Derains & Gharavi International


Derains & Gharavi hires senior counsel

Thomas Bevilacqua has joined Derains & Gharavi as senior Counsel . His hiring was reported in a GAR article, dated 8 January 2020, in the following terms:

Thomas Bevilacqua, a former Foley Hoag partner who helped launch the firm’s Paris office, has joined Derains & Gharavi as senior counsel.

Bevilacqua started at his new firm on 6 January. He left Foley Hoag in 2018 and spent last year on sabbatical in the US, while also completing an LLM in taxation at the University of Miami School of Law.

A dual French-US national, Bevilacqua joined Foley Hoag in 2011 from Winston & Strawn along with fellow disputes practitioner Bruno Leurent. Together they founded Foley Hoag’s Paris office, the firm’s first outside the US.

Foley Hoag’s head of international disputes Paul Reichler says Bevilacqua ’made an outstanding contribution to the establishment and growth’ of the office and is a ’very fine lawyer.’ He says that Foley Hoag holds Derains & Gharavi in ’very high regard’ and expects Bevilacqua to be a success there.

Derains & Gharavi co-founder Hamid Gharavi says Bevilacqua is ’no stranger to the firm.’ The two worked together at Dentons’ legacy firm Salans in the early 2000s and Bevilacqua has also appeared as counsel in a case arbitrated by the firm’s other founder, Yves Derains.

Gharavi says Bevilacqua brings two decades’ experience in high-profile disputes and will reinforce both the firm’s investor-state and commercial arbitration practices.

At Foley Hoag, Bevilacqua represented Venezuela in several investment treaty disputes and last year helped persuade the Paris Court of Appeal to partially set aside a US$1.3 billion award won by Canadian mining company Rusoro.

He also acted for the state in its attempt to set aside a US$740 million ICSID award won by another Canadian mining company, Gold Reserve, which was ultimately unsuccessful.

In 2014, he helped Venezuela defeat a US$180 million ICSID claim filed by Canada’s Nova Scotia Power on jurisdiction.

Bevilacqua was also part of a team that led India to its first known victory in an investment treaty arbitration, defeating a US$36 million claim by a French investor in a failed joint venture at a port in West Bengal.

He also helped Ecuador defeat the vast majority of an UNCITRAL claim originally worth US$500 million brought by US company Murphy Oil. The tribunal awarded just US$20 million plus costs and interest and later rejected an application for additional damages.

Although his investment treaty work is more well-publicised, around half of Bevilacqua’s disputes practice is commercial. In 2014, he helped Chinese-owned oil producer Addax Petroleum settle a US$1 billion contractual ICC dispute with Gabon.

Bevilacqua spent six years at Winston & Strawn in Paris, including two years as a partner. While there he represented Senegal before the International Court of Justice at the interim measures phase, defeating an attempt by Belgium to compel the extradition of the former president of Chad.

Bevilacqua is admitted in New York and Texas, with his readmission to the Paris bar pending.

He says he is ’thrilled to be joining a team of individuals of such impeccably high personal and professional calibre.’

‘Few firms can legitimately stake a claim to as active and varied an arbitration docket as that of Derains & Gharavi. I am looking forward to the challenge.’

Nathalie Meyer Fabre, the founder of Parisian boutique Meyer Fabre Avocats, worked with both Bevilacqua and Gharavi at Salans, a time she remembers for its ’great intellectual density and great fun.’ She later sat on a tribunal that Bevilacqua appeared before.

She says Bevilacqua is hard working with a ’sharp legal mind’ and that his ’multicultural background gives him remarkable insight on the most complex issues,’ adding that she is ’delighted to see him back in the Paris arbitration arena.’