GAR 100 - 14th Edition

Moreno Baldivieso

Moreno Baldivieso

Professional notice

Instructed on three new matters against Bolivia

People in Who’s Who Legal2
Pending cases as counsel13
Value of pending counsel workUS$1 billion
Treaty cases as counsel3
Third-party funded cases0

Moreno Baldivieso was set up in 1931 as an intellectual property practice, but later went full-service and is today one of Bolivia’s largest firms. The international arbitration practice was set up in 2006 to benefit clients affected by a wave of nationalisations in the oil and gas, telecoms, aviation, energy and mining sectors.

The practice, led by Ramiro Moreno and Andrés Moreno Gutierrez, often teams up with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Hogan Lovells on investment treaty cases. It is also very visible on the international stage: Moreno Gutierrez was recently appointed to the ICC commission on arbitration and ADR – the only Bolivian national to sit on that body.

The arbitration team is found in the firm’s La Paz headquarters and its office in Santa Cruz. The firm has offices in two other Bolivian cities.

Who uses it?

Glencore, Iberdrola, BP and its subsidiary Pan American Energy have used the firm for investment treaty matters.

Other clients include Siemens, Exterran, Samsung, Halliburton, Votorantim, AON, PepsiCo and US medical devices group Johnson & Johnson.

Track record

Moreno Baldivieso helped Bolivian tungsten ore trader Emura settle an ICC claim against Canadian-listed company 5N Plus soon after arbitral hearings in Lima in 2017.

In 2014, the firm (together with Freshfields) helped Pan American Energy settle a long-running ICSID case against Bolivia over an expropriated natural gas unit, with the state agreeing to pay US$357 million – thought to be the largest payout the state has made to settle an investment treaty claim.

Another Freshfields collaboration saw the firm help Bolivian telecoms investors settle a treaty dispute with Ecuador in 2013.

Together with Hogan Lovells, the firm helped Spain’s Iberdrola agree a US$34 million settlement with the Bolivian government over expropriated power assets in 2015.

On the commercial side, Moreno Baldivieso helped Bolivia’s leading insurance company Bisa Seguros settle a dispute with a Panamanian reinsurer. The firm successfully defended Canada’s Pan American Silver in a claim brought by a Bolivian mining group.

In 2019, the firm helped Samsung settle an arbitration at the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce concerning an unpaid surety bond relating to the construction of a US$1.2 billion urea and ammonia plant.

Recent events

The firm has been retained for three more arbitrations against Bolivia and its state entities, including one brought by Swiss insurer Zurich International over the nationalisation of the country’s pensions system (as co-counsel with White & Case). It is also defending software developer Sysde International in an ICC arbitration filed by Bolivia’s public pension fund administrator over the implementation of new software for managing a US$950 million fund portfolio.

Again working alongside Freshfields, Moreno Baldivieso is acting for Air BP, the aviation arm of British Petroleum, in UNCITRAL proceedings relating to the alleged expropriation of the company’s investments in the hydrocarbon sector in Bolivia, after a three-year suspension in which the parties unsuccessfully sought to settle the dispute.

On the commercial side, it is representing Australian mining group Macallum in an ad hoc arbitration seeking contractual damages over material deterioration at a tin and zinc processing plant it purchased from a Chinese counterparty.

Client comment

Marcela Barrón Murguia, legal manager at insurance provider Aseguradora Fortaleza, says his company has had “an excellent experience in all the legal cases that the Moreno Baldivieso firm attended for us, not only in arbitration but also in many legal areas with good results”.

Moreno Baldiveso is full size Bolivian Law firm, with a highly developed and internationally recognized arbitration practice. Our team comprised of three partners and twelve associates, has represented the interests private investors in several investment state arbitrations including the largest arbitration claim in Bolivian history (USD 1.5 billion) and in the first ever “south – south” arbitration matter involving a Bolivian investor and the state of Ecuador. Our team is vastly experienced under the ICSID, UNCITRAL, ICC, CIAC rules for arbitration.

In addition, Moreno Baldivieso has proven experience in international commercial arbitration under the rules of the ICC, ICDR, Camara de Comercio de Lima and AAA. Our team members serve on the ICC Commission of Arbitration, the Latin-American Group of the ICC and are regular speakers at events throughout the world.

Moreno Baldivieso is the largest full size Bolivian law firm and the only ranked in the GAR 100 for the last six consecutive years.

Website: www.emba.com

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