United States > Litigation > International arbitration
Index of tables
- Chadbourne & Parke LLP
Chaffetz Lindsey LLP
- Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP
- Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
- Latham & Watkins LLP
Paul Hastings LLP
- Guillermo Aguilar-Alvarez - King & Spalding LLP
C Mark Baker -
Fulbright & Jaworski LLP
- R Doak Bishop - King & Spalding LLP
Nigel Blackaby -
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
- John Bowman - King & Spalding LLP
James Carter -
- Abby Cohen Smutny - White & Case LLP
Paolo Di Rosa -
Arnold & Porter LLP
- Donald Donovan - Debevoise & Plimpton
Oscar Garibaldi -
Covington & Burling LLP
- Paul Friedland - White & Case LLP
- Joseph Neuhaus - Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
- Elliot Polebaum - Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Lucy Reed -
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
- David W Rivkin - Debevoise & Plimpton
Jonathan Schiller -
Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
- John Townsend - Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
Debevoise & Plimpton is ‘extremely skilled in international arbitration’, and maintains a strong reputation as a leader in the field; ‘the work is of consistently high quality, carefully thought out, and persuasively presented’. The firm is one of few to combine investment treaty arbitration, general commercial dispute resolution and public international law, with experience in a wide range of arbitral forums. These include the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and the American Arbitration Association (AAA). The firm continues to represent Occidental in an ICSID arbitration against Ecuador, in claims filed after Ecuador terminated the client’s exploration and production rights and seized all of its assets in the country; the claim is for more than $3bn in damages for expropriation and other treaty and contract claims. The firm is also assisting Perenco Ecuador in an ICSID claim for nearly $1bn against Ecuador, which has proceeded to a merits hearing. On the commercial side, the firm acted for a tire manufacturing company in a series of disputes, including a successful $20m International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) arbitration over a contract to provide tires for a mining equipment manufacturer. Within the ‘very committed and talented’ team, co-chairs Donald Donovan and David Rivkin are ‘leading practitioners’ in the field, and are ‘recommended without reservation’. Catherine Amirfar also stands out as ‘an exceptional advocate’, alongside the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Mark Friedman.
The large, ‘market-leading practice’ at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP focuses both on large commercial disputes and on investment treaty arbitration, with particular sector strength in energy and construction, and regional expertise in Latin America. The group is praised for its ‘immediate’ response time and ‘exemplary’ service, and is ‘consistently responsive and knowledgeable from partner down to the least-experienced associate’. The team is representing the Republic of Guatemala in an ICSID claim brought by a US company pursuant to the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA); the $285m claim centers on oil investment blocks in Ecuador, with an earlier jurisdictional decision having limited the claim to expropriation. Other work includes acting for Crystallex International in an investment treaty claim against Venezuela involving one of the largest untapped gold mines in the world; the claim, valued at $3.8bn, is brought under the ICSID Additional Facility and the Canadian/Venezuela bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in relation to the expropriation of its investment. The group is also acting for Burlington Resources, a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips, in an ICSID hearing against Ecuador; the cumulative value of claims and counterclaims in the case exceeds $1bn. Other clients include Total, National Grid, Tiffany & Co, and CMS Energy. Nigel Blackaby is ‘acknowledged to be the leader in the field’; he is ‘always ready to tackle difficult issues’, and ‘his expertise and understanding are second to none’. Global co-head Lucy Reed is also recommended and is highly regarded by peers.
Historically strong in oil and gas, King & Spalding LLP has expanded its ‘premier’ arbitration practice to encompass areas including construction, IP, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and biotechnology disputes. A ‘large and experienced practice’, it undertakes both investment treaty work and major commercial disputes, counting three sovereign states on its impressive client list. This includes the Republic of Senegal, for which the firm acted in an ICSID case brought by Millicom and Sentel under the Netherlands-Senegal bilateral investment treaty and a contract respectively. In August 2011, the firm achieved a significant victory for Chevron in a second arbitration against Ecuador, concerning delays in ruling on seven cases filed between 1991 and 1993; the tribunal, administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, found that Ecuador’s courts violated international law through their significant delays in ruling, and the final award was $96m. The ‘very knowledgeable and professional’ team is also representing Renco in an arbitration under United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) rules; the amount in dispute is approximately $800m, and the case involves claims by Renco that Peru violated provisions of the 2009 United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement and promises made under a stock transfer agreement, including issues of environmental impact and third party indemnification. Other clients include Coca-Cola, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil. Co-heads of the practice Doak Bishop and Edward Kehoe, based in Houston and New York respectively, are highly regarded by peers. Guillermo Aguilar-Alvarez and John Bowman are also recommended.
