ZFZ Grows Partnership and Expands Global Operations

We are delighted to welcome two new partners, Friederike Schäfer and Joe Gosden, along with two new associates, Alexandra Tompson and Leo Rees-Murphy, and new international capacities in the form of a German desk.

Friederike Schäfer and Joe Gosden join our 10-strong team of partners, each bringing their respective expertise to the firm’s global capabilities.

Friederike Schäfer, an experienced international arbitration practitioner, was formerly counsel at the Secretariat of the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) International Court of Arbitration in Paris and holds extensive previous private practice experience. Commencing on 1 July 2022, Friederike brings in-depth knowledge of the ICC arbitration rules, along with various other sets of rules such as VIAC, UNCITRAL and DIS in different capacities, including as arbitrator. Educated and qualified in Germany, her joining not only strengthens ZFZ’s arbitration team, but adds German law capabilities to the firm’s multi-jurisdictional practice.

Joe Gosden joined the firm’s London office in March and is an experienced commercial litigator in the commodities, shipping and insurance sectors. Qualifying first as a solicitor and later as a barrister, Joe has significant litigation, arbitration and advocacy experience. He primarily advises clients on complex cross-border litigation and international arbitration. Joe has particular expertise in disputes arising out of the sale, storage and transportation of oil and fertilizer, as well as the carriage of dangerous cargoes, loan enforcement, ship recycling and pollution liabilities. Joe has many years’ experience of running disputes across multiple jurisdictions including obtaining urgent injunctive relief, arrests and attachments in support of those proceedings. With a strong background in charterparty and bill of lading disputes too, Joe expands on the firm’s broad international shipping practice.

With the joining of Friederike Schäfer, we launch a German desk, which provides German language consultation across the firm’s various offices with German-speaking attorneys locally qualified in the US, UK and Austria. Via the German desk, we aim to advise German, Swiss and Austrian clients on a localized level, offering not only linguistic common grounds, but comprehensive familiarity with the ins and outs of the German legal system. The German desk acts as a go-to point of contact for German speaking clients and Germany related matters, from the firm’s 6 offices worldwide.

We are also pleased to announce that two associates are joining our London office over the next few months to bolster our ranks and offer greater strategic resource.

Alexandra Tompson (New York qualified and currently completing her English qualification) has been working in Paris, on high-profile commercial arbitration cases in the MENA region, including an ongoing DIFC-LCIA arbitration concerning three major infrastructure projects in the UAE. Prior to this role, Alexandra worked for the Office of the Prime Minister in Poland.

Leo Rees-Murphy (QLD, Australia qualified) has deep experience in contentious and advisory matters, specialising in energy and restructuring. Leo practised at a top tier Australian and Asia-Pacific law firm, following a judge’s associateship with the Federal Court of Australia. Leo will join the firm in September 2022, after completing a MSc in Law and Finance at the University of Oxford.

Recent Highlights

The first half of 2022 has been an exceptionally busy one for our global team. This is one of the main reasons for our continued growth.

As a snapshot of some of our recent highlights:

In London, Damon Thompson has been advising on many LNG and energy projects, with the assistance of our transactional team, including, for EnBW, the negotiation of a 20-year offtake agreement from US producer, Venture Global. Damon and the London energy disputes team has also been very busy on a number of multi-million dollar disputes in particular in the LNG and coal trading and shipping sectors. We have ongoing LCIA, Hong Kong and LMAA arbitrations.

Joe Gosden has hit the ground running in his couple of months with us. Led by Joe, the firm has acting for a Swiss trading house on a USD22m claim for loss of product stored in Spain, including obtaining urgent relief from the Commercial Court in London and managing on-going recovery actions across multiple jurisdictions.

We have also been acting on other energy disputes in London, including a claim in relation to loss of use at an African LNG project, disputes over payments under letters of credit arising out of sanctions, charterparty withdrawal disputes and various insurance coverage points.

Our global sanctions team has been exceptionally busy advising on English, US, EU and Russia law. Luke Zadkovich has been leading this work. Philip Vagin, our Russian and New York qualified lawyer, has been of exceptional value throughout this time, assisted ably by our Ukrainian colleague, Andriy Shalennyy, both of whom are in the process of qualifying in England. This sanctions work has certainly demonstrated the tremendous value in the merger between our US/UK and European businesses. We have been able to work across all our offices seamlessly to assist clients during a period of immense turmoil and uncertainty.

Luke has also resolved high-profile arbitrations and English court proceedings during this time, including a liner vessel seaworthiness claim and a major commodities contract non-performance claim with guarantee claim. Luke is also leading on a $100m investment fund dispute in London LCIA arbitration, arising out of an African telecommunications investment. Luke has also just completed a major ICC arbitration in New York on a commodities contract dispute in which Eva-Maria Mayer played a key role in running the case. Luke has also been active in the logistics sector, with excellent support from Zach Barger.

Calum Cheyne’s practice has taken off this year and is leading a team of associates for clients in the container business, the bulk trade, and other sectors. Calum’s practice has also been focused on the latest tech coming into the market, and he has been advising a blockchain based tech start-up on a range of issues.

Across the pond in the US, Edward Floyd has been handling a major arbitration enforcement action in the US courts for a pharmaceutical company that reaches into the USD hundreds of millions involving numerous, cutting edge enforcement issues. This case has been reported in legal journals. He has also been highly active with sanctions advisory work concerning Russian, Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan sanctions programs as well as US export regulations. We are also acting on a number of major shipping casualty cases in the US courts and continue to bring various attachment and security actions in courts nationwide all over the US. Joe Johnson continues to act on our largest of US cases both in court and arbitration across a variety of sectors. Ed, Joe and the rest of the New York team have also been as busy – and creative – as ever in seizing assets coast to cost from tankers in New Jersey to financial assets in California and some construction material in between. Ed has also stayed keen to make good use of his English qualifications, collaborating closely with our London colleagues on any number of mediation, arbitration, court and transactional matters. That underscores what’s perhaps most important about ZFZ, One Global Team.

Over in Chicago, Timothy McGovern, has been successfully handled the following major cases, among many others:
Wrongful death defense – our client was sued for failure to maintain a buoy system when a recreational vessel went over a government dam resulting in the death of a teenager. After a swift investigation and review of documents, we moved for dismissal of our client, as another party had responsibility for the buoy system at the time of the accident. Outcome: client dismissed outright.

Personal injury defense – our client was sued for defects in intermodal equipment that allegedly resulted in a traffic accident that caused injury to the driver and passenger of an automobile on an interstate. We defended on liability and sought indemnity from co-defendant pursuant to contracts between the parties. Outcome: client dismissed without contribution to settlement.

Employment law – advised client on required changes to employment agreements following implementation of Illinois Freedom to Work Act in January of 2022. We drafted a new suite of agreements for all new hires and advised on changes required for employees with existing agreements.