Columbia Law School to advise Ukrainian president on war reparations

A person crosses the campus of Columbia University in New York, March 9, 2020. REUTERS / Shannon Stapleton

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  • The school’s International Claims and Reparations project is led by Allen & Overy partner Patrick Pearsall
  • It brings together scholars and practitioners to examine international law responses to the Russian invasion

(Reuters) – Ukraine has added to its growing arsenal of U.S. lawyers, bringing in Washington, DC-based Allen & Overy partner Patrick Pearsall through Columbia Law School as an adviser. Legal Counsel of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the issues of reparations.

According to a deposit with the US Department of Justice on June 13, Pearsall is considering what international law remedies Ukraine might pursue in response to the four-month-old Russian invasion.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires law firms, lobbying firms and public relations consultants to disclose certain engagements with foreign clients.

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Pearsall has not reported any income from Ukraine’s involvement in the case.

He represents Zelenskiy as director of Columbia Law’s new International Claims and Reparations project.

The group is examining how Ukraine can use international law to bring charges against Russia and seek reparations for its hostilities, according to a May statement from Columbia Law.

The project also includes three Columbia law professors, Chiara Giorgetti, a law professor at the University of Richmond, and international arbitrator Jeremy Sharpe.

Pearsall was unavailable to comment on the draft on Tuesday. Allen & Overy did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Pearsall’s work in Ukraine.

Pearsall is a Columbia Law alumnus who previously served as Chief of Investment Arbitration at the US Department of State.

He registered with the Justice Department to represent Zelenskiy through the Columbia project and not through Allen & Overy, where he represents parties in international disputes.

But the Ukrainian government has turned directly to US law firms for advice in several areas. He hired Morrison & Foerster to advise on regulatory matters, including Western sanctions.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan represents Ukraine before the European Court of Human Rights in a petition filed in response to the Russian invasion. Ukraine has also called on Covington & Burling to bring a separate case against Russia at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

In addition to advising Ukraine, the project aims to produce scholarship on international law, according to Columbia Law. It will call upon dozens of experts in international law and law students will also participate in its research.

“The [project] provides Columbia Law School with a valuable opportunity to help deal with the realities of loss as a result of invasion and, in doing so, promote justice internationally,” said the Columbia law professor, George Bermann, who is involved in the project.

Read more:

Ukraine turns to US law firm Quinn Emanuel in Russia human rights case

Ukrainian Zelenskiy hires US law firm for sanctions advice

Ukraine taps US law firm Covington to file suit against Russia in UN tribunal

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Jon J. Epps