‘Very deep in international arbitration matters’, White & Case LLP is one of few firms to have represented both investors and sovereigns in cases relating to investment treaties and international law. Its sector experience includes energy, oil and gas, mining, construction, financial services, transportation, and telecoms. The firm is representing Gold Reserve, a Canadian mining company, in a $2bn ICSID arbitration against Venezuela, concerning the alleged expropriation of a large undeveloped gold and copper mine. The team also continues to act in various disputes for the Republic of Peru, including a case brought by alleged Argentine investors under the Argentina-Peru bilateral investment treaty, valued at $81m, and a newly registered $250m ICSID arbitration brought by a concessionaire and alleged English investors over the development of a port. Other highlights included continued representation of tens of thousands of Italian holders of Argentine bonds in Abaclat and Others v Argentina; this is a $1.3bn ICSID arbitration under the Argentina-Italy BIT: in August 2011 the tribunal issued a decision establishing jurisdiction over the claims, allowing the continuation of the first mass-claim in investment arbitration history. Other clients include Oil Insurance, TECO Energy, the Republic of Bulgaria, and the Republic of the Philippines. The team is praised for its ‘excellent’ service; Paul Friedland in New York is regarded as ‘simply the best’, and Carolyn Lamm and Abby Cohen Smutny are also names to note.
The ‘unsurpassed’ practice at Covington & Burling LLP is praised as a ‘leader in international arbitration involving sovereigns’. It covers both investment treaty arbitration and commercial disputes, and has particular strength in the energy, mining and insurance sectors, and a regional focus on Latin America. It continues to represent ExxonMobil in both ICSID and ICC disputes. The first concerns Venezuela’s alleged uncompensated expropriation of the client’s investments under the Netherlands-Venezuela bilateral investment treaty, and has proceeded to the merits. The second case involves a claim for breach of the respondent’s obligation to indemnify the claimant in the event of expropriation of the client’s investment. In October 2011 the team also undertook a merits hearing for Rovime Inversiones et al v Russian Federation, the Yukos test case brought by Spanish investors under the Spain-Russia Bilateral Investment Treaty, involving claims worth approximately $10bn. Other clients include Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Tidewater, and LG&E Energy Corporation. The team is praised as ‘smart, well organized, savvy and professional’, with an ‘exemplary’ level of service. Oscar Garibaldi and Thomas Johnson are recommended as ‘lawyers of exceptional ability, judgement, and efficiency’, and newly promoted partner Miguel López Forastier is ‘smart, detail oriented, patient and thorough’.
Praised for the ‘depth of its bench’, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP has experience in a broad range of areas, including investment, construction and engineering, pharmaceuticals, and oil and gas disputes. Clients include the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Republic of Lithuania, and RosInvestCo UK, a minority Yukos stockholder. In 2011 the team represented a leading Turkish company for oil exploration and development in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Kazakhstan, concerning hundreds of millions of dollars of investments made in the oil and gas sector of Kazakhstan from the 1990s, and involving a variety of public international law claims. Another client is the government of Canada, which the firm is acting for in an LCIA arbitration brought by the US under the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement; in the arbitration, the US alleges that measures taken by the Province of British Colombia in administering Crown forestlands amount to circumvention of the SLA, seeking $500m in remedies. On the commercial side, the team is representing Forest Laboratories in the prosecution of an AAA arbitration involving the licensing of a human labor induction drug. The team includes ‘world-class practitioners’, with John Townsend recommended as a ‘peerless litigator whose knowledge of the people and process of international commercial arbitration is unsurpassed’. John Fellas is highly regarded by peers.
