In 2004, Pérez Bustamante & Ponce was part of the first-ever claim against Ecuador at ICSID, helping Repsol YPF to win a US$13 million award. Two of the firm’s partners oversaw the whole case, without any international co-counsel.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$2 billion
- Treaty cases:
Today, the firm, one of Ecuador’s oldest, is often the first port of call for foreign energy companies unhappy with changes introduced by the Correa administration. Clients include Perenco, Burlington Resources, Murphy Oil, Duke Energy and Noble Energy, and their international counsel – Covington & Burling, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and King & Spalding. Brazilian construction group Odebrecht used the firm, alongside White & Case, when it was threatened with expulsion from the country over a hydropower plant dispute.
Rodrigo Jijón leads the practice. He’s described in our sister guide, Latin Lawyer, as “perhaps the most respected arbitration lawyer in the country”, while younger partner Javier Robalino is achieving increasing prominence. He recently co-edited an English-language book on global administrative law. He’s one of only two lawyers in Ecuador deemed worthy of inclusion in The International Who’s Who of Commercial Arbitration. The firm has an international exchange programme with White & Case’s DC office and sponsors associates to study for LLMs in the US.
Recently, the team has obtained a US$70 million settlement for Noble Energy. It also won helpful decisions on provisional measures in claims underway for Burlington, Perenco and Repsol.
Looking ahead, the firm says it expects the Ecuadorean government’s growing hostility to international investment law to provide more cases.