George Kahale III

Chairman, Partner

Kahale, George

One of the world’s leading international lawyers, Curtis Chairman George Kahale maintains an active practice in both international transactions and international arbitration, acting as lead counsel in some of the world’s most publicized transactions and infrastructure projects in the international petroleum industry and serving as lead counsel in several of the world’s largest international arbitrations.

International Arbitration

Mr. Kahale is the head of the firm’s renowned international arbitration practice. Recognized as a leading international arbitration lawyer by Chambers, Legal 500 and Global Arbitration Review, he has appeared in a number of the most significant cases of recent years, including leading the Curtis team on the annulment proceeding in the 2015-2016 Mobil v. Venezuela arbitration, which succeeded in annulling a US$1.4 billion award, the largest annulment in the history of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Legal 500 USA 2020 ranks Mr. Kahale in its “Hall of Fame” for international arbitration.

International Transactions; Oil and Gas

Mr. Kahale was the subject of a feature article entitled “The Oil Baron” in the June 2008 issue of The American Lawyer magazine. In February 2009, Latin Lawyer awarded its Restructuring Deal of the Year honor to a Curtis team led by Mr. Kahale for a series of financing transactions relating to oil projects in Venezuela. In April of the same year, The American Lawyer named him as one of its “Dealmakers of the Year” for his work representing KazMunayGas, the national oil company of Kazakhstan, on agreements for the development of the giant Kashagan oil field.

Thought Leadership

Mr. Kahale has written many articles on topics of international interest, such as sovereign immunity, the act of state doctrine, international arbitration and international petroleum contracts. In 2013, he was selected by the Burton Awards as a Distinguished Legal Writing Award winner for his article entitled: “Is Investor-State Arbitration Broken?” He followed up that article in 2018 with “Rethinking ISDS,” for which he received his second Burton Award in 2019. Both articles have been the source of extensive commentary and debate. He has also appeared as a keynote speaker and lecturer at various seminars and conferences: in 2014, he delivered the keynote address at the eighth annual Juris Investment Treaty Arbitration Conference, which received a nomination by GAR for best lecture of the year; in 2015, he lectured at the Arbitration Academy in Paris; in 2018 he delivered the inaugural Brooklyn Lecture on International Business Law in New York under the title “ISDS: The Wild Wild West of International Practice,” as well as the widely reported keynote address at the 8th Investment Treaty Arbitration Conference in Prague, which was also nominated by GAR for best lecture of the year. In 2019, he addressed the International Institute of Sustainable Development’s 12th Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators, which was held in Cartagena, Colombia.

Chambers 2020 Global Rosette George Kahale

Notable Practitioner - Global-wide International Arbitration

Chambers 2020 USA Rosette George Kahale

Leading Individual - USA-wide International Arbitration

"unbeatable in both commercial and investment arbitration"

Legal 500 USA, 2020

"You will be hard pressed to find anyone with as much ability in the investment arbitration world."

Chambers Latin America, 2020

"Sources commend George Kahale's ability to 'always think two steps ahead of everyone else in the room.'"

Chambers Global, 2018

He is described as "one of the very best arbitration lawyers in the world" by clients.

Legal 500 Latin America, 2013

Sources note that "he has always stood out and his stewardship of his team is beyond belief."

Chambers Global, 2016