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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. In that regard, his practice is distinctive in that he has maintained a reputation for excellence in both international corporate transactions and international litigation.
Mr. Kahale is the head of the firm’s renowned international arbitration practice. He is recognized as a leading international arbitration lawyer by Chambers, Global Arbitration Review, and Legal 500, in which he is described as “widely revered for his record in prominent state-side representations.” Legal 500 USA has ranked Mr. Kahale in its elite "Hall of Fame" for international arbitration since 2020, and reports that clients describe him as “a leader in the field of international arbitration” and “unbeatable in both commercial and investment arbitration.” He appears in The American Lawyer’s last Arbitration Scorecard, which ranked Curtis as the #1 international arbitration practice based on the number of billion-dollar cases handled by the firm, and was featured on the cover of the penultimate Arbitration Scorecard.
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. In 2020, he was a keynote speaker at the Annual Conference of the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators and delivered an address under the title, "Damages in ISDS: Just Compensation or Highway Robbery?" at a webinar hosted by the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI).
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. Mr. Kahale has acted as lead counsel in the negotiation of many multi-billion-dollar corporate transactions and agreements in various countries around the world, and has been the primary draftsman of several important model agreements in use in international business today.
Global Market Leader - Global-wide International Arbitration
Legal 500 Hall of Fame 2022
Energy (Oil & Gas)
Public International Law
News 02 Aug. 2023
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News 08 Jun. 2023
Clients Praise Curtis in Newly Released Legal 500 USA 2023
Submission to the OECD's Public Consultation on Investment Treaties and Climate Change
It's Quantum! article from Columbia FDI Perspectives
Damages in ISDS: Just Compensation or Highway Robbery?
Lecture, IISD 12th Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators, Cartagena, Colombia
Keynote Address, 8th Investment Treaty Arbitration Conference, Prague, Czech Republic
ISDS - The Wild, Wild West of International Law and Arbitration
Rethinking ISDS, article from Transnational Dispute Management
BITs: Weapons of Legal Destruction? article from AR3 Magazine
Keynote Address, 8th Annual Juris Investment Treaty Arbitration Conference
Is Investor-State Arbitration Broken? article from Transnational Dispute Management
The Uproar Surrounding Petroleum Contract Renegotiations
"His broad experience negotiating deals makes him one of the best international arbitration lawyers in the world."
Legal 500 Latin America, 2022
"excellent reputation for state-side representation in investment treaty arbitrations...He is a very well-known figure in international law."
Chambers Global, 2022
"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