Hansel Pham | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
Hansel Pham
Hansel Pham

Hansel Pham

Partner, Washington, DC

T +1 202 626 3611

T +1 202 626 3600

E hpham@whitecase.com

in LinkedIn profile


Hansel's practice focuses on helping clients to avoid, assess and resolve international disputes, in particular regarding matters involving complex arbitration or litigation.

He works with companies and multinational corporations to understand and develop their potential claims and defenses. He was a part of the team, for example, which recently helped a Canadian mining company obtain an arbitral award for approximately US$750 million in compensation, relating to an investment in Venezuela.

Hansel has also advised sovereign States on best practices in the drafting of investment treaties and laws, and has substantial experience defending states in investment treaty arbitrations and international commercial arbitrations. He recently assisted a Southeast Asian state in securing the complete dismissal of more than US$1 billion in claims, while also recovering US$11 million in legal fees in related disputes.

In addition, Hansel has obtained favorable results for clients in US federal court cases involving the recognition and enforcement of international arbitral awards, as well as issues of US foreign relations law, such as the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the International Organizations Immunity Act and the Act of State Doctrine.

Hansel has been appointed to senior positions within a number of professional associations. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the International Bar Association's North American Forum, Director of the D.C. Bar Attorney/Client Arbitration Board, Secretary of the IBA Foundation and Associate Editor of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration's News and Notes Publication.

Hansel has been a leader in a number of legal and charitable organizations, acting as a Founding Director of the Vietnamese American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, DC Area, and as a Former Chair of the Board of Directors for Asian American LEAD, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Washington, DC.

Bars and Courts

  • US District Court for the District of Columbia
  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • US District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • New York State Bar
  • District of Columbia Bar


  • JD, Harvard Law School
  • Harvard University


  • English
  • Vietnamese


Construction Arbitration:
Consortium of Construction Companies, 2015-Present

Represented a consortium of construction companies in a series of construction arbitrations regarding a dispute over the expansion of the Panama Canal.

International Arbitrations:
Central Asian State, 2013–2015

Represented the State in two separate investment arbitrations before ICSID relating to the retail and textile industries.

Republic of the Philippines, 2003–2014

Successfully secured the dismissal of approximately US$510 million in claims against the Republic of the Philippines in an investment treaty arbitration before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The arbitration related to a concession to construct and operate an international airport passenger terminal ('Fraport v. Republic of the Philippines').

Canadian mining company, 2010–2014

Successfully assisted a Canadian mining company in obtaining an award of compensation of more than US$750 million, in an arbitration conducted under the ICSID Additional Facility Rules, which related to an investment in Venezuela ('Gold Reserve v. Venezuela').

Republic of the Philippines, 2003–2011

Successfully secured the dismissal of more than US$585 million in claims against the Republic of the Philippines, in an international commercial arbitration before the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The dispute related to a government concession contract under the Philippine Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law.

Commercial Litigation:
American Arbitration Association, 2012–2013

Obtained a favorable outcome from the US Supreme Court in representing the American Arbitration Association as an amicus curiae party. The dispute related to the standards for judicial review of international arbitral awards in the United States ('BG Group v. Republic of Argentina').

Publishing Company, 2013

Obtained a favorable settlement for a company in an employment dispute.

Saudi Aramco and US subsidiaries, 2006–2011

Successfully represented Saudi Aramco and its US subsidiaries in obtaining the early dismissal of a class action antitrust lawsuit in a multidistrict litigation with at least hundreds of billions of US dollars at stake ('Fast Break Foods v. Saudi Arabian Oil Company et al.').

Advisory Work:
Sovereign states, 2008–2015

Advised sovereign States on best practices in the drafting of foreign investment treaties and laws.

State-owned corporation, 2013–2014

Advised a State-owned corporation on the effect that certain internet activities may have on sovereign immunity and other jurisdictional issues under US law.

Sovereign state, 2009–2011

Advised a sovereign State on the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and the act of state doctrine, in relation to efforts to recover funds illegally transferred overseas.

