Ank Santens

Partner, New York


Ank Santens stands out as “a spectacular arbitration practitioner” who is “extremely smart and very impressive” (Who’s Who Legal – Thought Leaders 2019). “Exceptionally good”, she is praised by her clients as “terrific to deal with, both in terms of confident legal advice as well as her client relationship manner.” (Chambers USA 2018).


Ank Santens is a partner in the Firm's International Arbitration Practice, and heads its Americas Disputes Section. She serves as counsel or arbitrator in commercial, investment, and construction arbitrations around the world, under all major international arbitration rules as well as ad hoc and regional rules.

Ank is praised for her work by client and peers alike, and considered a trusted advisor by her clients:

  • "Ank Santens stands out as 'a spectacular arbitration practitioner' for her sophisticated commercial arbitration practice. Market commentators say, 'Ank is extremely smart and very impressive.'" (Who's Who Legal – Global Thought Leaders – Arbitration 2019)
  • "Ank Santens has been outstanding in her support in our dispute. She mastered the details of a complex file and shared strategic insights that were key for us. She also ushered us through an international arbitration process that is not, in our case, usual practice for either in-house counsel or the investment teams. In my practice, I work with a great number of outside counsel, with firms of similar standing, but Ank is one of the few to have gained my complete trust." (Legal 500 USA 2021)
  • "Ank Santens is experienced in acting for both states and investors in investment treaty arbitrations. 'Ank is a very good lawyer - she's very responsive, very knowledgeable and she knows how to manage the company efficiently,'" (Chambers USA 2019)
  • "Ank Santens is an effective cross-examiner." (Legal 500 USA –Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration 2020)
  • "Garry Kasparov … [t]he former chess world champion said the [team led by Ms. Santens] displayed 'a combination of big-picture understanding and management of the smallest details despite heavy time pressure'. 'I would never consider going to any other firm.'" (GAR 100, 2011)

Ms. Santens' corporate clients come from a variety of industries, in particular energy and infrastructure, but also mining, pharmaceutical, and financial services, among others. They hail from around the globe, with a particular focus on Europe and Latin America. Ank advises them on a wide range of commercial disputes, including post-M&A disputes and disputes concerning joint ventures and other shareholder arrangements.

Both corporate and sovereign clients seek Ank's counsel on investment treaty disputes, as well as disputes relating to oil and gas concessions and sovereign borders.

Ms. Santens regularly advises on the drafting of dispute resolution clauses in international contracts. She has a track record of obtaining an early resolution through creative strategies and the use of negotiation and mediation.

Ank's client-centered approach stems from her experience early in her career in the legal department of a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey. She worked in White & Case's Paris office from 2004 to 2006.

Ank is a Court Member of the London Court of International Arbitration, and a member of the Board of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR), Delos Dispute Resolution, and the New York International Arbitration Center (NYIAC). She is the Vice Chair and Chair-elect of the Foundation for International Arbitration Advocacy (FIAA). She also serves on the advisory board of the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA) and the Editorial Committee of International Arbitration Case Law. Past appointments include Chair of CPR's Arbitration Committee, Member of the Advisory Board of Columbia University's Center for International Commercial and Investment Arbitration (CICIA), Vice Chair of the IBA's Arbitration Committee, and service on the ICCA-Queen Mary Task Force on Third Party Funding.

Ank is on the IEL Energy Arbitrators List and the arbitrator panels of the ICDR (American Arbitration Association), CPR, the Câmara de Conciliação, Mediação e Arbitragem CIESP/FIESP (Sao Paulo, Brazil), and the Lagos Court of Arbitration (Nigeria).

Ank is strongly committed to community service. She is a past chair of White & Case's New York's Women's Network, and serves on the Board of International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP), an international pro bono organization, and of her children's school, the French-American School of New York. She helped Haiti build its international arbitration infrastructure as part of the country's efforts to rebuild and attract foreign investment, and has recently advised an African country pro bono on its new arbitration legislation.

