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Issue 2

Young ITA Chair’s Report - 2020


Young ITA is a group of like-minded young professionals (under 40) practicing international arbitration.  Young ITA encourages its members to become more involved with the ITA and fosters a supportive and inclusive community of arbitration professionals through programs, publications, competitions, and other activities.

Young Lawyers Roundtables

Young Lawyers Roundtables are presented annually during the ITA Workshop, the ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration, and the ITA-ALARB Americas Workshop.  The past two 2020 Young Lawyers Roundtables are highlighted below, with the third roundtable scheduled for December 2, 2020, during the ITA-ALARB Americas Workshop.

8th ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration

The Young Lawyers Roundtable for the 8th ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration took place on January 23-24, 2020, in Houston.

Rafael Boza (ICC Young Arbitrators Forum (YAF), Sarens USA), Christopher Hogan (IEL Young Energy Professionals (YEP), Hogan Thompson LLP), and Robert Reyes Landicho (Young ITA, Vinson & Elkins LLP) served as roundtable co-chairs.

Panel 1 addressed the topic “A Tour Around Our ‘Troubled’ World? Recent Geopolitical Developments and Their Impact on Energy Disputes,” with the interventions of Chiann Bao (Independent Arbitrator, Former Secretary-General of HKIAC);  Dilpreet Dhanoa (Squire Patton Boggs, Dubai and Abu Dhabi);  and Teresa Garcia-Reyes (Senior Counsel, Litigation, Baker Hughes Company, Houston);  moderated by Young ITA’s Co-Chair, Christopher Hogan.

Later on, Panel 2 addressed the issue of “National Security, International Trade, and Sanctions Update - A Brave New World and How Disputes Lawyers can Cope,” with the participation of Damara Chambers (Vinson & Elkins LLP, Washington, D.C.); John E. Lash (Control Risks, Washington, D.C.); and Dr. Crina Baltag (Young ITA Vice-Chair, Stockholm University, Stockholm); and it was moderated by Rafael Boza (ICC Young Arbitrators Forum (YAF), Sarens USA).

The Young Lawyers Roundtable concluded with a well-attended reception.

32nd Annual ITA Workshop and Annual Meeting – “Ethical Challenges with Virtual Arbitral Proceedings,” June 17-19, 2020.

The Young Lawyers Roundtable held during the 2020 ITA Virtual Workshop comprised of one mock pre-hearing conference and one panel.

The Mock Pre-Hearing Conference issue was:  “Due to travel and in-person hearing restrictions at the seat of arbitration [Paris, France], an arbitration hearing under the 2017 ICC Rules of Arbitration scheduled for July 1 through 14, 2020 cannot move forward in person.”

Claimant argued that an online hearing must go forward in the interests of fairness and efficiency, citing financial pressures if an Award is not rendered expediently.

Respondent argued that there would be a grave breach of due process if the hearing moves forward, as this would deprive Respondent of the ability to meaningfully offer or present its witnesses in person (two of its four witnesses would testify in Arabic) and because two of the expert witnesses had recently suffered the loss of a close relative.

The Arbitral Tribunal then engaged in a mock deliberation and rendered a decision.

The participants of the Mock Pre-Hearing Conference were Thomas Innes (Counsel for Claimant, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, London, Young ITA Thought Leadership Chair);  Jawad Ahmad (Counsel for Respondent, Mayer Brown LLP, London); Stephanie Cohen (Tribunal Chair, Independent Arbitrator, New York); Anna-Maria Tamminen (Co-Arbitrator, Hannes Snellman, Helsinki); and Joseph Chedrawe (Co-Arbitrator, Vinson & Elkins LLP, Dubai).

Later, the Roundtable Panel Discussion addressed the topic “A Tour Around the Arbitration World - Commonalities and Divergences in a Time of Disruption.”  

A group of practitioners presented recent developments in international arbitration in their respective jurisdictions, both before the COVID-19 pandemic and after, considering how different legal systems have reacted to the disruption.

The panel was moderated by Marike R.P. Paulsson (Senior Advisor, Albright Stonebridge Group, Bahrain), and the panelists were Sylvia Samano Beristain (Secretary-General, Arbitration Center of Mexico, Mexico City - Young ITA Regional Chair for Mexico and Central America); Alexander Leventhal (Quinn Emmanuel, Paris, France – Young ITA Regional Chair for Continental Europe); Vinicius Pereira (Campos Mello Advogados in association with DLA Piper, Rio de Janeiro – Young ITA Chair for Brazil); and Sue Hyun Lim (Secretary-General, Korean Commercial Arbitration Board, KCAB INTERNATIONAL, Seoul).

