International arbitration in United States
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP excels in handling investment arbitration, coupled with commercial arbitration and public international law in 'a seamless and efficient manner'. Mark Friedman recently represented Perenco Ecuador Limited against the Republic of Ecuador in an ICSID arbitration concerning Ecuador’s 2006 amendment of the Hydrocarbons Law and its declaration that Perenco’s Participation Contracts had come to an end. Other work includes acting as lead counsel for the Government of Qatar in various international disputes pertaining to coercive measures imposed by numerous Middle Eastern states on Qatar, which led to grave human rights abuses; the matter was jointly led by Catherine Amirfar, Donald Donovan, and 'excellent' department co-head David Rivkin. The team is also representing the client in the ICJ against the State of the UAE for violations of the UN CERD treaty. Other key names include Natalie Reid, who is co-chair of the firm's Caribbean practice, and Ina Popova.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is among the 'undisputed leaders in the market' and is a firm of choice for sovereign states and multinational corporations in the commercial arbitration space. Washington DC-based global head of international arbitration Nigel Blackaby, (who also co-heads the firm’s Latin America group) has recently acted for Crystallex International Corporation, securing another successful outcome in an ICSID dispute with Venezuela over gold mining. Noiana Marigo, the newly appointed head of the firm's US arbitration group, acted on behalf of Spanish construction company Abertis Infraestructuras against the Argentine Republic under ICSID arbitration rules. The team, which is based across the firm’s Washington DC and New York offices, was strengthened by the addition of special counsel Thomas Walsh, who joined in February from Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Elliot Friedman is another key contact. New York-based Brian King left the firm, as did Simon Consedine from Washington DC, who joined Three Crowns LLP.
King & Spalding LLP fields a team of 'true international arbitration specialists', who skillfully handle investment and commercial arbitration matters, and have particular expertise in the energy sector. Noted for its 'impressive advocacy and deep understanding', the team has successfully represented Chevron and its subsidiary, Texaco Petroleum Company, in an international arbitration against the Republic of Ecuador pertaining to its violation of the BIT; following the proceedings, which were led by 'outstanding lawyers' Doak Bishop and Edward Kehoe, the $9.5bn judgment rendered against Chevron was deemed unenforceable. 'Excellent' Caline Mouawad, Henry Burnett, and Houston-based Craig Miles represented Bear Creek Mining Corporation in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Peru brought under the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement. Other key contacts include global disputes head Reginald Smith and head of upstream oil and gas John Bowman from Houston. The team has been strengthened with two new additions from White & Case LLP: John Templeman joined as counsel in New York and Chip Rosenberg joined the Washington DC office; however, Houston-based Silvia Marchili left the firm to lead the international arbitration group at White & Case LLP.
The 'exceptional' team at White & Case LLP has expertise in investor-state arbitration and can work 'seamlessly across multiple jurisdictions' in various industry sectors. Led by New York-based Paul Friedland, the team has been acting for the Republic of Uzbekistan on six matters, including securing the successful dismissal of a $132m ICSID case brought by Spentex Netherlands for alleged violations of applicable investment laws. The practice group is also acting for the Russian Federation in cross-border legal proceedings pertaining to the shareholders in YUKOS, who are seeking to recover in excess of $50bn on the basis of arbitral awards issued in 2014. In Washington DC, Carolyn Lamm, Andrea Menaker, Latin America arbitration head Jonathan Hamilton, and the ‘exceptional’ Abby Cohen Smutny are noted practitioners. Also recommended are New York-based Ank Santens and Silvia Marchili, the latter of whom joined the Houston office from King & Spalding LLP.
