Maximilian Pika

Sabine Konrad

Pierre Trippel


Aurelius Cotta provides its clients with bespoke international dispute resolution services in investment arbitrations, commercial arbitrations, and complex litigations. Our partners also accept appointments as arbitrators.

Aurelius Cotta’s partners have acted for private entities and sovereign states as lead counsel in some of the highest-stake, landmark international arbitrations and decisions of the past two decades.

At Aurelius Cotta, our clients have direct and personal contact with our partners at all times. For us, our clients’ needs always come first. This hands-on-approach allows us to provide effective and concise advice at the service level of elite-tier international law firms.


  • Vattenfall v. Federal Republic of Germany (ICSID Case No. ARB/12/12): Defended Germany successfully against the arbitration brought by Swedish investor Vattenfall until its settlement. According to media reports the amount in dispute was up to US$ 7 billion. The arbitration is to date the biggest investment arbitration claim ever brought against Germany. Vattenfall initiated the arbitration due to the accellarated phase-out of nuclear energy in Germany. The arbitration that followed this decision received significant media coverage. Examples of Sabine Konrad’s oral advocacy are available here (First Hearing) and here (Second Hearing). Examples of Maximilian Pika’s oral advocacy are available here.

  • Fraport v. Republic of the Philippines (ICISD Case No. ARB/11/12): Sabine Konrad represented Fraport AG successfully in the ICSID annulment proceedings. The annulment was granted in favor of Fraport AG and was one of the few annulments ever granted in ICSID proceedings. To date, a successful annulment is a rare achievement in ICSID practice despite the increasing number of annulment proceedings.

  • Oil Company of Asian State v. Venezuela/PdVSA: Sabine Konrad obtained an award and payment in excess of US$ 100 million in parallel ICC/ICSID proceedings in favor of the investor.

  • In Germany, Aurelius Cotta is the law firm that handles the highest number of ongoing ICSID arbitrations as counsel. Further case experience can be accessed on the partners’ CV pages.


  • Ranked in the GAR 100, 17th edition of 2024
  • ‘A general counsel at a crude oil and natural gas producer says that Konrad is “the most outstanding person in international arbitration”, particularly in investor-state matters. “Her knowledge, strength on the facts and in advocacy, as well as her dedication are without comparison”.’ (Global Arbitration Review, GAR 100, 15th edition)
  • ‘Clients have praised the firm for its efficiency and thorough analysis. Konrad and associate Maximillian Pika are hailed for their “hands-on approach and willingness to do everything necessary”.’ (Global Arbitration Review, GAR 100, 15th edition)
  • ‘Small, but highly efficient team. As a result, cost-effective because no internal coordination processes must be financed.’ (client to Legal 500, 2023, translated from German)
  • ‘The work in legal proceedings is done both very professionally and pragmatic in its approach in order to achieve meaningful results and to save costs.’ (client to Legal 500, 2023, translated from German)
  • ‘Dr. Sabine Konrad and Dr. Maximilian Pika are highly specialized and have a great network. They work with a high level of quality and have a remarkably high level of competence and comprehension. They are always approachable, are well informed on all questions of fact, legal issues, the proceedings, and the mandate. They further assist with internal processes concerning the mandate. The work is coordinated well with the client, but is also done very independently.’ (client to Legal 500, 2023, translated from German)
  • ‘We work successfully with Sabine Konrad and Maximilian Pika in particular. The team is characterized by a high level of commitment, open communication, availability at all times and impeccable work.’ (client to Legal 500, 2022)


We provide legal talent with the unique opportunity to join a firm fully dedicated to practicing international dispute resolution at the highest professional level. Our case portfolio includes some of the most prestigious and publicly known disputes of today. Training of our junior team members is not just part of our work, it is a dedication.

We offer an unlimited ‘work-from-anywhere’ in Germany policy, flexible working hour models (part-time, 40h/week, traditional track), direct contact with partners on all work assignments and career development matters, and salaries at the top of the legal market. More information on career paths in the PDFs.

Rechtsanwälte (m/w/d)

Referendare und Wiss. Mit. (m/w/d)

International Opportunities (m/f/d)


Aurelius Cotta

Caius Aurelius Cotta (c. 124/120 – 75/74 BC) was one of the preeminent advocates of his generation (Cicero, Brutus, 183, 202, 204). We have chosen Caius Aurelius Cotta for his style of advocacy that resonates with our belief in conscious and rational use of language.

Caius Aurelius Cotta stayed on the matter (haeret in causa semper, Cicero, de oratore, III, 31), focused on the decisive points (quid iudicis probandum sit cum acutissime vidit, omissis ceteris argumentis in eo mentem orationem defigit, ibd.) and developed his argument with acuity and subtlety (acutissimum ac subtilissimum dicendi genus, Cicero, de oratore, II, 98). He said nothing that was not “dry and reasonable” (“nihil nisi siccum ac sanum”, Cicero, Brutus, 201). His style did not rely on passionate (and loud) delivery, hyperbole and rhetoric ornamentation (nullo apparatu, pure et dilucide, Cicero, de oratore, I, 229, see also Cicero, Brutus, 317). Neither Cotta, nor is nephew, favored the so-called “rich style” that Cicero later introduced in Rome (copia dicendi, Cicero, Brutus, 255).

Politically, he supported Marcus Livius Drusus’ reforms and his attempt to defuse the tensions between Rome and her Italian allies (socii). While the socii fought alongside the Romans, they did not enjoy the same civil rights as Roman citizens. This resulted in mounting tensions. Drusus proposed a reform granting the allies citizenship and abolishing the inequality. It failed and Drusus was murdered (91 BC). Shortly after, a bloody war broke out between Rome and its socii (bellum sociale).  After the end of the war, the socii were granted citizenship.

