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GAR 100 - 9th Edition

M & M Bomchil

18 February 2016

Home to Argentina’s most in-demand arbitrator

People in Who’s Who Legal: 1
Pending cases as counsel: 6
Value of pending counsel work: US$780 million
Treaty cases: 0
Current arbitrator appointments: 7 (of which 3 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator: 1

M & M Bomchil has existed since 1923, but has only acquired a name for international arbitration over the past two decades under the leadership of Guido Santiago Tawil.

Tawil’s reputation as an arbitrator is reflected by the leadership roles he has held in various arbitral bodies: he is a former president of the Latin American Arbitration Association (ALARB) and a former co-chair of the IBA arbitration committee. He is a member of ICCA’s governing council, the LCIA Court, the Institute for Transnational Arbitration’s executive committee and academic council, the ICC’s Latin American arbitration group and the Foundation for International Arbitration Advocacy’s board of trustees.

In addition, Tawil is a professor at Buenos Aires University, as are Rafael Manóvil and María Inés Corrá – the other pillars of M & M Bomchil’s arbitration practice. Manóvil, who joined the firm in 2003, often sits as an arbitrator and is a member of Argentina’s National Law Academy in recognition of his academic writing. GAR’s sister magazine, Latin Lawyer, included Corrá in a list of the 50 most inspiring women in the practice of law in Latin America.

Máximo Bomchil – managing partner of the firm for more than 30 years – regularly serves as arbitrator in complex commercial disputes. He is a member of the ICC court representing Argentina.

Who uses it?

Clients include Endesa, CMS, Azurix, Telefónica, Siemens, Camuzzi, Enron, Argentine supermarket operator Disco, Cargill and Wintershall in major investment and commercial disputes in Latin America. It has also worked with several clients from the Chilean gas industry on arbitration and litigation spawned by the country’s 2004 gas crisis.

Track record

M & M Bomchil won a substantial victory (as co-counsel with King & Spalding) for Texan water service provider Azurix. In 2006, it helped the company win a US$225 million ICSID award against Argentina and later successfully defended the award in annulment proceedings. Teaming up with Freshfields, it also helped CMS Gas win a US$133 million ICSID award against Argentina in 2005. The state recently agreed to settle the Azurix and CMS Gas awards (as well as three other awards) with a payment of bonds.

In commercial arbitration, the firm has defended Spanish energy company Endesa in a US$600 million ICC dispute; and helped to set aside an award against Endesa in the Argentine courts. It also defended a large Argentine retail company against a claim filed by D&S, a Chilean arm of Walmart, in UNCITRAL arbitration. The claim was dismissed in its entirety.

The firm registered another win when it helped an Argentine company defeat a US$70 million claim by a Chilean retailer. In 2013, it successfully represented a Chilean distributor in a US$40 million ICDR case.

Recent events

Tawil’s arbitrator practice remains thriving. He sat on the first Energy Charter Treaty case over Spain’s solar energy reforms to reach a ruling on the merits: the case was dismissed, though Tawil issued a dissenting opinion. He was part of another panel that made investment treaty history by agreeing to hear claims brought against Venezuela by dual Spanish-Venezuelan nationals.

As for counsel work, the firm has lately acted for a major international corporation in various claims brought by local subcontractors in connection with a state contract terminated by the Argentine government.

Former Dechert associate Federico Campolieti was promoted to the partnership.

Client comment

Endesa’s Latin America legal subdirector, José María Fesser, has used M & M Bomchil for power disputes with an Argentine element for more than a decade, including on the recent ICC matter. He gives “special mention” to Guido Tawil and Francisco Gutiérrez. “They are a sure guarantee that the legal work will be done very well and they pay close attention to their clients.”

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