MARC S. PALAY is an accomplished trial and arbitration lawyer with over 30 years of experience providing strategic advice and skilled representation of clients in international commercial arbitrations and complex transnational litigation. Marc is a hands-on advocate who has taken many complex, high-stakes disputes through hearing and award.
Significant recent engagements where Marc acted as lead counsel include:
- Successfully representing Atomstroyexport, one of the world’s largest nuclear energy companies in obtaining and securing payment of a €600 million in an ICC arbitration in Geneva with claims and counterclaims related to the cancellation of a nuclear power plant project. For this victory, Sidley received the 2017 American Lawyer Global Award for “Global Dispute of the Year: Commercial Arbitration (Europe).”
- Obtained a US$275 million award and successfully defended against over US$800 million in counterclaims for a CIS aluminum company in a complex and high-value arbitration filed in Zürich under the Swiss Rules against an important State-owned entity in Central Asia in a case involving complex issues of Swiss, English, BVI and Russian law.
- Successfully defending a leading European semiconductor manufacturer in an ICC arbitration against a US$51 million claim arising out of a post-M&A dispute.
- Representing a leading European semiconductor manufacturer in connection with IP claims arising out of a joint development technology project.
- Representing a leading U.S. pharmaceutical company in connection with claims and counterclaims relating to indemnities and earn-outs arising out of an M&A transaction.
- Obtaining a US$71 million ICC award for an affiliate of a leading CIS metals company. The award represented a third straight victory in a long-running battle relating to a series of important supply contracts.
- Obtaining a large award for an African minerals trading company in an ICC arbitration in Geneva against a multinational company involving termination of an off-take agreement against the backdrop of the UN sanctions regime. The award was upheld in setting-aside proceedings before the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.
- Successfully representing a U.S. pharmaceutical in an ICC arbitration with seat in London concerning a License and Distribution Agreement with respect to cardiovascular testing services and related services in Europe and Russia under U.S. law.
- Successfully representing an Asian semiconductor company in cross-border insolvency proceedings in Europe and the U.S. involving the Qimonda insolvency and rights to thousands of licensed patents.
- Representing a client in the successful recovery of millions of dollars in funds embezzled by a disloyal employee through proceedings in local courts throughout the world.
- Representing a Middle Eastern distributor in an ICC arbitration in Geneva against a multinational beverage manufacturer for claims related to the termination of a long-term distribution agreement in Saudi Arabia.
- Leading an internal investigation into allegations of corruption related to commodity sales in the Middle East.
Marc’s practical, hands-on approach garners praise from clients and peers, as is reflected in the research conducted by the leading industry publications such as Chambers, Best Lawyers, Who’s Who Legal and Global Arbitration Review’s GAR 30. Most recently, Marc has been recognized in Chambers Global 2021 for International Arbitration, with clients commenting “His major skill has to do with the ability to see through the facts and see all the potential consequences and risks. He also has a good ability to evaluate chances.” He has been listed in the 2021 edition of Best Lawyers in Switzerland. Clients from the 2021 edition of Chambers Europe have said that he “is very well prepared and leaves no stone unturned; he is thorough and works very hard,” and has a “deep knowledge of technical and commercial aspects of our sector,” further highlighting: “We get really tailor-made advice.” Previously, sources have commented that “he is one of the more outstanding legal minds I have worked with; I go to him for the toughest issues out there,” (Chambers Europe 2017). In Who’s Who Legal 2016 Switzerland, Marc is heralded by clients as “one of the best arbitrators in Europe.” In the GAR 30’s 2016 research, sources described Marc as “brilliant” and stated, “Palay’s leadership ‘was superb.’” Another client commented that Marc’s “Cross-examination at the hearing was particularly accomplished, and stood in marked contrast to what opposing counsel was able to do.” Global Arbitration Review 2015 shared this client praise: “An in-house counsel used a team led by Marc for an important set of cases and was suitably impressed. ‘They are organised, efficient, tightly coordinated, highly responsive and good value for money.’”
Marc’s experience extends across a broad swath of business disputes, including complex contract, fraud, energy, products liability, securities, construction, insurance and competition disputes, as well as intellectual property matters arising out of licensing and technology transfer agreements. He also counsels clients on a wide variety of international commercial matters and has extensive experience in the drafting and negotiation of international commercial agreements.
Marc’s industry experience is equally vast, ranging from pharmaceuticals and healthcare, to metals and minerals, to large infrastructure projects and semiconductor technology. Marc understands the need for litigation counsel to align itself with business objectives, as well as in-house counsel’s need to manage disputes, large and small.
Marc is a true international lawyer. Qualified in the United States where he had a successful trial practice, he has been based in Geneva for the past 24 years. He does all his own advocacy and has represented a diverse set of clients in high-stakes disputes, including leading U.S., European, Russian, Middle Eastern and Asian firms. His thorough understanding of international arbitration and diverse legal systems means that Marc is a valued adviser and “interpreter” for clients facing complex cross-border dispute resolution issues.
Marc has successfully represented clients in over 50 disputes before a wide variety of international arbitral and judicial forums, including the International Chamber of Commerce, the Swiss Chambers of Commerce, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and other arbitral institutions. He has also supervised litigation in more than a dozen foreign jurisdictions, and continues to represent multinational companies before various state and federal courts throughout the United States. Marc has been counsel of record in a number of leading U.S. cases involving the recognition and enforcement of international arbitral agreements and awards.