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United States > Litigation > International arbitration

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. International arbitration
  2. Leading lawyers

Experienced across the full spectrum of arbitration matters, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s global practice has historical strength in the US and has expanded its capacity in both London and Hong Kong. Key sources of growth for the practice have been Latin America and the mining sector. Team co-chair Donald Francis Donovan, Mark Friedman and Dietmar Prager are representing the Tethyan Copper Company, a joint venture between Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada and Chile’s Antofagasta, in two arbitral proceedings against the government of Balochistan in the ICC, and the government of Pakistan in ICSID, both in relation to the denial of a mining license. BIT cases remain a strength for the team, following on from its high-profile success for Occidental Petroleum in a $2.3bn investment dispute. Practice co-chair David Rivkin and Catherine Amirfar are representing Slovac bank Postova banka in a $500m BIT dispute against the Greek government in relation to the forced exchange of bonds held by investors before the country’s debt restructuring. The duo were joined by Prager in defending Brazil’s Grupo Diniz in two ICC arbitrations seated in Sao Paulo against a European joint venture partner; and by Christopher Tahbaz in representing Lao Holdings in two $1bn ICSID and ad hoc arbitrations. The attorneys named are all based in New York.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP fields a ‘brilliant, extremely knowledgeable and tremendously skilled’ international arbitration team, whose dedication to the area – ‘from paralegals to associates to partners’ – is ‘unique and impressive’. The sizeable team has ‘unparalleled experience’, covering commercial and investment arbitration under a wide range of institutional rules and providing ‘the most cost-effective and high-quality service out there’. Practice head Nigel Blackaby, in Washington DC, stands out for his experience in the energy sector and in Latin America-related cases. Together with Alexander Yanos and Washington-based counsel Alexander Wilbraham, he has been representing Crystallex International Corporation in an ICSID dispute against Venezuela in relation to the alleged expropriation of its investment in one of the largest undeveloped gold mines in the world. The ‘impressiveBrian King is ‘a brilliant strategist’ who delivers ‘the perfect combination of intelligence and diligence’. King and Yanos are representing ConocoPhillips in an ICSID arbitration against Venezuela, one of the largest investment treaty cases ever filed. Noted as ‘a go-to firm for arbitration disputes against governments’, it is also acting for Burlington Resources in its $1.3bn ICSID arbitration claim against Ecuador. Newly promoted partner Elliot Friedman and ‘very clever’ counsel Noiana Marigo are also recommended. The attorneys named are based in New York, unless otherwise stated.

A ‘market-leading firm worldwide in investor-state arbitration’, King & Spalding LLP shows a ‘high level of professionalism’ and ‘vast experience in dealing with the governments of the countries in which its clients have their operations’. Led by Edward Kehoe and Reginald Smith from New York and Houston respectively, the 70-strong group includes 17 US-based partners alongside lawyers in Paris, London, Singapore, Frankfurt and Moscow. Energy disputes, particularly in the oil and gas sector, are the team’s forte, and it also remains active in investment, commercial, IP and construction arbitrations, with Latin America a particular focus. It is currently handling more than 30 arbitration proceedings from the US with a total value of $36bn. Highlights included representing Chevron in an UNCITRAL arbitration against Ecuador arising under the US-Ecuador BIT, with the final award confirmed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia in June 2013; Kehoe, Doak Bishop, Caline Mouawad and Wade Coriell led the team from Houston and New York. Roberto Aguirre Luzi is ‘amazing in investment arbitration’, and is currently representing Teinver in a $1.2bn ICSID dispute under the Spain-Argentina bilateral investment treaty over Argentina’s nationalization of two Argentine airlines and their subsidiaries. In another ongoing matter, Kehoe and Henry Burnett are acting for The Renco Group in its $800m UNCITRAL arbitration against Peru. John Bowman has a strong following among international oil and service companies.

