International Litigation LITIGATION/CONTROVERSY

Drawing on the collective experience of dozens of lawyers across multiple offices and practices, WilmerHale’s International Litigation Group has successfully resolved countless cross-border litigations.

WilmerHale offers one of the most experienced and accomplished international litigation practices in the world, and its lawyers are widely recognized as leading authorities in the field. Over the past four decades, clients from around the globe have turned to us for advice and representation in connection with their most challenging and complex cross-border disputes, including a broad variety of cutting-edge and landmark matters in the United States, European Union and elsewhere.

Our lawyers provide pre-litigation advice and strategic counseling, and represent clients in national courts in the United States and Europe, and in international tribunals, where we have deep experience and a track record of success. Clients also depend on WilmerHale to oversee and coordinate proceedings in Latin America, Africa and Asia, where strategic guidance, political and cultural insight, and experience with local counsel frequently make a world of difference in reaching a successful outcome in foreign courts.


Sort By
Born, Gary

Gary Born

Chair, International Arbitration Practice Group

+44 (0)20 7872 1020 (t)

Ogden, David W.

David W. Ogden

Chair, Government and Regulatory Litigation Practice Group

+1 202 663 6440 (t)

Born, Gary

Gary Born


+44 (0)20 7872 1020 (t)

Bowker, David W.

David W. Bowker


+1 202 663 6558 (t)

Flanagan, Mark D.

Mark D. Flanagan


+1 650 858 6047 (t)

Ogden, David W.

David W. Ogden


+1 202 663 6440 (t)

Pierce, John V.H.

John V.H. Pierce


+1 212 230 8829 (t)

Trenor, John A.

John A. Trenor


+44 (0)20 7872 1555 (t)

Witten, Roger M.

Roger M. Witten

Senior Counsel

+1 212 230 8850 (t)


Our International Litigation team includes recognized leaders in the field, former senior government officials, and current and former adjunct professors at leading law schools. The team is led by David W. Ogden, an experienced international litigator resident in Washington DC who in prior government service was the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division at the US Department of Justice, and Deputy General Counsel responsible for litigation at the US Department of Defense; and Gary B. Born, a world-renowned practitioner resident in London who was recently voted the “World’s Best International Litigator” by Legal Media Group and “Advocate of the Year” by Global Arbitration Review. Born is the author of a seminal treatise in the field, International Civil Litigation in United States Courts (Aspen Publishers 4th ed. 2007).

The firm’s International Litigation Working Group is chaired by David W. Bowker, another experienced international litigator resident in Washington DC, who recently argued and won a landmark free speech case in the US Supreme Court on behalf of dozens of recipients of US aid in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, and who previously served in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the US Department of State. 

Our International Litigation team works closely with other groups throughout the firm, including the Government and Regulatory Litigation; Business Trial; International Arbitration; Trade; Investigations and Criminal Litigation; Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation; Intellectual Property Litigation; and Antitrust and Competition Practices. We maintain close working relationships with leading law firms and practitioners around the world. We also have an active foreign lawyers and interns program, which brings talented young attorneys to our US and European offices, as well as a Scholar-in-Residence Program that brings distinguished academics from around the world to our offices.


Lawyers in WilmerHale’s International Litigation Group have extensive experience representing clients in a range of matters. These matters raise issues of public and commercial international law, customary international law, treaty interpretation, sovereign immunity and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the Alien Tort Statute, recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, expropriation, confirmation and annulment of international arbitral awards, forum selection, forum non conveniens, anti-suit injunctions, conflict of laws, choice of law international comity, the act of state doctrine, personal and subject matter jurisdiction, and service of process. We have extensive experience handling cross-border discovery, the taking of evidence abroad, and the significant issues that can arise from conflicting legal obligations, particularly when discovery demands conflict with data protection requirements or so-called “blocking statutes.” We have recognized experience handling international litigation matters across a wide range of industries.


A sampling of our groundbreaking international litigation matters includes:

International Litigation Involving Parallel Proceedings in Multiple Jurisdictions

  • The successful representation of Shell Oil Company, Shell Chemical Company and other entities in connection with worldwide litigation arising out of more than $15 billion in mass tort claims in Nicaragua, including the successful defense of multiple efforts to enforce Nicaraguan judgments in US courts, and an ICSID claim initiated against Nicaragua under a bilateral investment treaty to protect the client’s intellectual property.
  • The ongoing representation of a major US pharmaceutical company in connection with a $200 million Ecuadorian court judgment raising issues of judicial corruption, including litigation in Ecuador’s courts and an ongoing arbitration under the US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty.
  • The successful representation of a leading European telecommunications company in a massive multiforum dispute involving numerous international litigations and arbitrations, including the largest ICC arbitration in history, over the break-up of a major joint venture.
  • The successful representation of a major Middle Eastern university in US litigation to secure an anti-suit injunction halting foreign litigation brought against the university in Lebanon.
  • The successful representation of a leading African distribution company in a high-stakes international dispute involving breach of contract claims in international commercial arbitration and potential tort claims in US, UK and French courts against a multinational manufacturing company.
  • The successful representation of Deutsche Lufthansa AG and other international aviation companies in connection with the consolidated litigation and settlement of more than 100 private antitrust class action damage claims arising from international government investigations of alleged price fixing in the United States, Europe and elsewhere relating to the imposition of fuel and other surcharges on air cargo rates.
  • The representation of a major international flat glass producer in EU price-fixing proceedings involving allegations of a worldwide cartel.
  • The ongoing representation of a Japanese auto parts manufacturer and its US subsidiary in the largest antitrust investigation in US history and related civil class action litigations in multiple jurisdictions.

