Biography

Tom is a Partner and the firm’s Head of Arbitration based in the Dubai office.  He is experienced in international commercial arbitration, international investment disputes, state-to-state arbitration, and foreign sovereign immunity issues.  His experience covers a wide range of industries, sectors, and types of disputes, including oil-and-gas, construction, hospitality, telecommunications, automobile manufacturing, distribution agreements, shareholder disputes, and joint-venture disputes.

Tom is recognized in Who’s Who Legal Arbitration (2022) and is ranked for dispute resolution in Chambers United Arab Emirates (2021), which notes that “Tom’s knowledge and expertise is extremely impressive” and that “he has the ability to advise and write with an uncommon degree of precision and clarity.”

Tom was recently named to the Legal 500 Private Practice Arbitration Powerlist – Middle East Region. In the Legal 500 United Arab Emirates (2020), Tom was described as having “cross-examination skills [that] are excellent. He listens hard, is polite to witnesses and yet wields an iron fist beneath his velvet glove.”

In 2021, Lexology’s Client Choice recognized Tom for Arbitration & ADR in the United Arab Emirates. Client Choice, which is unique in that lawyers can only be nominated by corporate counsel, recognizes those lawyers who stand apart for excellent client care and have “an ability to add real value to clients’ business above and beyond the other players in the market”. Tom was also recognized by Asian Legal Business in its listing of Super 50 Lawyers in MENA 2022.

Tom has sat as an arbitrator and is on the panel of arbitrators of several arbitral institutions around the world. He is also a member of the following bodies:

  • Court of Arbitration of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC),
  • Arbitration Committee of the Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA),
  • International Arbitration Committee of KCAB International (an independent division of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board), and the
  • Executive Committee of the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration (MCIA) Users Council (Realty).

Tom is also the lead international expert for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its provision of technical advice to the Republic of Uzbekistan on its new, UNCITRAL-based arbitration law.

Tom frequently writes and speaks on topics involving international law and dispute resolution. Prior to relocating to Dubai, he was a professorial lecturer in law at the George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC.

From 2001 to 2009, Tom was a member of the legal team representing the Ethiopian Government before the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, an international arbitral tribunal that adjudicated claims for loss, damage and injury arising during an international armed conflict.  In this context, he worked as a resident attorney in Addis Ababa for three years.

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Thought Leadership

Recent speaking engagements

  • Speaker, “From Walls to Bridges: A Practical Approach to Expanding the Scope of Arbitration in Africa,” 6th ICC Africa Conference on International Arbitration, Lagos, Nigeria, 2 June 2022
  • Speaker, “Uzbekistan’s New International Commercial Arbitration Law: A Practitioner’s Perspective,” University of World Economy and Diplomacy and Asian Development Bank Conference on Prospects of Development of International Commercial Arbitration in Uzbekistan, 12 April 2022
  • Speaker, “Challenges in Cross Border Disputes: Way Forward,” 4th India Council on Arbitration International Conference, Dubai, UAE, 19 March 2022
  • Speaker, “Africa and International Arbitration: Arbitration and Economic Development,” Cambridge Arbitration Society/Lauterpacht Centre for International Law Lecture, 15 March 2022
  • Speaker, “Reforming International Arbitration Through the Use of Artificial Intelligence: What to Expect in the Near Future?,” Columbia Arbitration Day, 4 March 2022
  • Speaker, “Geopolitical Tensions in the Middle East and the Effect on Energy Disputes,” 5th Annual Conference on Energy Arbitration & Dispute Resolution in the Middle East and Africa, International Law Summits, 10 February 2022
  • Speaker, “Petroleum and Natural Gas Disputes,” Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai, Centre for Arbitration and Research, Global Energy Arbitration Conference, 4 December 2021
  • Speaker, “Arbitration in the Middle East,” GAR Live Moscow, 12 October 2021
  • Speaker, “Five Ways the Investment Landscape Changed in Uzbekistan,” Uzbek Arbitration Week, 6 September 2021
  • Speaker, “From Walls to Bridges: A Practical Approach to Expanding the Scope of Arbitration in Africa,” 5th ICC Africa Conference on International Arbitration, 3 June 2021
  • Speaker, “Uzbekistan’s New Law on International Commercial Arbitration – A Key Business-Climate Reform Arising During COVID-19 Recovery Efforts,” Tashkent Law Spring International Legal Forum, 23 April 2021
  • Moderator, “Special Considerations for Korean Companies Doing Business in the Middle East,” SIAC Korea-Middle East Webinar, 3 March 2021
  • Speaker, “New Powerhouses? Settling Disputes in a Global Arena”, India Disputes E-Conference, 20 November 2020
  • Speaker, “Can We Talk of an Arbitration Culture in Asia?”, Center on International Commercial Arbitration, Washington College of Law, American University, 18 November 2020
  • Speaker, “Techniques, Tips and Strategies for the Effective Management of International Construction Disputes”, SIAC Dubai Arbitration Week Webinar, 17 November 2020
  • Speaker, “The Art of Drafting Arbitration Clauses,” Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration, 28 October 2020

