People

John V.H. Pierce

Partner

Pierce, John V.H.

Mr. Pierce is the head of the firm's International Arbitration practice in the New York office. Recognized by the Chambers guides as "a crucial figure in the firm's global arbitration practice," Mr. Pierce represents clients in international arbitration matters in venues around the world, under both civil and common law regimes, and under the rules of all major arbitral institutions. He also represents clients in international civil litigation matters in United States courts.

Practice

Mr. Pierce's practice is focused on the resolution of international disputes, often involving multi-jurisdictional elements and parallel proceedings. He has extensive experience handling arbitration and litigation matters valued in the billions of dollars and involving highly complex issues of law and fact. Most recently, Mr. Pierce has represented a European manufacturing company in an ICC arbitration sited in London, under English and Japanese law, involving claims in excess of $3 billion. He has also recently represented a major European telecommunications company in three related arbitrations sited in Vienna, and related litigation proceedings in the United States, involving issues of Polish, Austrian and US law, and claims in excess of $2 billion.

Mr. Pierce has represented European, US, Latin American and other companies, in a wide range of industries and sectors, in arbitrations sited in Latin America, the US, Europe and Asia. He has particular experience in international joint venture, M&A, shareholder, pharmaceutical, electronics, telecommunications, transportation, financial services and agency disputes. Mr. Pierce also has experience advising clients with respect to potential claims under bilateral investment treaties. In addition to his work as counsel, Mr. Pierce sits as an arbitrator in international disputes.

Mr. Pierce has been recognized as a leader in the field of international arbitration by Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Experts in Commercial Arbitration, Legal Media Group's The Best of the Best, New York Super Lawyers and other publications. Mr. Pierce was also named an exclusive recipient of the International Law Office 2016 Client Choice Award for Arbitration in the United States. He is described by competitors and clients in the Chambers guides as a "top-notch" and "very knowledgeable" practitioner with "a great ability to understand and execute complex business objectives." He is also praised for his "very effective" and "persuasive" advocacy "both in writing and in the arbitration chamber."

In addition to his arbitration practice, Mr. Pierce represents clients in complex international civil litigation matters in US courts, including efforts to enforce, or resist enforcement of, international arbitral awards. Most recently, Mr. Pierce successfully represented a European company in a RICO action in federal court in Seattle, Washington involving claims in excess of $7 billion. Mr. Pierce achieved the dismissal of that action on grounds of forum non conveniens and then successfully argued for affirmation of that judgment in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Mr. Pierce is also committed to pro bono representation and public service. He serves as Chair of the Public Service Committee in the firm's New York office.

Past Experience

In addition to his international dispute resolution practice, Mr. Pierce has a long-standing interest in, and engagement with, issues of international relations, with a particular focus on the trans-Atlantic relationship.

Mr. Pierce received a CEP degree in international affairs from the Institut d'Études Politiques in Paris, and then, prior to attending law school, was selected as a Jean Monnet Fellow to study European Community issues at the École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France. More recently, Mr. Pierce was selected as a Young Leader of the American Council on Germany, which involved specialized workshops in Berlin, Paris and Washington DC, addressing issues of common concern to European and American participants. Mr. Pierce was also selected as a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is now a permanent Member of that organization.

Honors & Awards

Mr. Pierce is widely recognized by clients and competitors as a leading authority in the field of international arbitration and dispute resolution. This recognition is reflected in Mr. Pierce's rankings in Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Experts in Commercial Arbitration, The Legal 500 United States, Legal Media Group's The Best of the Best, New York SuperLawyers, Who's Who Legal, and other publications. In 2016, Mr. Pierce was honored for his transatlantic arbitration work by The American Lawyer in its Transatlantic Legal Awards contest and was named an exclusive recipient of the International Law Office 2016 Client Choice Award for Arbitration in the United States.