Bars and Courts
Solicitor of England and Wales
New York State Bar
US District Court for the Southern District of New York
US District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Columbia University
New York (one semester)
Columbia University School of Law
New York
Licentiate in Law
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Single Candidature in Philosophy
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
ERASMUS Student, Law Faculty, University of Granada, Spain


Commercial cases

Two parallel ICC arbitrations seated in Miami between a Canadian investor (client) and a Mexican infrastructure company arising out of a joint venture for toll road concessions. Concluded by amicable settlement.

ICC arbitration in New York between two Latin American companies arising out of the sale of a retail business. Concluded by amicable settlement.

ICC arbitration in New York between two European telecommunications companies concerning an indemnity in a New York-law governed Share Purchase Agreement. Concluded by amicable settlement.

ICC arbitration in New York arising out of a Supply Agreement for the supply of a rare metal. Our client (respondent) defeated several of the claims.

ICC arbitration in New York arising out of the sale of a chemical business pursuant to a New York law governed Share Purchase Agreement. Complete victory for our client.

ICC arbitration seated in Europe and governed by English law, arising out of the privatization by an Eastern European State of the national telecommunications company to a private equity fund. Complete victory for our client.

Post-acquisition ICC arbitration in New York, governed by New York law, arising out of the purchase by our client of power plants in Thailand and involving breaches of representations and warranties and a price adjustment clause.

ICC arbitration in Prague between an Eastern European power company (client) and a French electricity group over a failed joint venture. Concluded by amicable settlement.

Multi-party ICC arbitration in Paris, governed by French law, over the non-payment of $200 million owed to our client for the establishment of a mobile telephone network in an Eastern European country. Concluded by amicable settlement.

ICC arbitration in London between a European telecommunications company (client) and a Baltic State over the validity of a contract for the construction of a digital television network in the Baltic State. Concluded by amicable settlement.

Three cases (two LCIA and one ICC), governed by English law and seated in London and Zurich, concerning bauxite/alumina supply contracts. Concluded by amicable settlement.

LCIA arbitration seated in London under New York law involving an IP dispute. Concluded by amicable settlement.

ICDR arbitration in New York, governed by New York law, between a Latin American toy distributor (client) and a New York toy supplier. Our client prevailed.

ICDR arbitration in Charlotte, NC, governed by English law, between a U.S. steel processor and a Belgian steel scrap broker (client) over steel supplies. Concluded by amicable settlement.

ICDR arbitration in New York between a U.S. food cooperative and an Italian food company (client) over the marketing of food products in the U.S. Concluded by amicable settlement.

UNCITRAL arbitration between a European manufacturer of aluminum (client) and a Middle-Eastern distributor regarding the allegedly wrongful termination of the French-law governed distribution agreement by our client. Concluded by amicable settlement.

Investment treaty cases

MetLife, Inc., MetLife Servicios S.A. and MetLife Seguros de Retiro S.A. v. Argentine Republic (ICSID Case No. ARB/17/17). Representing the investors. Ongoing.

Samsung Engineering Co., Ltd. v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (ICSID Case No. ARB/17/43). Represented the State. Result confidential.

MAKAE Europe SARL v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (ICSID Case No. ARB/17/42). Represented the State. Result confidential.

Confidential ad hoc arbitration by Western European investors against a State.

ENERGO-PRO a.s. v. Republic of Bulgaria (ICSID Case No. ARB/15/19) and EVN AG v. Republic of Bulgaria (ICSID Case No. ARB/13/170. Represented the State in cases concerning electricity regulation. Result confidential.

Novera AD, Novera Properties V.V. and Novera Properties N.V. v. Republic of Bulgaria. (ICSID Case No. ARB/12/16). Case concerning waste management services in the City of Sofia, Bulgaria. Represented the State. Result confidential.

Construction/infrastructure cases

Arbitration under the AAA construction arbitration rules in relation to the construction of a flue gas desulfurization project for a power plant located in the U.S.

