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Mélida Hodgson is a Chambers ranked recognized investor-state and commercial arbitration practitioner and arbitrator. Mélida is president-elect of the American Society of International Law.

With three decades of experience practicing at the intersection of international arbitration and sovereign obligations, she represents clients operating worldwide across the range of arbitration fora, including the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), The Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), America Arbitration Association (AAA/ICR), and under the rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

She is particularly respected as an arbitration expert in Latin America—and is consistently rated as one of the top lawyers for the region—where she has handled matters for sovereign clients Venezuela, Panama, and Peru. Her areas of expertise are infrastructure, construction, mining, transportation, energy, and business combustion disputes.

Mélida is also a vice chair of the ICC Institute of World Business Law and serves on the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR and its Task Force on Corruption in Arbitration, as well as on the Council of the AAA/ICDR. She is a founding member of the Washington Women in International Arbitration.

Earlier in her legal career, Mélida was a U.S. government litigator at the U.S. Department of Justice, where she litigated claims brought by bank shareholders against the United States, and an associate general counsel at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, where she litigated international trade disputes before the WTO and provided counsel in NAFTA Chapter 11 investor-state arbitrations involving the United States, Canada and Mexico. Before entering the legal profession, she was a banker at Chemical Bank (now JP Morgan Chase).

Mélida is active in the profession beyond her immediate practice, frequently speaking at conferences and writing articles on international investment and commercial arbitration and international law, issues, as well as serving in leadership roles of related organizations.

Experience

  • Panama in arbitrations relating to the Panama Canal expansion, including an UNCITRAL treaty arbitration initiated by Spain-based Sacyr SA and an ICSID arbitration initiated by Italy-based Webuild SpA.
  • Peru in an oil and gas dispute (Worth Capital).
  • Peru in a mining dispute (Kaloti).
  • Confidential commercial arbitration related to a cross border constructional dispute.
  • Peru in a multimillion dollar ICSID contract arbitration regarding the construction of a Lima subway line (Metro de Lima Línea 2).
  • Sierra Leone in ICSID and ICC disputes initiated by a United Kingdom mining company over alleged mining rights (Gerald Mining and SL Mining).
  • Metropolitan Municipality of Lima in several commercial arbitrations in several fora related to toll road concession disputes.
  • Venezuela in an ICSID (Additional Facility) investor-state arbitration brought under a bilateral investment treaty, related to export taxes and the termination of a concession contract (Anglo-American PLC).
  • Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration brought by European subsidiaries of an Argentine conglomerate under Luxembourgian and Portuguese bilateral investment treaties, related to the steel industry (Tenaris II).
  • Venezuela in an ICSID (Additional Facility) investor-state arbitration brought by a Canadian company under a bilateral investment treaty, related to a concession contract (Crystallex).
  • Venezuela in an ICSID (Additional Facility) investor-state arbitration brought by a Canadian gold mining company under a bilateral investment treaty (Gold Reserve).
  • Venezuela in an annulment proceeding initiated in France, and enforcement proceedings in Luxembourg and United States (Gold Reserve).
  • Venezuela state-owned entity (SOE) in an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration brought by a German company, related to a submarine maintenance and repair contract.
  • Venezuela in an ICSID (Additional Facility) investor-state arbitration related to gold mining and foreign exchange regulations (Rusoro).
  • Venezuela in an ICSID (Additional Facility) investor-state arbitration brought by a Canadian company under a bilateral investment treaty, related to a concession contract (Nova Scotia Power II).
  • Venezuela in an ICSID (Additional Facility) investor-State arbitration brought by a Canadian company under a bilateral investment treaty, related to a joint venture and a mining concession contract (Vannessa Ventures).
  • Venezuela SOE in an ICC arbitration concerning oil exploitation contracts (settled favorably).
  • Venezuela in an UNCITRAL investor-state arbitration brought by a Canadian company under a bilateral investment treaty, related to a hydrocarbon sales contract (Nova Scotia Power I).
  • Venezuela in an ICSID (Additional Facility) investor-state arbitration brought by a Canadian company under a bilateral investment treaty, related to a joint venture and a mining concession contract (Vannessa Ventures).
  • Venezuela SOE in an ICC arbitration concerning oil exploitation contracts (settled favorably).
  • Latin American SOE in an ad-hoc arbitration brought by a Canadian company under a bilateral investment treaty, related to a hydrocarbon sales contract.
  • Asian trade association with respect to claims under various WTO agreements
  • Eastern European State on WTO dispute settlement procedures.
  • Southeast Asian country on U.S. bilateral investment treaty policy.
  • United States in successful defense of a NAFTA Chapter 11 investment arbitration brought by a Canadian company, related to California environmental regulations (Methanex).
  • United States in successful defense of a NAFTA Chapter 11 investment arbitration brought by a Canadian company, related to U.S. judicial actions (Loewen).
  • United States in successful defense of a NAFTA Chapter 11 investment arbitration brought by a Canadian company, related to U.S. Buy American laws and a transportation project (ADF).
  • United States in successful defense of a WTO arbitration brought by India, related to rules of origin on textile and apparel products.
  • United States in successful defense of a WTO arbitration brought by the European Union, related to intellectual property rights.
  • United States in a WTO arbitration brought by the European Union, related to port taxes (matter settled).
  • United States in initiation of a WTO arbitration, related to the Antidumping Agreement.
  • United States in initiation of a WTO arbitration related to customs regulation (settled favorably).
  • United States in ad hoc arbitrations under the 1996 Softwood Lumber Agreement.

Recognition

Chambers Global
International Arbitration — Latin American (2023-2024)
International Arbitration — USA (2024)
Who's Who Legal
Thought Leaders — Arbitration – USA (2024)
Thought Leaders — Arbitration (2023)
Arbitration (2023)
Chambers Latin America
International Arbitration (International Counsel) (2023-2024)
More

Credentials

Education

  • J.D., New York University School of Law, 1992
  • B.A., Vassar College, 1985

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • New York
  • U.S. District Courts for Southern and Western Districts of New York
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Court of International Trade

Government & Military Service

  • Associate General Counsel, Office of the United States Trade Representative (1998–2005)

  • Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice (1996–1998)

Activities

  • President-elect, American Society of International Law.
  • Vice Chair of the Council (elected), International Chamber of Commerce Institute of World Business Law

  • Member, ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR

  • Board Member (elected), American Arbitration Association/International Centre for Dispute Resolution

  • Member, American Bar Association Section of International Law, Latin America and Caribbean Council (2019–2021); former chair, Finance Division

  • Member of the Indicative List of Panelists of the World Trade Organization (WTO) (2006-2012)
  • Appointed to the Indicative Panelist Roster and selected as an Arbitrator in disputes under Chapter 19 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (2007-2021)
  • Executive Council Member (elected), American Society of International Law and member of BASIL Task Force

  • Founding Member, D.C. Women in International Arbitration

  • Member, Hispanic Bar Association of the United States

  • Adjunct Professor/Former Instructor, Washington College of Law of the American University (2009–2010)

  • Trustee, Moravian Ministries Foundation in America (2014–2021)

Languages

  • Spanish
  • English
Overview