International Litigation in US Courts

  • The successful representation of a coalition of non-governmental organizations in a landmark US Supreme Court case upholding the free speech rights of non-governmental organizations engaged in US government-funded programs to fight HIV/AIDS in dozens of countries around the world.
  • The successful representation of Deutsche Lufthansa in an antitrust class action filed against international airlines in the United States by a class of US travel agents.
  • The successful representation of Credit Suisse and UBS in US federal court litigation concerning the handling of bank accounts and other actions during World War II, involving claims under the Alien Tort Statute and customary international law in excess of $5 billion.
  • The successful representation of a US high-technology company in US federal court litigation against a European competitor, with a jury awarding our client in excess of $500 million.
  • The successful defense of counsel in a prior ICSID arbitration against civil RICO claims in US federal court litigation arising from the earlier representation, based on the defense of immunity for participants in ICSID matters contained in the ICSID treaty.
  • The successful representation of Deutsche Telekom in US federal court litigation brought by a European competitor, with claims in excess of $7 billion being entirely dismissed on forum non conveniens grounds.
  • The successful representation of a leading Polish chemical company in connection with a business tort action brought against our client in US federal court.
  • The successful representation of a Middle Eastern individual and related entities in US federal court litigation arising out of the 9/11 attacks, with our clients obtaining dismissal of all claims against them on jurisdictional and related grounds.

International Sovereign Immunity Litigation and Counseling

  • The ongoing representation of a US oil and gas drilling company in US and Venezuelan litigations against the Republic of Venezuela and the Venezuelan national oil company for takings in violation of international law and breaches of contract under the expropriation and commercial activities exceptions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
  • The successful representation of BP plc, on Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act grounds, against attempts by plaintiffs to satisfy judgments against state sponsors of terrorism by obtaining writs of garnishment in US courts against third parties allegedly holding assets of the defendant states.
  • The successful representation of a major university, on Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and other grounds, against attempts by plaintiffs to attach Iranian antiquities in the university’s museums and academic collections in satisfaction of judgments against Iranian-sponsored terrorist organizations.
  • Strategic counseling and advice to a range of financial institutions, hedge funds, energy companies, and multinationals regarding active or potential international disputes with foreign sovereigns, sovereign agencies or instrumentalities, and sovereign wealth funds. 

International Litigation Involving Public International Law

  • The successful representation of German companies and an association of German industry in multiple US litigations involving World War II-era claims brought in violation of international treaties and an executive agreement among the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, and other sovereigns.
  • The successful representation of a major US art museum in a groundbreaking case in New York federal court applying the act of state doctrine to uphold the dismissal of a claim to a Cezanne painting that was nationalized by the Soviet Government shortly after the 1918 Revolution, later sold to a US collector, and donated to the museum.
  • The representation of the Federal Republic of Germany as amicus curiae in landmark US Supreme Court case striking down a California insurance statute offensive to US-German relations and treaties, and in violation of the President’s Foreign Affairs powers under Article II of the US Constitution.
  • The successful representation of sovereigns in international boundary disputes, including the representation of The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in the historic Abyei arbitration against The Sudan, and the representation of Eritrea in an ad hoc arbitration against Yemen.

International Litigation in Other National Courts

  • The successful representation of a US company in a Chinese copyright action in which a Beijing court ordered the infringing Chinese firm to pay substantial damages and ordered a halt to the infringement of our client’s intellectual property rights.
  • The successful representation of a major Russian professional services provider in parallel civil and criminal proceedings in Russia.
  • The successful representation of a major German chemical company in litigation in German courts involving claims of anticompetitive conduct in the vitamins market.
  • The successful representation of a major industrial company in the largest civil action in the English Commercial Court in 2008, obtaining a complete dismissal of £3 billion in claims and an award of costs and attorneys’ fees.
  • The successful representation of a major international energy company in connection with multiple claims brought against it in South American courts raising novel questions of international jurisdiction.