Despite the departure of Daniel Price in June 2011, Sidley Austin LLP is considered ‘one of the best’, with ‘proven expertise’ in investor-state work. With a strong reputation in international trade matters, the firm represents both multinational companies and governments in all major arbitral institutions, with added experience in ad hoc proceedings under UNCITRAL and ICSID Additional Facility rules. Recent highlights include acting for the Republic of Peru in three separate cases, including acting in Renée Rose Levy de Levi and Gremcitel SA v Republic of Peru: a claim for more than $2.5bn concerning coastal property purchased for development in Peru by the claimants. The firm also represented Costa Rica in a dispute brought by German investors under the Costa Rica-Germany BIT, the investors claiming that measures adopted by the Republic of Costa Rica to protect the nearly extinct baula (leatherback) sea turtle constitute breaches of the treaty. On the investor side, the group acted for a Dutch investor in the Slovak health insurance market against the Slovak Republic under UNCITRAL rules; the case centered on changes in Slovak laws which prevented health insurance companies from operating on a for-profit basis. The firm’s experience extends to large commercial cases; recent work includes acting in several large arbitrations for affiliates of United Company Rusal. The team is praised for its ‘excellent service’; Stanimir Alexandrov is ‘superb’: ‘an outstanding speaker’ and ‘a superb strategist’. Jennifer Haworth McCandless and Marinn Carlson are also recommended.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP represents corporations and sovereigns in large commercial arbitrations and international treaty disputes, advising in relation to expropriation and unfair treatment under international agreements, including free trade agreements, bilateral investment treaties and the Energy Charter Treaty. It has experience acting for clients across the energy, mining, oil and gas, construction, manufacturing and insurance sectors. The firm recently obtained a favorable settlement for a leading US pharmaceuticals company in a $100m ad hoc arbitration against one of its excess liability insurers; the claim concerned a denial of coverage for expenses and damages arising out of mass tort litigation in the US in relation to the marketing and use of a pharmaceutical product. Other highlights included winning a jurisdictional ruling in the group’s representation of two Netherlands affiliates of the CEMEX group in an ICSID arbitration; this case involves claims of over $1.4bn and relates to Venezuela’s 2008 alleged expropriation of a major cement company in breach of the Netherlands-Venezuela bilateral investment treaty. Recent work also includes acting for Greek/Israeli investors in an ICSID proceeding brought by Georgia, seeking revision of a $100m award, based on allegations of bribery in connection with a 1993 oil pipeline concession; the tribunal rejected Georgia’s application for stay of the award pending the determination of the revision hearing. Clients praise the firm as ‘the very best’, with ‘deep experience’; they are ‘always on top of making the best strategic decisions’. Co-chair John Gardiner is recommended as ‘an experienced arbitrator who brings invaluable insights’.
Chaired by Paolo Di Rosa in the Washington office, Arnold & Porter LLP has a wealth of experience in investor-state matters, in particular representing Latin American states. Sector expertise includes energy, mining, natural resources, public utilities and infrastructure. The team recently represented the Republic of Hungary in an ICSID dispute under the Energy Charter Treaty, arising from Hungary’s efforts to restructure its electric power sector in light of its accession to the European Union; the case is valued at $700m and involves four separate claims. The practice also represented Electricité de France (EDF) in two investment treaty arbitrations against Argentina, involving claims of $1.4bn and $260m respectively; the cases involve the defense of necessity under public international law. On the commercial side, the firm is acting for the Dominican Republic in an ICC arbitration involving a highway concession dispute with more than $400m at stake in claims and counterclaims; and is also instructed in other investment treaty arbitrations relating to the same highway concession pursuant to arbitration provisions of CAFTA and the Spain-Dominican Republic BIT.
Baker & McKenzie has significant experience in high-end commercial matters, and continues to develop its investor-state expertise in emerging jurisdictions such as Russia, Brazil, China and Turkey. Recent work includes acting for Petrobras, the Brazilian state-owned oil company, in an ad hoc arbitration under UNCITRAL rules against KBR, concerning one of the largest offshore engineering, construction and procurement projects ever undertaken in Brazil; in September 2011 the tribunal found that KBR was liable for breach of contract and awarded Petrobras $200m in damages and arbitration costs. The team also represented Longreef in a $500m investment dispute regarding a claim for expropriation under the Venezuela-Netherlands bilateral investment treaty. In the energy and renewables sector, the group is representing Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation in a contract dispute and ICC arbitration in Mexico City regarding a contract for the provision of turbines to a major hydroelectric project in Guatemala. Clients include Papua New Guinea and TolTest. Grant Hanessian leads the ‘very commercial and sensible’ team from the New York office, and Laurence Newman is highly regarded by peers.
