People

Franz T. Schwarz

Partner

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 www.arbitration-ch.org.

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:

  • 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.
  • Recommended in the Chambers Global (2009-2016) in the fields of international arbitration and dispute resolution, which describes him as being "an extremely effective advocate" and "a real leader in the field."
  • Recognized as a leader in the field of international arbitration by Chambers Europe, which referred to him as a "real star in the making" in the 2008 edition. In the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 editions, recognized as a leader in the fields of international arbitration in Europe, dispute resolution: arbitration, leading overseas counsel in Germany, dispute resolution: leading overseas counsel in Austria and dispute resolution: regional experts in the United Kingdom.
  • Recognized as a leader in the field of international arbitration by Chambers UK: A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2008, which stated that he is "possessed of a razor-sharp written style and shows no mercy in exposing the other side's weaknesses. Having already made an impression on the written and speaking circuit, this rising star's civil law background offers an 'extra dimension' to the team."
  • Also recognized in the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 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 (2008-2017) as a leading arbitrator and 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. 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." 
  • Featured in the Arbitration Report 2007 by Legal Business, which described him as "analytically and academically superb."

Publications & News

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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."

November 4, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers, Practice Recognized for Outstanding Work and Reputation by Chambers UK 2017

Chambers UK: A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2017 ranked five WilmerHale lawyers and one practice for outstanding work and reputation.

September 19, 2016

The Legal 500 UK Recognizes Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP as a Top-Tier Firm

In the 2016 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 four partners to its "Leading lawyers" list, and recognizes a total of nine of the firm's London-based lawyers.

July 29, 2016

CEE Overview: International Arbitration in Central and Eastern Europe: An Overview and Key Developments

A chapter by Franz Schwarz, included in the 2016 edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: International Arbitration; published by Global Legal Group Ltd, London.

April 26, 2016

Chambers Europe 2016 Recognizes WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices

Twelve WilmerHale lawyers and five firm practices have been recognized in the 2016 edition of Chambers Europe: Leading Lawyers for Business.

March 23, 2016

Chambers Global 2016 Ranks WilmerHale Lawyers, Practices

Chambers Global has named 27 WilmerHale lawyers among “The World's Leading Lawyers for Business” in its 2016 edition. Additionally, the firm is ranked in 15 practice areas that span five regions.

March 23, 2016

Franz Schwarz Delivers 4th Bergsten Lecture in Vienna

Franz Schwarz delivered the 4th Bergsten Lecture on the subject of “Systemic Case Management and Burden of Proof”. In his lecture, Mr Schwarz encouraged a deeper, more 'systemic' consideration of how substantive law interacts with procedural issues, exploring the interdependence of substance and procedure on the example of burden of proof and document disclosure.

October 30, 2015

Chambers UK 2016 Recognizes WilmerHale for Outstanding Work and Reputation

Chambers UK: A Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2016 ranked five WilmerHale lawyers and two practices for outstanding work and reputation.

September 18, 2015

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP Named a Top-Tier Firm by The Legal 500 UK

In the 2015 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 six other practice areas.

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.

Practices

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Education

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

Languages

German

English

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