One of Colombia’s foremost arbitrators sets up his own chambers
|Current arbitrator appointments||19 (of which 11 are as sole or chair)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||1|
Eduardo Zuleta established this chambers in Bogotá in January 2017 after eight years leading the international arbitration practice at Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta (before now the only Colombian firm to feature in the GAR 100). The new outfit is devoted exclusively to international arbitration and human rights.
Zuleta cut his teeth at Baker & McKenzie in Bogotá in the 1990s, acting for Merck Sharp & Dohme in some early cases that generated important local court precedents for arbitration. These days, he’s one of the country’s most in-demand arbitrators on the international stage, as well as a vice president of the ICC Court and member of the LCIA Court.
He was added to ICSID’s roster of arbitrators in 2011 and has sat on investment treaty cases against Bolivia, Greece, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. He was recently tapped by the Permanent Court of Arbitration to be presiding arbitrator in a US$12 billion claim against Russia brought by former Putin adviser Sergei Pugachev.
Zuleta has brought a team from GPZ with him, including senior associate Rafael Rincon. They will do a mixture of counsel and arbitrator work, while Zuleta will continue to act as an arbitrator in investment cases and as counsel and arbitrator in commercial cases.
He says the chambers will be the first of its kind in Colombia, and probably the first in South America. The structure is intended to afford its members a freedom they do not have within the conventional confines of a big law firm.
While it’s early days for Zuleta Abogados in terms of naming clients and results, the team’s work at GPZ recently included helping General Motors to defeat a US$25 million claim at the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, winning US$1 million in costs.
While at GPZ, the team also acted for Colombia’s state-owned electricity company Isagen, state petroleum company Ecopetrol, Hocol Petroleum, Nortel Networks, Royal Boskalis, GlaxoSmithKline and Chilean department store chain Falabella.