International disputes make good content for law firms

It’s fair to say nothing happens very quickly in the international arbitration courts for commercial disputes. A landmark ruling this summer by judges in the Hague ordered that Russia must pay $50 billion to shareholders in Yukos, the former oil giant which the court found had been bankrupted by the Russian state in order to appropriate its valuable assets. The case had been in front of the judges since 2005.

The decade-long case gave lawyers working in the area of dispute resolution plenty of time to think about their response to it, and happily they seem to have grasped the opportunity online. In a Google search on “Russia state asset dispute”, three of the top ten results are articles by law firms, including the number one result, from US firm Vinson & Elkins.

This looks like a good way to use content to win new business. The Yukos case is of course extraordinarily large, but it seems unlikely to be the last dispute over asset ownership in Russia. As the US State Department advises: “Independent dispute resolution in Russia can be difficult to obtain since the judicial system is still developing. Courts are sometimes subject to political pressure. According to numerous reports, corruption in the judicial system is widespread and takes many forms, ranging from bribes of judges and prosecutors to fabrication of evidence.”

When a subject your business knows all about becomes front-page news and top of the search subjects, strike while the iron is hot to get your expertise in front of potential new customers.

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