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Issue 2

Young ITA Chair’s Report 2019


Young ITA promotes the involvement of young professionals (under 40) in the international arbitration community through programs, publications, competitions, and other activities. In addition, Young ITA encourages young professionals to become more involved with the ITA as a whole.

During the first half of 2019, Young ITA has built upon its exponential growth, and now has 1465 members on six continents. But perhaps most importantly, Young ITA has cemented its role as a premier young arbitration group with a truly global footprint, with a mission to enhance and cultivate understanding of international arbitration.

Young Lawyers Roundtables

Young Lawyers Roundtables are presented annually during the ITA Workshop in Dallas, and the ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration in Houston. A review of the 2019 Young Lawyers Roundtables is below.

6th ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration

The Young Lawyers Roundtable for the 6th ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration was held on January 24-25, 2019, in Houston. Co-Chairs Elizabeth McKee Devaney (Young ITA Immediate Past Vice Chair, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Houston), Floriane Lavaud, (ICC Young Arbitrators Forum (YAF)), Debevoise & Plimpton, New York) and Krystal Pfluger Scott (IEL Young Energy Professionals (YEP)), Jones Walker, Houston) put together a fantastic program.

Photo: ITA-IEL-ICC Young Lawyers Roundtable 2019 - Panel 1 - Spotlight on Russia: Energy-Related Disputes” with Laura Hardin, Tomas Vail, and Thomas Voisin, moderated by Co-Chair Floriane Lavaud.

The Faculty on the first panel, entitled “Spotlight on Russia:  Energy-Related Disputes” included Laura Hardin (Managing Director, Alvarez & Marsal, Houston), Tomas Vail (Vail Dispute Resolution, formerly of White & Case, London), and Thomas Voisin (Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, Paris), moderated by Co-Chair Floriane Lavaud, (Debevoise & Plimpton, New York).

Photo: ITA-IEL-ICC Young Lawyers Roundtable Panel 2 - “Technology and International Arbitration: Evidentiary Issues and Technology in International Disputes,” with Thomas Stouten, Stephanie Cohen, and Elizabeth McKee Devaney.

The Faculty on the second panel, entitled “Technology and International Arbitration:  Evidentiary Issues and Technology in International Disputes” included Thomas Stouten (Houthoff, Amsterdam), Stephanie Cohen (Independent Arbitrator, New York), and Elizabeth McKee Devaney (Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Houston).

Photo: Reception

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

30th Annual ITA Workshop and Annual Meeting

The Roundtable comprised two panels: “A Tour Around the Arbitration World” and “Change of Circumstances – A Historical Perspective.”

Photo: Young ITA Dallas Roundtable Panel 1 - “A Tour Around the Arbitration World” with Demilade Isioma Elemo, Aditya Singh, Saadia Bhatty, Cristina Ferraro Delgado, and Soledad O’Donnell.

The speakers on the first panel were: Demilade Isioma Elemo (Young ITA Regional Chair, for Africa, Folashade Alli, Lagos), Aditya Singh (Immediate Past Chair - Young ITA Regional Chair for Asia, White & Case, Singapore), Saadia Bhatty (Gide, London), and Cristina Ferraro Delgado (Miranda & Amado, Lima). Soledad O’Donnell (Young ITA Regional Chair for North America) moderated the panel.

Photo: Young ITA Dallas Roundtable – Panel 2 - Change of Circumstances – A Historical Perspective” Florencia Villaggi, Laura Sinisterra, and Miguel Nakhle. Moderated by Silvia Marchili.

The Second panel included Florencia Villaggi (Herbert Smith Freehills, New York), Laura Sinisterra (Immediate Past Chair - Young ITA Mentorship Chair, Debevoise & Plimpton, New York), and Miguel Nakhle (Compass Lexecon, Houston). The panel was moderated by Silvia Marchili (Immediate Past Chair – Young ITA, White & Case, Miami).


#YoungITATalks is a series of local events presented around the world. The format of each of the talks vary, 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, to promote conversation, and to share knowledge and experiences among young practitioners throughout the world.

During the first half of 2019, Young ITA hosted three #YoungITATalks in four different cities (and webcast its first #YoungITATalks event via webinar this past July).

#YoungITATalks, Mexico City

Greenberg Traurig hosted #YoungITATalks, Mexico City which took place on February 7, 2019. Nicole Y. Silver (Greenberg Traurig LLP, Washington D.C.) gave opening remarks.