White & Case LLP provides an ‘outstanding service’ and has ‘extensive expertise’ in all types of arbitration. It stands out for the depth, breadth and integration of its international practice, able to draw on ‘efficient, professional and business-minded’ teams in New York, Washington DC, Paris, Singapore, London and Stockholm. Investor-state arbitrations are mainly handled from Washington, while the New York team focuses on commercial cases. In Washington, Carolyn Lamm and Andrea Menaker are representing the Republic of Uzbekistan in five ICSID arbitrations; and, together with ‘the very reliable’ Jonathan Hamilton, have also been representing Peru and its state-owned petroleum company in six separate investment arbitrations, recently achieving success against Caraveli, a subsidiary of two Spanish infrastructure firms, and Argentine investors. In another highlight, Lamm, Hamilton, Menaker, and Francis Vasquez, Jr are advising Abaclat and thousands of other Italian holders of Argentine bonds in an ongoing $1.3bn ICSID arbitration in relation to sovereign default; the case involves the largest-known number of claimants in a single arbitration. The team has significant muscle in the construction and transportation sectors, recently representing the Republic of the Philippines in a $500m ICSID arbitration against Fraport in relation to the concession for the construction and operation of a terminal at Manila’s international airport. Abby Cohen Smutny stands out for her 'excellent strategic thinking', and Ank Santens has 'impressive professional proficiency'.In New York, team head Paul Friedland, whose ‘professional track record speaks for itself’, secured a landmark award in favor of SGS Société Générale de Surveillance in a dispute over non-payment for inspection services against Paraguay, which expands the potential protection afforded to foreign investors under international law. Hansel Pham was promoted to the partnership.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP performs ‘exceptional work’ across its broad geographic platform, adopting a multi-disciplinary approach to international arbitration and fielding ‘highly specialized’ practitioners spread across various practice groups and offices. Its expertise in the US is heavily concentrated in New York and Washington DC. The group continues to receive a steady stream of instructions on treaty arbitration disputes, and clients rate its abilities in that field as ‘excellent, almost second to none’. The team has taken a lead role defending the Russian Federation in a number of arbitration proceedings, including over $100bn expropriation claims under the Energy Charter Treaty brought by the former majority shareholders of Yukos Oil Company; the case involves the highest damages claim ever brought in an international arbitration. The firm is also representing DP World in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Peru under a concession agreement, in relation to Peru’s largest commercial port and the UK-Peru bilateral investment treaty. The team of ‘leading, professional and qualified attorneys’ includes the ‘highly experiencedJonathan Blackman, ‘wonderful cross-examinerJeffrey Rosenthal, Howard Zelbo in New York, and Matthew Slater in Washington.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP’s policy of acting only for states and state-owned entities in investor-state treaty arbitrations ‘prevents conflicts of interest and translates into a very consistent approach’; it is ‘very well attuned to the complexities and subtleties inherent’ in such work. It delivers ‘what one would expect to find in any top-notch firm’ and ‘does not engage in gratuitous legalism’, and is also noted for its ‘quite remarkable team of oil industry experts’ and ‘very wide geographical footprint’, with hubs in New York, Washington DC, Paris, London and Mexico City. The firm is best known for its representation of Venezuela in two major ICSID arbitration proceedings, one brought by ConocoPhillips Petrozuata and the other by Mobil Corporation, both in relation to petroleum projects in the country, with the claimants seeking $31bn and $18bn in damages respectively. New client wins include the Republic of India, which the team is representing in a $1.6bn dispute over the government’s decision to reserve the S-band satellite spectrum for national security purposes. In another highlight, the team was instructed by Turkmenistan in an ICSID arbitration brought by a Turkish construction company under the Turkey-Turkmenistan bilateral investment treaty. George Kahale III is hailed as ‘one of the best lawyers around’, with an ‘exceptional ability to see the big picture of each case’. Team head Miriam Harwood is ‘thorough and careful, as well as forceful in pursuing issues she judges of merit’. Benard Preziosi, Jr. has an ‘unsurpassed command of facts and valuation models’. Mark O’Donoghueputs the interests of the clients first’. All of them are ‘outstanding’.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP has a broad, 45-attorney practice which covers both commercial and investment arbitrations worldwide for a very diverse range of clients. Co-chairs John Townsend and John Fellas are two very prominent arbitration partners, based in Washington DC and New York respectively, and both regularly sit as arbitrators. Townsend has a particularly high profile in investment arbitration, while Fellas has more of a focus on commercial cases, with strong expertise in matters related to Latin America. The team continues to represent Canada in its dispute against the US over the interpretation of an LCIA award in relation to the Softwood Lumber Agreement. Steven Hammond recently represented Turkish oil exploration and development company Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Kazakhstan; Christopher Paparella, who specializes in energy disputes, acted for a heavy equipment supplier in an ICC arbitration involving over $150m".

