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George Kahale III
Chair, International Arbitration
New York
PHONE: +1 212 696 6179
FAX: +1 212 697 1559
PHONE:+1 713 759 9555
FAX:+1 713 759 0712

Mr. Kahale, the Firm’s Chairman, maintains an active practice in both international transactions and international arbitration. He has acted as lead counsel in some of the world’s largest and most publicized transactions and infrastructure projects in the international petroleum industry, representing energy ministries and national oil corporations in many oil and gas producing countries.  He also has been lead counsel in several of the world’s largest international arbitrations and is the head of the Firm’s renowned international arbitration practice.

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 2009, The American Lawyer named Mr. Kahale one of its “Dealmakers of the Year” for his work representing KazMunayGas, the national oil company of Kazakhstan, in agreements for the development of the giant Kashagan oil field.

Mr. Kahale is recognized as a leading international arbitration lawyer by Chambers, Legal 500 and Global Arbitration Review. Legal 500 Latin America 2013 reported that Mr. Kahale is regarded by clients as “one of the very best arbitration lawyers in the world.” According to Legal 500 USA 2014, “George Kahale III is hailed as ‘one of the best lawyers around’, with an ‘exceptional ability to see the big picture of each case.’” Chambers Global 2016 reported: “Sources note that ‘he has always stood out and his stewardship of his team is beyond belief.’” Mr. Kahale is commended in Chambers Global 2018 for his ability to “always think two steps ahead of everyone else in the room,” and Legal 500 Latin America 2018 describes him as “‘a bright legal mind with an excellent understanding of how companies and governments work,’ which makes him ‘unbeatable in both commercial and investment arbitration.’”  In 2015-2016, Mr. Kahale led the Curtis team in the annulment proceeding in the Mobil v. Venezuela arbitration, succeeding in annulling a US$1.4 billion award, the largest annulment in ICSID history.

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. He is a two-time Burton Awards winner for Distinguished Legal Writing for his 2012 article entitled “Is Investor-State Arbitration Broken?” and his 2018 article entitled “Rethinking ISDS,” both of which have been the source of extensive commentary and debate. He has also appeared as a 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; and in 2018, he delivered the inaugural Brooklyn Lecture on International Business Law 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.


The Association of the Bar of the City of New York
American Bar Association
American Society of International Law
Oxford Energy Policy Club

International Lawyers