Baker Botts L.L.P. undertakes work in a wide range of sectors, with particular experience in energy disputes. The firm is equally active in treaty arbitration and commercial disputes, acting for claimants and respondents. The team is praised as ‘highly professional and competent, client friendly, hardworking and very proficient’, with the ‘political sophistication to work with officials in other countries’. The firm continues to act for the Russian Federation in multiple proceedings relating to Yukos Oil; in 2011 the firm participated in the defense of what is reportedly the largest arbitration claim ever, valued at $102bn. The cases, brought under the Energy Charter Treaty by majority shareholders in Yukos Oil Company, are for alleged expropriation leading to Yukos’ bankruptcy and dissolution. Other highlights included representing one of the largest independent oil and gas producers in the US in a dispute concerning the operations of an ammonia plant; in January 2011 the ICC tribunal rendered an award entirely in the client’s favor. Co-chair Michael Goldberg ‘has achieved remarkable success’ and ‘has the unique ability to inspire confidence in the client’.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP represents sovereigns and investors in both treaty and commercial arbitration. Recent work highlights include acting for the Republic of Argentina in the defense of claims brought by Italian bondholders of Argentinean shares; this is an ICSID claim under the Argentina-Italy bilateral investment treaty, novel as an attempt to pursue a mass claim in a single proceeding. The team is also representing the Russian Federation in three parallel arbitrations under UNCITRAL rules in The Hague by former majority shareholders of Yukos; the case alleges unfair treatment and expropriation in violation of the Energy Charter Treaty, with damages valued at more than $100bn. On the commercial side, the firm in 2011 acted for Citigroup Financial Products before the ICC, in a dispute concerning the 2005 purchase of a $2bn portfolio of German loans which was successfully argued to be overvalued due to inaccurate data. Clients praise the team as ‘responsive, capable, sophisticated, flexible and strong’; Howard Zelbo and Jeffrey Rosenthal are recommended.
Based in Houston, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP has core expertise in the oil and gas and energy sectors. Clients include Total SA Nejapa Power Corporation, Yukos Oil Company and El Paso Corporation. The practice has previously represented Duke Energy in a dispute with Ecuador over energy generation; the tribunal found breaches of power purchase agreements, as well as violations of two obligations in the US-Ecuador BIT, and awarded the company $5.5m in damages. The team has also been representing a chemical manufacturing company in an ICC arbitration regarding a joint venture in the Middle East for the manufacture of certain chemicals. Mark Baker is the key contact; his track record includes representing a multinational energy company in three UNCITRAL arbitrations against the El Salvador governmental energy agency regarding long-term electric power purchase agreements.
The core focus of Shearman & Sterling LLP’s international arbitration practice remains major commercial work with a focus on disputes relating to the chemicals, natural resources, and financial sectors. The firm is also undertaking international treaty arbitration, particularly in cases involving expropriation, stabilization provisions and discriminatory treatment. Key highlights for 2011 included representing Dow Chemical in an ICC arbitration in London against Petroleum Industries arising out of a failed joint venture in the first quarter of the financial crisis; the case is valued at over $5.1bn. The firm also represents three European chemicals companies in four ICC arbitrations in Paris and Geneva against the European subsidiaries of a large US chemical concern; the dispute arose from a joint venture agreement formed to manufacture a chemical intermediate, and the amount in dispute is over $1bn. Jonathan Greenblatt, Henry Weisburg and Christopher Ryan are the names to note.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has particular experience in insurance-related disputes, and is praised for its ‘excellent service level, response times and business acumen’. Recent work includes acting for a foreign pharmaceuticals manufacturer in an ICC arbitration arising from a cross-border licensing dispute with a US manufacturer, in which the amount in dispute is approximately $500m. The practice also acted for MatlinPatterson in challenging the enforcement of an arbitral award rendered against it in Brazil for $55m – the award is being challenged under the New York Convention on grounds including lack of jurisdiction and due process violations; and successfully represented a leading Greek pharmaceuticals company in connection with fraud and breach of contract claims brought by its former distribution partner. Co-chair of the practice Robert Smit is recommended as ‘impeccably professional’ with ‘enthusiasm and commitment’, and is highly regarded by peers.
Although it lost key attorney James Carter to Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP in January 2011, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP remains strong in large international commercial matters. The firm also has significant experience in treaty arbitration, typically undertaking work on the investor side. John Hardiman led a team in successfully representing TeliaSonera and Sonera Holding in a dispute with Turkish companies arising from a cell phone joint venture; in September 2011 an ICC tribunal in Geneva issued a final award in favor of Sonera Holding in its arbitration against Cukurova Holding, awarding damages of $932m plus costs in what was the fourth significant ICC victory the firm has won in this matter. The team has also recently represented a European-headquartered bank in three separate ICDR arbitrations of claims by Latin American investors arising out of the $60bn Madoff Ponzi scheme; one of these matters is settled and the other two are ongoing. Joseph Neuhaus is highly regarded by peers.
Chadbourne & Parke LLP undertakes both commercial and investor-state work, particularly in construction, energy and renewables, and pharmaceuticals, with regional strength in Latin America. Recent work includes acting for ENEL, the major European utility company, against an El Salvador owned entity in a dispute over control of one of the country’s largest renewable energy producers; in May 2011 an ICC tribunal ruled in favor of the client, granting the claim for specific performance and damages. Other work included representing PEMEX, Mexico’s state-owned oil company, in matters arising out of an oil and gas project in Mexico; involving over 25,000 discrete claims, and valued at $1.5bn, it is one of the largest arbitrations ever commenced in Latin America. The team, led by Oliver Armas, is praised for its ‘excellent’ service, ‘unique and insightful’ analysis, and ‘in-depth knowledge’.
