Oral Advocacy, Subconscious Influences, and Differing Cultural Expectations - World Arbitration and Mediation Review, Vol. 9 No. 4

Jose I. Astigarraga
James Lloyd Loftis
Anne Véronique Schlaepfer
Eduardo Zuleta
Claus von Wobeser
John M. Townsend
Page Count: 
24 pages
May, 2015
Author Detail: 

José I. Astigarraga is an experienced advocate who represents clients in international business disputes.  In the course of more than 30 years of practice, Mr. Astigarraga has handled a broad array of matters.  His experience includes representing companies in disputes stemming from joint ventures, distribution agreements, licensing arrangements, shareholder agreements, corporate acquisitions, supply agreements, power projects, EPC and other construction contracts, credit, investment and other financial contracts, telecommunications agreements, utility/public service tariffs, insurance coverage, performance bonds and foreign judgments.  Fully fluent in both English and Spanish, Mr. Astigarraga has handled cases emanating from virtually every country in Latin America.  He has held a variety of leadership positions in the field of international arbitration.  He was one of ten Americans initially appointed by the US Government to advise the NAFTA Commission on international arbitration and dispute resolution.  He serves on the ICC’s Commission on Arbitration and chairs the Americas’ Initiative of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration, which seeks to promote the use of international arbitration in the Americas through education and training.  He has chaired the International Bar Association’s Worldwide Task Force on the Guidelines for Arbitrator Conflicts of Interest.  Mr. Astigarraga successfully led the effort to have the Florida Bar authorize non-Florida lawyers to handle international arbitrations in Florida and personally argued the petition before the Florida Supreme Court.  He is also a founder and director of the recently-created Asociación Latinoamericana de Arbitraje.  Mr. Astigarraga served as Vice President of the LCIA and one of the 35 members on the Court worldwide and has lectured across the globe on arbitration topics.  Mr. Astigarraga has served as arbitrator, co-arbitrator or chair before the ICC, the LCIA, and the AAA, among others.  The US Department of State designated him to represent the US as an expert at the Organization of American States’ conference on Private International Law.  The World Bank engaged him to conduct an assessment of Latin American insolvency systems, which he co-authored and the World Bank published.  Mr. Astigarraga has been active in efforts to promote commercial law reform in the Americas, through service for many years as Vice Chair of the Board of the National Law Center for Interamerican Free Trade.

James L. Loftis chairs Vinson & Elkns’ international dispute resolution practice, and focuses his practice on international commercial arbitration and investor-state disputes, both as counsel and as arbitrator, and on disputes involving public international law.  He is a member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration, is listed in Global Arbitration Review and in the Energy Arbitrators List, is listed in Legal Media Group’s (Euromoney’s) Expert Guide to Commercial Arbitration, and is ranked in international arbitration in both Chambers Global and Chambers USA.  He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for international arbitration.  From 1997 to 2000, Mr. Loftis served in Geneva, Switzerland, as chief counsel for the Oil Sector and Construction and Engineering Panels of the UN Compensation Commission (the Iraq/Gulf War claims tribunal).  Mr. Loftis is also an adjunct professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law, where he teaches international investment law and international arbitration.

Anne Véronique Schlaepfer is a partner in Schellenberg Wittmer’s Geneva office and co-heads the Schellenberg Wittmer arbitration team.  She has acted as counsel in commercial disputes involving, inter alia, construction contracts, pharmaceuticals, energy (upstream and downstream), joint venture agreements, sales contracts, collateral management agreements, and know-how license agreements.  Ms. Schlaepfer serves as arbitrator in numerous proceedings and represents parties before Swiss courts in arbitration-related court proceedings, in particular challenges of arbitral awards.  She also acts as legal expert in arbitration proceedings.  Ms. Schlaepfer is a co-chair of the IBA Arbitration Committee and a member of the LCIA Court.  She was the Chairperson of the Arbitration Court administering Swiss Rules arbitrations from February 2010 to February 2013.

Eduardo Zuleta is a partner of GPZ Abogados Zuleta in Bogotá, Colombia.  Mr. Zuleta specializes in international dispute resolution.  Mr. Zuleta has extensive experience in international commercial arbitration – in matters related to construction, infrastructure, project finance, telecommunications, energy, international commercial contracts, and in investment disputes.  He has acted as co-arbitrator, chair and counsel in international commercial arbitration under ICC, ICDR and UNCITRAL Rules and in investment arbitration under ICSID and UNCITRAL.  Mr. Zuleta is professor in international arbitration and commercial law, past chair of the Arbitration Committee of IBA, member of the ICC Latin American Group, Vice Chair of ITA and chair of ALARB.  He is the author of several articles and co-editor of publications on international arbitration.

Claus von Wobeser, Managing Partner of Von Wobeser y Sierra in Mexico City. With experience acting in over 100 arbitrations as either counsel or arbitrator under the rules of the ICC, AAA, Inter-American Commercial Arbitration Commission, NAFTA, and ICSID.  He serves as arbitrator on the ICSID Panel as designee of the Chairman of the Administrative Council.  Furthermore, he is Vice Chairman of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, former Co-Chair of the Arbitration Committee of the IBA and former President of the Mexican Bar Association.

John M. Townsend is a partner in the Washington, DC office of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and co-chairs that firm’s Arbitration and ADR Practice Group.  His practice focuses on international disputes in court and in arbitration, including activity as counsel and as an arbitrator in both international commercial and investment treaty arbitration.  Mr. Townsend was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the AAA from 2007 to 2010 and continues to be active on several committees of the AAA.  He was appointed by President Bush as one of the US members of the Panel of Arbitrators of the ICSID in 2008, and was the first Chairman of the Mediation Committee of the IBA (2005 - 2006).  He is currently a Vice President of the Court of Arbitration of the LCIA and one of the Advisors to the ALI project to draft the Restatement of the Law Third – The U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration.  Mr. Townsend is a graduate of Yale University (BA 1968) and Yale Law School (JD 1971).