After Drusus’ death, Caius Aurelius Cotta and others was unjustly accused and prosecuted under the lex Varia on the suspicion of colluding with the Italians (Appian, Civil Wars 1.37). Cotta used a defense speech that L. Aelius Stilo had written for him. As a result of the trial, Cotta went into exile (Cicero, de oratore, III, 11; Cicero, Brutus 303, 305).

Cotta returned to Rome after Marius had been defeated by Sulla, who established an equally brutal regime in Rome (Cicero, Brutus 227, 311). When his nephew’s life was threatened, he intervened with Sulla to secure the young man’s pardon (Suetonius, Divus Iulius, 1).

He was elected consul for 75 BC and introduced a law lifted the prohibition for tribunes of the people to run for other office after the end of their service. The limitation had been introduced by Sulla to weaken the office (Cassius Dio 37,9,4).

While his comments on electoral campaigns were as jaded as anyone’s (see Quintus Tullius Cicero, pet. cons. 47), Cotta never financed games in order to gain votes (Cicero, de officiis II 59).

Cotta never published his speeches. Cicero is therefore our main source for his advocacy. Cicero uses Cotta as character is several of his works (de oratore and de natura deorum). De oratore is based on Cotta’s report of the discussions (Cicero, de oratore, III, 16). Both Cicero (de natura deorum, I, 57 – 124; III) and Sallust in his Histories have imagined speeches by Cotta in their works. However, the style of these imagined speeches is, esp. in Sallust’s case, so far away from the “siccum and sanum” (dry and reasonable) style attributed to Cotta that we do not believe them to be authentic.

In natura deorum, Cicero has Cotta challenge the religious propositions of both Epicurean and Stoic philosophy. The words that Cicero attributes to him speak of the scientific method befitting a legal mind: “mihi enim non tam facile in mentem venire solet quare verum sit aliquid quam quare falsum” (It does not come as easily in my mind for what reason something is true rather for what reason it is false.”, I.57).

The Craft of Advocacy

ῥητορική τέχνη (rhetoriké téchne) or ἐμπειρία (empeiría)?

In the 5th century BC, sophist philosophers broke with the traditional focus on ontology and explanation of the world. Instead, they focused on the human being and its limited capacity to discover universal truths.

Protagoras’ statement that “the human being is the measure of all things” has often been maligned, mostly famously by Plato.

In full it reads the “human being is the measure of all things of those that are that/how they are, and of those that do not that/how they are not” (φησὶ … πάντων χρημάτων μέτρον’ ἄνθρωπον εἶναι, ‘τῶν μὲν ὄντων ὡς ἔστι, τῶν δὲ μὴ ὄντων ὡς οὐκ ἔστιν, Plato, Theaitetos, 152a). In the same chapter, Socrates continues to explain that given each observer is human, the world is perceived differently by each one.

What Protagoras proposes is a healthy skepticism against universal truths and those that claim to possess them. At the same time, this relativity lays the foundation for discursive process, for the battle of ideas (“öffentlicher Meinungskampf“), a term coined in German by the Bundesverfassungsgericht some 2400 years later.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Protagoras and Gorgias began teaching rhetoric as téchne. The Greek word téchne can be translated as method, technique, or craft. Art is the most common translation – but also the most misleading. The Greek understanding of art had not yet acquired its modern day artistic elevation. The word téchne as well as  episteme (ἐπιστήμη, knowledge) were used interchangeably for medicine and smithing, for carpentry and running a farm as well as for war and peace (πολεμικαὶ … καὶ εἰρηνικαὶ ἐπιστήμαι) (see for example Xenophon, Economics, 1). Using it in the context of advocacy or oratory did not bring with it an arrogation of superiority.

It was Plato (for example in his Gorgias) who tried to debase the craft of advocacy by denying it the term téchne and replacing it with empeiría (experience or practice) (Plato, Gorgias, 462c). The examples, he has Socrates use were problematic even at the time. He poses justice (δικαιοσύνη) against norm setting (νομοθετική), medicine (ἰατρικὴ) against sport (γυμναστικὴ). Then he lowers the bar even more and equates advocacy with cookery and calls it κολακεία (flattery) (ibd., 464e). His diatribe continues as he puts sophism (σοφιστικὴ) against legislation, and advocacy against justice, before lumping together sophists and rhetors (σοφισταὶ καὶ ῥήτορες) (ibd., 465c).

Plato’s point on natural justice and legislation was neither new, nor original even at the time. Sophocles’ Antigone pre-dates Plato’s Gorgias by more than 60 years. He also neglects that if legislation may be imperfect (which he recognizes by opposing it to justice), advocacy is the necessary counterweight. A means to protect the individual against the State and its, potentially harmful, legislation.

The Roman view on advocacy was profoundly different to Plato. It was seen as fundamental to the republic. The discussion was no longer whether it was beneficial, but how it should be exercised.

Our own view is that advocacy is a téchne, a craft but not an art (in the modern sense). It requires empeiría.

Its purpose (τέλος) is to defend the client’s position with skill (téchne), knowledge (ἐπιστήμη, episteme), and integrity (ἀρετή). As we explained in our excursus on Caius Aurelius Cotta, we favor the elegant over the ornate style in doing so.

[Disclaimer: And while we may have borrowed from Aristotle’s terminology, it does not necessarily mean that we agree with him either.]


Aurelius Cotta - Konrad Pika Trippel Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten MBb

Eschersheimer Landstraße 14

60322 Frankfurt am Main

Phone: +49 69 756640300