Jenner & Block

US Chief of Investment Arbitration Joins Jenner & Block and Chairs New Public International Law Practice

WASHINGTON, DC – May 23, 2017 – Jenner & Block announced today that Patrick W. Pearsall, former Chief of Investment Arbitration with the US Department of State, will join the firm as a partner in its Washington, DC office, effective June 22. Mr. Pearsall will serve as chair of the firm’s newly formed Public International Law Practice. He will also be a member of both the International Arbitration and the Government Controversies and Public Policy Litigation Practices.

“Patrick has significant insight into the interplay of governments and global commerce, and his cross-border experience adds additional capabilities for our clients with international interests,” said Terrence J. Truax, Jenner & Block’s managing partner. “His addition, along with those of several other high-ranking government officials in recent months as well as new partner Jason Yardley in London, builds on our ability to offer cutting-edge, world-class legal representation.”

The Public International Law Practice focuses on international disputes, treaty interpretation, and global investment protection and represents clients in the negotiation, enforcement, and implementation of international agreements. The practice group adds to the capabilities of the firm’s renowned litigation, international arbitration and public policy services for clients in a wide array of industries.

While at the State Department, Mr. Pearsall led a team of lawyers who represented the US in investor-state and state-to-state disputes. His team successfully defended a $15 billion North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Chapter 11 claim brought by TransCanada in connection with the Keystone XL Pipeline. Mr. Pearsall successfully defended the US in a NAFTA Chapter 11 claim brought by Canadian pharmaceutical company Apotex and in a state-to-state case brought by Ecuador under the US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty. He also oversaw several important submissions on behalf of the US that clarified key treaty obligations, perhaps most notably in the groundbreaking Eli Lily v. Canada NAFTA Chapter 11 dispute. 

Mr. Pearsall was the lead lawyer for the United States on several significant cross-border infrastructure project permitting reviews, including the Keystone XL Pipeline.  He participated in the negotiation for the US of several major trade and investment agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Mauritius Convention and the bi-lateral investment treaty with China. He also served as the lead negotiator on several multilateral treaties relating to ocean and fisheries issues.

“We are thrilled to have Patrick on board, as he will enhance our capacity in the important investor-state sphere of international arbitrations.  In his eight years at the State Department he took a leadership role in many high-stakes public international law arbitrations, projects and agreements and is deeply familiar with the process and the players on a global basis,” said New York Partner Richard F. Ziegler, co-chair of the firm’s International Arbitration Practice.

Charlie Lightfoot, International Arbitration Practice co-chair and London office managing partner, added, “Patrick brings a sought-after dimension to the sophisticated representation we already offer clients in their cross-border matters. He has negotiated the treaties that currently govern some international arbitrations.  In addition to his role in investor-state disputes, Patrick will also be a key player in our international commercial arbitration practice.”

“Jenner & Block’s reputation in international arbitration and public policy, along with its values of professional excellence and public service, make it an ideal firm for me to further develop my practice,” said Mr. Pearsall. “I am excited for this new chapter in my career and I look forward to working with the firm’s highly regarded lawyers across practices.”

The Global Arbitration Review/Who’s Who Legal identified Mr. Pearsall as a “Future Leader (Under 45)” earlier this year.  He served as the US delegate to the International Court of Arbitration’s (ICC) Task Force on Arbitration with States or State-Owned Entities and served on its Special Drafting Committee for revisions of the 2012 ICC Rules. He is a steering committee member of the International Bar Association’s Sub-Committee on Investor State Arbitration.  Mr. Pearsall also has published articles and papers on both commercial and investor-state arbitration, and is a frequent speaker at conferences on cross-border dispute resolution and international investment issues.  Mr. Pearsall is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center on public international law dispute resolution and investment arbitration; he has also lectured oninternational arbitrationat Columbia Law School, Harvard Law School, and Yale Law School, among others. 

Before joining the State Department, Mr. Pearsall was a lawyer in in private practice in New York. He served as a law clerk for the ICC in Paris after a judicial externship for the Hon. Sonya Sotomayor in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Mr. Pearsall earned his J.D. from Columbia Law School, serving as head articles editor for the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law and senior editor for the American Review of International Arbitration. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Columbia College.

In addition to Mr. Pearsall, Jenner & Block has hired five lawyers into the partnership from government since January, including Ian Gershengorn (DC, September 2017 start), David Bitkower (DC), Kali Bracey (DC), Brandon Fox (LA), and Howard Symons (DC). The firm has a long tradition of its lawyers moving between private law and government service.