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Omnia Strategy is delighted to announce Ania Farren has joined its dynamic team.

Former managing director at third-party funder Vannin Capital, Ania Farren, has joined the partnership at London disputes boutique Omnia Strategy – where she will join newly promoted partner Catriona Paterson.

Ania’s move to Omnia, the firm founded by Cherie Blair QC, became effective on Monday 18th November. Catriona Paterson’s promotion to the partnership took effect from 1st November.

Cherie Blair, speaking to GAR said “The addition of two fantastic female lawyers to the partnership at Omnia is wonderful news for the firm and our clients. Ania and Catriona are among the brightest and the best and I hope that they will continue to flourish in our unique ‘law+’ environment.”

Ania Farren said she was “very excited” about joining the Omnia team and that “they have top quality lawyers who are doing top quality international arbitration work.”

Ania joined Vannin Capital in September 2018 from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, where she had been a partner. She left the funder last month.  Commenting Ania said she is pleased to be going back to counsel work but will continue to accept arbitral positions “without the significant conflict issues that come with working for a large firm.” In October 2018, she became the first female arbitrator to join Arbitrators at 10 Fleet Street – the arbitrator wing at Quadrant Chambers in London.

Ania has over 15 years’ experience as counsel in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations and specialises in energy-related disputes. She was previously a member of the ICCA-Queen Mary Taskforce on Third Party Funding and chaired the sub-committee on privilege. A Cambridge graduate, she began her career training in the London and Paris offices of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, before practicing in Shearman & Sterling’s Paris office. In 2005 she moved to Baker Botts in London, where she was part of a team that defended Russia against the Energy Charter Treaty claim brought by majority shareholders of the Yukos Oil Company, alongside Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. The state later set aside the US$50 billion award against it at the seat of arbitration, The Hague, where an appeal of that decision continues.

She has also defended Russia at the SCC Arbitration Institute in the Quasar de Valores case brought by Yukos’ Spanish minority shareholders, where the award against the state was also set aside. Before joining the partnership at BCLP in 2016, Farren spent three years as special counsel at K&L Gates. In June, she was appointed chair of the ICC UK committee for arbitration and ADR – replacing John Beechey and becoming the first woman to hold that role. She had previously been the UK representative of the ICC International Court of Arbitration’s Young Arbitrators Forum.

Ania is also well known for her role as co-chair of the International Arbitration Charity Ball committee, which she currently holds with barrister Christopher Harris of 3 Verulam Buildings in London. The fifth iteration of the ball, which was secret agent-themed, was held in London in September 2018 and broke attendance and fundraising records, attracting 850 guests and raising over £500,000 for Save the Children. The ball will again return to the Old Billingsgate Market in September 2020.

Meanwhile, Catriona Paterson’s promotion to the partnership at Omnia comes just seven months after she was promoted to of counsel. She joined Omnia as a senior associate in 2018 from the London office of Latham & Watkins – where she had spent 11 years. While at Latham, she advised Indonesian-owned group Indorama in an ICSID claim against Egypt over the expropriation of a textile factory north of Cairo following national protests. In 2015, Egypt agreed to pay US$54 million to settle the dispute.

She was also part of the Latham team that represented Austrian construction group Strabag in an ICSID additional facility claim against Libya over projects disrupted by the political turbulence that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Catriona has also previously advised North Macedonia in three ICSID claims, including a €21 million claim filed by a Swiss-registered confectioner, which saw the state ordered to pay only €350,000, and a US$20 million claim by a New Zealand financial services company that was dismissed on jurisdiction.

She is currently advising both states and investors in a number of investment treaty arbitrations, including advising Montenegro in a BIT dispute arising out of the Swiss Franc loan crisis that arose across Southern and Central Europe starting in 2008, and an investor from the Gulf region in a dispute arising under the OIC Investment Treaty.


This article was first published in the GAR on 19 November.