Norton Rose Fulbright’s power base is Houston, but also has strong international arbitration expertise in New York and Washington DC and an expanded worldwide platform post-merger. The ‘very solid’ team has particular muscle in energy disputes. Chair Mark Baker is praised for his ‘business knowledge and negotiating skills’, and is a well-respected name for derivatives arbitration. The ‘very clever and experiencedAnibal Sabater in New York is hailed as ‘one of the best lawyers around’, and has a significant profile in Latin American matters. In Houston, Kevin O’Gorman has a strong focus on energy disputes; and in Washington, Matthew Kirtland has extensive experience in complex commercial, regulatory and white-collar cases. UK-qualified Lucy Greenwood, who is well regarded for construction matters, is also recommended. Clients of the team include Baker Hughes Incorporated, Total, AEI Energy, Transierra and Técnicas Reunidas.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘exceptional reputation’ is ‘well deserved’, with partner-level expertise in Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles. The ‘superb’ and ‘extremely qualified’ practice grew its commercial arbitration capability in New York with the hire of ‘world-class arbitration attorney’ and ‘sharp strategist’ Louis Kimmelman and ‘intelligent, capable and hard-working’ counsel Dana MacGrath from Allen & Overy LLP; they brought with them a string of clients and both ‘rank with the highest’. Traditionally the team has mainly acted for investors, but it has broadened its client base and now works for a balanced mix of corporates and governments in both commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. The ‘very knowledgeableStanimir Alexandrov is the head of the firm’s global practice and predominantly takes the lead in investment arbitrations out of Washington, recently representing the Republic of Peru in a $50bn ICSID case, alongside Jennifer Haworth McCandless and the ‘very organized and responsiveMarinn Carlson. On the commercial side, McCandless and Carlson acted for a Russian company in a high-profile €1bn ICC arbitration over the termination of a European nuclear power plant project. Allen Kim relocated to Los Angeles from the firm’s Hong Kong office, and ‘thrives in highly complicated and challenging cases’. Newly promoted partner James Mendenhall has a wealth of experience in bilateral treaty negotiations.

Paolo di Rosa’s team at Arnold & Porter LLP maintains its historical strength in sovereign representation and Latin America related work, and its prolific track record now includes 18 consecutive positive rulings for sovereign states at ICSID. The practice has successfully expanded to cover commercial disputes and claimant-side mandates since di Rosa took over the reins in 2007, and now includes more than 40 attorneys whose main focus is on international arbitration matters. The practice stands out for its ‘deep knowledge of the electricity sector’, with recent work including representing the government of Hungary in a $700m ICSID case against Belgian company Electrabel under the Energy Charter Treaty, led by Jean Kalicki. On the claimant side, di Rosa and Lawrence Schneider are acting for Turkish electricity company Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim in a high-value ICSID dispute regarding its investment in a rental power project in Pakistan. In another high-profile matter, the team is representing the government of South Korea, a new client, in a $4.4bn claim brought by a subsidiary of private equity fund Lone Star over alleged regulatory obstruction by the Korean banking authorities; Di Rosa and Kalocki are leading on the case, which is the first investment treaty arbitration ever filed against the country. Other client wins included the Slovak Republic, which the team is defending in an investment treaty claim brought by a Dutch subsidiary of Steel Corporation over tariffs applied to electricity production. Patricio Grané is now with Volterra Fietta in London. The individuals named are all based in Washington DC.

Baker Botts L.L.P. has a particularly strong record in energy cases, with construction, IP and tax also strong areas of expertise. It acts for respondents and claimants in both investment and commercial arbitrations, and is co-headed by highly regarded trial lawyer Michael Goldberg in Houston. Other recommended names in the US include Jennifer Smith, Michael Lennon and Washington DC based Ryan Bull. Recent instructions include claims under bilateral treaties, disputes regarding carbon trading credits, construction disputes relating to projects in Africa and South America, and cases over gas price reviews, oil bunkering, oil drilling and commercial joint ventures. Key clients include the Russian Federation, the Republic of Ecuador and Kia Motors. The group has recently hired four partners in the Middle East and London.

New York-based outfit Chaffetz Lindsey LLPhas succeeded where many others have failed: in the creation of a specialized, top-notch international arbitration boutique’. It is noted for its ‘efficiency and responsiveness’, and ‘consistent quality of service’. Clients have ‘complete trust’ in James Hosking, and value his ‘vast experience in arbitration’ and ‘quick understanding of the business facts of a case’. Name partner David Lindsey is a ‘super lawyer’ and ‘an extremely responsive and outstanding practitioner’; and Peter Chaffetz, Charles Scibetta, Cecilia Moss and recently promoted partner Andreas Frischknecht all ‘demonstrate the same skill, knowledge and commercial focus’. The firm regularly acts for sovereigns and corporates in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations, with areas of specialism including energy, mining, construction and post-acquisition disputes. Jennifer Gorskie was promoted to the partnership in February 2014, and is noted for her extensive experience representing sovereigns and companies based in and investing in Latin America. Other clients of the team include AEI, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Samwhan Corporation, the Republic of Liberia and American International Group.

