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Practice Summary

Henry Forbes Smith has extensive experience with international commercial litigation and arbitration. He is also admitted in New Zealand (1997) and New York (2001), and practised New York law for three years as a capital markets and M&A attorney with Davis Polk before coming to the bar in 2005. He acted for Huawei in its 2019 UK Supreme Court appeals in Unwired and Conversant, among the Lawyer’s top 20 cases for 2019 and cases of global significance for the telecommunications industry. He acted for Firth Rixson in Lomas, the leading case on the ISDA Master Agreement. He has also acted in many of the major Russian cases, including Tajik Aluminium and Berezovsky v. Abramovich, for each of which he was principally responsible for Russian law. Henry has a substantial arbitration practice, including under LCIA, ICC, SIAC, ICDR, UNCITRAL and ICSID rules. He also sits arbitrator.

Comments include:

"a fantastic lawyer, very focused, incredibly clever, ferociously hard working and very analytical" (featured on the cover of Legal Week, 2009, as a ‘future star of the bar’).

"one of the finest legal minds of his generation." (Legal 500, 2010)

“He is a great cross-examiner and a very clever guy.” (Chambers and Partners, 2017)

Fantastic on black-letter law issues, particularly jurisdiction” (Legal 500, Banking & Finance, 2020). “He's excellent on questions of jurisdiction” (Chambers and Partners, 2016). “A first-class draftsman and analyst when it comes to complex jurisdiction points” (Legal 500, 2015)

His attention to detail is extraordinary and his written work is flawless” (Legal 500, 2017). “Digests large volumes of documents very quickly to identify areas of relevance” (Legal 500, 2017)

“A must-have on your side in disputes involving Russia.” (Legal 500, 2014); “Exceptionally intelligent and has profound experience in Russia and CIS-related litigations (Legal 500, 2020). “Has profound experience in Russia-related litigations and civil fraud cases” (Legal 500, 2018). “He is particularly well regarded for his experience in disputes concerning Russian law” (Chambers and Partners, 2015).

“Extremely intellectual, hard-working, a brilliant draftsman, and someone who is excellent at running with difficult arguments” (Chambers and Partners, Banking & Finance 2019). “A brilliant draftsman and excellent at running difficult arguments” (Legal 500, 2018); “inventive, prepared to run difficult arguments” (Chambers & Partners, 2016); "exceptional legal knowledge and lateral thinking." (Chambers and Partners, 2012)

“He’s a very impressive individual in terms of his knowledge of the law and his thoroughness. He works well with QCs providing them with the ammunition to fight cases.” (Chambers and Partners, 2015, Banking & Finance).

“He is very intellectually capable and very hard working.” (Chambers and Partners, 2018). “He’s solid, responsive and cerebral.” (Chambers and Partners, 2015, Banking & Finance)  “He’s extremely intelligent, very thoughtful, hard-working, and, in a word, meticulous.” (Chambers and Partners, 2014) “Extremely bright and thorough” (Legal 500, 2014, Fraud: Civil); “highly intelligent and dedicated” (Chambers and Partners, 2013, Banking & Finance); “assiduous and exceptionally hardworking." (Legal 500, 2011, Fraud: Civil)