Zeina is an associate at the Firm’s litigation and international arbitration practice and is concurrently pursuing her PhD at University Panthéon-Assas Paris II.
She has experience in both transactional and local litigation matters representing clients in civil and commercial disputes before the Lebanese courts. She has also been involved in advising international clients on agreements involving the state and state entities in the Lebanese oil & gas sector and provided general advisory work on environmental law issues.
Zeina has worked as part of teams acting as lead counsel in major international arbitration cases across the MENA region. She has also acted as administrative secretary in several domestic and international arbitrations, both ad hoc and under international institutional arbitral rules including those of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Dubai International Arbitration Center (DIAC) and the Bahrain Chamber of Dispute Resolution (BCDR-AAA).
Zeina is also actively engaged in the firm’s pro bono work by providing legal advice to several international NGOs and co-coaching the Lebanese team of the Université Saint-Joseph participating in the Vienna Moot competition.
Prior to joining the firm, Zeina has taken up internships at various law firms in Paris including Dechert LLP, White & Case LLP, Castaldi Mourre & Associés as well as at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Paris.
Zeina is a member of the Beirut Bar Association, and associate member at the CIArb. She graduated from the University Panthéon-Assas Paris II and holds a Masters Degree in Litigation, Arbitration and ADR and an LLM in Business Law in the Arab World from the same university in addition to a Masters in Lebanese Civil Law from the Lebanese University.
Zeina is fluent in English, French and Arabic.
In line with Lebanon's pro-alternative dispute resolution attitude, a further option in the form of judicial mediation was recently made available to parties through the implementation of Law 82. Judicial mediation offers an alternative mechanism for settling disputes in an efficient, fair, timely and confidential manner and should help to lessen the increasingly overwhelming workload faced by judges.
Due to its status as a commercial hub, Lebanon has its fair share of disputes arising from commercial representation agreements, particularly those concerning compensation for the termination of such agreements. However, while recourse to the court system is well established as the traditional method of settling this type of dispute, significant controversy remains regarding their submission to arbitration.
A series of recent decisions of the Beirut Court of First Instance has affirmed the Lebanese judiciary's liberal approach to arbitration. In each case, the court intervened in an arbitration proceeding to preserve the validity of an arbitration agreement when it had been called into question. Issues considered include invalid terms within arbitration agreements and formal insolvency proceedings involving parties to arbitration.
In Lebanon, the debate surrounding the immunity from execution of arbitral awards granted to international organisations and state bodies recently gained further prominence following a landmark decision of the Lebanese Execution Bureau. The bureau's decision is welcome, as it reflects the arbitration-friendly stance of Lebanese courts and legal doctrine.
Effective and transparent dispute resolution methods are as imperative in Lebanon as they are in any other jurisdiction. The principal instrument governing the enforcement of international arbitral awards in Lebanon is the New York Convention, but both the Code of Civil Procedure and the courts also play a crucial role in protecting the integrity of the arbitral process.