Led from Washington DC by Allan Moore and senior counsel Eugene Gulland, the ‘outstandingCovington & Burling LLP has ‘a very solid practice in international arbitration’, with a ‘young but very well-experienced team’ and an excellent record in the insurance, life sciences, energy and mining sectors. It handles a healthy flow of commercial and investment treaty work, and regularly represents industry associations and companies before the WTO thanks in part to the firm’s impressive international trade group. Also in Washington, Marney Cheek and John Veroneau were able to draw on the firm’s strong patent practice in representing Eli Lilly & Company in an investor-state arbitration against the government of Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement over the alleged expropriation of its IP rights. Other clients include BP America, ExxonMobil and Petrotin. Mitchell Dolin is a ‘prominent expert in insurance coverage matters’. ‘Superb lawyerNicole Duclos, who recently joined in New York from Allen & Overy LLP, has a strong Latin American practice. Also in New York, David Pinsky was made up to partner in 2013.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has vast experience in sensitive commercial and investment arbitrations under bilateral and multilateral treaties, and attracts particular praise for the quality of New York partner Henry Weisburg, who is ‘very impressive as a big-picture guy’. Among its areas of specialism, the team handles disputes in the chemical, natural resources, energy and financial sectors. It successfully secured the largest ICC arbitration award ever for The Dow Chemical Company in its dispute against a Kuwaiti state-owned entity over a failed petrochemicals joint venture. It has a strong foothold in the Latin American market, and recently represented the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in a claim brought by OI European Group under the Netherlands-Venezuela BIT, relating to the operation of an industrial plant. The practice’s base remains Washington DC, where highly regarded names include Jonathan Greenblatt, Christopher Ryan, of counsel Thomas Wilner and counsel Katia Yannaca-Small.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is noted for its focus on ‘multimillion-dollar, big-ticket, complex arbitrations’; clients ‘want it at their side in times of real trouble’. The ‘super-responsive’ team is ‘very ably’ led by Peter Thomas in Washington DC and Robert Smit in New York, who both ‘live and breathe their clients’ problems’ and ‘stand shoulder to shoulder, well supported by a strong bench’ which includes five other dedicated partners. Clients are drawn from a broad range of industry sectors, and the team enjoys a strong following in Asia, in particular Japan and Korea. In a recent highlight, Thomas successfully represented Japan’s Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation in an ICC arbitration against US-based Janssen Biotech over the supply price for the Remicade drug under a development distribution agreement. Washington-based counsel Janet Whittaker brings Latin America and investment treaty expertise to the team, and Barry Ostrager in New York has vast experience in insurance and reinsurance coverage disputes.

Particularly strong in London, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s global international arbitration group includes five partners in New York who devote a high proportion of their time to the practice. The team is known for high-stakes, intricate and multidisciplinary disputes and represents clients across a raft of industries including energy, telecoms and banking. The firm is acting for India’s Devas Multimedia Private Limited in a high-profile $1.6bn ICC arbitration and a related $1bn UNICITRAL investment treaty arbitration against the state-owned Antrix over the cancellation of a satellite contract; and is representing Barbados-based investor Gambrinus in ICSID proceedings under the Barbados-Venezuela BIT concerning the alleged expropriation of Venezuelan urea and ammonia producer FertiNitro. The team won a notable decision for BNP Paribas when it obtained a dismissal with prejudice of all claims over the ‘Oil for Food’ programme brought by the Northern Governorates of Iraq. Julie Bédard is a ‘great lawyer’, and ‘highly effective’. Practice head Timothy Nelson, Lea Haber Kuck and Marco Schnabl are also recommended.

Baker & McKenzie LLP’s US practice spans the firm’s bases in New York, Miami, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Palo Alto and Washington, and its extensive geographical presence is matched by its broad coverage of arbitration matters. The firm is particularly well known for commercial arbitration work, with expertise in engineering, construction, oil and gas and post-M&A cases, and also has growing capability in investment treaty arbitration led by team head Grant Hanessian in New York. The firm is representing Longreef Investments in its $500m ICSID claim against Venezuela; Gravilovic in its $200m ICSID claim against the Republic of Croatia; and Canaccord Financial in a post-acquisition ICDR dispute against Morgan Joseph. David Zaslowsky in New York, Brendan Cook in Houston, Matthew Allison in Chicago and Donald Hayden in Miami are other names to note.

