James Loftis > Vinson & Elkins LLP > Houston, United States > Lawyer Profile

Vinson & Elkins LLP
Texas Tower
845 Texas Avenue, Suite 4700
Houston, Texas 77002
United States

Work Department

International Dispute Resolution & Arbitration




James heads Vinson & Elkins International Dispute Resolution practice, and focuses his practice on the arbitration and litigation of international commercial and investor-state disputes, and counseling in matters involving public international law and treaties. He acts both as counsel and as arbitrator.

His practice includes disputes involving all aspects of energy, construction, and infrastructure development; disputes under investment laws and treaties; and boundary disputes, cross-border technology disputes, and sovereign debt. He also represents and advises clients in reviews under U.S. national security law.


French (proficient), Russian, Spanish (reading proficient)


  • The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 1990
  • University of Texas, B.B.A., 1983
  • Granted full rights of audience before the Dubai International Financial Centre Court
  • Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales

Lawyer Rankings

Latin America: International firms > International arbitration

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s team is led by Houston and Dubai-based James Loftis (head of the firm’s international disputes practice), and New York’s Camilo Cardozo, who heads up the Americas division of the practice. The firm has a particularly notable record in energy and infrastructure disputes, including LNG and natural gas-related arbitration. Additionally, it has extensive experience in both investment and commercial arbitration and demonstrates wide-ranging geographic coverage. The practice continues to be prominent in the market due to its headline role in representing the Panama Canal Authority in arbitrations connected to the Panama Canal expansion project. London’s Nick Henchie is a leading figure in Latin America construction arbitrations, with fellow London-based partner Louise Woods also active on Latin America matters. Raised to the partnership in early 2022, New York’s José F Sanchez is an up-and-coming tri-lingual practitioner with a close focus on the Americas. The team also includes Houston counsel Peter Danysh who has extensive construction and energy disputes experience (both commercial and investor-state), and a particular focus on Latin America.

Latin America: International firms > City Focus - Houston

Vinson & Elkins LLP has an extensive record in energy and infrastructure projects, along with international arbitration in Latin America. The firm’s wide ranging projects practice in the region has broadened out from one that primarily focused on Mexico and has also moved beyond its traditional forte of upstream oil and gas. It now encompasses data centre developments and fibre optic cables, toll road concessions in Colombia, green hydrogen projects in Chile and production facilities in Mexico. The Houston team is also recognised for LNG and regasification projects. Energy transactions and projects partner Alan Alexander has a significant focus on the Latin American region. In international arbitration, the firm also has a fine record in Latin America, particularly in the construction and energy fields. Led by James Loftis, who splits his time between Houston and the Middle East (where he is managing partner of the Dubai office), the Houston team also includes Latin America specialist counsel Peter Danysh and counsel Timothy Tyler. All three are part of a wider team that continue to represent the Panama Canal Authority in arbitrations connected to the Panama Canal extension project. The international arbitration team is also active in LNG and natural gas disputes in Latin America.

United States > Dispute resolution > International arbitration

(Leading lawyers)

James LoftisVinson & Elkins LLP

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s group is widely acknowledged for its ability to bring together ‘expertise in international arbitration and upstream oil and gas contracts’. Indeed, the team utilizes the wider firm’s dominant oil and gas practice to specialize in energy-related disputes, where it acts for both energy companies and sovereign states in commercial and investor-state cases. The group also garners a significant volume of construction and project-related work. From bases in Houston and Dubai, James Loftis steers the international dispute resolution department and focuses on energy, construction and infrastructure disputes. Key names in New York include Camilo Cardozo, who serves as head of international disputes for the Americas, and José Sanchez.