Helmut Ortner

Helmut Ortner is a counsel in the firm's Litigation/Controversy Department, and a member of the International Arbitration Practice Group. He joined the firm in 2011.


Mr. Ortner focuses on complex multi-jurisdictional disputes. He is experienced in arbitral practice and procedure in civil as well as common law systems.

Mr. Ortner has acted as counsel as well as arbitrator in ad-hoc arbitrations and before major arbitral institutions (including ICC, DIS, LCIA and VIAC), at multiple seats and governed by a variety of substantive and procedural laws. He regularly counsels clients on conflict of laws issues and international enforcement of arbitration awards and judgments.

Publications and Speaking Engagements

Mr. Ortner is a regular speaker on international arbitration topics, and serves as a lecturer on comparative law, international dispute resolution and advocacy at the Europainstitut (Saarbrücken, Germany) and the University of Innsbruck (Austria). He is also a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Vienna (Austria). 

Mr. Ortner has also published extensively on a variety of subjects and legal areas including topical issues of arbitration law.

Professional Activities

Mr. Ortner is a member of the Austrian Arbitration Association, the Young Austrian Arbitration Professionals, the Swiss Arbitration Association below 40, the ICC Young Arbitrators Forum, as well as the Austrian, American and New York Bar Associations.

  • Contractual Performance and COVID-19 – An In-depth Comparative Law Analysis

    WilmerHale and Wolters Kluwer are delighted to launch a new and in-depth comparative legal analysis of the impact of the pandemic on contractual performance in key civil and common law jurisdictions. The site examines whether and under what circumstances COVID-19-related impediments may excuse contractual performance or lead to modification or termination; and addresses a wide variety of legal concepts, such as impossibility, impracticability, frustration of purpose, force majeure, hardship or imprévision, and clausula rebus sic stantibus.

    Read More
  • Who's Who Legal: Arbitration Recognizes 22 WilmerHale Lawyers in 2020 Edition

    The 2020 edition of Who's Who Legal: Arbitration has recognized 22 WilmerHale lawyers for their industry-leading experience in international arbitration. Counsel Helmut Ortner, who is named among the “Future Leaders,” is described as “highly experienced” and “impressive.”

    December 17, 2019
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Mr. Ortner has been awarded numerous awards, including the Franz Gschnitzer Award for excellence in legal research and writing, the Würdigungspreis of the Austrian Ministry of Education for excellence in academic studies, the conferral of the doctorate by the Federal President of the Austrian Republic, the Awards of the Eduard-Wallnöfer-Foundation as well as the Rudolf-Sallinger-Fund for outstanding legal research and writing and the Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship. In addition, Mr. Ortner has been featured in Who's Who Legal: Arbitration and was named a leading arbitrator in the 2017–2021 editions of Who's Who Legal: Arbitration - Future Leaders, a guide profiling the foremost practitioners in the arbitration community. In the 2021 edition, clients and peers emphasize his “deep knowledge of and breathtaking experience in quantum claims and damages calculations” and that he “combines strong strategic thinking with clear communication and prioritization.” In previous editions clients and peers highlighted his "deep and cutting-edge international arbitration knowledge," and that he is "extremely hard-working and a very smart lawyer who stays calm even if under tremendous pressure." They also emphasized that Mr. Ortner is a “highly experienced” lawyer, who is “well known in arbitration circles as an impressive practitioner,” that he is “an excellent lawyer as both counsel and arbitrator” and has “excellent strategic skills.”

Insights & News


  • Education

    • MLE, Imadec University Vienna, 2011

      summa cum laude medal of the university for outstanding achievements
    • JSD, Yale Law School

      participant in the program 2006-2010
    • ICC Masterclass, 2009
    • LLM, Imadec University Vienna, 2008

      summa cum laude medal of the university for outstanding achievements
    • LLM, Yale Law School, 2006

      Fulbright Scholarship, Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship
    • Visiting Scholar, Harvard Law School, 2005

      admitted to LLM program
    • Dr iur, Innsbruck University, 2004

      summa cum laude sub auspiciis praesidentis rei publicae
    • Mag iur, Innsbruck University, 2002

      summa cum laude
  • Admissions

    • New York

    • Rechtsanwalt, Austria

  • Languages

    • German

    • English