In 2013, Chadbourne & Parke LLP suffered a blow with the departure of key international arbitration practitioners Oliver Armas, Thomas Pieper and Luis Enrique Graham to Hogan Lovells, although this was offset by the hire of highly regarded partners Mark Beckett and Rachel Thorn and counsel Marc Suskin in New York, from Latham & Watkins LLP. The team is able to draw on the firm’s renowned project finance practice and continues to represent a raft of clients in the construction, energy, engineering, IT outsourcing and manufacturing sectors. Beckett is representing Koch Minerals and Koch Nitrogen International in an ICSID dispute over the alleged expropriation by Venezuela of a fertilizer plant and a related offtake agreement. The team has also recently represented ZAO Lanit. ‘Very impressive’ senior associate Christina Hioureas is ‘solid in both investment and public law arbitration’.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s Elliot Polebaum has ‘skill and expertise in international commercial arbitration’ and heads a ‘well-balanced and responsive team’ of Washington DC-based attorneys who ‘perceptibly enjoy working together’ and are qualified to take on ‘technical cases in the hi-tech arena’. Polebaum himself divides his time between Washington DC and Paris, and his client roster includes major French corporations such as Thales Alenia Space France, which he and recently promoted partner Joseph LoBue defended in a $350m ICDR arbitration against satellite operator Globalstar. Other clients are drawn from the oil and gas, telecoms, aerospace and defense sectors, and include TNK-BP, EDF, Orange and Total. Eugene Hansen was promoted to special counsel.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP provides a ‘top-quality and highly reliable service’ in international arbitration from its New York platform, handling a healthy mix of commercial and sovereign arbitration mandates. The team brings the firm’s top-tier expertise in project finance to bear in energy disputes, with a strong focus on Latin American work. Team head Joseph Neuhaus continued to defend Standard Chartered Bank in a number of ICDR claims brought by Latin American investors arising from the $60bn Madoff Ponzi scheme, and in June 2013 successfully obtained the dismissal of a purported class arbitration. John Hardiman is recommended for financial services, aerospace and telecoms disputes, and continues to represent TeliaSonera and Sonera Holding in a long-running ICC arbitration against Turkey’s Cukurova over control of the Turkish mobile network.

Arif Ali and his ‘extremely sophisticated’ team at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP deliver a ‘superb service’, with ‘top-shelf knowledge of international arbitration practice in connection with any sort of international dispute’. Divided between the firm’s New York and Washington DC offices in the US, the practice also has very strong international capability and ‘works with the client in the most cost-efficient manner’ through its platforms in Paris, Budapest, London, Prague and Warsaw. In Washington, Ali and Marguerite Walter are acting for H&H Enterprises Investments in a bilateral investment treaty dispute against Egypt before ICSID in relation to an investment in the Egyptian tourism industry. In New York, Eric Ordway is representing the government of Hungary in a Portugal-Hungary bilateral investment treaty claim, with Samaa Haridi, Chip Roh and three partners in Budapest also acting in the case. The team’s impressive client roster also includes companies in the hospitality, pharmaceutical, oil and gas and construction sectors. The ‘meticulous’ Ali is ‘passionate about his job’, and ‘a force within the international arbitration community’.

International arbitration powerhouse WilmerHale’s US team is ‘a brilliant example of a successful group of professionals’; their work is ‘always prompt, complete, focused and convincing’. ‘Especially impressive’ is Rachael Kent, who ‘wins the admiration of tribunals’ with her ‘easy and fluent manner of oral presentation’. Clients also hail senior counsel James Carter as an ‘icon in the field’. The practice is particularly recommended for ‘high-value and complex international arbitrations’, both commercial and investor-state, and is evenly split between Washington DC and New York. The team leverages the firm’s muscle in IP litigation, securities, antitrust and financial services, and also has a strong record in the infrastructure and energy sectors. John Pierce in New York and John Trenor in Washington DC are the other names to note.

Winston & Strawn LLP impresses with a ‘first-rate team’ which includes ‘high-quality international advocates with a great deal of talent’. The ‘exceptionally knowledgeable and enormously experiencedMark Bravin co-heads the practice and is praised as ‘one of the most knowledgeable investor-state arbitration lawyers practising today’. He mainly acts on the investor side, and recently obtained a successful award for McKesson Corporation against Iran before the Supreme Court in a longstanding dispute over the expropriation of a holding in Pak Dairy. Eric Bloom, Tomás Leonard and New York-based Neil Mitchell represented Ecuador against ChevronTexaco Corporation and Texaco Petroleum Company in a $19bn UNCITRAL case under the US-Ecuador BIT over alleged breaches of investment contracts and denial of justice. The US-based team draws on the firm’s international presence in Geneva, Paris, London and Hong Kong to provide an ‘excellent service’ in ‘highly sensitive international matters’. The individuals named are based in Washington DC, unless otherwise stated.

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