Baker Botts L.L.P. undertakes a range of work related to investor-state disputes and commercial arbitration, and is commended for 'delivering realistic, honest and tailored assessments to meet the client's needs'. As the 'go-to counsel on energy-related disputes', the firm's roster of clients include Newco, Brazil Invest and Chevron Cooperation. The team successfully acted for Cobalt in two separate arbitration matters which included a $175m ICC arbitration; both cases were led by Houston-based co-chair Michael Goldberg, who is noted for his 'clear, persuasive and compelling oral arguments'. Washington DC-based Ryan Bull represented Compass Risk Management Limited in an ICC arbitration in the US courts. Key figures include Jennifer Smith, Andrew Behrman, and Edward Schorr in New York, and department co-chair and litigation practice head Jay Alexander, who divides time between London and Washington DC.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is 'an outstanding group', comprising 'passionate lawyers with practical experience' in the arbitration space. The team acted for the Russian Federation on several successful matters, which included the annulment of arbitral awards totaling up to $50bn. Other highlights included representing Telecom Italia in a $15bn ICC arbitration, which was led by 'absolute leader' John Blackman, who divides time between the New York and London offices. In particular, Blackman is noted for his 'second to none approach in delivering the right message to the bench'. Washington DC-based Matthew Slater and Carmine Boccuzzi represented the Republic of Argentina in an ICSID arbitration brought under the Argentina-Italy bilateral investment treaty. Also recommended are Lawrence Friedman, David G. Sabel (who splits his time between New York and London) and Ari MacKinnon, who is noted for Latin American-facing mandates. Named individuals are based in New York unless otherwise stated.
Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP has 'a sophisticated arbitration practice', which routinely represents sovereign states in high-stakes disputes. Leveraging 'an excellent ability to cut through challenges and make a case clearly and concisely', the team recently acted for the Republic of India on six separate arbitration matters brought by foreign investors in the telecoms sector, which included a case brought by Vodafone under the India-Netherlands BIT. The practice group also secured an ICSID annulment for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela concerning a $1.4bn award issued in 2014 in a case involving Mobil’s oil projects in Venezuela. The firm's roster of clients includes the State of Kuwait, the State of Libya and Turkmenistan. In New York, department head George Kahale III is ‘a bright legal mind’, and senior counsel Mark O’Donoghue, who acts for clients such as Republic of Cyprus, is ‘first rate’. Also recommended are recently promoted partner Robert Garcia and Washington DC-based Claudia Frutos-Peterson. Miriam Harwood left the firm for Squire Patton Boggs. All named individuals are based in New York unless otherwise stated.
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP is 'at the top of its legal game'. Jointly led by Washington DC-based John Townsend and 'great legal mind' James H. Boykin, the team is especially active in investor-state arbitration and is involved in five arbitrations against the Russian Federation under the Russia-Ukraine BIT, pertaining to the loss of investment by Ukrainian investors that occurred during the Crimea annexation of 2014. Townsend also represented the Government of Hungary in an $800m ICSID arbitration commenced by Engie under the Energy Charter Treaty. Key contacts in New York include John Fellas, an 'instinctive advocate', the 'exceptional' Hagit M. Elul and Steven Hammond, who heads the treaty arbitration team. Stephen Rabinowitz left the firm for Dechert LLP.
Arnold & Porter is commended for its track record of acting for sovereign states in investment arbitration. Eli Whitney Debevoise II is representing the Republic of the Philippines in an approximately $2.8bn investor-state treaty dispute brought by Shell Philippines Exploration. The practice group also acts for corporate clients, which recently included head of global international arbitration Paolo Di Rosa and San Francisco-based Maria Chedid representing Turkish energy company Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim in a $1.8bn ICSID arbitration against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The team also represented the Kingdom of Thailand in an investment arbitration that involves a mining dispute between Australian mining companies Kingsgate Consolidated and Kingsgate Capital. Gaela Gehring Flores and Houston office team head Thad Dameris are additional contacts. Kabir Duggal joined as a senior associate from Baker McKenzie LLP. Individuals mentioned are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.
