Franz T. Schwarz


Vice Chair, International Arbitration Practice Group

Schwarz, Franz T.

Franz Schwarz focuses on complex multi-jurisdictional disputes. He has extensive experience with arbitral practice, procedure and advocacy both in civil and common law systems.

Mr. Schwarz has been involved in more than 200 arbitrations as counsel and arbitrator, both ad-hoc and before all major arbitral institutions (including ICC, LCIA, Vienna and Stockholm), at multiple seats and governed by a broad variety of substantive and procedural laws. He has a particular focus on joint venture, M&A, financial services, project finance, as well as commercial and corporate disputes.

Mr. Schwarz regularly counsels clients on conflict of laws issues and international enforcement of arbitration awards and judgments, including against state entities, and frequently advises parties on the protection of foreign investments under bilateral investment treaties and similar instruments.

Mr. Schwarz frequently serves as arbitrator, including as chairman of arbitral tribunals, and is included on the roster of several major arbitral institutions.

Publications and Speaking Engagements

Mr. Schwarz is a regular speaker on international arbitration topics, and teaches international arbitration at the University of Zurich, the Europainstitut in Saarbrücken and the Vienna University School of Economics. 

Mr. Schwarz has also published extensively on topical issues of arbitration law. He is the co-author of The Vienna Rules—A Commentary on International Commercial Arbitration in Austria (Kluwer Law International 2009, 2nd edition forthcoming). For a list of representative publications and speaking engagements please see the above tabs.

Honors & Awards

In January 2014, American Lawyer recognized partner Franz Schwarz as "Litigator of the Week," for his representation in Swatch Group v. Tiffany and “delivering a Christmas gift of [almost] half a billion dollar to Wilmer's client Swatch Group."

Mr. Schwarz 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. 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." In the award speech, Mr. Schwarz was praised as an "exceptional talent" in advocacy and "one of the best lawyers of his generation." For more information, see WilmerHale's press release and

Mr. Schwarz is the recipient of the American Arbitration Association's Distinguished Service Award "for his distinguished service and support of international arbitration and mediation."

Client and Peer Reviews

Mr. Schwarz is widely recognized as a leading practitioner in the field of international dispute resolution. For his work in the field, he has been included in the following client and peer reviews:

  • Recommended by Chambers Global (2009-2018) in the fields of international arbitration and dispute resolution, and is described as being "an extremely effective advocate" and "a real leader in the field" who has an "important footprint in the market." He is also recognized as a Foreign Expert in Austrian dispute resolution.
  • Recognized as a leader in the field of international arbitration in the 2011-2018 editions of Chambers Europe, which refers to him as "very talented" with a "great understanding of the relevant common and civil law, as well as the general EU law of the different institutions." 
  • Also recognized as a leader in the field of international arbitration in the 2008-2018 editions of Chambers UK, which describe him as "very versatile" with a "great understanding of the relevant common and civil law," a "superb advocate" and "impressive and outstanding," an "extremely effective advocate," a "fantastic advocate who masters the facts of a case very well," a "superstar of the future" and also as a "convincing and dynamic individual, with a remarkably sharp mind" who "displays extraordinary strategic sense and masterful judgment."
  • Featured in Who's Who Legal: Arbitration (2008-2018) as a leading arbitrator. He was named a "Thought Leader" in the 2018 edition, with sources describing him as “definitely a prominent figure” in the market, “a very bright individual, an impressive lawyer and talented advocate,” and an “outstanding arbitrator.” He was named among the "Most Highly Regarded Individuals" under 45 in the world in the inaugural edition of Who's Who Legal: Arbitration - Future Leaders 2017, where he was described as "highly respected," with one respondent noting that "he gave one of the best cross-examinations I have ever seen."
  • Recommended in The Legal 500 UK as a "Leading lawyer" for dispute resolution: international arbitration (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016), which described him as widely respected and "tactically excellent." 
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in the sixth edition of The Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom for his work in international arbitration
  • Recognized in Legal Media Group's The Best of the Best in 2009, 2011 and 2013 as among the world's 25 leading lawyers for international commercial arbitration. Also listed in The Best of the Best 2011 as a leading lawyer for litigation.
  • Featured in the Arbitration Report 2007 by Legal Business, which described him as "analytically and academically superb."

Publications & News


March 20, 2018

Chambers Europe 2018 Recognizes WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices

Twelve WilmerHale lawyers and three firm practices have been recognized in the 2018 edition of Chambers Europe: Leading Lawyers for Business.

March 16, 2018

WilmerHale Recognized for Outstanding International Lawyers and Practices in Chambers Global 2018

In the 2018 edition of Chambers Global, 33 WilmerHale lawyers were named among “The World's Leading Lawyers for Business."