YoungITA Events

#YoungITATalks is a series of local events presented around the world.  The format of each of the talks varies, ranging from workshops, interviews, panel discussions, debates, or other presentation formats that cover a wide range of subjects relating to arbitration.  The #YoungITATalks series is designed to educate, promote conversation, and share knowledge and experiences among young practitioners worldwide.  This year, the Young ITA has also hosted #YoungITA Mentorship Speaker Series events, which focused on interest issues to the Young ITA mentorship program groups (but were open to all ITA and Young ITA members).


Thus far in 2020, Young ITA has hosted 15 events (listed below) and have -at least- three more planned for the remainder of 2020.  (**Note: All Programs after March 6, 2020, were virtual programs)

1. January 16, 2020 - #YoungITATalks and CIArb YMG Paris

This event was held at Dechert LLP’s office in Paris and the topic was “The Arbitral Process from Start to Finish – Tips for a Successful Arbitration” and speakers included: Alexander Fessas (ICC Secretary General, Paris); José Manuel García Represa (Dechert LLP); Ana Gerdau de Borja (Derains & Gharavi); Ilija Mitrev Penusliski (Shearman & Sterling);  Rocío Digon (White & Case LLP); Sara Kileilat Aranjo (Senior Associate, Al Tamimi & Co.); and Alexander G. Leventhal (Young ITA Regional Co-Chair for Continental Europe, Quinn Emanuel).

2. February 6, 2020 - #YoungITATalks, Guatemala City

This event was held at Club Guatemala Centro Histórico, Guatemala City, Guatemala, and addressed the topic “A debate on the scope of the arbitration agreement in tort cases related to sports arbitration” (in Spanish).  Speakers included: Álvaro Castellanos Howell (President, CRECIG); Alejandro Cofiño (QIL+4 Abogados); Igancio Grazioso (Director, CRECIG); and Sylvia Samano Beristain (Secretary-General, Arbitration Center of Mexico, Young ITA Regional Chair for Mexico and Central America).

3. February 20, 2020 - #YoungITATalks & YAAP Joint Conference, Vienna

Held at Hotel de France in Vienna, the topic was “The promise and peril of the publication of arbitral awards.”  Speakers included:  Andreas Schregenberger, Gabriel Arbitration, Zurich; Natascha Tunkel (KNOETZL, Vienna); Ryan Manton (Three Crowns, Paris); Anna Kozmenko (Schellenberg Wittmer, Zurich);  Tamara Manasijevic (Andreas Reiner & Partners, Vienna); Klaudia Dobosz (VIAC, Vienna);  Maria Gritsenko (VEON, Amsterdam); Markus P. Beham (University of Passau, Passau); and Joseph Schwartz (Wagner Arbitration, Berlin).

4. February 27, 2020 - #YoungITATalks, Malibu

This event took place at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law in Malibu, California.  The topic was “Decoding the Restatement on International Commercial Arbitration and Investor-State Arbitration and Latest Developments Under California Law.”  Speakers included:  Neil Popovic (Sheppard Mullin; Professor, Berkeley Law); Professor Robert E. Lutz (Southwestern Law School, Los Angeles); Professor Jack J. Coe, Jr. (Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, Malibu); Cecilia Flores Rueda (Flores Rueda Abogados, Mexico City); Sarah Reynolds (Mayer Brown LLP, Palo Alto); and Marcio Vasconcellos (Musick Peeler, Los Angeles).

5. March 4, 2020 - Presented by Young ITA - Tel-Aviv Young Arbitration Practitioners’ Symposium

Held at Meitar Law Firm, the topic was “Procedural trends in international arbitration and energy sector arbitration” and speakers included:  Dr. Claudia Annacker (Dechert, Paris); Baruch Baigel (Asserson); Gidon Even-Or (AYR); Ayelet Hochman (White & Case); Nir Kiedar (Gornitzky & Co); Alexander Leventhal (Young ITA Regional Chair - Continental Europe, Quinn Emmanuel); Ben Love (ITA Communications Co-Chair, Reed Smith); Andrea Manaker (White & Case); Asaf Niemoj (Meitar Law Firm); Kirtan Prasad (RPC); and Elad Shaul (General Legal Counsel at M+W Israel Ltd.).

