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GAR 100 - 11th Edition

Arias SLP

04 April 2018

A Spanish specialist in Latin America and Africa-related work

People in Who’s Who Legal 2
People in Future Leaders 1
Pending cases as counsel 2
Value of pending counsel work US$69.7 million
Treaty cases 0
Current arbitrator appointments 9 (of which 3 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 a new team, including Dámaso Riaño, who became the firm’s second partner in 2014; and Eduardo Villellas, who joined as partner in 2016.

Arias is a former co-chair of the International Bar Association’s international arbitration committee, having stepped down at the end of 2017. He played a key role in the IBA’s revisions to its guidelines on conflicts of interest as well as the drafting of its 2010 rules on the taking of evidence.

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 has also handled an Energy Charter Treaty matter. It also has experience in the arbitration regimes of Angola, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Peru and Qatar.

Track record

In 2016 Arias SLP achieved a notable win in a €63 million arbitration between one of Spain’s leading energy groups and the main Spanish carrier of natural gas. Around the same time, the firm struck a favourable settlement for a subsidiary of a leading Spanish energy and construction group, leading to the withdrawal of the other party’s counterclaims.

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 pay-out from Endesa Chile, which had brought the case in 2012.

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

In June 2017 Arias SLP secured an award for its Spanish client FCC, a leader in the construction and energy sector, with an ICC tribunal upholding the entirety of its main claim against a French company. The case was valued at US$17.5 million.

Client comment

FCC has used Arias SLP for eight years, most recently in two ICC arbitrations in Switzerland. José Cerro Redondo, FCC’s head of legal services, says the firm has “an incredible capacity to analyse a dispute from all points of view” and “interact with the in-house legal and business teams”.



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