Speaking Engagements

"Interim Measures in International Arbitration", June 16, 2016: ITA 28th Annual Workshop, Emergency Arbitrators and Interim Measures in International Arbitration,
Dallas, TX

"Investing in Africa: Opportunities for Businesses and the Lawyers Who Counsel Them", June 29-July 1, 2016: 2nd Annual IBA Investing in Africa Conference,
London, England

"Judicial Review of International Arbitral Awards Involving Issues of Corruption", December 1, 2015: ITA 10th Annual Americas Workshop, Underlying corruption issues in Arbitration,
Mexico City

"Defending Uzbekistan's Commitment to the Rule of Law and Judicial Due Process through International Arbitration", March 17, 2015: Workshop on Improving Effectiveness of the Court and Justice Administration in Uzbekistan: Challenges and Prospects,
Washington, D.C.

"Overview of Investor-State Arbitration", March 14, 2015: Generations in Arbitration,
Hong Kong

"40th International Arbitration Symposium: Investment Arbitration in the Asia-Pacific", February 25, 2015: Asia-Pacific Forum for International Arbitration,
Washington, DC

"Best Practices and New Developments in High-Stakes Litigation and Arbitration", December 4, 2014: IBA North American Regional Forum,
Atlanta, GA

"Panel on High-Stakes International Issues", December 3, 2014: ICC Young Arbitrators Forum,
Atlanta, GA

"The FSIA and New York Convention in the Enforcement of International Arbitral Awards in the United States", April 22, 2013: Atlanta International Arbitration Society, Convergence and Divergence in International Arbitration Practice,
Atlanta, GA

"Annulment of ICSID Awards involving Asian States", October 2, 2013: Investment Treaty Arbitration in Asia 101, Arbitrations and Contracts with Chinese, Indian and ASEAN Parties, Singapore International Arbitration Centre,
New York

"Non-Pecuniary Remedies in Investment Arbitration", March 8, 2013: Harvard International Law Journal Symposium, Investment Treaty Arbitration: Approaching the System's Adulthood,
Cambridge, MA

"International Organizations' Response to Foreign Bribery", December 4, 2012: The International Fight Against Corruption: What's Working, What's Not Working, and What Will Work?,
Washington, DC
, Moderator

"Effective Use of Witness Statements", October 26, 2012: A Day of International Arbitration in Study and Practice,
New York


  • Challenges to Party Representatives and Counsel Before International Courts and Tribunals, in Challenges and Recusals of Judges and Arbitrators in International Courts and Tribunals, 2015, (co-author with M. Imad Khan)
  • Safeguard for foreign investors – A practical approach: investment protection and TTIP, Business Law Magazine, Dec. 2014, (co-author with Dr. Markus Burianski and Dr. Sonja Dünnwald)
  • The Principle of State Sovereignty over Natural Resources in US Lawsuits against OPEC and Member Countries, OPEC and International Law, 2010, (co-author with Carolyn Lamm and Robert Milne)
  • Fraud and Corruption in International Arbitration, Liber Amicorum Bernardo Cremades, 2010, (co-author with Carolyn Lamm and Rahim Moloo)
  • Has the Time Come for an ICSID Code of Ethics for Counsel?, Yearbook on International Investment Law & Policy 2009-2010, (co-author with Carolyn Lamm and Chiara Giorgetti)
  • Consent and Due Process in Multiparty Investor-State Arbitrations, International Investment Law for the 21st Century: Essays in Honour of Christoph Schreuer, 2009, (co-author with Carolyn Lamm and Alexandra Meise Bay)
  • Interim Measures and Dismissal under the 2006 ICSID Rules, The Future of Investment Arbitration, 2009, (co-author with Carolyn Lamm and Chiara Giorgetti)
  • Enforcing Foreign Arbitral Awards in the United States: The Non-Arbitrable Subject Matter Defense, Journal of International Arbitration, 2008, (co-author with Abby Cohen Smutny)
  • Developing Countries and the WTO: The Need for More Mediation in the DSU, Harvard Negotiation Law Review, 2004

Awards & Recognition

Leading Individual, Global Arbitration Review, 2014

International Arbitration