Judd L. Kessler - Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP

Judd L. Kessler

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2012
Phone: 202-778-3080

Judd Kessler is Counsel to the Firm of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP in Washington D.C. and past-chair of the firms' International Business Practice Group.  In addition to his notable success as an international arbitrator (in both commercial and investment cases), he serves clients in international business transactions, international project financing and government contracting. His career also includes experience as a senior official of the U.S. Agency for International Development, which has allowed him, inter alia, to study and participate in sensitive inter-governmental negotiations.  Mr. Kessler's clients have included major manufacturers of electric power generation equipment; companies that designed and constructed complex highway projects, water and sewage treatment plants and hydropower facilities; as well as non-profit organizations dedicated to international development and basic human needs. This varied experience has provided considerable depth of insight both as to big-picture policy issues and crucial details of business investment and other contractual arrangements. Mr. Kessler has served, during more than 30 years, in more than 50 commercial and international investment arbitration cases brought pursuant to the rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA/ICDR), ICSID, UNCITRAL and other institutions.  He also serves as valued advisor for the Porter Wright litigation/arbitration team representing major clients in international arbitration cases.  Mr. Kessler is fluent in Spanish and has successfully conducted the arbitration proceedings in Spanish in several large disputes between foreign investors and sovereign governments. Illustrative (publicly available) recent cases in which Mr. Kessler has served or is presently serving include: ·Tenaris S.A. and Talta Trading e Marketing Sociedade Unipessoal LDA v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (with J. Beechey, Pres. and T. Landau) ICSID; National Grid v. Republic of  Argentina (with A. Rigo, Pres. and Prof. A Garro) UNCITRAL Rules; Repsol S.A. v. Petroecuador (Tribunal Pres. with Prof. P. Bernardini and G. Biggs ) ICSID Ad Hoc Committee; · Tza Yap Shum v. Republic of Perú (Tribunal Pres. with J. Fernandez-Armesto, H. Otero) ICSID; ·NEWCO Inc. v. Republic of Belize (with Prof. M. Hunter, Pres. and Prof. A. Fiadjoe) UNCITRAL Rules; Marion & Reinhard Unglaube v. Republic of Costa Rica (Tribunal Pres. with Prof. B. Cremades and Sir F. Berman) ICSID. ·  He has also served as tribunal president or sole arbitrator in cases involving transactions in the Middle East, Africa, and Canada as well as the United States.  Subject to established rules of ethics and privacy restrictions, descriptive information regarding additional commercial and investment arbitration experience will be provided upon request. Mr. Kessler served for 10 years as president of the Inter-American Bar Foundation, a foundation dedicated to enhancing the rule of law and expanding the use of arbitration in countries of the Western Hemisphere. He is a member of the American Arbitration Association's Panel of Commercial and International Arbitrators, the London Court of International Arbitration, and the International Chamber of Commerce's (ICC) United States Arbitration Committee.  He has been recognized as a leading international arbitrator by Chambers USA (Band One), Best Lawyers in America (International Arbitration), Euromoney Global Expert Guide: Commercial Arbitrators (2013), Who's Who Legal 2013 (Commercial Arbitration)as well as Super Lawyers.  He received his law degree from the Harvard Law School and his B.A. degree (Phi Beta Kappa) from Oberlin College.  

Honors and Awards                 Recipient of the William Roy Vallance Award, 2009        Inter-American Jurisprudence Prize, Inter-American Bar Association, 2004        International Lawyer of the Year (Norberg Award), Inter-American Bar Association, 2002        U.S. President, “E” Award (Excellence in Export Service), Export Legal Assistance Network, 1997

      Author, "Proof of Damages in International Arbitration: A Crucial But Not Very Glamorous Aspect of the Process," Arbitration: Journal of Commercial and Investment Arbitration published by the Center for International Arbitration, Mediation and Negotiation of law school of the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, 2011.  Author, Chapter 34, "A United States Exporters' Guide to Foreign Laws Applicable to Use of Representatives and Distributors," from International Contract Manual Click here to read chapter.        Author, “Foreign Laws Applicable to the Use of Representatives and Distributors,” Chapter 31, International Contract Manual, Kluwer Law International, 1998        Author, “Political Risk in Latin America: How to Protect Investments in Power and Other Infrastructure Projects,” Latin American Law and Business Report, June 1994        Author, “Foreign Sales Agents and Distributors, Export Trading Companies, Foreign Corrupt Practices and Other Considerations in Connection with International Trade,” 4 International Quarterly Number 2, April 1992        Editor and contributing author, Legal Aspects of Exporting: An Introduction, Federal Bar Association, 1984       

Oberlin CollegeAB 1960Harvard Law SchoolLL.B 1963
Inter-American Bar Foundation

Case History

National Grid Inc. v. Republic of Argentina — Arbitrator appointed in UNCITRAL arbitration (administered by ICSID) by counsel for Claimant, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; served through final award
Tenaris S.A. and Talta Trading and Marketing LDA vs. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela — Arbitrator appointed by counsel for Claimant in arbitration brought before ICSID; served through final award, with particular involvement in calculation of damages;  Claim was in excess of $500 million.  After analysis of numerous and complex legal and compensation issues, Tribunal awarded approximately $172 million.
Tza Yap Shum v. Republic of Peru — Served as Tribunal President in this ICSID case involving claim of Chinese national residing in Hong Kong against the government of Peru.  Case involved extensive hearings on both jurisdiction and the merits.  Award survived Respondent's Request for Annulment.
RWE Innogy et. al. v. Kingdom of Spain — Serving as arbitrator appointed by counsel for claimants, Allen & Overy in arbitration brought at ICSID under the Energy Charter Treaty
ICC Arbitration - Argentine company v. Major European Electric Utility — Served as arbitrator appointed by Skadden, counsel for Claimant, an Argentine conglomerate which had purchased from the Respondent a regional electric transmission and distribution system in Argentina after the 2002 crisis.  Claimant sought a declaratory decision determining the legal rights to an ICSID claim potentially worth approximately $600 million against the Government of the Republic of Argentina.

Office Location

1900 K Street, NW, Suite 1110
Washington, DC 20006
United States

Practice Areas

International Arbitration - Governmental

Other Information

Gender: Male