Photo: #YoungITATalks, Mexico City, Panel 1 – “The Trajectory of International Arbitration in Latin America” with Kabir Duggal, Dra. Blanca Gómez de la Torre, Fernando Navarro Sánchez and Imad Khan. Moderated by Karima Sauma.

The first panel was entitled “The Trajectory of International Arbitration in Latin America” included: Karima Sauma (Current Young ITA Mentorship Chair; Immediate Past Regional Chair for México and Central America, Executive Director of CICA-AmCham Costa Rica) as moderator, with Dra. Blanca Gómez de la Torre (González, Peñaherrera & Asociados, Quito), Kabir Duggal (Arnold & Porter, New York), Fernando Navarro Sánchez (Mediator and Practice Manager Latam, JAMS), and Imad Khan (Hogan Lovells, Houston) as panelists.

Photo: Panel 2 – “Who are the winners and who are the losers?” with Patrick Pearsall, Víctor Manuel Frías Garcés, Kate Brown de Vejar, Hugo Gabriel Romero. Moderated by Montserrat Manzano.

The second panel was entitled “Arbitration Trends in the Americas: Who are the winners and who are the losers?” The panel was moderated by Monteserrat Manzano (Former Young ITA Chair, Von Wobeser y Sierra, Mexico City), with panelists Patrick Pearsall (Jenner & Block LLP, Washington, D.C.), Victor Manuel Frías Garcés (Greenberg Traurig, México), Kate Brown de Vejar (DLA Piper, México), Hugo Gabriel Romero (Subsecretaría de Comercio Exterior, México).

#YoungITATalks, São Paulo

On March 22, 2019, #YoungITATalks São Paulo took place, and was a joint presentation by Young ITA, Câmara de Conciliação, Mediação e Arbitragem CIESP/FIESP and TozziniFreire Advogados.

Photo: Panel 1- Merits. With Francisco Marino, Renata Steiner, Laura Ghitti, and Guilherme Nitschke.

It coincided with the 4th edition of the VIS TozziniFreire Pré-Moot Arguments, and was targeted to participants in the moot, coaches, arbitration practitioners, and students of all levels.

Photo: Panel 2- Jurisdiction. With Mariana Craveiro, Lucas Mejias, André Marini and Debora Visconte.

The Faculty included Pedro Guilhardi (Immediate Past Regional Chair for Brazil, Nanni Advogados, São Paulo), Pedro Bento de Faria (TozziniFreire Advogados, São Paulo), Luis Peretti (Secretary General of Câmara de Conciliação, Mediação e Arbitragem CIESP/FIESP, São Paulo), Guilherme Carneiro Monteiro Nitschke (TozziniFreire Advogados, Porto Alegre), Francisco Paulo De Crescenzo Marino (Castro Neves, Daltro & Gomide Advogados, São Paulo), Renata C. Steiner (Cristiano Zanetti Advogados, São Paulo), Laura Ghitti (Huck Otranto Camargo Advogados, São Paulo), Debora Visconte (Visconte Advogados, São Paulo), Mariana Conti Craveiro (ContiCraveiro Advogados, São Paulo), Lucas Mejias (TozziniFreire Advogados, São Paulo), and André Marini (Shearman & Sterling, New York).

#YoungITATalks, Monterrey, Mexico and San Jose, Costa Rica and Webinar

On July 19, 2019, #YoungITATalks broadcast a webinar from two locations: Monterrey, Mexico and San Jose, Costa Rica. Others joined remotely via webinar, in our first live broadcast!

The first panel was entitled “Recognition and Enforcement of Awards,” and was moderated by Karima Sauma (Current Young ITA Mentorship Chair; Immediate Past Regional Chair for México and Central America, Executive Director of CICA-AmCham Costa Rica). The panelists included Alvaro Castellanos (Consortium Legal, Guatemala), Rodrigo Sánchez (Hogan Lovells, Monterrey, Mexico), Róger Guevara (Batalla Salto Luna, Costa Rica), and Humberto Sáenz (Saénz & Asociados, El Salvador).

Photo: Panel 2 at #YoungITATalks, Monterrey, Mexico and San Jose, Costa Rica and Webinar.

The second panel was entitled “Arbitration Trends in the Region: Annulment of Award.” The panel was moderated by Sylvia Sámano (Young ITA Regional Chair for Mexico and Central America, Centro de Arbitraje de México), and the panelists included Carlos Leal Isla (Leal Isla & Horváth, S.C., Monterrey, México), Arlen Obando (Legal Solutions, Nicaragua), Roberto Williams (ECIJA, Honduras), and Christian Díaz (García & Bodán, Costa Rica).

