fairness as counsel and advocate. Arbitrators and counsel who had seen Mr. Schwarz “in action” agreed that he exemplified a truly international approach to advocacy and procedure. Professor Hanotiau’s speech will be available in full at the ASA’s website.

The award was presented by Mr. Michael Schneider, partner at Lalive and president of ASA’s Executive Board, joined by ASA’s two Vice-Presidents, Elliott Geisinger, partner at Schellenberg Wittmer, and Daniel Wehrli, partner at Gloor & Sieger.

Upon receiving the award, Mr. Schwarz thanked the selection committee, Professor Hanotiau, and all who spoke so kindly of him, for the tremendous honor. Mr. Schwarz noted that every advocate depended on the hard work of an entire team, dedicating the award to his “friends and colleagues at Wilmer’s arbitration team, who are a constant inspiration.”

Mr. Schwarz, a partner and vice chair of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr’s International Arbitration Practice Group, is widely recognized as a leading practitioner in the field of international dispute resolution. Mr. Schwarz focuses on complex multi-jurisdictional disputes and has extensive experience with arbitral practice, procedure and advocacy both in civil and common law systems. Mr. Schwarz teaches at Zurich and Vienna Universities, and is the co-author of The Vienna Rules – A Commentary on International Arbitration in Austria (Kluwer Law International, 2009). Says Gary Born, head of the firm’s International Arbitration Practice Group, “We are extremely proud of Franz and his achievement. He is a fantastic lawyer, and highly deserving of the prize.”