Home to one of Colombia’s best-known investment arbitrators
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$4.5 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 9 (of which 5 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
A standout firm in Colombia for international arbitration, 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. He’s senior co-chair of the International Bar Association’s arbitration committee and was on the task force charged with revising the ICC rules. The Colombian government also turned to him recently to sit on the drafting committee for the country’s new arbitration law, which was approved in October 2012.
Zuleta was added to ICSID’s roster of arbitrators in 2011 and is currently sitting as chair or party-appointed arbitrator in cases against Greece, Mexico and Peru. He’s also sitting on four ad hoc annulment committees in cases involving Argentina, Paraguay and Ukraine.
In addition, he’s a member of the LCIA Court and a vice chair of the Latin American Arbitration Association (which he helped to found), and is listed on the AAA/ICDR’s Energy Arbitrators’ List.
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?
Merck Sharp & Dohme, Colombian energy group Isagen, Hocol Petroleum, dredging contractor Royal Boskalis, IT provider Unisys, mining company Drummond and Spain’s Ferrovial Agroman have all used the firm on ICC matters. GlaxoSmithKline retained it for a US$60 million dispute over a distribution agreement.
Other recent clients include Chilean department store chain Falabella, power company Termoemcali and advertising agency Young & Rubicam. A state entity has turned to it for advice in an arbitration arising from the alleged breach of a juridical stability contract; while a state oil agency is using it for an arbitration over windfall profit taxes under a concession agreement.
Colombia’s ministry of trade has also asked the firm to conduct educational workshops for civil servants on the subject of investment disputes.
The firm cites victories for Nortel Networks and several Japanese companies in disputes with the state-owned telecoms company; and for Boskalis in an ICC matter concerning construction work on the Cartagena dam.
While the bulk of the firm’s arbitration work is contract-based, the firm reports recently helping a Latin American state settle its first international investment dispute, for an undisclosed amount.
Zuleta led the organising committee for the IBA Arbitration Day hosted in Bogotá in February 2013. The event attracted more than 550 participants from over 30 countries, the second-largest Arbitration Day since the 2008 event in New York. The city also played host to the GAR Awards the night before.
The firm welcomed back some younger members of the practice after a spell abroad: Rafael Rincón, who’d been practising at Latham & Watkins after obtaining an LLM from New York University; and David Araque, who returned with an LLM from Queen Mary, University of London. Other associates left to pursue LLM or doctoral studies in the US and Germany.
New hires included María Angélica Burgos, a former chief of staff to Colombia’s minustry of interior and a former clerk at the International Court of Justice in The Hague; and Manuela Corredor, who was previously a lawyer at the Arbitration and Conciliation Centre of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce.
The Dispute Resolution and Investment Protection Practice 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.
This Practice provides clients with high-quality legal advice on arbitration and litigation and has been pioneer in international commercial and investment arbitration in the region. Members of our Practice 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 major arbitration centers or courts in Latin America. Additionally, members of our Practice have acted as arbitrators and counsel in investment disputes under ICSID and UNCITRAL Rules and in proceedings before the Inter-American System of Human Rights. The sums involved in commercial and investment arbitrations in which members of our Practice have been involved exceed USD 5 billion.
Moreover, our Practice has 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. Additionally, our lawyers have acted as experts and co-counsel in foreign courts in litigation involving Latin American parties.
Members of our Practice 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.