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GAR 100 - 10th Edition

Arias SLP

01 March 2017

Home to the senior co-chair of the IBA’s arbitration committee

People in Who’s Who Legal 1
Pending cases as counsel 3
Value of pending counsel work US$65.3 million
Treaty cases 0
Current arbitrator appointments 8 (of which 4 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 1

David Arias spent 15 years with Spanish law firm Pérez-Llorca, where he built and led a 30-strong disputes team, before breaking away to set up Arias SLP in Madrid in 2013. Since then he has been practising as arbitrator and counsel while recruiting an entirely new team, including Dámaso Riaño, who became the firm’s second partner in 2014 and Eduardo Villellas, who joined as partner in 2016.

Arias became co-chair of the International Bar Association’s arbitration committee in 2016. He has has played a key role in the revisions to the IBA guidelines on conflicts of interest, as well as in the drafting of its 2010 rules on the taking of evidence. He’s also a co-chair of the Spanish Arbitration Club.

Who uses it?

Clients so far have hailed mainly from western Europe, operating in the construction, real estate, energy and utilities, and IT sectors. These include Gas Natural Fenosa and Abengoa from Spain; engineering group Maire Tecnimont and manufacturer Danieli in Italy; French real estate firm Altarea Cogedim; and Hewlett-Packard.

Commercial cases make up most of the firm’s workload, though it is also handling some investment treaty matters. These include an Energy Charter Treaty claim brought on behalf of a Luxembourg company.

Track record

In 2015, the firm helped Maire Tecnimont obtain a favourable settlement in a billion-dollar ICC dispute over the construction of a power plant in Chile. The client received a US$140 million payout from Endesa Chile, which had brought the case in 2012.

The firm also helped a leading Spanish energy group prevail in a US$63 million arbitration against the country’s main natural gas carrier.

Arias achieved some success for an Italian party in a €27 million dispute with a Spanish-owned steel manufacturer over the construction of a furnace. The firm helped the client obtain interim measures from the Madrid courts, followed by a favourable arbitral award in 2014.

Recent events

Eduardo Villellas, joined the firm as partner in February 2016 from Pérez-Llorca – where he had previously worked with David Arias for ten years.

The firm reports securing a favourable jurisdictional ruling in May 2016 on behalf of a leading Spanish renewable energy group in a treaty-based arbitration against a European state (presumably Spain) over the reduction of thermosolar feed-in tariffs. 

It has been retained by one of Europe’s leading citizen services groups for a US$45 million ICC arbitration involving 14 companies from Costa Rica, Portugal and Spain. The dispute concerns the construction of a major highway in a Latin American country.

Meanwhile David Arias was appointed co-arbitrator in a US$2.7 billion shareholder dispute at the ICC.

Client comment

Abengoa has been using Arias SLP on some significant cases. The company’s general secretary, Daniel Alaminos Echarri, says the firm’s “availability, commitment and quality of service have been consistently extraordinary”, and their value for money is “absolutely top-notch”. In particular, he says David Arias has a “broad knowledge of the arbitration procedure” and a “clear view on the best strategy to follow”.