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NEW YORK – MARCH 7, 2019 – Jenner & Block is pleased to announce that esteemed international arbitration lawyer Mélida Hodgson has joined the firm as a partner in the International Arbitration Practice. She will be based in New York. Over the course of her 27 years of experience, Ms. Hodgson has developed a global practice that focuses on investor-state and commercial arbitration, counseling governments and state-owned entities with respect to international investment protection obligations, business disputes, as well as World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute resolution and international trade policy issues.
“Mélida’s practice adds another important layer to our strong international arbitration capabilities,” said Terrence J. Truax, Jenner & Block’s managing partner. “Her experience in international disputes, treaty interpretation and global investment protection contributes to our Public International Law Practice chaired by Patrick Pearsall, former Chief of Investment Arbitration with the US Department of State. We are excited to have Mélida aboard.”
Recognized by Latinvex as one of the top 50 female practitioners and top 100 lawyers whose practice focuses on Latin America, Ms. Hodgson is noted for her key role in successfully advising Venezuela against several International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) arbitrations. She has also represented the Republic of Panama and Peru in ICSID and United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) matters.
“Mélida brings a new, dynamic dimension to the practice, particularly with her experience in Latin America,” said Charlie Lightfoot, co-chair of the International Arbitration Practice and managing partner of the firm’s London office. “With her hands-on disputes experience, she builds on one of the practice’s key strengths: Our demonstrated ability to combine strong litigation skills with our sophisticated international arbitration process.”
Ms. Hodgson is an arbitrator, including for disputes under American Arbitration Association (AAA)/International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) rules and under Chapter 19 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). She has also been appointed to a number of arbitral rosters, including those for the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration and the British Virgin Islands International Arbitration Centre, as well as the list of panellists eligible to hear WTO disputes.
Ms. Hodgson has been recognized in Who’s Who Arbitration, Legal 500 Latin America and ranked by Chambers in its Latin America, USA and Global publications. She has also been appointed to the International Chamber of Commerce Commission on Arbitration and ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution), as well as the councils of the AAA, the ICC Institute of World Business Law and the American Society of International Law. She is a founding member of the Washington Women in International Arbitration.
“Jenner & Block’s International Arbitration Practice and overall litigation capabilities provide an ideal platform for serving my clients,” Ms. Hodgson said. “I am eager to support the firm’s strategic efforts for growing the practice and believe my skills and experience will fit well with Jenner & Block’s culture and vision.”
Ms. Hodgson began her career in private practice before becoming a US government litigator at the US Department of Justice, where she litigated claims brought by bank shareholders against the United States, as well as public contracting disputes. She then joined the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) as an associate general counsel. There, she litigated international trade disputes before the WTO; provided counsel in NAFTA Chapter 11 investor-state arbitrations involving the United States, Canada and Mexico; and defended the United States in ad hoc arbitrations under the 1996 Softwood Lumber Agreement between the United States and Canada.
At USTR, Ms. Hodgson also participated in the revision and negotiation of the new generation of free trade agreement investment protection and procurement provisions, as well as the 2004 US Model BIT. She represented the United States in subsequent free trade agreement negotiations and was the lead lawyer for the first two negotiations under the 2004 US Model.
Before initiating her law career, Ms. Hodgson was a banker at the Chemical Bank (now JP Morgan Chase). She frequently speaks at conferences and writes articles on issues related to international investment arbitration and international law. Ms. Hodgson earned her JD from New York University School of Law. She earned her BA from Vassar College. Ms. Hodgson is a trustee of the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America.