Torsten Lörcher is a favourite among market commentators, who note his “impressive experience in international arbitration”.
Torsten's practice is focused on acting as counsel and arbitrator in international arbitration proceedings under various regimes including arbitration proceedings under the ICC, DIS, LCIA, CIETAC, CEAC, SCC, UNCITRAL, Vienna, Norwegian, Finnish and Swiss Rules.
He has acted as counsel in a large number of disputes and his track record as arbitrator comprises more than 75 cases. His practice is mainly focused on post-M&A, commercial and technology-related disputes and disputes from the pharmaceutical and energy sector.
From 2007 until 2014, Torsten was the global head of the CMS international arbitration group and from 2013 until 2017 the global head of the CMS dispute resolution group. He is a member of the board of the DIS.
What drew you to a career in international arbitration?
My father, Gino Lörcher, who sadly passed away last autumn, was an arbitration practitioner mainly acting as arbitrator. He always said how interesting and rewarding his work in the field of international arbitration was. Further, in my second year at Cologne University I had the privilege to start working for Karl-Heinz Böckstiegel first as research student and later as research assistant. I then gathered my first practical experience with Jan Paulsson at Freshfields in Paris before joining CMS in Germany. All these experiences drew me into the field of international arbitration, which I still find one of the most interesting areas of law.
What is it about working in arbitration that you enjoy the most?
The cross-cultural nature of international arbitration, the deep and intensive involvement with a variety of industries, complex facts, technical and legal issues. And working with other arbitration practitioners most of whom are interesting and often genuinely nice peolpe.
What trends are you seeing in post-M&A disputes in the current economic climate?
With the number of transactions currently going down, many players will focus more on recently closed transactions with the aim to improve the return from these transactions. This will lead to an increase of reps and warranties claims and earn-out disputes. Considering that there still is a lot of money around, I also expect that the transaction market will pick up again.
What challenges have arisen in the arbitration market due to sanctions on Russia?
Leaving aside the complications following immediately after the sanctions’ implementation, the compliance requirements have increased significantly when accepting new mandates as counsel and as arbitrator.
If you could reform one aspect of arbitral proceedings, what would it be and why?
To provide efficient tools to avoid and sanction the application of guerrilla tactics and the playing of purely tactical games by parties with the aim to delay and disrupt the proceedings.
How are arbitration institutions incorporating recent advances in technology?
Most of them are doing well in adapting the rules to such technological advances and implementing new (very often HighQ-based) central data points for their proceedings.
What are some of the key factors clients should consider when choosing an arbitrator, and how can younger practitioners improve their chances of receiving appointments?
Parties are in my view well-advised to choose arbitrators with industry-specific knowledge and experience and who are familiar with the applicable law. Depending on the size and complexity of the arbitration, experience as arbitrator is also essential.
In my view, there are different elements for young practitioners to improve their chances of receiving appointments. First, it is very important to gather knowledge and experience in the field of arbitration by working as counsel and/or tribunal secretary. Further, it is important to be involved with the arbitral institutions, primarily the ones active in the respective home market, as they will frequently be looking for younger practitioners they can appoint in smaller arbitrations. A third important element is to be well-connected in the arbitration community and here namely in the relevant “below-40” groups. And then, you have to be patient…
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
I am happy with what I have accomplished so far. An area which I however only had a limited focus on (since writing my doctoral thesis, which inter alia dealt with ICSID arbitration) is investment arbitration. It would be interesting to get more involved in investor-state arbitration proceedings.