Karim Youssef, J.S.D.
CEO & CHAIRMAN
HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION
HEAD OF HIGH NET-WORTH INDIVIDUALS
Dr. Karim A. Youssef is founder of Youssef & Partners, a Global Arbitration Review (GAR) 100 law firm, and a regional leader in dispute resolution. Karim leads the international arbitration and international law practices at the Firm. His practice focuses on commercial arbitration, investment treaty arbitration, complex high-value disputes, and international law, and is world-renowned in these fields.
Karim represents key Egyptian and regional clients and some of the world’s most significant global corporations in high-profile local, regional, and purely international disputes. His expertise in large-value and complex claims is unmatched among MENA practitioners: Karim has featured and continues to feature as counsel or arbitrator in some of the highest-profile and largest commercial and investment treaty claims in the region. He also spends part of his time giving strategic advice to some of the region’s most significant corporations across a wide array of key industries and sectors; and heads the firm’s high net-worth individuals’ practice.
Karim has received some of the highest distinctions by peers and clients. Among others, he has been described as “a leading light in international arbitration” (Legal 500, 2018) and “the number one arbitration lawyer in Egypt” (Chambers Global Guide, 2021). He has an impressive, region-spanning practice which sees him represent international companies in investment treaty disputes and other arbitration claims against state entities. With expertise in international law, he frequently represents clients in multibillion-dollar arbitrations seated around the world. He has further been praised for his “excellent analytical skills” and described as a “leading counsel in the MENA region” (Who’s Who Legal, 2019).
Market sources have described him as “super-smart, very much on top of his game,” with one client adding “he’ll be our first choice for any future matter” (Chambers Global Guide, 2018). Karim’s distinctions also include earning the 2019 GAR Award for best global speech and being appointed to CRCICA’s Advisory Committee. He also wrote a well-known book on multi- party arbitration and consent issues prefaced by Jan Paulsson.
Karim’s docket of arbitrator and counsel work exceeds 134 international arbitrations across four continents, with focus on the MENA region and GCC countries, as well as major cosmopolitan seats, including Cairo, Dubai, Paris, London, and New York. Karim’s ““sharp intellect” and “responsiveness as an arbitrator” makes him a favourite on the international arbitration circuit.” (Who’s Who Legal, 2018). He is held in extremely high regard for his expert handling of investment treaty claims against government entities and is further praised as an “extremely hands-on” adviser who “gives game-changing strategy.” (Chambers Global Guide, 2021). Highlights of work include representing Cementos La Union SA v. the Arab Republic of Egypt, and the CBC Channel in claims against Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef.
Karim acts as lead or sole counsel in more high-profile cases and has a larger share in the Egyptian market than any other ranked firm in Egypt, without exception, and higher than any other regional practice listed in GAR 100, based on disclosed numbers from the last 3 years. He has pushed the firm’s practice to become the dominant arbitration practice in Egypt, and a true superstructure of arbitration that dwarfs any competitors.
Karim has law degrees from Yale Law School (where he earned LL.M. and J.S.D. degrees), and Paris and Cairo Universities. He has previously held several prestigious positions.
Honors & Distinctions
- GAR Award, Best Lecture or Speech, 2019
- Chambers Global’s Dispute Resolution: Arbitration – Egypt, Band 1 ranking
- Who’s Who Legal – Arbitration, 2014–2019
- Who’s Who Legal Arbitration’s ‘Future Global Leaders 2017’
- Legal 500 Leading Individual: Dispute Resolution, Arbitration – Egypt
- Al Dispute Resolution Awards 2015, Middle East Arbitrator of the Year
- Expert Guides: The World’s Leading Lawyers Chosen By Their Peers
- Newton Arbitration – Gold Ranking: Karim A. Youssef
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