GAR 100 - 16th Edition

Chaffetz Lindsey

Chaffetz Lindsey

Professional notice

The New York boutique is well known for Latin American work, particularly big-ticket disputes over energy and construction projects

People in Who’s Who Legal6
People in Future Leaders1
Pending cases as counsel19
Value of pending counsel workUS$4.8 billion
Treaty cases as counsel4
Third-party funded cases0
Current arbitrator appointments21 (14 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator6

This boutique was launched in New York in 2009 by a breakaway team from Clifford Chance including global litigation head Peter Chaffetz and David Lindsey, who co-headed the Americas arbitration group.

The founding partners included New Zealander James Hosking, who chairs the international arbitration practice and sits on ICCA’s governing board. Other key partners include Yasmine Lahlou, who has a Franco-Moroccan background and has been with the firm from the beginning, and Lebanese-US national Caline Mouawad, who joined in 2019 from King & Spalding.

Spanish national Aníbal Martín Sabater joined the firm in 2015 from Norton Rose Fulbright and brings investment treaty expertise. Other names to know include Swiss-US national Andreas Frischknecht, Andrew Poplinger and recently promoted partner Gretta Walters.

Chaffetz and founding partner Cecilia Froelich Moss are well known for their work in insurance disputes.

Who uses it?

Governments such as Iran, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Moldova, Liberia and the Cook Islands have used the firm, along with state entities such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

But most of the firm’s clients come from the private sector, including AES, Maersk, Ashmore Energy International, French defence contractor Safran, Italy’s Enel Green Power, AIG, South Korea’s Samwhan, the Miss Universe Organization and Turkey’s Çukurova Holding.

Much of the firm’s work is focused on clients or projects in Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru – mostly relating to oil and gas, power and infrastructure, construction and project finance. Clients in this regard include Brazil’s Vale, Peru’s Graña y Montero and Panama’s QGI Oil & Gas.

Track record

Chaffetz Lindsey’s greatest hits include helping Ashmore subsidiary Jaguar Energy win a billion-dollar ICC dispute with a Chinese contractor over a power plant in Guatemala. The firm won the client a final award in 2015 for US$129 million in damages and US$20 million in costs, also knocking out a counterclaim of around US$800 million.

Another big win came in 2020 when it secured Brazilian contractor IESA Óleo & Gás a US$107 million ICC award against Brazil’s national oil and gas company Petrobras over an offshore oil and gas project. The firm also defeated counterclaims worth US$423 million.

In 2016, Chaffetz Lindsey helped Liberia settle a US$750 million ICSID claim lodged by a Canadian mining company, following negotiations that had been stalled by an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the country.

In the US courts, it has helped NNPC block enforcement of a US$2.7 billion award in favour of ExxonMobil and Shell; and helped a Turkish roadbuilder to enforce a US$25 million award against the Kyrgyz Ministry of Transport and Roads.

Recent events

There was success for first-time client the Czech Republic, with the firm persuading an UNCITRAL tribunal to throw out a US$20 million claim by a Dubai real estate investor on jurisdictional grounds in 2022. The state was also awarded costs.

Alongside former colleagues at King & Spalding, Mouawad continues to advise US-based cleaning products group Clorox in a US$185 million treaty claim against Venezuela. A Swiss court upheld a jurisdictional award in the client’s favour.

At ICSID, the firm has been retained by AES to act in a US$1.8 billion claim against Argentina. A subsidiary of Denmark’s Maersk is also using it for a US$180 million claim against Peru over a project to modernise one of the country’s largest ports.

The firm represents a Brazilian state-owned electricity generator in a dispute with a Chinese contractor over a major power plant project, which is playing out in a Europe-seated arbitration. It is also acting in a pair of Mexico-seated ICC arbitrations over renewable energy projects.

Canada’s Stoneway Capital used the firm in a New York-seated ICC dispute with German multinational Siemens over the construction of four power plants in Argentina, which settled last year.

Members of the firm are increasingly visible as arbitrators. Hosking chaired a tribunal that ordered Occidental Petroleum to pay over US$500 million to its former partner in an Ecuadorean oil block. Mouawad meanwhile sat as a pre-arbitral referee in an ICC procedure that has been used only around 20 times since it was introduced in 1990.

Mouawad has been busy on an International Bar Association subcommittee that finalised a report on arbitrating small value claims in investment arbitration. She was also feted with an essay prize by the International Arbitration Club of New York for an article she co-authored on the “illegality objection” in investor-state arbitration.

Senior associate May Khoury helped to launch ArabArb, a women-led network for US-based members of the arbitration community with links to the Arab world.

Client comment

A general counsel at a renewable energy company who has used the firm in an “extremely large” matter says the “level of client service is exceptional”. She says she has “complete trust” in Hosking, who provides “ first class strategic and practical advice”, while Frischknecht is also “impressive”.

A client in a treaty case says the firm “has done an outstanding job”. Mouawad “has excellent judgment, is a strong communicator, and has been a trusted advisor throughout the proceeding.”

Another client says the firm did a “great job fighting for us and coming up with creative arguments while keeping an eye on the budget.” Mouawad is described as “a consummate professional, incredibly knowledgeable, dedicated, and a great person”.

Chaffetz Lindsey is the premier US disputes boutique providing top-tier advocacy and advice on complex international disputes.  The firm handles high-end arbitration and litigation matters from a specialized, client-friendly (and conflict-free) boutique platform.  The strength of the firm’s team lies in the depth of talent at the partner, counsel and associate level.  Chaffetz Lindsey lawyers have trained in civil and common law systems, practiced around the globe, and are fluent in several languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Arabic.

The international arbitration team handles cases in all the world’s major arbitration fora, involving disputes arising out of infrastructure projects, engineering/construction claims, oil and gas ventures, mining and natural resources projects, pharmaceutical licensing, M&A, JV/shareholder disputes, and complex commercial contracts, and investment treaty claims for and against states. While many of its arbitrations are seated in the US, the firm’s current caseload involves cases seated in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Chaffetz Lindsey’s attorneys are recognized thought leaders – regularly speaking and writing on developments in international arbitration and holding leadership roles in the community. Several members of the team also regularly sit as arbitrators, and have appeared as experts on US law and international arbitration practice. The firm and its International Arbitration team are highly ranked by all the leading industry guides.

Chaffetz Lindsey also has an active state, federal, and bankruptcy court practice. The firm’s experience covers all aspects of general commercial litigation, with a particular expertise in finance/securities, insurance and reinsurance, bankruptcy, cross-border disputes and sovereign immunity issues.


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