Tag Archives: International arbitration




The International Arbitration Society at the University of Miami School of Law is presenting a panel discussion on the conflict between International Arbitration and Domestic Insolvency.

Date : October 23, 2019

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The discussion will be followed by a networking social.

Students, professionals and practitioners are invited to attend and participate.

Please RSVP here: https://lnkd.in/eAT24JM












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INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION – Cocktail Reception at Assouline & Berlowe for University of Miami International Arbitration LLM Students

Assouline Berlowe Picture of International Arbitration LLM Class from University of Miami.jpg (00266905xA4579)
MIAMI, FL – On the last day of final exams for the 2019 class of the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. Program at Miami Law, Assouline & Berlowe – a Florida-based business litigation and transactional law firm – hosted a farewell cocktail reception for the students at their downtown Miami office in the Miami Tower. Eric Assouline, J.D. ’96, and Peter Berlowe, J.D. ’98, along with other partners and associates of the firm warmly welcomed the students and shared with them their work experiences and career advice pertaining to transnational litigation and international arbitration across different legal industries such as construction law, intellectual property, cybersecurity, blockchain, bankruptcy, corporate, and M&A.

In his welcome speech, Berlowe offered the firm as their “home away from home” to the students, especially being part of the Miami Law family. “Miami is a great vibrant community for international arbitration, often being chosen by parties as the situs of their international litigation or arbitration proceedings,” Berlowe said. “Miami Law is the best institution you could have chosen to study international arbitration.” While telling students about their firm, Berlowe said that some of the best work the firm ties into the international arena along with U.S.-based litigation focused in Miami.

Assouline is also a board member of the School’s Alumni Society and shared with the students his experience at Miami Law and how it shaped his career landing him jobs at the best firm in his chosen area of interest.

“We are very grateful to Assouline & Berlowe for hosting this wonderful reception for our International Arbitration LL.M. students and graduating class,” said Sandra Friedrich, director of Miami Law’s International Arbitration LL.M. Program. “It is very important to our students to meet and mingle with international arbitration practitioners in Miami and beyond to build a professional network of international arbitration practitioners across various legal industries and regions. Assouline & Berlowe’s lawyers not only provided our students with an incredibly warm welcome but also offered very valuable career advice to this next generation of international arbitration lawyers.”

The partners at Assouline & Berlowe also gave a special mention to International Arbitration Adjunct Professor John Rooney for connecting the international arbitration students with the firm. Rooney, with whom many students enjoy a great mentoring rapport, also serves as counsel and arbitrator in many international disputes, including proceedings under the AAA/ICDR, ICC, and ICSID Rules.

Students got a great opportunity to interact and network with renowned professionals in the field of international arbitration, who were more than happy to assist them and guide them with career advice in the ever-evolving world of international arbitration and dispute resolution.

“I got to meet the partners of this law firm who were quite helpful. We had great conversations which about law, life and career,” said Michel Mansour, a graduating International Arbitration LL.M. student from Lebanon and International Arbitration Institute Scholarship holder.

“We had the opportunity to meet with experienced lawyers in the field of arbitration and learned more about the every-day practice of arbitration in highly specialized areas, such as patent rights and construction,” said. Konstantina Zormpa, a Greek lawyer in the International Arbitration J.D./LL.M. joint degree program. “I was impressed by the team of Assouline & Berlowe because they combine a high level of legal expertise with a very friendly, approachable attitude. Partners and associates shared stories from their practice and showed a genuine interest to our career aspirations.”

“The LL.M. Student Reception with Assouline & Berlowe was my favorite social event of the year!” Angel Bermudez, a U.S.-trained J.D./LL.M. joint degree candidate, said. “Everyone was courteous and genuinely interested in getting to know each other. That the firm’s attorneys spent a few hours with us after a long work week speaks volumes to their great character.”

“Interactions with highly qualified professionals at social gatherings like these surely contribute to a better understanding of the industry. There was so much to discuss about our courses and papers, and the interest is often reciprocated with new ideas and sometimes collaboration”, said Ishaan Madaan, an International Arbitration LL.M. student from India and holder of the FDI Moot Scholarship.


The White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. Program, under the leadership of Professor Jan Paulsson, holder of the Michael Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair, provides a unique individualized educational opportunity for a small group of top-quality students from around the globe, wishing to acquire an in-depth grounding in the field of international arbitration as a platform for a successful career. The program – the only one of its kind in the United States – is open to U.S. and foreign-trained law graduates, and is ideal for newcomers to the field or experienced practitioners looking to enrich their skills and knowledge.

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00095284ILS’s International Law Quartely – Russia and CIS

Assouline & Berlowe Partner Daniel A. Vielleville authored an article in ILS’s International Law Quarterly, a special note on Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).  His article, entitled “Colombia adopts arbitration statute based on the UNCITRAL Model Law” can be found on page 11 of the publication.

Mr. Vielleville discusses the advantages and disadvantages of Law 1563/2012, in force since October 2012, that regulates domestic and international arbitration in Colombia.  The most welcome feature of the new statute is the adoption of the 1985 UNCITRAL Model Arbitration Law, with its 2006 amendments.  For example, the new statute:

  1. recognizes both institutional and ad hoc arbitration;
  2. acknowledges the power of arbitrators to issue interim or conservatory measures;
  3. provides clear definitions of what constitutes an arbitration agreement, the principle of separability of the arbitration agreement and the power of the arbitrators to decide on their own competence (kompetenzkompetenz), including the negative effect of such authority.

For more analysis of the new statute, view the ILS International Law Quarterly article, linked below.

Colombia adopts arbitration statute based on the UNCITRAL Model Law

Mr. Vielleville, a dual Venezuelan-U.S. attorney, is a partner in the Miami office of Assouline & Berlowe.  He heads the Latin America Practice and the International Business Practice.  For more information about Mr. Vielleville’s international practice, please contact him using the contact information below.