In various editions of the Chambers guides, Mr. Pierce has been described by clients and competitors as:

  • a "crucial figure in the firm's global arbitration practice" with "experience of a raft of high-profile proceedings;"
  • a "talented, smart and persuasive advocate, both in writing and in the arbitration chamber;"
  • having "impressive depth of knowledge in the arbitration field;"
  • a "top-notch" and "very knowledgeable" practitioner, who has "a great ability to understand and execute complex business objectives" and who produces "very effective and on-point written advocacy;"
  • a "New York practice leader" who continues "to act on a range of often complex ICC arbitrations;"
  • a "very practical" attorney "in terms of advice" who "takes into consideration a wider set of risks that may be applicable, such as long-term costs;" and
  • a "model of calm even under excruciating pressure."

As Chair of the Public Service Committee in the firm's New York office, Mr. Pierce was the recipient of the firm's 2011 Volunteer Award.

Recent Highlights

Recent significant matters include representation of:

  • a major European telecommunications company in three related arbitrations sited in Vienna under the Vienna Rules, with Polish and Austrian law applying, as well as parallel litigation proceedings in US district court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (amount in dispute over $7 billion);
  • a leading European manufacturing company in an ICC arbitration sited in London, with English and Japanese law applying, involving claims related to a share purchase agreement with a major Japanese industrial concern (amount in dispute over $3 billion);
  • a leading US pharmaceutical company in an ICC arbitration sited in Paris, France against a leading French pharmaceutical company (amount in dispute over $500 million);
  • a leading international transportation company in an ICC arbitration sited in Mexico City, with Mexican and New York law applying, against a leading Mexican railroad (amount in dispute over $500 million);
  • a leading international logistics company in an ad hoc arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules sited in London with English law applying;
  • a leading US manufacturer in an ICC arbitration sited in Seoul, South Korea, with Korean law applying, involving the sale of automobile parts to a Korean manufacturer;
  • a major international chemicals company in an ICC arbitration sited in Geneva, with Swiss law applying, against a group of related French corporations;
  • a major international capital goods manufacturer in related ICC arbitrations sited in New York involving the sale of aircraft equipment to two Latin American airlines;
  • a leading international banking institution in an ICC arbitration sited in Miami, with New York law applying, against a consortium of Latin American investors;
  • a major Latin American company in an ICDR arbitration sited in New York, with New York law applying, against a Luxembourg-based international hotel and resort operator.

Publications & News

Mr. Pierce is a frequent writer and lecturer on issues related to international dispute resolution. He is the author of:

  • "Q&A With WilmerHale's John Pierce," International Arbitration Law360, April 7, 2016
  • "Have Class Arbitrations Found New Life?," New York Law Journal, November 16, 2015 (co-author)
  • "Investment Protection in Southern Africa," Corporate Dispute Resolution, May-June 2015 edition (co-author)
  • "2014 IBA Guidelines On Conflicts of Interest In International Arbitration," New York Law Journal, November 17, 2014 (co-author) 
  • International Commercial Arbitration in New York (2d ed. Oxford Press 2015) (co-author) (forthcoming)
  • Comment: BG Group plc v. Republic of Argentina, United States Supreme Court, No. 12-138, 5 March 2014, 572 U.S. __ (2014), The Journal of World Investment & Trade 15 (2014) 1051-1059 (forthcoming)
  • Legal Business and In-House Lawyer Magazines, Discussion with Richard Naimark, Senior Vice President, ICDR, regarding revisions to the ICDR Rules, September 2014
  • "Revision to French Arbitration Law Arrives," New York Law Journal, May 16, 2011 (co-author)
  • International Commercial Arbitration in New York (Oxford Press 2010) (co-author)
  • "New York Convention Awards in the Second Circuit," New York Law Journal, April 12, 2010 (co-author)
  • "Trade Finance Fraud: Understanding the Threats and Reducing the Risk," ICC Commercial Crime Services, April 2002 (co-author)
  • "The Haitian Crisis and the Future of Collective Enforcement of Democratic Governance," 27 Law and Policy in International Business 477 (1996).

