Joseph R. Profaizer
is a partner in the Litigation practice of Paul Hastings based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. He maintains a litigation and arbitration practice that focuses on complex international disputes.
Mr. Profaizer represents public and private corporations as well as foreign sovereigns and their instrumentalities in a wide range of complex multi-jurisdictional disputes, including insurance, investment, commercial, construction, energy, e-commerce, pharmaceutical, securities, and technology disputes. Mr. Profaizer, a U.S.-qualified attorney and English-qualified Solicitor, has practiced in both the United States and England, and served as counsel in threatened or actual litigation or arbitration in over 45 countries. He has successfully represented clients in state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels, as well as in over 50 arbitrations under the rules of the ICC, the AAA/ICDR, the LCIA, the SIAC, the HKIAC, ICSID, JAMS, and UNCITRAL.
- Representing French, U.S. and Dominican companies in three parallel treaty and contract arbitrations against the Dominican Republic in connection with the purchase of an electricity distribution company in that country. The arbitrations included the second arbitration ever filed under the Central American – Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement. The arbitrations settled on extremely favorable terms for the investor.
- Serving as co-lead counsel in a seven-day hearing in which the team defeated a US$50 million claim brought against their client in a UNCITRAL arbitration based on claims of expropriation and discrimination by a Latin American sovereign. Successfully defended the award in a subsequent action to vacate the award in U.S. District Court.
- Serving as lead counsel in a complex tripartite ICDR arbitration for US $10 million. Following a two-week merits hearing, the tribunal found no liability for our client.
- Obtaining precedent-setting federal appellate decision permitting interim relief pending constitution of arbitral tribunal. (Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas v. Continental Tire North America et al., 609 F.3d 975 (9th Cir. 2010)). On remand, obtained injunctive relief from US District Court pending decision on merits by ICC tribunal in international distribution dispute.
- Acting as lead counsel in securing complete dismissal for Central America's largest independent beverage producer and distribution company in a question of first impression in US Courts involving the respective roles of the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution, the New York Convention, the Federal Arbitration Act, and California state law.
- Acting as lead counsel for Latin American development bank in a suit to enforce a judgment issued by the Bolivian courts. Won a decisive early victory in which the New York federal district court denied the plaintiff's request for jurisdictional discovery under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. After the court's ruling, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice, acknowledge the immunity of the bank and its assets in the United States, and pay certain attorneys' fees and costs to the bank.
- Serving as a testifying expert before a Canadian court on the U.S. law of tort, forum non conveniens and personal jurisdiction on behalf of a Canadian client. In an opinion of first impression in the Canadian courts, the court dismissed all of the US$25 million in claims against the client for lack of personal jurisdiction.
- Acting as lead counsel in the defense of a privately-held English technology company in a bet-the-company LCIA arbitration against a U.S. claimant. Prior to the hearing, the claimant withdrew all causes of action against the client and agreed to give full and final rights to the technology at issue in the dispute.
Accolades and Recognitions
Chambers and Partners Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business (2013), Chambers and Partners USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013) and The Legal 500 (United States) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013) rank Mr. Profaizer as a leading attorney in international arbitration.
According to Chambers:
- "Joseph Profaizer is praised for his ability ‘to be open to the dynamics of the case.’ His expertise includes both commercial and investment treaty arbitration, and one client enthuses: ‘I give him high marks on everything.’"
- “Clients are united in their opinion that Mr. Profaizer is ‘the guy you go to if you want to get things done.’ Hard-working and attentive, he is ‘always on top of things and gifted with strong strategic vision.’
- “Joseph Profaizer is held in high esteem by clients, who praise the ‘depth and breadth of his knowledge and his excellent strategic approach.’
- “Clients praise Joseph Profaizer for his ability to ‘hone in on the important aspects and make you really think through the issues.' He handles commercial, political risk and investor-state arbitrations."
- "Joseph Profaizer's 'insightful advice, sound judgment and broad experience are invaluable resources in sensitive matters,' say sources. He has a solid practice covering investor-state and commercial arbitration work.
The Legal 500 (United States) reports that:
- “Joe Profaizer provides clients with ‘quality of service that is nothing short of brilliant,’ and ‘possesses, according to one UK-based client, ‘all-round qualities that are so exceptional, I wrote to the Law Society telling them so.’”
- Joseph Profaizer’s “[d]epth and breadth of knowledge in the subject matter but, more importantly, the potential strategy and environment of the ‘other side’ prove invaluable.”
- “Washington-DC based Joseph Profaizer provides ‘faultless service.’ With ‘an exceptionally pleasant demeanor,’ he is a highly knowledgeable litigator with experience litigating in over 35 countries across a range of industry sectors.”
- “Joseph Profaizer is recommended for his ‘expertise’ and ‘great experience combined with an operational understanding.’”
Mr. Profaizer’s “positive reviews from clients,” including recognition of “all-round qualities as a lawyer” has also been recognized by the Global Arbitration Review (GAR) 100 (2009). He has been listed by GAR 100 as a "name to know" every year from 2009 to 2013.
Speaking Engagements and Publications
Mr. Profaizer is the author of numerous articles, including:
- "Obtaining Injunctions in Aid of Arbitration in United States Federal Courts: Addressing a Potential Threshold Jurisdictional Bar" (with Daniel Prince);
- "International Arbitration: Now Getting Longer and More Costly";
- "Emerging Issues in the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards";
- "A Practitioner’s Research Guide and Bibliography to International Civil Litigation" (with Jonathan Pratter);
- "Pre-Trial Proceedings in U.S. Courts" (with Gary Born); and
- "Economic Development and Environmental Law in China’s Special Economic Zones"
Mr. Profaizer regularly speaks at conferences, law schools, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations on various aspects of international arbitration, international litigation, mediation and international law. He has lectured in the United States, England, Canada, the Philippines, Germany and South Africa.
Mr. Profaizer’s analysis of international legal disputes has appeared in The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, UPI, CNN Money, Reuters, Global Arbitration Review, Fox Business, Al Jazeera, Morningstar, Oil Daily, and The Guardian of London.
Mr. Profaizer is currently an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center.
- London School of Economics, L.L.M., 1999 (with merit)
- University of Texas at Austin, J.D., 1993 (Research and Submissions Editor of the Texas International Law Journal)
- University of Texas at Austin, B.A., 1990 (magna cum laude; Special Honors; College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Distinguished Graduate; University of Texas Outstanding Student)