Cleary Gottlieb’s globally renowned lawyers are skilled at handling an extraordinarily wide range of international arbitrations for multinational, foreign and domestic corporations, States and State-owned entities.

Our lawyers work on highly complex multi-jurisdictional disputes involving related arbitrations and litigations, as well as disputes that concern issues of public international law and a variety of national laws. Clients who look for lawyers they can trust to manage their most reputationally sensitive and business-critical matters turn to Cleary. 

Our Practice

Our arbitration specialists work seamlessly between our 16 offices around the world and in tandem with local law firms and in-house counsel. We have extensive experience in international commercial arbitration, investment treaty and other arbitrations involving public international law, and in enforcing or challenging arbitration awards and foreign judgments in the United States and U.S. judgments abroad. Our lawyers also serve as arbitrators in major international cases, are experienced in drafting arbitration clauses for complex international transactions and regularly work with our corporate colleagues on technical commercial and M&A arbitrations, including those related to post-closing purchase price adjustments.

Our lawyers have extensive experience in proceedings administered by all of the major arbitral institutions and have successfully represented individual, corporate and sovereign clients in arbitrations under these institutions’ arbitral rules, including:

  • The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
  • The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
  • The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
  • The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
  • The International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR)
  • The Society of Maritime Arbitrators (SMA)
  • The Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC)
  • The American Arbitration Association (AAA)
  • The Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC)
  • The German Institution of Arbitration (DIS)
  • The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)
  • The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)
  • The China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC)
  • La Comisión Interamericana de Arbitraje Comercial (CIAC)

Our lawyers also frequently lecture, teach and write about current international arbitration topics, and contribute to the debate and dialogue on international arbitration best practices through their membership on numerous domestic and international arbitration committees and task forces, including the recent appointments of one of our partners to the Court of Arbitration of SIAC and another partner to the panel of conciliators of ICSID in Washington, D.C.

Our Global Perspective

With the opening of our Paris office in 1949, Cleary was the first U.S.-based law firm to hire and promote non-U.S. lawyers as equal partners. Today, our approximately 80 senior international litigation and arbitration practitioners globally represent clients in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. We are a go-to firm in regions where our clients are based as well as where they do business.

  • Latin America. For more than 55 years, our Latin America practice has been bringing practical methods to bear in assisting our clients to achieve their financial and business goals. With the growth in international arbitrations related to this region, clients continue to rely on Cleary for effective and efficient representation.
  • Europe. Cleary’s European practice is among the most acclaimed and established practices, comprising about 150 lawyers based in Brussels, Cologne, Frankfurt, London, Milan, Moscow, Paris and Rome. They work in close collaboration with our U.S. lawyers on domestic and international arbitrations for a diverse array of clients.
  • Russia. Cleary’s former office in Moscow (1991-2022) provided our lawyers with significant experience in advising international clients in their CIS-related disputes and counseling Russian sovereign and corporate clients on their disputes abroad.
  • Middle East and Africa. Cleary has been active in the Middle East and Africa for several decades. Today, we represent sovereign and corporate clients in some of the largest disputes related to the region.
  • Asia. With over 30 years of experience in Asia, Cleary has a longer history in the region than most other international law firms, and has successfully handled international arbitration matters for a wide range of sovereign and corporate clients in a variety of sectors and industries.

Notable Experiences

  • Natural Resources. Cleary has worked on significant arbitration engagements in the natural resources, oil and gas, and mining and metals sector.  Our experience includes representing OJSC Tatneft in an UNCITRAL arbitration relating to the largest refinery in the Ukraine, resulting in an award of damages in excess of $110 million; a Latin American company in an ICC arbitration concerning LNG sales and in a Spanish-language CIAC arbitration relating to an energy exploration agreement; Électricité de France in an ICC arbitration against a sovereign entity related to a German energy company; ENI North Africa in an ICC arbitration concerning a price review under a gas supply contract; Vale in an expedited expert dispute resolution proceeding related to a mining project and in LCIA proceedings relating to a misrepresentation and breach of warranty claim; and YPF in an ICDR arbitration concerning deliveries under a long-term natural gas supply agreement and in defending against enforcement of an Argentine arbitral award in federal court in Delaware.

  • Construction and Infrastructure. Cleary has represented clients such as DP World in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Peru arising out of an investment to build and operate a container terminal at the Port of Callao; a leading Brazilian construction company in various arbitration and litigation in Europe and the United States related to road and tunnel construction in the Middle East; the Ministry of Electricity of the Republic of Iraq in obtaining an award in its favor dismissing all claims in AAA and ICC arbitrations concerning a construction dispute; one of the world’s largest power plant contractors in a Paris-sited ICC arbitration related to a construction dispute; and Technopromexport in arbitrations related to construction and infrastructure projects and investments. We have also represented numerous clients involved in infrastructure and development projects in pre-revolutionary Iran, in successfully prosecuting their claims before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague.

  • Telecommunications and Media. From privatizations to rapidly evolving technology platforms, the dramatic pace of change in the telecommunications industry has produced myriad opportunities—and challenges—for investors and operators. Cleary has led a number of high-profile arbitrations in this sector, including on behalf of Citigroup and Telecom Italia concerning corporate control of Brasil Telecom, which has included multiple ICC arbitrations in London and Paris with claims greater than $1 billion; Sky Italia in winning an arbitration related to the acquisition of broadcasting rights to the 2010 FIFA World Cup; Orascom in an LCIA arbitration relating to the sale of numerous telecom businesses in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America to VimpelCom; and Canal+ in winning an arbitration related to a proposed Polish satellite television platform.

  • M&A and Other Commercial Disputes. We are adept at successfully guiding clients through international commercial arbitrations as well as purchase price adjustment and other expert proceedings. Recent engagements have included representing Del Monte International in successfully defending a claim brought under the arbitration clause of a freight agreement; Goodyear Tire and Rubber in winning dismissal of shareholder claims relating to its Polish subsidiary; Nexans in settling an ICC arbitration brought by a Chilean cable manufacturer concerning price adjustment and other claims under a purchase agreement; Agfa Gevaert Group in defending two related ICC arbitrations under German law alleging over €500 million in damages related to the sale of the company’s former consumer imaging division; and BNP Paribas and its wholly owned subsidiary BancWest in an arbitration regarding the closing balance sheet of United California Bank.

  • Sovereign Clients. More than 50 countries around the world have selected Cleary as their primary choice for international legal counsel on transactional, dispute resolution and regulatory matters. We have worked on arbitrations, both commercial and treaty-based, for a host of governments. We have recently secured complete victories for Greece in an ICSID arbitration commenced by a Slovak bank and its Cypriot shareholder related to the Greek financial crisis and for the Arab Republic of Egypt in an ICSID arbitration relating to an investment in an Egyptian resort. Other representations include the French Republic and the Republic of Austria in their first ever ICSID arbitrations; and the Republic of Iraq in an inter-State arbitration against the Republic of Turkey relating to the transportation and sale of crude oil from the Kurdistan Region and in securing dismissal of all claims brought by a German State-owned company before an arbitral tribunal constituted under the rules of the Vienna International Arbitral Centre.

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