Mexico’s leading arbitration firm is home to the country’s best-known arbitrator.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Treaty cases
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 18 (4 as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
Latin Lawyer 250, our sister guide to law firms in Latin America, singles out Von Wobeser y Sierra’s arbitration practice as one of the best options in Mexico – thanks, largely, it says, to the impressive international profile of the firm’s founder, Claus von Wobeser.
It’s hard to disagree. On top of multiple bar association roles, von Wobeser is a vice president of the ICC Court and also regularly sits as arbitrator in commercial and investor-state disputes. He has lately been on ICSID panels hearing claims against Costa Rica, Peru, Guatemala, Poland, Uzbekistan and Venezuela, as well as on an annulment committee in a dispute involving Ukraine. In addition, he is sitting as sole conciliator in a rare ICSID conciliation filed by Equatorial Guinea against CMS Energy Corporation.
As for his counsel work, he and partner Marco Tulio Venegas represented brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (working with Skadden Arps and Sullivan & Cromwell) in a substantial case brought by Mexico’s Grupo Modelo.
Construction companies – including market leader ICA and former Halliburton subsidiary KRB – are regular clients, and the firm also represents businesses in negotiations with state oil company Pemex or electricity utility CFE.
Over the years, the team has grown from around six members to nearer to 20. Many have appeared now as expert witnesses on Mexican law for international firms.
Anheuser-Busch won the arbitration with Grupo Modelo – prompting the boss to take the team on a night out. “When I received the award, I was compelled to find the arbitration team and celebrate,” von Wobeser says.
In another case – for a chemicals company in ICC proceedings brought by a competitor over an alleged breach of a purchase agreement – the team won its client full costs (in that, Hunton & Williams was co-counsel) after the tribunal dismissed the claim.
The firm secured a win for its client ICA in a multimillion-dollar claim regarding the construction of a hydroelectric project. Following the win, ICA has instructed Von Wobeser y Sierra in a number of its most important arbitration cases.
Meanwhile, associate Montserrat Manzano was part of a precedent-setting decision clarifying the extent of the Mexican courts’ ability to refuse enforcement of awards on the grounds of due process violations.
The firm promoted Adrián Magallanes to the partnership in early 2013. It also hired three senior associates in 2012, including Victor Ruiz, a Mexican national who’s spent the past three years as a deputy counsel in the ICC’s Latin American group, working for the most part with managing counsel (now deputy secretary general) José Ricardo Feris.
Telephone: 52 (55) 52 58 1034
Offering excellence and integrity, Von Wobeser y Sierra is a full service law firm founded in 1986. In the arbitration field, law firm ranking agencies confirm that Wobeser y Sierra, S.C. (VWyS) is the leading firm for dispute resolution services in Mexico and one of the most prominent in the field in the Latin American region. VWyS is the only firm in Mexico ranked by Global Arbitration Review among the best 100 law firms worldwide and Chambers & Partners has ranked its dispute resolution team in the top tier.
The dispute resolution practice of VWyS is domestic and international, and its clients include many Fortune 500 companies. Over the past 25 years, the firm has successfully represented several companies and foreign governments in a wide variety of disputes of different sizes and complexities, ranging from a fully successful defense of a 2.5 billion dollar commercial arbitration claim between two shareholders of a beer company, to a 130 million dollar judicial claim involving the malfunctioning of a satellite in outer space, just to mention some representative examples.
The dispute resolution practice group of the firm is co-headed by Claus von Wobeser and Marco Tulio Venegas, who lead a team of 15 attorneys, all graduates with honors from the top law schools in Mexico, U.S. and Europe, and many of them trained in New York, Washington D.C. The level of sophistication of this practice group is unparalleled in Mexico and highly competitive worldwide.