Chaffetz Lindsey LLP's New York-based arbitration team is 'building a stellar reputation' across commercial and investment disputes. Jointly led by David Lindsey and James Hosking (who is noted for 'providing first-class strategic and practical advice') the 30-person team includes litigation and arbitration lawyers with experience practicing at many of the world's largest law firms. Though the firm's work spans the globe, it is particularly well positioned to handle arbitration involving Latin American participants. A key figure in that space is Aníbal Sabater, who has expertise in arbitration across a number of industry sectors and spearheads the practice group's Spanish language offering. Sabater is currently acting for an investment house in parallel ICC proceedings against multiple South American entities. Also recommended is Yasmine Lahlou, 'an excellent lawyer', who, alongside firm co-founder Peter Chaffetz, represented Società Esecuzione Lavori Idraulici and a related company in ICC arbitration concerning the termination of a subcontract for works at a hydroelectric power plant in Guatemala. Gretta Walters and Erin Valentine were made counsels in the team.
Norton Rose Fulbright
Headed by Houston-based practice co-head Mark Baker, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP is 'a powerful force' in oil and gas arbitration. In particular, the group is noted for its special ability to 'cross-over seamlessly on civil court litigation, arbitration and regulatory issues'. The practice group advised a mining company on enforcement proceedings against the Republic of Venezuela, which brought together a multi-jurisdictional team led by Washington DC based co-head Matthew H Kirtland. In the Houston office, Kevin O’Gorman is described as 'the power behind the throne' and senior associate Denton Nichols is also recommended.
Shearman & Sterling LLP has sector strengths in energy, pharmaceuticals, and financial services. In New York, Henry Weisburg has particular expertise in cross-border financial litigation and arbitration matters, having recently represented thirteen investment companies in an ICC arbitration. Over in Washington DC, key members of the team include Christopher Ryan, who has a track record of representing government clients in ICC, UNCITRAL and ad-hoc tribunals, and Thomas Wilner, who specializes in international trade disputes.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP undertakes a wide range of international disputes in the telecoms, energy, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors. The team successfully represented a client in ICC arbitration between a South Korean company and a Barbados-based company for claims arising out of a franchise relationship governing the distribution of retail goods in South Korea. Contacts in New York include global co-head of international litigation and arbitration John Gardiner, Timothy Nelson, counsel Jennifer Permesly, and the ‘outstanding’ Julie Bédard, who divides time between São Paulo and New York.
Three Crowns LLP
Specialist boutique Three Crowns LLP is ‘a strong firm in international arbitration’ and handles complex arbitration and investment treaty matters with 'skill and a consistent approach'. The team represents ConocoPhillips (as co-counsel with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP) in several matters, including an ICC arbitration against PDVSA concerning the forced nationalization of the client’s stake in two crude oil projects in the Orinoco oil belt; in April 2018, in a landmark decision, the ICC awarded the client a record-breaking $2bn in compensation. The team also represented Pakistan in a potential water conflict with India arising in the Kashmir region. The ‘truly brilliant’ Jan Paulsson and Luke Sobota, who is ‘extremely bright and an excellent written advocate’, jointly head the team. Counsel Agustin Sanz, who has ‘a great capacity to understand other jurisdictions in detail’, is also recommended.
Considered by some clients to be the 'cream of the crop', WilmerHale undertakes a diverse pool of commercial and investor-state arbitrations across a variety of industry sectors. Key figures in Washington DC include counsel Danielle Moris and vice chair of international arbitration Rachael Kent. In New York, John Pierce heads the arbitration group and James Carter is also recommended. Also recommended is John Trenor, who operates across the London and Washington DC offices, and is particularly ‘experienced in energy-sector disputes’.
Baker & Hostetler LLP
Baker & Hostetler LLP handles a variety of commercial and investor-state arbitration, and also has experience representing clients in enforcement proceedings. Recent work included representing Resolute in an investor-state arbitration claim against Canada under Chapter 11 of NAFTA. Department head Mark A. Cymrot is 'smart and well-prepared' and Kenneth B. Reisenfeld is 'impressive'; Cymrot and Reisenfeld are both based in Washington DC.
