One of Argentina’s largest law firms, Pérez Alati was one of the first to gain experience of investment treaty work: in the late 1990s it defended the government in the first Vivendi water concession case (the only ICSID matter the country has faced that has no connection with its 2001-2002 financial crisis).
- Who’s Who name:
- José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz Jr
Since the crisis, the firm has become one of the first ports of call for disgruntled investors in the areas of oil and gas, power, reinsurance and sovereign debt. The firm often works alongside international firms such as King & Spalding and White & Case.
A number of international energy companies are among its clients for both investment and commercial matters, with big names including BP, ExxonMobil, Occidental, Pan American Energy, Repsol YPF and Total.
The practice revolves around José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz Jr, who is also known as an energy lawyer. Partner Guillermo Quiñoa also focuses on commercial arbitration.
One client, Diego Alvarez-Blanco of Ultrapetrol Group, commends the group’s “excellence”, “level of detail” and “value for money”.
Younger lawyer Valeria Macchia, a key player in the international arbitration practice, has now left Pérez Alati but still does some consultancy work for the firm.
Along with King & Spalding, Pérez Alati helped El Paso Corporation take home a US$43 million ICSID award against Argentina in October. It is also one of three firms representing 60,000 Italian bondholders in the first mass claim in ICSID’s history. The Abaclat case is now at the merits phase. Argentina’s arbitrator, Georges Abi-Saab, resigned from the panel in late 2011 after issuing a stinging dissent condemning the majority decision to allow the case to proceed.
The firm is currently helping Mobil enforce an ICC award in the Argentine courts after defeating an attempt to have it overturned.