Foley Hoag’s international arbitration practice used to consist of occasional work in the investment arbitration market, often on behalf of left-wing governments. It came to that through work in public international law arena. Practice head Paul Reichler was Nicaragua’s advocate in the ICJ case in the 1980s over US support of Contra guerillas.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$7 billion
- Treaty cases:
Since then it’s brought in additional partners with names in investment treaty work similar focus – notably Ronald Goodman, formerly of White & Case and Winston & Strawn and Mark Clodfelter – for many years the United States’ NAFTA claims supremo at the State Department. They’ve been joined by a former associate general counsel in the Office of the US Trade Representative (counsel Mélida Hodgson) and Alberto Wray is a former Ecuadorean Supreme Court judge (as of counsel).
The firm operates entirely from Washington, and Boston. However, the firm expects to announce the opening of two new foreign offices in the coming year.
Who uses it
A long list of governments in Latin America, Asia and Africa have turned to the firm for an assortment of matters over the years – investment treaty and contract claims, territorial and maritime boundary disputes, and other public international law matters. Uruguay used it for an environmental dispute with Argentina at the ICJ. It has since retained the firm again to deal with Philip Morris’s recent ICSID claim over the nation’s tobacco packaging laws. Venezuela is a client. It’s retained the firm to fend off treaty claims by disgruntled mining and power investors. Mark Clodfelter represents Ecuador in various disputes involving US oil companies. Bolivia and Bangladesh have used the firm, as has Georgia. Georgia is retaining the firm for a claim against Russia at the ICJ, alleging its participation in and support for ethnic cleansing.
Venezuela has every reason to be happy with the firm’s performance in a recent UNCITRAL arbitration, started by Canada’s Nova Scotia Power. The tribunal not only dismissed the company’s US$180 million claim on jurisdictional grounds but awarded Venezuela US$1 million in costs.
For Ecuador, Clodfelter secured a win against Murphy Oil after an ICSID panel held that the company failed to observe a six-month “cooling-off” period prescribed in the BIT.
The ICJ’s verdict in the four-year environmental dispute between Uruguay and Argentina over a pulp mill on the banks of a river between the two states, was broadly seen as a victory for Uruguay (the court found no evidence of ecological damage to the river, although it criticised Uruguay on other scores).
2010 brought several wins (discussed above) plus a new brief to represent Uruguay in the Philip Morris claim. The team brought in two associates – Kenneth Figueroa and Vivek Krishnamurthy – and two foreign attorneys, in DC.