Baker McKenzie LLP is noted for its 'good insight' in the international arbitration space. Matters include defending the government of Canada in a $500m dispute brought by Mesa Power Group to vacate a NAFTA award and representing the Republic of Venezuela in relation to the enforcement of a $485m ICSID award for the expropriation of two plants in Venezuela. Key individuals include Grant Hanessian and David Zaslowsky in New York, Brendan D. Cook in Houston and Michael Morkin in Chicago. Derek Soller in New York and senior associate Kyle Olson in Chicago are highly regarded up-and-comers; Miami-based Luis O’Naghten left the firm to join Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.
Clifford Chance's commercial arbitration practice has 'rigorous and deep knowledge' of investment disputes, with a key strength in Latin America-facing work. The team recently acted for Galway Gold in a disputes with the Republic of Colombia under ICSID arbitration rules; that matter was led by Washington DC-based Ignacio Suarez Anzorena, who is noted for his 'experienced strategic view'. Also recommended is 'sharp-thinking' José García Cueto in Washington DC. Other key clients include Enel Green Power and Red Eagle Exploration.
Cooley LLP handles a blend of investor-state and commercial arbitration mandates. The team is representing BM Holding in an ICSID arbitration against the UAE under the Turkey-UAE BIT, and is also representing Bursel Tekstil Sanayi Ve Diş Ticaret, Burhan Enuştekin and Selim Kaptanoğlu Bursel in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Uzbekistan arising under the Turkey-Uzbekistan BIT. Department chair Mark Beckett, who is praised for his ‘depth of experience’, is a key contact. William Schwartz and Rachel Thorn are also recommended. Named individuals mentioned are based in New York.
Dechert LLP is noted for its 'international focus' and its 'excellent commercial approach, which enables the best results' for its clients. Washington DC-based department co-head Arif H. Ali has vast expertise in investor-state arbitration, particularly in the energy and oil and gas sectors; Ali is representing MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas against the Republic of Croatia as lead counsel under UNCITRAL arbitration rules. Further, 'superstar' Érica Franzetti stands out for her 'extremely well-versed' approach in high-stakes international disputes. In addition to its corporate client base, the 'diverse' practice group acts for a litany of sovereigns, including the Republic of Colombia, the Republic of Ecuador and the Republic of Poland.
Dentons has 'great expertise in the field' and recently represented the State of Papua New Guinea in an ICSID arbitration commenced by Puma; 'outstanding' New York-based attorney Meriam Al-Rashid successfully led the matter to a favorable settlement of $12.2m. In the Washington DC office, practice head William T. O’Brien acted as lead counsel for defense company Orbital ATK in a $27m dispute against German gun manufacturer Heckler & Koch, pertaining to alleged violations of international laws of war. Noted for his 'excellent competence and capability', O'Brien has broad international experience in complex multi-jurisdictional matters. John Hay in New York is also recommended.
Foley Hoag LLP
Foley Hoag LLP demonstrates 'unique knowledge' and, more importantly, produces 'concrete results' in complex cross-border international arbitration, often involving sovereign states. Led by Washington DC-based Paul Reichler, the team recently represented the Republic of Peru against a European consortium in a contract-based ICSID arbitration pertaining to construction matters in Lima's subway system. It also represented Ghana in arbitration before a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea concerning the boundary delimitation of oil-rich maritime territory in the Atlantic Ocean. Other key figures in Washington DC include deputy chair Lawrence Martin, Derek Smith, Mark Clodfelter and Clara Brillembourgare. In New York, Daniel Schimmel and Andrew Loewenstein come highly recommended, as does Caroline Donovan in Boston. The team has also seen a number of internal promotions, most notably Washington DC-based Analia Gonzales being made international counsel. Also in Washington DC, Arsalan Suleman joined the firm from the US Department of State.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP's arbitration team has expertise in representing multinational corporations, international organizations and sovereign entities in complex arbitration proceedings. The team is headed by James Wareham, and is acting for Total in ICSID proceedings against the Republic of Uganda regarding certain investments in petroleum operations in Uganda, contractual obligations and obligations under the Netherlands-Uganda BIT. Key contacts are Douglas Baruch and David Morris in New York. Named individuals are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.