Chaffetz Lindsey LLP is a boutique firm based in New York, set up in 2009 by five partners previously at Clifford Chance. The 15-strong team has particular experience in energy, M&A, insurance and Latin American disputes. The ‘professional and timely’ team recently represented Iran in two consolidated claims before the Iran-US Claims Tribunal in The Hague; the claims are brought by Iran against the US and seek compensation for damages incurred as a consequence of breaches of the Algiers Accords in failing to halt litigation. The group is also developing its investor-state expertise, and defended the Republic of Liberia in an ICSID arbitration claim alleging breach of a mining licence and claims of up to $750m in damages. David Lindsey is ‘responsible and hardworking’, and James Hosking is ‘very energetic and experienced’.
Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP has significant experience in ICSID treaty arbitration cases; recent representation at state level includes Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uganda. In 2011, the team advised the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on two ICSID claims in relation to the Venezuela – Netherlands BIT, international law and Venezuela law, concerning three joint venture projects in Venezuela. On the commercial side, the team has been advising Sonatrach in an arbitration under UNCITRAL rules concerning contractual claims for indemnification in relation to taxes affecting a project in the Algerian petroleum industry. Chairman George Kahale III is the name to note.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP represents multinational corporations, international organizations and sovereign entities, with expertise in large commercial disputes; areas of experience include claims arising from M&A transactions and licensing agreements, and patent infringement cases. The team is praised for its ‘reactivity and industry knowledge’ and ability to provide a ‘clear and concise response in a very short turnaround’. In 2011 it secured a victory on behalf of a major European aircraft manufacturer before the ICC, involving claims of breach of contract by both parties; the tribunal rejected all of the opposing party’s claims for relief, and awarded 98% of the damages claimed by the client in its counterclaims and 95% of its attorneys’ fees and costs. Elliot Polebaum leads the team from Washington, and is recommended for his ‘confident and straight advice’.
Gibson Dunn has experience in the energy, telecoms, insurance, construction, pharmaceuticals, and mining sectors. It continues to represent Brazilian mining company MMX; in 2011 the team secured a favorable settlement for the client in a $30m commodities dispute arbitrated under the ICC Rules, and also limited to $4m the $105m exposure of MMX in an arbitration seated in New York. The firm also continues to represent Yukos International and affiliates in a range of arbitrations and related matters, and is representing the defendant in Ecuadorian Plaintiffs v Chevron Corp, with recent work including securing the dismissal of a petition to stay the BIT arbitration initiated by Chevron. Laurence Shore is recommended.
Mark Beckett leads the team at Latham & Watkins LLP, which has particular experience in large commercial arbitrations, and is developing its treaty practice. Representative clients include Eli Lilly, Indorama, Lufthansa and Lectra. In 2011 the firm represented affiliates of a well-known polyamide company in four related arbitrations in Paris and Geneva, one being an ICC arbitration in Paris under French law concerning the right to use a chemical process technology and trade secrets valued by the parties at over $1bn. On the investor-state side, the team is representing Koch Minerals and Koch Nitrogen International in an ICSID arbitration against the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela; the claim is brought pursuant to the Switzerland-Venezuela BIT concerning an alleged breach of treaty by Venezuela relating to a large fertilizer plant.
The ‘excellent’ team at Paul Hastings LLP covers both investment treaty and commercial arbitrations, with a particular focus on political risk insurance. The ‘very professional and skilled’ group represented a leading tire manufacturer in a four-party ICC arbitration against German and Japanese companies concerning an international joint venture; the seat of arbitration was Geneva, and the amount in dispute over $250m. Another client is the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, which the firm represented in an arbitration sited in London concerning international fishing treaties and private certification standards with relevant stakeholders from around the globe; following a two-day evidentiary hearing, a written opinion was issued granting the client’s full request for relief. Joseph Profaizer is recommended for his ‘expertise’ and ‘great experience combined with an operational understanding’.
The US arm of the practice at WilmerHale has significant strength in large commercial cases with expertise across joint ventures, M&A, energy, construction and engineering, insurance/reinsurance, IP and telecoms, international trade, and public international law. The ‘first-rate’ team has ‘outstanding advocates with excellent knowledge of the issues and the specific industry knowledge’. John Pierce is ‘a very talented lawyer and an outstanding advocate’; ‘he performs his work with great skill and confidence’. Rachael Kent is also highly regarded.