Speaking Engagements

  • Dublin International Arbitration Day 2016: Choice of law - are there limits?, Dublin, Ireland, 18 November 2016
  • The 5th Annual GAR Live New York, New York, NY 13 September 2016
  • The 2015 Duff & Phelps IP Value Summit: IP Disputes in International Arbitration, Half Moon Bay, CA, 3 December 2015
  • Restatement of the US Law of International Arbitration Commercial Arbitration: A Bench-Bar Dialogue, New York, NY, 20 October 2015
  • The 4th Annual GAR Live New York: Debate on the Length of Arbitrations, New York, NY, 24 September 2015
  • Practising Law Institute: International Arbitration, New York, NY, 10 June 2015
  • The New York International Arbitration Center: The Grand Central Forum, New York, NY, 16 April 2015
  • Columbia Arbitration Day: Mock Argument on Umbrella Clauses in Investment Treaties, Columbia University, 6 March 2015  
  • The 13th Annual WilmerHale Intellectual Property Conference: Examining the Latest Developments in Intellectual Property Law, Boston, MA, 21 November 2013
  • Institute for Transnational Arbitration's 2nd Annual ITA Winter Forum, Miami, FL, 24-25 January 2013
  • ICSID/AAA/ICC Joint Colloquium: Debate on the Impact of Dissenting Opinions in International Arbitration, Washington DC, 2 November 2012
  • First Annual GAR Live New York: Debate on the "Americanization" of International Arbitration, New York, NY, 19 September 2012
  • ABA/AIJA Conference on Trends, Challenges and Keys to Success for the Commercial Real Estate Sector: Drafting the Perfect Arbitration Clause in Real Estate Disputes, Milan, Italy, 6 May 2011
  • New York University Law School/WilmerHale Conference: New French Law on International Arbitration, New York, NY, 2 May 2011
  • Client In-House Legal Conference: International Dispute Resolution, Santiago, Chile, 2 March 2011
  • Düsseldorf International Arbitration School: Bridging the Gap Between Common Law and Civil Law in International Arbitration, Düsseldorf, Germany, 20-24 September 2010
  • ICC/AIJA Seminar on Written Evidence in International Arbitration: Where Are We Heading?, Charleston, SC, 24 August 2010
  • The NYU International Law Society and International Arbitration Association: International Careers in Private Practice and International Arbitration, New York University, New York, NY, 20 April 2010
  • Practicing Law Institute: International Arbitration, New York, NY, 23 March 2010
  • Harvard Law School: International Arbitration Conference, Cambridge, MA, 4 April 2009
  • ICC Meeting for Young Arbitrators, International Commercial Arbitration in Latin America: The ICC Perspective, Miami, FL, 9 November 2008
  • Practicing Law Institute: International Arbitration, New York, NY, 13 March 2008
  • LCIA: Young International Arbitration Group Symposium, New York, NY, 31 January 2008
  • Practicing Law Institute: International Arbitration, New York, NY, 27 March 2007
  • ICC International Commercial Dispute Resolution: Maximizing the Benefits of the ICC System, Charlottesville, VA, 5-7 June 2005
  • DC Bar International Dispute Resolution Committee: Conference on International Commercial Arbitration, 3 May 2004

Professional Activities

Mr. Pierce is a Board Member and member of the Programs Committee of the New York International Arbitration Center; a founding member of the International Arbitration Club of New York; a former member of the International Dispute Resolution Committee and Committee on International Security Affairs at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York; a member of the Federal Bar Council and a member of various international arbitration associations around the world (the International Bar Association (Committee D - Arbitration and ADR), the Association Suisse de l'Arbitrage, the Section of International Law and Practice of the American Bar Association and the International Arbitration Association in Paris). Mr. Pierce is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Young Leader of the American Council on Germany.

Practices

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Education

JD, with honors, Georgetown University Law Center, 1996

Jean Monnet Fellow, École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France, 1993

BSFS, magna cum laude, Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, 1992

Certificat d’Études Politiques, with honors, Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, Paris, France, 1991

Bar Admissions

New York

Languages

French

Clerkships

The Hon. M. Margaret McKeown, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1998 - 1999

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