6. March 5, 2020 - #YoungITATalks, Geneva

Co-hosted with ASA Below 40, the topic of this event was “The Future of Intelligence in International Arbitration – Artificial Intelligence & Arbitrator Intelligence.”  The Speakers included:  Niuscha Bassiri (Hanotiau & van den Berg, Brussels); Catherine Anne Kunz (ASA Below 40 Co-Chair, Lalive); Alexander G. Leventhal (Young ITA Regional Co-Chair for Continental Europe, Quinn Emanuel); Sara Nadeau-Seguin (Teynier Pic, Paris);  Flavio Peter (Wenger & Wieli, Zurich); Philippe Pinsolle (Quinn Emanuel, Geneva); Nhu Hoang Tran Thang (Peter and Kim, Geneva); and Philip Wimalasena (Schellenberg Wittmer, Zurich).

7. April 23, 2020 - #YoungITATalks, Central America

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event (and the ones that follow) was held via Zoom.  The topic was “Is arbitration a mechanism that favors trade relations and investment in the region?” (in Spanish) and speakers included:  Sylvia Samano Beristain (Secretary-General, Arbitration Center of Mexico; Young ITA Chair, Mexico and Central America); Emilio Ruiz (Central Law, Honduras); Christian Betancourt (Consortium Legal, Honduras); David García Hellebuyck (GH Abogados, El Salvador); Francisco Zuluaga (Arias Law, Guatemala); and Sebastián Ayala (ECIJA, Costa Rica).

8. May 29, 2020 - #YoungITA Mentorship Program Speaker Series

The event addressed the issue of “The Elastic Corporate Form in Investment Arbitration” and speakers included:  Karima Sauma (Young ITA Mentorship Chair, CICA-AmCham, Costa Rica); Professor Julian Arato (Brooklyn Law School, NY); and Edi Grgeta (Compass Lexecon, Chicago).

9. June 25, 2020 - #YoungITATalks, Europe, Central and South America

The topic for this panel was “Construction Arbitration – practical perspectives of the arbitrator, the litigant and the client” (in Spanish) and the speakers were:  Andrés Talavera (Young ITA South America (Spanish-Speaking Countries) Chair); Javier Íscar (Asociación Europea de Arbitraje); Sylvia Samano Beristain (Secretary General, Arbitration Center of Mexico; Young ITA Chair, Mexico and Central America); Alfredo Bullard (Bullard, Falla & Ezcurra Abogados); Eduardo Siqueiros (Arb-Inter); Victoria Viñes (Maire Tecnimont SpA Milán); Ximena Herrera (Shearman & Sterling); and Rocío Digon (White & Case).

10. July 23, 2020 - #YoungITATalks, Portugal, Brazil, and Europe

This event’s topic was “A Chat on the Brave New World of Arbitration” (in Portuguese) and the speakers included:  Vinicius Pereira (Campos Mello Advogados, Young ITA Regional Chair, Brazil); Pedro Batista Martins (Batista Martins Advogados); Alexander G. Leventhal (Quinn Emanuel, Young ITA Regional Chair, Continental Europe); Mariana Marra (Leste Litigation Finance); Sofia Ribeiro Mendes (DLA Piper); André Luis Monteiro (Quinn Emanuel); Ana Gerdau de Borja (Derains & Gharavi); and Ana Serra e Moura (Deputy Secretary General, ICC).

11. August 10, 2020 - #YoungITA Mentorship Program Speaker Series

Addressing a current pressing issue, this panel’s topic was “COVID-19 as an Excuse Not to Perform International Contracts.”  Speakers included:  Karima Sauma (Young ITA Mentorship Program Chair, CICA-AmCham, Costa Rica); Alejandro M. Garro (Adjunct Professor of Law, Columbia University); and Michael A. Fernández (Winston & Strawn, New York).

12. August 31, 2020 - #YoungITATalks, Brazil – (in Portuguese)

Hosted by Silveiro Advogados, the topic addressed the issue of the “Effects of Judicial Recovery on the Arbitration Agreement and Arbitral Proceedings.”  Speakers included:  Vinicius Pereira (Campos Mello Advogados and Young ITA Regional Chair, Brazil); Ricardo Ranzolin (Silveiro Advogados); Giovana Benetti (Judith Martins-Costa Advogados); Guilherme Queirolo Feijó (Silveiro Advogados); and Luis Renato Ferreira (TozziniFreire Advogados).

