Acting in the first-ever ICC case with a five-member panel
|People in Who's Who Legal||1|
|People in Future Leaders||2|
|Pending cases as counsel||35|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$5.5 billion|
|Third-party funded cases||0|
|Current arbitrator appointments||15 (4 as chair or sole)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||5|
Uría Menéndez is Spain’s largest corporate firm. Its arbitration practice is led by Jesús Remón and Miguel Virgós in Madrid, who both sit as arbitrators. Remón is an honorary president of the Spanish Arbitration Club and a Spanish member of the ICC Court, while Virgós was one of 16 experts selected by the European Commission for its special group on the status of arbitration within the scope of the Brussels I Regulation.
In 2016, the firm recruited Gabriel Bottini as a partner in Madrid, adding valuable investment arbitration expertise. He spent eight years at Argentina’s Treasury Attorney General’s Office (the department that represents Argentina in all its investment treaty cases), including as its first director of international disputes. In that role, he helped to defend the state against some 50 treaty cases.
The arbitration group includes three other partners in Madrid and two consultants, two partners in Barcelona, and four partners in Lisbon.
The firm’s network spans the Iberian peninsula thanks to a 2010 merger with a Portuguese firm. It has offices in several other European countries, including the UK, Belgium and Poland, as well as in China.
In Latin America, the network extends to Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City and São Paolo. It also has a stake in Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría, a tie-up between firms in Chile, Colombia and Peru that also features in the GAR 100.
Uría Menéndez is also a member of a “best friends” network of six European firms, who all appear in the GAR 100: Slaughter and May in the UK, Bonelli Erede in Italy, Bredin Prat in France, Hengeler Mueller in Germany, and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek in the Netherlands.
Who uses it?
Numerous banks and financial service providers, as well as energy companies. Clients include Banco Sabadell, Santander, Bankia, BBVA, Caixabank, Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, CVC Capital Partners, Enel, Gas Natural, Ingeniería y Economía del Transporte, Iberdrola, Isolux Corsán, Repsol, ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions, Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional and Brazil’s TIM.
In 2014, the firm helped Spanish oil company Repsol settle its US$10 billion ICSID claim against Argentina over the expropriation of its stake in oil and gas operator YPF. The state agreed to pay US$5 billion in bonds. Uría paired with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Argentine firm Marval O’Farrell & Mairal as co-counsel to Repsol, and helped to coordinate Repsol’s strategy in related court proceedings across Argentina, the United States and Spain.
More recently, it successfully represented a Spanish oil and gas company in a US$200 million dispute with a foreign company over breach of a long-term agreement for supply of liquefied natural gas.
Another case was for Spanish construction group Isolux Corsán in an ICC arbitration over the upgrade of an Argentine power plant. The result was a mixed bag – Isolux won just US$1 million of the US$110 million it had sought from Argentina’s Pampa Energía, but it succeeded in reducing a US$200 million counterclaim from Pampa to a final pay-out of around US$15 million.
With Portuguese firm PLMJ, a team in Lisbon and Madrid is representing Vidatel in an ICC arbitration between four shareholders in Angolan telecoms company Unitel. The dispute is being heard by the first-ever five-person ICC tribunal with claims and counterclaims that exceed US$3.2 billion.
The firm had a good result after an ICC tribunal declined jurisdiction over a US$86 million claim by India’s Jindal Steel & Power against the firm’s client, Bolivian state-owned entity Comibol. The tribunal concluded that Comibol was not a party to the arbitration.
Gabriel Bottini was appointed by Venezuela to sit on an ICSID panel hearing a claim against the state brought by Dutch lubricants investor Venoklim. This is the third time Bottini has been appointed by the state in an ICSID case.
Bottini is also sitting on the ICSID annulment committee reviewing an award that threw out a billion-dollar claim against Slovakia in EuroGas and Belmont Resources v Slovakia. He is one of the youngest annulment committee members ever appointed.
Fernando Pantaleón, who once served as a judge in the First Chamber of the Supreme Court in Spain, joined the firm as a senior consultant.