Latin America Practice and the International Business Practice


3250 Mary Street, Suite 100

Miami, Florida 33133

Main:  (305) 567-5576

Fax: (305) 567-9343

Email: dev@assoulineberlowe.com


Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Bankruptcy, Commercial Litigation, and Corporate Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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August 15, 2013 · 9:52 pm

International Arbitration – Santander Bank Succeeds in Sending Madoff-Related Claims to Arbitration

As printed on April 13, 2012 in the Daily Business Review, by L Andrew S. Riccio, Associate, and Daniel E. Vielleville, Partner, Assouline & Berlowe, P.A. (www.assoulineberlowe.com)

In the wake of the fall of the Madoff Securities Ponzi scheme, where multitudes lost millions from badly placed investments, litigation has been rampant. While many investors have sought remuneration from their bankers or investment advisors for making these bad calls, not all make it to court. In one such truly international instance, shareholders of personal investment holding corporations sued Banco Santander for placing their money with a Madoff Securities-managed fund. The case, Solymar Investments, Ltd v. Santander, 11thCir. Ct of Appeals, No. 11-12515, decided February 28, 2012, involved Panamanian shareholders of personal investment holding corporations organized under the laws of theCayman Islands who invested an undisclosed sum of money with Banco Santander, the giant Spanish bank.

The case, however, never made it to the merits arguments, as the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit decided that the case was subject to arbitration and could not be tried before a judge. Santanderhad invested some of Solymar et al.’s money in a fund called Optimal Strategic. This fund happened to be managed by Madoff Securities and thus suffered the well-documented substantial losses incurred by Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. After the loss, and presumably in order to maintain the business relationship, many of Santander’s customers and the bank entered into exchange agreements, exchanging the suspended Madoff-invested accounts for preferred securities with Santander. Among these customers were Solymar et al., who agreed to execute the exchange memorandum as part of a multi-part, comprehensive settlement which included the issuance of additional promissory notes in Solymar’s favor. Pursuant to the exchange agreement, Solymar agreed to (i) releaseSantanderof any liability arising from the Madoff-related investments, and (ii) arbitrate any issues arising from the agreement inGeneva,Switzerlandin accordance with the Rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, and to submit to the jurisdiction of  theGenevacourts for enforcement of the arbitration agreement.

Subsequent to the execution of the exchange agreement, Solymar and Santander could not agree on the promissory notes that were supposed to complement the exchange agreements.  Despite the arbitration and forum selection clauses, Solymar filed a 149-page complaint against Santanderalleging that the parties had never entered into a valid contract. As a result of these clauses, the parties argued whether the district court had the authority to hear the case. Santanderwon on its motion to dismiss based on both the arbitration clause and the forum selection clause, and Solymar appealed. On appeal, the U.S.Court of Appeals was presented with the question of whether the exchange agreement itself was legally binding on the parties. From Solymar’s perspective, it was the district court’s role, rather than an arbitrator’s, to decide whether the exchange agreement was but one part of a comprehensive agreement between the parties. Simply put, the court was left to determine “who shall decide what.”

Following the relatively recent Supreme Court decision Granite Rock Co. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 130 S. Ct. 2847 (2010), the U.S Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ultimately dismissed the case in favor of arbitration. Of course, the decision was not without a full analysis of the relevant case law, as this is a relatively new issue for the court. Distilled to the opinion’s most basic form, the court determined that there is a two-step process required in considering the arbitrability of any contract with an arbitration clause.

First, it is up to the court to determine any challenges to the formation of the contract containing the arbitration clause. Whether a contract is validly formed or created depends upon state law. In this case, the plain language of the exchange agreement exhibited a valid contract underFloridalaw; thus, any issue arising therefrom is properly determined by an arbitrator, not a court. The second step in the process is whether the challenge goes to the formation of the arbitration clause specifically or to the contract in which the arbitration clause is found. Because Solymar did not allege in its complaint that there was an issue of formation specific to the arbitration clause, the court did not give this issue much attention. However, for the international lawyer or businessman, it should be noted that the court maintained this distinction. Following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Prima Paint Corp. v. Flood & Conklin Mfg. Co., 388 U.S. 395 (1967), the Eleventh Circuit refused to “invade the province of the arbitrator” and rule on “broad challenges to general contracts containing arbitration clauses.”

This case represents a continuing trend inU.S.federal courts to follow the Federal Arbitration Act and enforce arbitration agreements when they appear valid on their face. Accordingly, the decision to accept an arbitration clause contained in a contract must not be taken lightly as it is very likely the agreement to arbitrate will be enforced and the dispute referred to arbitration, even when there are allegations that there was never a contract. Secondly, this case involves two quite sophisticated parties, international investment funds and one of the world’s largest banking institutions, in an argument over the world’s most infamous fraudulent investing scheme. Needless to say, it is a big deal.

Lesson: Read your contracts carefully. If you believe your contract is merely a piece of a larger agreement, make sure it says that clearly, before signing. One of Solymar’s underlying contentions was that the exchange agreement did not cover their entire settlement agreement and thus the arbitration clause was not applicable to all of their claims. However, the integration clause, stating that all relevant terms between the parties are contained in that document, was prominent in their exchange agreement. Besides a properly drafted contract, the inclusion of the integration clause helped the court dismiss the case in favor of arbitration because it was clearly apparent that the parties intended to arbitrate these claims.

L. Andrew S. Riccio, Esq. can be reached at asr@assoulineberlowe.com

and Daniel E. Vielleville, Esq. can be reached at dev@assoulineberlowe.com

Or by telephone at ASSOULINE & BERLOWE’s Miami Office: 305-567-5576.



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