The 'excellent and highly specialized practice group' at Herbert Smith Freehills is jointly led by New York-based Christian Leathley, who noted for his 'deep knowledge of Latin America', and 'excellent' Amal Bouchenaki, who was recently made partner. Highlights included the team acting for Chevron Corporation in an $18bn fraudulent award matter in Egypt, and representing the Kingdom of Spain in a $2.3bn investment arbitration filed under the Energy Charter Treaty by 14 investment funds. In the commercial arbitration space, Bouchenaki is representing a major corporation in the hospitality industry in an ICC arbitration; this matter bought together a cross-border team from Paris, with associate Liang-Ying Tan from the New York office in a support role. Further, the team was strengthened by two new additions: senior associate Florencia Villaggi joined from the firm's London office as an internal transfer, and Peter Behmke joined the team as partner from Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP.
The 'incredibly skilled' team at Hogan Lovells US LLP undertakes a wide range of investor-state and commercial arbitration across various industry sectors, particularly the oil and gas sector. Moreover, the department is particularly active in Latin America- and Middle East-facing mandates. Global head of international arbitration Daniel González and Richard Lorenzo in Miami are representing the Republic of Panama in three separate ICSID arbitrations, including defending the client against a $62.5m damages claim filed by a group of real estate investors from Costa Rica and the Netherlands alleging their investments were expropriated by Panama. In New York, multilingual attorney Samaa Haridi is ‘a star practitioner’ and has noted expertise in Middle East-facing disputes. IBM Mexico and Siemens are also clients.
Jenner & Block LLP
Jenner & Block LLP's 'strong' arbitration team spans the firm’s Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC and New York offices, and is active in arbitration across the financial services, technology, aviation and defense sectors, where it is often acting for blue-chip multinational clients. Recent highlights include representing Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation in cross-border post-award enforcement litigation; Michael Doornweerd in Chicago led this matter. In New York, department co-chair Richard Ziegler is noted for providing ‘comprehensive and insightful’ advice, and Elizabeth Edmondson is also ‘highly rated’. Having previously held a position with the US Department of State, Patrick Pearsall chairs the firm's public international law group in Washington DC, and is recommended for his expertise in advising governments and private entities. Pearsall recently advised the United Kingdom’s Department of International Trade on an investment arbitration dispute. Further, the team was strengthened by arrival Mélida Hodgson in New York, who joined from Foley Hoag LLP.
Recent standout matters for the team at Jones Day include representing World Wide Minerals and Alhambra Resources in two separate ICSID arbitrations against the Republic of Kazakhstan, and representing Omega in a $100m ICSID claim against the Republic of Panama under the US-Panama BIT. The department is headed by Washington DC-based Gregory Shumaker and includes Melissa Gorsline and Andrew Ness, also in Washington DC, as well as San Francisco-based Steven L. Smith and Stephen V. O’Neal. Also recommended are Marcus S. Quintanilla, who splits his time between San Francisco and Mexico City, and Thomas Lynch, who is based in the firm's New York office.
Noted for its 'abundant knowledge', the team at Mayer Brown handles a range of complex disputes across the construction, energy, finance, insurance, maritime and aerospace sectors, but has particular expertise in disputes in the petroleum industry. Headed by New York-based Ted Howes, the team successfully represented an environmental company in a $15.7m arbitration concerning a stock purchase agreement. Other key contacts include Michael Lennon in Houston, who has expertise in energy-related arbitration. The practice group also spans the firm’s Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington DC offices, where key figures include Robert Kriss in Chicago, Carmine Zarlenga in Washington DC, and Sarah Reynolds who splits her time between Chicago and Palo Alto.