Young ITA Mentorship Program

The inaugural cycle of the Young ITA Mentorship Program has just concluded. During the Program, Young ITA paired successful applicants with a senior Mentor and a “Mentorship Facilitator”—an accomplished arbitration practitioner who can assist Mentees in their activities and serve as a liaison between Mentors and Mentees. Mentors, Facilitators, and Mentees then hold quarterly meetings, attend workshops and conferences together, discuss career development, explore opportunities for collaboration, and much more.

Photo: Mentorship Meet-Up in New York with Dietmar Prager, Maria Slobodchikova, Camille Ramos-Klee, Ana Martínez Valls, and Hiroko Yamamoto.

Photo: Panel featuring mentor Dr. Crina Baltag, Samuel Pape, Bogdan-Florin Nae, Ylli Dautaj, Alexandru Stanescu, and Flavia Marisi Strada Fonte.

The 2019-2020 Young ITA Mentorship Program is already underway, featuring mentors Anibal Sabater (Chaffetz Lindsey, New York), Barton Legum (Dentons, Paris), Alejandro Ogarrio Ramirez, Ogarrio Daguerre, S.C., Mexico City), Nour Hineidi (DIFC Courts, Dubai), Noradèle Radjai (Lalive, Geneva), Alejandro Escobar (Baker Botts, London), Sana Belaid (Cisco, Dubai), Sabina Sacco (Levy Kaufmann-Kohler, Geneva), Thomas Snider (Al Tamimi & Company, Dubai), Silvia Marchili (White & Case, Miami), Ben Bruton (Winston & Strawn LLP, London/Dubai), Cecilia Flores (Flores Rueda, Mexico City), Amir Ghaffari (Vinson & Elkins LLP, Dubai), Kabir Duggal (Arnold & Porter, New York), Stephen Burke (Baker Botts, Dubai), Edi Grgeta (Analysis Group, Chicago), Alain Farhad (Mayer Brown, Dubai), Dietmar Prager (Debevoise & Plimpton, New York), and Amani Khalifa (Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Dubai).

Young ITA Writing Competition and Award

After a successful inaugural Young ITA Writing Competition, we are excited for this year’s competition. The general topic for the 2019-2020 Competition and Award is: “Transparency in International Arbitration – Desired or Necessary?,” although submissions on any other topic in the field of international commercial or investment arbitration are welcome. Submissions are due January 15, 2020.

The two panels of judges include:

In the First Panel: Robert Landicho (Vinson & Elkins LLP, Young ITA Chair); Dr. Crina Baltag (University of Bedfordshire, Young ITA Vice-Chair); Thomas Innes (Steptoe & Johnson UK LLP, Young ITA Thought Leadership Chair); Catherine Bratic (Hogan Lovells LLP, Young ITA Communications Chair); and Karima Sauma (CICA-AmCham Costa Rica and ULACIT University, Young ITA Mentorship Program Chair).

In the Second Panel: Prof. Donald Earl Childress III (Pepperdine University School of Law); Prof. Giuditta Cordero-Moss (University of Oslo, Department of Private Law); Dr. Dietmar W. Prager (Debevoise & Plimpton LLP).

Looking Ahead

#YoungITATalks is making its first appearance in Hong Kong with a joint social event with the young arbitration group “HK45,” sponsored by Debevoise & Plimpton, on September 26, 2019.

Events in are in the works for a #YoungITATalks, Amsterdam, #YoungITATalks, Brisbane (Australia), #YoungITATalks, London, #YoungITATalks, Medellin, #YoungITATalks, Malibu, #YoungITATalks, Serbia, and #YoungITATalks, Edinburgh, among many other locations.  Please visit the Young ITA Website for the latest news and events.

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About the Contributor
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Robert Reyes Landicho is Senior Associate in Vinson & Elkins LLP’s Houston office. He focuses in 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 US courts, Rob has experience with the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, act of state doctrine, admiralty and maritime disputes, and questions of jurisdiction over non-US domiciled parties.  Rob has particular experience in oil and gas, construction and infrastructure, banking, manufacturing, real estate, franchising, and intellectual property 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.  He is admitted in Texas and has full rights of audience before the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts (Part I & II).  Prior to practicing law, Rob worked for the International Organization for Migration–Iraq Mission (a UN-affiliate organization), managing community assistance programs and development projects in Iraq. Rob was also a Fulbright Scholar in Amman, Jordan where he studied Arabic and researched foreign assistance projects in the Middle East.