13. September 3, 2020 - #YoungITATalks, Global (Mentorship Program)

This event was co-sponsored by Centro de Arbitraje de México and FloresRueda Abogados.  The topic was “Tips for Home Office / Working from Home” and the panelists were Karima Sauma (Young ITA Mentorship Program Chair, CICA-AmCham, Costa Rica); Cecilia Flores Rueda (FloresRueda Abogados); Sylvia Samano Beristain (Secretary General, Arbitration Center of Mexico; Young ITA Chair, Mexico and Central America); María Lilian Franco (Aguilar Castillo Love, Guatemala City, Guatemala);  Rania Naber (IB Law, Amman, Jordan) (not pictured); José Abel Quezada (Del Castillo y Castro Abogados, Monterrey, Mexico); Mariana Rentería Díaz Barriga (Wöss & Partners, Mexico City, Mexico) (not pictured); and Inaê Siqueira de Oliveira (Ernesto Tzirulnik Advocacia, Porto Alegre, Brazil) (not pictured).

14. September 15, 2020 - #YoungITATalks, Brazil

This event addressed the following topic:  “International Arbitration: How to Choose Your Seat” (in Portuguese and English).  Speakers included:  Vinicius Pereira (Campos Mello Advogados and Young ITA Regional Chair, Brazil); Bruno Baptista (President of the Brazilian Bar Association - Pernambuco Section); Mario Guimarães (President of the Escola Superior da Advocacia - ESA / PE); João Lessa (Secretary General of the CIESP/FIESP Chamber) (not pictured); Crina Baltag (Senior Lecturer at Stockholm University, Young ITA Vice Chair); João Ilhão Moreira (Assistant Professor at the University of Macau) (not pictured); and Clávio Valença (Doctor from the University of São Paulo. Lawyer and arbitrator) (not pictured).

15. October 13, 2020 - #YoungITATalks, Africa, Mexico, and Central America

This event, co-organized by the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators and Arbitration Center of Mexico, addressed the topic “Challenges of Arbitration in the Developing World,” and speakers included:  Demilade Elemo (Young ITA Regional Chair for Africa); Sylvia Samano Beristain (Secretary General, Arbitration Center of Mexico; Young ITA Chair, Mexico and Central America); Julieta Ovalle Piedra (Ovalle Favela Abogados, México); Vicente Bañuelos (Garza Tello- Clyde & Co., México) (not pictured); Mauricio París (ECIJA-Costa Rica); Alexander Aizenstatd (Alexander Aizenstatd, Guatemala); Fidéle Masengo (General Secretary, Kigali International Arbitration Centre, Rwanda); Madeline Kimei (Founder, iReolve, Tanzania); Tokunbo Davies (Pinheiro LP, Nigeria); and Folashade Alli (FAA law, Nigeria).

Young ITA’s 2020 Winner of the Young ITA Writing Competition Award


Young ITA is pleased to announce the 2020 Young ITA Writing Award winner, Dan-Vlad Druta (LLM, Harvard Law School).  Dan-Vlad’s paper, “Host State Ratification of Illegal Conduct,” is published in the ITA journal ITA in Review.

 The annual award, “New Voices in International Arbitration,” recognizes research in the field of international arbitration by young practitioners, academics and, students.

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About the Contributor
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Senior Associate

Robert Reyes Landicho is an attorney in Vinson & Elkins LLP’s Houston office. He focuses on international commercial arbitration, investor-state arbitration, and U.S. commercial litigation.

Rob has represented clients or assisted in investor-State disputes at ICSID and under the UNCITRAL rules, as well as in ICC, ICDR, AAA, DIFC, BCDR, LCIA, and ad hoc commercial arbitrations. In U.S. courts, Rob has experience with the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, act of state doctrine, admiralty, and maritime disputes, and questions of jurisdiction over non-U.S. domiciled parties. Rob has particular experience in oil and gas, construction and infrastructure, banking, manufacturing, real estate, franchising, and intellectual property international disputes involving Middle Eastern, European, and North, Central, and South American parties. Rob also provides counseling on foreign investment planning and the drafting of dispute resolution clauses and procedures in foreign and domestic agreements. Rob is also the current Chair of Young ITA, the young arbitration practitioner branch of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration. He is admitted in Texas and has full rights of audience before the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts (Part I & II).