Three Crowns announced its official launch scheduled for Monday, April 7th, with offices in London, Washington DC and Paris. With the official launch just a few days away, Roger Alford caught up with Luke Sobota, one of Three Crowns six founding partners.
Roger – Why did you leave your prior firms and create your own firm?
Luke – In various discussions, the founding partners discovered a common vision about a different way to practice international arbitration. We believe that clients will benefit from dedicated and focused teams with hands-on partner involvement from start to finish, and that a smaller structure would permit flexibility in staffing and pricing.
Roger – Three Crowns is the national emblem for Sweden. Why did you choose that name?
Luke – There is a tradition dating back nearly four decades of leading advocates in the field to wear cuff-links with the insignia of three crowns, and we sought to endorse and promote the ideas of elegance, achievement, and mentorship in advocacy associated with that tradition. It has nothing to do with Sweden (or, for that matter, fine pubs of that name in the United Kingdom).
Roger – For established arbitration specialists do you think there is now a trend toward leaving large firms and creating boutique arbitration law firms?
Luke – It is possible. But Three Crowns is pioneering in its breadth and depth and in its international coverage.
Roger – How serious are conflict-of-interest issues for arbitration practice groups at large firms?
Luke – Conflicts are inevitable at any firm. The promise of a smaller firm is that they will be considerably fewer difficulties on that score.
Roger – Will you focus on commercial or investment arbitration?
Luke – Collectively we have significant experience in commercial, investment, and state-to-state arbitration, and intend to continue to practice in all three.
Roger – Will you focus on serving as counsel or arbitrators?
Luke – Three Crowns is dedicated to advocacy for our clients’ international arbitrations, but individual partners will continue to serve as arbitrators from time to time.
Roger – What are your five or ten year goals for the firm?
Luke – To stay true to our founding principles and to maintain the trust of our clients. These aspirations will dictate our future growth.
Roger – Does your size limit the type of cases Three Crowns can handle?
Luke – We believe that Three Crowns can take on cases of any size. While most arbitrations are best handled with a lean and nimble team, we can complement our resources where appropriate by calling upon barristers, academic consultants with specialized expertise, and junior researchers and reviewers. Sometimes we will certainly work, as we already do, in tandem with allied larger firms.
Roger – What is the most exciting trend in international arbitration today?
Luke – Finding ways, both big and small, to improve the field of international arbitration, which has yet to reach its full potential for promoting international commerce and the rule of law by delivering cost-effective enforcement of legal compacts.