Laura Sinisterra > Debevoise & Plimpton LLP > New York, United States > Lawyer Profile

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
NEW YORK, NY 10022
United States

Work Department

Laura Sinisterra is a member of the firm’s International Dispute Resolution Group in New York.


Her practice focuses on international investment and commercial arbitration, and she has extensive experience advising clients on complex issues of public international law, treaty and contract interpretation and common and civil law across diverse jurisdictions and industries.


Ms. Sinisterra joined Debevoise in 2014. She is admitted to the Bars of New York and Colombia.


She is a native Spanish speaker and fluent in English, with a conversational knowledge of French.


Ms. Sinisterra is on the board of the Asociación Latinoamericana de Arbitraje (ALARB) and was the inaugural Chair of the ITA’s Young Mentorship Program. A sought-after speaker, Ms. Sinisterra has been invited to share her perspective on critical arbitration issues at conferences in the United States as well as Latin America, including Harvard’s International Arbitration Workshop; the ITA’s Annual Workshop; NYU’s IAA Conference; the ABA Section of International Law’s Fall Meeting; and the IX Latin American Arbitration Conference in La Paz, Bolivia.


She received an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, where she was a recipient of a Dean’s Scholar Prize and a member of the Harvard International Law Journal. Ms. Sinisterra received her Law Degree from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, graduating first in her class. During law school, she participated in an exchange program with Notre Dame University and received a degree, magna cum laude, in Advanced Social, Economic and Political Studies.

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Dispute resolution > International arbitration

(Rising stars)

Laura SinisterraDebevoise & Plimpton LLP

A longstanding force in complex arbitrations, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is widely admired for its impressive bench strength, with sources quick to assert that with this firm, ‘you do not hire an arbitration star, you hire a star team‘. A go-to firm globally, it is routinely selected by multinational corporations, states, NGOs and individuals to advise on the full range of international commercial arbitrations, investment treaty arbitrations and public international law cases. Equally adept in representing claimants and respondents, the group’s comprehensive experience spans all major arbitration rules and all industry areas. International disputes specialist Catherine Amirfarseems to do a week’s worth of work every day‘ and successfully defended the government of the Republic of Iraq in two separate arbitral proceedings totaling over $1bn. Ina Popova has ‘more talent in her little finger than in some entire law firms‘ and acted alongside Amirfar to co-lead the group’s defense of Iraq in the arbitration brought by Agility Public Warehousing Company. Mark W. Friedman is a ‘top-class strategist‘ and recently secured a $390m award for Perenco Ecuador in an ICSID arbitration against Ecuador. Other key names include Dietmar Prager, who has an ‘unparalleled capability to deal with foreign law matters‘, the ‘innovativeDavid W. Rivkin  and Caribbean practice group co-chair Natalie Reid. The firm also fields a talented band of rising stars including Floriane Lavaud (‘impeccable and greatly motivated‘) and Laura Sinisterra. Former group co-chair Donald Donovan retired from active practice at the end of 2021.

Latin America: International firms > International arbitration

The ‘hard-working, high-quality attorneys’ in Debevoise & Plimpton LLP‘s international dispute resolution practice handle all major sets of arbitration rules, providing multinational corporations, sovereigns, international organisations and individuals with support in international commercial arbitration and investment treaty arbitration matters. The practice has a strong presence in Latin America, securing significant awards for clients across a broad range of industries, including energy and natural resources, mining, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications. The Latin American practice is led by the New York-based trio of Dietmar Prager , who displays ‘exceptional intelligence’; Mark W. Friedman  has some 20 years’ experience and is a former Vice President of the ICC Court of Arbitration; and Catherine Amirfar. In addition, the group has recourse to the extensive experience of veteran arbitration practitioner David W. Rivkin  , who divides his time between New York and London. Furthermore, the deep bench also houses an array of younger talent, including energy, mining and telecommunications expert Ina Popova  and London-based energy specialist Samantha Rowe. In addition Laura Sinisterra, who clients note is ‘very good at dealing with experts and witnesses’, was raised to the partnership in 2022; and young triple-qualified (Brazil, New York, England & Wales) associate Guilherme Recena Costa is undoubtedly an up-and-comer of note. Donald Francis Donovan retired from his of counsel position in August 2022 after over 35 years at the firm, subsequently taking up a role as an independent arbitrator at Arbitration Chambers.