Selected publications

Book

  • Litigating War: Mass Civil Injury and the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission (Oxford University Press 2013) (co-authored with Murphy and Kidane)

Book chapter

  • Expedited Procedures in International Arbitration: Advantages and Potential Obstacles, in Commercial Arbitration – International Trends and  Practices (Chirag Balyan & Yashraj Samant, eds, 2021) (co-authored with Kler)

Articles

  • A Trap for the Unwary: Delineating Physical and Legal Protection Under Full Protection and Security Clauses, 9 Indian J. of Arb. 24 (2020) (co-authored with Nair)
  • The Relationship Between Fair and Equitable Treatment and the International Minimum Standard of Treatment:  An Overview and a Link to Africa, Transnat’l Disp. Mngt., Vol. 16, Issue 4 (July 2019)
  • Ten Years On: A Look at the Legacy of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, in Eth. Y.B. of Int’l Law 2018 (Zeray Yihdego, et al., eds, 2019) (co-authored with Nair)
  • UAE Arbitration Users Look East, 10 Int’l J. of Arab Arb. 31 (2018) (co-authored with Shahdadpuri)
  • The Use of Experts in Construction Disputes in the Middle East, 4 BCDR Int’l Arb. Rev. 11 (2017) (co-authored with Adams)
  • Thomas R. Snider, The Dispute Settlement Aspects of Africa’s New Economic Partnerships, 110 Proceedings of the ASIL Ann Meeting 86 (2016)
  • Special Issue on Africa, Transnat’l Disp. Mngt., Vol. 13, Issue 4 (October 2016) (co-edited with Kidane and Bechky)
  • Resolving Trans-Boundary Hydroelectric Power Project Disputes:  The Indus Waters Kishenganga Arbitration, 17 Int’l Arb. L. Rev. 58 (2014)
  • Combating Corruption Through International Law in Africa: A Comparative Analysis, 40 Cornell Int’l L.J. 691 (2007)

Recent Experience

  • Sitting as the sole arbitrator in a SIAC arbitration seated in Singapore involving a dispute over a contract for installation works for the construction of a desalination facility in Oman.
  • Representing the Dubai-based subsidiary of a global electronics conglomerate in a DIFC-LCIA arbitration seated in the DIFC involving a dispute with its distributor in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire under UAE law.
  • Representing a hotel management company in a DIFC-LCIA arbitration involving a dispute with a hotel owner in East Africa over the termination of a hotel management agreement.
  • Representing a Singapore-based hospitality group in a DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre case seated in the DIFC involving a shareholder dispute over a hotel in East Africa.
  • Representing a global sports channel in a DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre case seated in the DIFC involving a dispute over the distribution of its products in Saudi Arabia.
  • Representing a Kuwaiti investor in a Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) arbitration involving a shareholder dispute with a UAE-based investment company.
  • Representing an African state in International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration seated in Geneva involving a dispute in the amount of nearly US$1.5 billion over the termination of five petroleum production sharing agreements.

Language(s)

  • English

Education

2000 – Juris Doctor, Harvard Law School

1997 – Bachelor of Arts (Summa Cum Laude), University of Notre Dame

Admission

2019 – Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) Courts (Rights of Audience)

2017 – Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts (Part I Practitioner)

2017- Dubai Legal Affairs Department (Legal Consultant)

2007 – U.S. Supreme Court

2006 – U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

2006 – U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

2002 – Bar of the District of Columbia

2001 – Bar of Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Sector(s)

Insights