James Loftis > Vinson & Elkins RLLP > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Vinson & Elkins RLLP
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Work Department

International Dispute Resolution & Arbitration




James heads V&E’s 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. Since 2009, James has been an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law, where he teaches investor-state and international commercial arbitration.

From 1997 to 2000, James served in Geneva, Switzerland, as chief counsel for the Oil Sector (E1) and Construction and Engineering (E3) Panels of the United Nations Compensation Commission (the Gulf War claim tribunal). He maintains offices in London and Houston, and is admitted in Texas, in the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts, and in the Senior Courts of England and Wales.


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


The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 1990
University of Texas, B.B.A., 1983
Admitted to practice: Texas; U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Fifth and Federal Circuits; U.S. District Court for the Southern, Northern and Western Districts of Texas
Granted full rights of audience before the Dubai International Financial Centre Court
Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales

Lawyer Rankings

Iraq > Leading firms

The team at Vinson & Elkins LLP advises on energy and infrastructure projects and also handles M&A transactions and foreign investments. It also handles white-collar criminal law and qui tam actions on behalf of the government. The key names are Ahmed T. El-Gaili in Dubai, who advises on private equity issues and joint ventures; London-based Christopher Strong, who is a projects specialist experienced in natural resource cases; and James Loftis, who is a Houston based arbitration practitioner who handles international commercial disputes.

United States > Dispute resolution > International arbitration

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s arbitration group stays true to the firm’s traditional strength in the energy, infrastructure, and construction industries, where it handles both commercial and investment arbitrations. The team also relies on the expertise of the firm’s highly regarded trial specialists to handle all stages of disputes. For multi-jurisdictional work, it also calls upon the expertise of a global network of over 40 dispute resolution experts. Houston-based James Loftis leads the practice. Clients have also singled out Camilo Cardozo and counsel Jose Sanchez, a New York-based duo noted for their ‘great ability to come up with innovative legal arguments’.

Latin America: International firms > International arbitration

Known for its strong practice in the construction and energy industries, the international arbitration team at Vinson & Elkins LLP has worked on a variety of commercial arbitration and investor-state matters across numerous Latin American jurisdictions over the years. Long-running case highlights include its ongoing representation of the Panama Canal Authority in a series of arbitrations arising out of construction disputes (valued in excess of $4.5bn) against Grupo Unidos por el Canal (“GUPC”), a consortium of European and Panamanian companies hired to design and build a set of locks as part of the Panama Canal expansion project. The practice’s expertise in energy matters is also evident, most notably of late with its success on behalf of Exxon Mobil Corporation in a long-running dispute with Argentina. Houston-based James Loftis leads the team, which stands out for its ‘extensive knowledge’ and ‘broad level of analysis and understanding’. London-based Nick Henchie, who worked alongside Loftis on the Exxon Mobil matter, and the impressive New York-based Camilo Cardozo, are also senior partners of note. ‘Studious’ and ‘creative’, counsel José Sanchez is also singled for praise from clients.