International Litigation in International Tribunals

  • The successful representation of a leading European financial institution in an intervention before the European Court of First Instance in a decision regarding intra-regional interchange fee setting arrangements concerning credit cards.
  • The ongoing representation of a leading Austrian bank in its appeal against the €30 million fine imposed by the European Commission.
  • The successful representation of the Government of Canada in defending the decision of a NAFTA panel before an Extraordinary Challenge Committee, arising out of a dispute over import tariffs on softwood lumber products, and obtaining a judgment from the US Court of International Trade requiring the United States to repay more than $4 billion in estimated duties.
  • The representation of a major US aircraft manufacturer in WTO proceedings involving alleged subsidies.
  • The representation of the Association de la Presse Internationale in the Court of First Instance’s Grand Chamber and ECJ.

International Investor-State Disputes

  • ICSID arbitration initiated against Nicaragua under a bilateral investment treaty protecting Shell’s intellectual property from seizure to satisfy a domestic judgment.
  • The ongoing representation of a major US pharmaceutical company in an UNCITRAL arbitration under the US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty involving a $150 million Ecuadorian court judgment raising issues of judicial corruption and a lack of fair and equitable treatment.
  • The representation of an aerospace company against a Middle Eastern state involving claims under a bilateral investment treaty and contractual instruments.
  • An ICSID arbitration, sited in Washington DC, with international law applicable, involving multiple disputes between a European multinational and an Asian State, with amounts in dispute exceeding $100 million.
  • An ICC arbitration, sited in London, involving a $100 million claim by a European/Japanese consortium against an Asian state.
  • An ICC arbitration, sited in Stockholm, involving an international energy company against a Central Asian state.
  • An ICSID arbitration involving a multinational petroleum company against an Asian state.
  • An ICSID annulment case involving a challenge to an ICSID arbitration award made in an expropriation dispute between two Hong Kong companies and the government of a Middle Eastern nation.
  • An arbitration between an international environmental nonprofit organization and a European government over an attack on the organization’s property and personnel.
  • Arbitrations before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague.

International Human Rights Representations

  • The successful representation of a prominent political dissident wrongfully imprisoned in Cameroon in violation of national and international law, resulting in the client’s release and resettlement with his family in the United States, after the firm obtained a favorable ruling from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and engaged the Secretary General of the United Nations and prominent members of the US Congress to assist in the negotiations with Cameroonian officials.
  • The ongoing representation of non-governmental organizations pursuing US litigation against the United Nations in connection with thousands of wrongful deaths resulting from a cholera outbreak linked to UN peacekeeping forces in Haiti.
  • The ongoing representation of non-governmental organizations pursuing the release of a prominent political dissident wrongfully imprisoned in Vietnam in violation of national and international law.

Publications & News


June 6, 2016

Firm Achieves Significant Judgment in Landmark Free Speech Case at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights

On Friday, 3 June 2016, the firm's international arbitration and litigation practice obtained another significant judgment from the African Court of Human and People's Rights in Konaté v. Burkina Faso—the first freedom of expression case in the Court's history.

March 17, 2016

International Arbitration Law360 Features Rachael Kent in Q&A Series

International Arbitration Law360 has profiled WilmerHale's International Arbitration Practice Vice Chair Rachael Kent in its inaugural Q&A series, which features insights from leading practitioners in the international arbitration practice.

March 7, 2016

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr Again Named Among the World’s Leading International Arbitration Firms in GAR 30

Global Arbitration Review again featured Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in the top ranks of its prestigious GAR 30 list, which includes the leading international arbitration firms in the world. The firm's International Arbitration Practice has been included in these rankings every year since the list's inception nine years ago.

December 2, 2014

Global Arbitration Review Interview with Gary Born Addresses Future of International Arbitration

We are delighted to provide access to an interview of Gary Born by Dr. Michael Moser, Honorary Chairman of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, at GAR Live Hong Kong.

November 19, 2014

Korean Commercial Arbitration Board: An Interview with Gary Born

Gary Born, chair of the firm's International Arbitration Practice Group and the world's preeminent authority on international commercial arbitration and international litigation, participates in an interview with the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board.

April 25, 2014

WilmerHale Attorneys Recognized in Annual Washington DC Super Lawyers Listing

The annual edition of the Washington DC Super Lawyers magazine, published by The Washington Post Magazine, released its 2014 listing which includes 37 WilmerHale attorneys.

February 3, 2014

Partner David W. Bowker Elected to American Law Institute

WilmerHale Partner David W. Bowker, a member of the Litigation/Controversy Department, was recently elected as a member of the American Law Institute (ALI).

December 19, 2013

The Lawyer Ranks WilmerHale Among Top 10 Global Litigation Practices

The Lawyer has ranked WilmerHale among the top 10 litigation practices in the world in this year's list of the Global Litigation Top 50—an annual analysis of which of the world's largest firms are generating the most fee income from disputes.

July 15, 2013

Gary Born and Stephen Pollard Ranked Among The Chambers 100 UK

Partners Gary Born and Stephen Pollard in the firm’s London office have been ranked highly in the 2013 edition of The Chambers 100—a new list that ranks the top lawyers throughout the United Kingdom.

July 23, 2012

Gary Born Appointed Honorary Professor at the University of St. Gallen