Like father, like son (GAR Global Arbitration Review)

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The apple certainly hasn’t fallen far from the tree in the Cremades family
Alyx Barker • Wednesday, 16 January 2013
The apple certainly hasn’t fallen far from the tree in the Cremades family, as Bernardo Cremades Jr leaves Curtis-Mallet Prevost Colt & Mosle in New York to become a partner at his father’s firm in Madrid.
Bernardo M. Cremades Jr.
Bernardo Cremades Jr

Cremades Jr, 30, joined B. Cremades & Asociados on 8 January. He was an associate at Curtis for four years, and before that at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Madridfor two years.

While at Curtis, Cremades Jr advised on several high-profile arbitration cases, including on Venezuela’s defence of ICSID claims initiated by foreign investors such as ConocoPhillips, Cemex and Brandes.

Cremades Jr tells GAR his move was “natural”. “I have always known that at some point I was going to return to Madrid to join [my father].”

He says it also makes sense in light of the “many opportunities in the Spanish arbitration market.” At the moment, he explains, Spanish clients tend to hire US or UK-based arbitration teams if their opposing party enlists anglo saxon representation. “My goal is to bring the business back to Madrid by providing the same service that you would get in New York or London.”

Cremades Sr says he is “extremely happy” to have his son join him, not only because of their “excellent relationship” but because of the experience he will bring of handling disputes in Latin America.

“This is especially relevant in the wake of recent expropriations of Spanish companies in that continent,” he says.

Curtis’s chairman, George Kahale III says that, although members of the firm had hoped Cremades Jr would stay on, they understand his desire to move back to Spain.

“With his talent, energy and now the tremendous experience he has gained at a young age, his future in international arbitration should be very bright indeed.”

Edward Kehoe, co-head of King and Spalding’s arbitration practice, where Cremades Sr’s younger son, Alejandro, worked for three years, says: “Like his father and brother, Bernardo is a wonderfully capable advocate, and a real gentleman. I suspect that the caseload at Cremades & Asociados will continue to expand with the addition of its newest partner.”

Joining at the same time as Cremades Jr is French associate Marie Girardet. She has been hired following internships at the firm and at Bredin Prat in Paris.

B. Cremades & Asociados was founded more than 40 years ago, and has seen several recent victories, including a US$8 million win for Spain’s Elsamex in an ICSID case against Honduras.

An aptitude for arbitration clearly runs in the family. Bernardo Cremades Sr’s brother, Juan Antonio Cremades, is also an arbitrator based in Paris and Madrid. The connection recently gave rise to an unusual arbitrator challenge, with the West African state of Guinea seeking to remove Bernardo Cremades Sr from a panel hearing an ICSID dispute brought by a French port management company because his brother was considering a similar case under OHADA rules.

Juan Antonio Cremades’ daughter, Anne-Carole Cremades, is also in the field, practising as an associate at Schellenberg Wittmer in Geneva.

Alejandro Cremades recently left King & Spalding’s New York office to start an internet business.