In 2011, one of the firm’s senior members was added to ICSID’s roster of arbitrators
- People in Who’s Who:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$2.8 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 6 (of which 1 is as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
The standout firm in Colombia for international arbitration, many would say, Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta Abogados arose through the merger of two full-service firms – Gómez Pinzón Abogados and Zuleta & Partners Legal Group.
Its dispute resolution and investment protection practice, created in 2009, is co-chaired by Eduardo Zuleta, increasingly one of the country’s most in-demand arbitrators on the international stage.
Zuleta is sitting on three ICSID tribunals (hearing claims against Peru and Guatemala) and an annulment committee examining an award against Ukraine. He was also on the task force charged with revising the ICC rules. Zuleta was tapped by the Colombian government to sit on the drafting committee for the new arbitration law currently working its way through Congress. In addition, he’s senior vice chair of the IBA arbitration committee and vice chair of the Latin American Arbitration Association, which he helped found.
The other practice co-chair is William Araque, whose focus is more on litigation.
Ranking guides put the firm, which is based in Bogotá, among the top practices in the country for dispute resolution.
Who uses it?
Health-care technology group Merck Sharp & Dohme, Colombian energy group Isagen, Hocol Petroleum, dredging contractor Royal Boskalis and Unisys have all used the firm on ICC matters. GlaxoSmithKline retained it for a US$60 million dispute over a distribution agreement.
While the bulk of the firm’s arbitration work is contract-based, it’s also been advising a client on a potential investment claim against Colombia – which would be the first in the state’s history.
The firm cites victories for Nortel Networks and several Japanese companies in disputes with the state-owned National Telecommunications Company; and for Boskalis in an ICC matter concerning construction work on the Cartagena dam.
In September 2011, Zuleta was one of 10 additions to ICSID’s panel of arbitrators made by the chair of the centre’s administrative council, Robert Zoellick. Although Zuleta was already sitting as an arbitrator at ICSID, it means he is now eligible for default appointments if the parties fail to select an arbitrator and can sit on ad hoc committees.
He was also part of a Spanish-language ICC tribunal that ruled in May in favour of Italy’s Enel in a dispute with El Salvador over control of a geothermal power plant operator.
The Dispute Resolution and Investment Protection Group of Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta Abogados has been repeatedly selected by specialized publications as No. 1 in Colombia and one of the leading practices in Latin America.
The Group provides clients with high-quality legal advice on arbitration and litigation and has been pioneer in international commercial and investment arbitration in the region. Lawyers of the Group have conducted -as advisors, counsel or arbitrators- more than one hundred national and international commercial arbitrations under multiple rules, including ICC, UNCITRAL, ICDR, IACAC and the rules of arbitration centers of various cities in Latin America. Lawyers of the Group have also acted as arbitrators and counsel in investment disputes under ICSID and UNCITRAL Rules. Further, lawyers of the Group have acted in proceedings before the Inter-American System of Human Rights. The sums involved in commercial and investment arbitrations in which lawyers of the Group have intervened exceed USD 5 billion.
In litigation, lawyers of the Group have represented clients in complex litigations before civil, commercial and administrative courts in matters related to distribution, agency, tort, international commercial contracts, public contracts, infrastructure, oil & gas, class actions, consumer protection, anti-trust, construction and enforcement of foreign awards, judgments and preventive and interim measures. They have also acted as experts and co-counsel in foreign courts in litigation involving Latin American parties.
The lawyers of the Group have received legal education in Colombia, and several of them hold degrees from the USA, UK and France and speak Spanish, English, French and Portuguese.