Joseph R. Profaizer is a partner in the Litigation practice of Paul Hastings. He is the global head of Paul Hastings’ international arbitration practice, a former vice-chair of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, and an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. He maintains a litigation and arbitration practice that focuses exclusively on complex international 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 50 countries. He has successfully represented clients in state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels, as well as in over 70 arbitrations under the rules of the ICC, the AAA/ICDR, the LCIA, the SIAC, the HKIAC, ICSID, JAMS, CEPANI, and UNCITRAL.
Mr. Profaizer represents public and private corporations as well as foreign sovereigns and their instrumentalities in a wide range of complex multi-jurisdictional cross-border disputes, including commercial, construction, energy, e-commerce, hotel/hospitality, insurance, intellectual property, investment, joint venture, licensing, media, pharmaceutical, private equity, securities, and technology disputes. He also sits as arbitrator.
Mr. Profaizer is consistently ranked as a leading attorney in international arbitration by Chambers and Partners Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business (2013-present), Chambers and Partners USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2008-present), Euromoney's Commercial Arbitration Expert Guide (2017-present), The Legal 500 (United States) (2007-2013, 2017-present), Who's Who Legal: Arbitration (2015), and Best Lawyers In America (2021). In 2018, the National Law Journal recognized Mr. Profaizer one of 40 "ADR Champions" in the United States.
According to Chambers:
- “Joseph Profaizer of Paul Hastings LLP is highly regarded for his strengths in commercial and investment treaty disputes … Commentators characterize him as ‘a great legal mind with a profound intellect,’ with sources revealing that ‘his technical skills and commercial insights make him an exceptionally effective litigator and negotiator.’”
- "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.'"
- "Joseph Profaizer of Paul Hastings LLP is ‘an excellent technician who is also excellent at mapping out a strategy and the steps to articulate an argument and win,’ remark interviewees."
- "Joseph Profaizer of Paul Hastings LLP is ‘a joy to work with’ and his ‘commercial and analytical skills are really second to none,’ according to interviewees.”
- "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:
- Leading Lawyer, International Arbitration (2021-2022)
- "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 “all-round qualities as a lawyer” have been recognized by the Global Arbitration Review in their annual ranking, the GAR 100. He has been listed by GAR 100 as a "name to know" every year from 2009 to the present.
- 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)
- Served as co-lead counsel for a leading Japanese manufacturer in an LCIA arbitration seated in London concerning the dissolution of a multi-billion dollar joint venture with a European conglomerate. Secured a final award that reflected all of the relief that our client requested, including the costs of the arbitration.
- Served as co-lead counsel in a political risk insurance arbitration based on claims of expropriation and discrimination by a Latin American sovereign. Defeated US$50 million claim in a UNCITRAL arbitration seated in New York. Successfully defended the award in a subsequent action to vacate the award in U.S. District Court.
- Served as lead counsel in a tripartite ad hoc international insurance arbitration seated in New York. Secured a favorable ruling in parallel litigation in the Southern District of New York concerning non-signatories to the arbitration. Following a week-long merits hearing, the arbitral tribunal issued a final award that found no liability for our client.
- Represented leading Chinese media company in a HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong against a European licensor of one of the most popular television programs in the world.
- Served 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.
- Served as counsel for a Mexican corporation in an ICC arbitration seated in New York regarding a shareholder dispute. Successfully defeated a request for injunctive relief brought by the claimant shareholder.
- Served as lead counsel for a leading Chinese technology and automotive company in an ICC arbitration against a leading U.S. technology company in a dispute over a licensing agreement concerning intellectual property rights.
- Represented a South Korean company in federal court litigation against a U.S. company in a dispute concerning a long-term supply agreement for high-technology products. Moved to compel arbitration and obtained a complete dismissal of the entire case with prejudice, without any subsequent arbitration. See Burnham Enterprises, LLC v. DACC Co., Ltd., DACC-Aerospace Co., Ltd., and Lotte Chemical Corp. (2:12-cv-00111-WKW-SRW).
- Served as lead counsel for an entrepreneur and related privately-held company with institutional investors in a HKIAC arbitration seated in Hong Kong regarding an educational services venture in the People’s Republic of China.
- Represented 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.
- Obtained 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.
- Served as lead counsel in an international trade credit insurance arbitration seated in New York under New York law. Following a three-day merits hearing, the tribunal found no liability for our client.
- Served 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.
- Served 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.
- Served 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.
- Served as co-lead counsel for the Republic of the Philippines in parallel arbitrations brought under UNCITRAL and ICSID arbitration rules seated in Hong Kong and in litigation in U.S. Courts in connection with recovery of state-related assets.
- Served 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.
Engagement & Publications
Mr. Profaizer is the author of numerous published articles, including:
- "Techniques and Tradeoffs for Incorporating Cost- and Time-Saving Measures into International Arbitration Agreements," Journal of International Arbitration (Issue 34.2) (2017) (with Adam J. Weiss And Erin E. Klisch);
- "Investment Disputes Involving the Renewable Energy Industry Under the Energy Charter Treaty," Global Arbitration Review: The Guide to Energy Arbitrations, eds. J. William Rowley QC, Doak Bishop and Gordon Kaiser (1st Edition (2015) & 2d Edition (2017) (with Igor V. Timofeyev, Charles A. Patrizia and Samuel W. Cooper);
- "Current Topics in International Arbitration," The Advocate (Winter 2013) (with Samuel W. Cooper and Christie A. Mathis);
- "Year in Review: Extraterritorial Application of U.S. Law," International Lawyer (with Charles A. Patrizia and Igor V. Timofeyev) (2013-2017);
- "Obtaining Injunctions in Aid of Arbitration in United States Federal Courts: Addressing a Potential Threshold Jurisdictional Bar" (2012) (with Daniel Prince);
- "Emerging Issues in the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards" (2011);
- "International Arbitration: Now Getting Longer and More Costly" (2008);
- "Pre-Trial Proceedings in U.S. Courts" (1997) (with Gary B. Born);
- "A Practitioner’s Research Guide and Bibliography to International Civil Litigation" (1997) (with Jonathan Pratter) (1993); and
- "Economic Development and Environmental Law in China’s Special Economic Zones" (1993).
Mr. Profaizer regularly speaks at conferences, in-house seminars, law schools, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations on various aspects of international arbitration, international litigation, mediation and international law. He has taught or spoken in the United States, England, Canada, the Philippines, Germany, Bangladesh, South Korea 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, The Guardian of London, and Law360.
Faculty Member, Georgetown Law’s International Law Institute, 2022
- Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center (Fall 2013-Present): International Litigation and Arbitration: A Practitioner’s Approach
- Law 360 International Arbitration Editorial Advisory Board (2018-2020)
- Vice Chair, International Arbitration Committee of the International Law Section, American Bar Association (2013-2015)
- Mr. Profaizer maintains an active pro bono practice, and in 2009, he received the Paul Hastings annual award for his pro bono contributions.
- He is a regular lecturer at the International Law Institute in Washington, D.C. on international dispute resolution, including international commercial arbitration, investor-state arbitration, the rule of law, and international commercial litigation
- Qualified Mediator (Texas 1994)
- Law Clerk to Judge George P. Kazen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (1993-1994)