December 8, 2017

Who's Who Legal: Arbitration Recognizes 18 WilmerHale Lawyers in 2018 Edition

The 2018 edition of Who's Who Legal: Arbitration has recognized 18 WilmerHale lawyers for their industry-leading experience in international arbitration.

November 16, 2017

Opening Submissions

A chapter by Franz Schwarz, published in Global Arbitration Review: The Guide to Advocacy, provides an overview of topics and techniques to consider in the preparation and delivery of opening submissions in international arbitration.

November 3, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers, Practices Recognized for Outstanding Work and Reputation by Chambers UK 2018

Chambers UK: A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2018 ranked six WilmerHale lawyers and five practices for outstanding work and reputation.

October 12, 2017

The Legal 500 UK Recognizes WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices in 2017 Edition

In the 2017 edition of The Legal 500 UK, WilmerHale is named a top-tier firm for dispute resolution - international arbitration and crime, fraud and licensing - fraud: white-collar crime, and is recommended in four other practice areas. The guide also names five partners to its "Leading lawyers" list, and recognizes a total of 11 of the firm's London-based lawyers.

July 24, 2017

International Comparative Legal Guide to: International Arbitration

Steven Finizio and Charlie Caher are contributing editors to The International Comparative Legal Guide: to International Arbitration 2017. Franz Schwarz, Krystyna Khripkova, Jim Carter, John Pierce, Charlie Caher, Jonathan Lim and John McMillan also contributed chapters.

April 11, 2017

Chambers Europe 2017 Recognizes WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices

Twelve WilmerHale lawyers and five firm practices have been recognized in the 2017 edition of Chambers Europe: Leading Lawyers for Business.

March 21, 2017

WilmerHale Recognized for Outstanding International Lawyers and Practices in Chambers Global 2017

Chambers Global has named 27 WilmerHale lawyers among "The World's Leading Lawyers for Business" in its 2017 edition.

December 20, 2016

Who's Who Legal Names Seven Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr International Arbitration Practitioners as "Future Leaders of International Arbitration"

Who's Who Legal has ranked Rachael Kent, Franz Schwarz, Duncan Speller, Maxi Scherer, Michelle Bock, Sarah Ganz and Helmut Ortner in its inaugural listing of the "Future Leaders of International Arbitration."

Recent Highlights

Mr. Schwarz led the the Firm’s representation of client Swatch Group in an international arbitration against Tiffany. In December 2013, the tribunal found that Tiffany had breached a long-term cooperation agreement with Swatch Group, that those breaches were material and that Swatch Group was entitled to prematurely terminate the cooperation. The tribunal proceeded to award Swatch Groups lost profits in the amount of USD $480 million, and it dismissed counterclaims by Tiffany for USD $500 million. The decision has attracted global news coverage, from the US to the UK (see e.g. the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Financial Times) to Germany and Switzerland (see e.g. Der Spiegeland Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).

Recently, Mr. Schwarz also secured a significant victory for a major consumer goods company in a dispute involving a failed strategic alliance (under ICC Rules, sited in London, with German law applying); a significant victory for a media company in a joint venture dispute in Germay, under DIS Riles; as well as a favorable outcome for a major airline operator in a joint venture dispute, in an ad hoc arbitration sited in Germany. Mr. Schwarz has also obtained a series of favorable awards in the firm's representation of a leading telecommunications company in a series of joint venture disputes in Eastern Europe, sited in Vienna; and has advised a multinational service company on investment protection claims against a Central European state.

Mr. Schwarz has played a significant role in the firm's successful representation of a leading European telecommunications company in an arbitration involving the break-up of a joint venture—the considerable amounts involved in this dispute made it the largest ICC arbitration in history. He also represented a major telecommunications company in a multi-jurisdictional dispute over a joint venture company in Switzerland and helped to obtain a victory for the client in a highly-expedited procedure in less than three months.

Professional Activities

Mr. Schwarz currently serves on the Executive Board of the Swiss Arbitration Association. He is a member of the IBA Arbitration Sub-Committee on the New York Convention; the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, LCIA, DIS and the Swiss and Austrian Arbitration Associations. From 2003 to 2007, Mr. Schwarz served on the Executive Board of the American Arbitration Association's ICDR Young & International Arbitration program, which he co-founded.


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MCIArb, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, 2001

LLM, with Merits, London School of Economics and Political Science, 1999

Mag iur, Top of Class, University of Vienna School of Law, 1995

Bar Admissions

Rechtsanwalt, Austria




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