Charles Adams, Former U.S. Ambassador to Finland, To Head Orrick’s International Arbitration Practice


Charles Adams, a leading authority on international arbitration who until recently served as U.S. Ambassador to Finland, will join Orrick as a partner in the firm’s Geneva office, effective April 3, 2017. Charles will head Orrick’s International Arbitration practice worldwide. In addition, he will establish and lead a team to provide advice and assistance to Finnish and Nordic companies in the formulation and implementation of their business strategies in North America.

Charles was nominated by President Barack Obama on June 27, 2014, as the U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Finland, duties he assumed in July 2015 upon confirmation by the Senate.

Charles brings deep experience in international law to Orrick, having practiced for more than four decades in Washington, D.C., Paris and Geneva. He has represented multinational corporations, sovereign governments and non-governmental organizations in several hundred international arbitration proceedings before tribunals worldwide, and has served as chairman or party-arbitrator on numerous occasions in high-profile cases. He also has experience in the negotiation of contracts for infrastructure projects in Africa and the Middle East and concession agreements in the oil and mining sectors worldwide. He served for more than ten years on the Board of Trustees of the Dubai International Arbitration Centre, was a member of the National Advisory Board of the Democratic National Committee, and has been active in humanitarian and philanthropic organizations in Europe and Africa. Charles has previously been a partner at Akin Gump, Hogan & Hartson and other international firms.

“Charles will be an extraordinary resource for our clients, and a distinctive asset for our firm, particularly our international offices, serving as an advisor to our teams as we grow and integrate our platform,” said Mitch Zuklie, Orrick’s chairman and CEO.

“Diplomatic service as Ambassador to Finland was an amazing honor and a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Charles. “I am now excited to be returning to the private sector, to collaborate with the Orrick team and help take the platform to the next level.  The firm is doing so many exciting things in technology, energy & infrastructure and finance all around the world, and I look forward to helping the team continue to build its world-class international arbitration practice centered in these sectors.”

In Geneva, Charles rejoins Vanessa Liborio, a rising star in international arbitration with whom he practiced before she joined Orrick in 2015.  Global Arbitration Review ranks Orrick among the top 20 leading international arbitration firms worldwide. The firm was also ranked a top five law firm in Geneva by The Lawyer for litigation and arbitration in 2016. Charles, individually, was top-tier ranked for international arbitration in GAR and The Legal 500 for five consecutive years prior to his departure for Finland.

“I’m thrilled to be reunited with Charles, and our entire team is looking forward to working with him to take our international arbitration practice worldwide to new and exciting heights,” Vanessa said.

Charles follows a series of additions across Orrick’s European offices this year. This includes antitrust partner Patrick Hubert from Clifford Chance and private equity partner Guillaume Kessler from Olswang in Paris; private equity partner Christoph Brenner in Munich and tech companies partner Ylan Steiner in London, both from KWM. Last year, the firm added a 5-partner finance and M&A team from Freshfields in Paris.