The 'super team' at Paul Hastings LLP is led by global head of the international arbitration group; Joseph R. Profaizer who is also vice-chair of the firm’s Washington DC office. The team has recently represented a client in a construction dispute against a Spanish-Mexican consortium concerning the construction of an oil shipping terminal in Colombia; that matter was led by New York-based Camilo Cardozo, who is noted for his Latin America expertise. Other industry-specific strengths for the team include IP-related disputes, international trade credit insurance arbitration, and trade secret disputes. Key figures include Washington DC-based Igor Timofeyev and associate Jose Sanchez in New York, who is noted for his cross-border arbitration and litigation matters.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Headline matters for the 'extremely capable' team at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP include successfully representing an Abu Dhabi wealth fund in a $68m London-seated ICC arbitration against a Maltese company; the dispute, which was governed by Egyptian law, arose pursuant to a debt assignment agreement between the parties. The team also represented a group of creditors of TP Ferro Concesionaria and its insolvency administrator, in its dispute with the Kingdom of Spain and the Republic of France regarding the termination of a concession agreement related to the construction and operation of a high-speed international railway. Tai-Heng Cheng, who is noted for 'thinking outside of the box', leads the New York-based practice, while David Orta heads the Washington DC office and the Latin America practice. Also recommended are Fred Bennett in Los Angeles and William Urquhart, who divides time between the Los Angeles and Washington DC offices. Of counsel Simon Navarro joined the New York office from White & Case LLP.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has expertise in complex, high-value arbitration and is able to seamlessly utilize its international network in cross-border proceedings. The team represented Danone in UNCITRAL arbitration and ancillary proceedings following a product contamination caused by supplier Fonterra. Key contacts are Washington DC-based practice head Peter Thomas and Tyler Robinson in London; the latter in particular is ‘a master at collating highly complex and technical elements cohesively’. New York-based Mary Beth Forshaw is also a noted practitioner.
Squire Patton Boggs is 'a reputable name' in the arbitration space, handling a wide array of investment treaty and commercial arbitration matters, with core strength in the oil and gas industry. The team is acting for the Republic of Croatia in an ICSID arbitration concerning alleged breaches of the Energy Charter Treaty. It also represented the Slovak Republic in a $1bn ICSID arbitration brought by EuroGas and Belmont Resources concerning a claim for lost investments allegedly resulting from the Slovak Republic’s withdrawal of rights to a talc mining area. George von Mehren jointly heads the global arbitration practice alongside Stephen Anway based in New York, the latter of whom focuses on investment treaty disputes. David Alexander in Columbus is recommended for his expertise in BIT claims for sovereign clients. In addition, the team was strengthened in 2019 by the arrival of Miriam Harwood, who joined the New York office from Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP and now co-heads the investment arbitration practice.
Vinson & Elkins LLP
Vinson & Elkins LLP's commercial arbitration team has 'a wealth of experience' in the energy and infrastructure sector, where it recently represented the Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq and its agencies, SOMO and Basrah Oil Company, in a number of contentious matters. Of late, Houston-based practice head James Loftis ('a remarkable attorney' with 'a calming presence in proceedings') represented Iraq in a dispute concerning the operation of the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline and unlawful exports by the Kurdistan Regional Government. Also recommended is counsel Tim Tyler and Washington DC-based Alden Atkins, who ‘stands out for his vast knowledge of commercial and investment arbitration’. The firm holds Panama Canal Authority as a client.
The 'smart and savvy' team at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acts for clients in complex arbitration proceedings, which recently included representing MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas Company as co-counsel alongside Dechert LLP in a dispute against the Republic of Croatia. In addition, the team successfully represented the Government of Hungary against a Portuguese Bank based on alleged violations of the Portugal-Hungary Bilateral Investment Treaty. Ted Posner and Eric Ordway in New York are also recommended.
Winston & Strawn LLP has vast expertise in commercial arbitration concentrated in the energy, and the oil and gas sectors. Led by Ricardo Ugarte, who splits his time between London and Chicago, the team is acting for the Republic of Ecuador in a $9.5m UNCITRAL arbitration proceeding instigated by Chevron Corporation and Texaco Petroleum Company. It is also representing the Republic of Haiti in certain investment treaty matters. Also recommended are Washington DC-based Eric Bloom (‘great team leader’) and Julissa Reynoso, who is based in New York. Tomás Leonard and Nicole Silver left the Washington DC office to join Greenberg Traurig, LLP.