Fast-track ICC arbitration in New York between a Japanese contractor and a Caribbean owner (client) regarding the construction of a desalination and utilities plant in the Caribbean. New York law applied. Our client prevailed on its claims and defeated the counterclaims.

LCIA arbitration in London between a European airport and a consortium of European contractors (client) over an alleged defect in the air traffic control system delivered by a subcontractor. Greek law applied. Concluded by amicable settlement.

CPR arbitration in Connecticut between two U.S. utilities and a European contractor (client) concerning breach of warranty claims arising out of an EPC contract for submarine electrical cables. New York law applied. Our client prevailed on all issues submitted to the Tribunal.

ICC arbitration in New York between a U.S. energy company and a Latin American company (client) over an unpaid bonus in connection with a pipeline project in Colombia. Colombian law applied. Complete victory for our client.

Japan Commercial Arbitration Association (JCAA) arbitration in Tokyo between a Japanese contractor (client) and a Japanese subcontractor regarding the construction of a desalination and power plant in North Africa. Concluded by amicable settlement.

ICC arbitration in Geneva between a Latin American construction company (client) and a consortium of international companies over the construction of a $600 million pipeline in Latin America. New York law applied. Concluded by amicable settlement.

Cairo Centre arbitration between a Middle Eastern company and a European construction company (client) over the construction of a lube oil plant. Concluded by amicable settlement.

UNCITRAL arbitration between an owner (client) and a Turkish contractor regarding the rehabilitation of a road in Central Asia. Concluded by amicable settlement.

Insurance, Sports, and Maritime cases

Several ad hoc insurance arbitrations seated in London under New York law on behalf of an international energy insurer.

Represented the ticket of 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov and several national chess federations in a CAS arbitration against the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in relation to FIDE's 2010 internal elections.

Represented two national chess federations in a CAS arbitration against FIDE in relation to the improper appointment of five Vice Presidents at FIDE's 2010 internal elections.

Represented a Latin American chemical company in an ad hoc maritime arbitration seated in New York against the Latin American owner of a tanker. Concluded by amicable settlement.

Cases as arbitrator

ICC arbitration between a European company and various State entities of another European country relating to a terminated contract for the construction of a power plant (Co-arbitrator).

Edmond Khudyan and Arin Capital & Investment Corp. v. Republic of Armenia (ICSID Case No. ARB/17/36) (Co-Arbitrator).

ICDR arbitration related to a uranium supply contract (Co-Arbitrator).

LCIA arbitration between a U.S. third party funder and BVI counsel (Sole Arbitrator).

ICDR arbitration among several Latin American companies in relation to a dispute under a transportation agreement for the use of a crude oil pipeline in Latin America (Chair).

ICDR arbitration between a European manufacturer of alcoholic beverages and its US distributor (Co-Arbitrator).

ICC arbitration arising out of an instalment sale and purchase contract for LCD monitors between a Chinese company and a California corporation (Sole Arbitrator).

Ex aequo et bono CAM Santiago arbitration among parties from various countries concerning the intellectual property rights to certain acoustic wave stimulation technology in the oil industry (Sole Arbitrator).

Speaking Engagements

Co-chaired the first virtually-held annual workshop of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA) (2020)

Conducted a mock hearing session and taught a class on "Deliberations and Award, Costs, Interest and Attorneys' Fees" at the Comprehensive Course on International Arbitration organized by Columbia Law School and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (New York, 2019 and 2018)

Moderated a panel on "Navigating Risky Business: NAFTA, BITS, etc. – Private arbitration panels making public policy" at CPR's Annual Meeting (Washington DC, 2019)

Spoke on "Representing Sovereign States" at the V CAM-CCBC Pan-American Arbitration Congress (Sao Paulo, 2018)

Spoke on "The Law Created by Commercial Arbitrators" at the IBA Annual Meeting (Rome, 2018)

One of two debaters in a debate on "Paying the Same Dollar Twice – Addressing the Risk of Double Recovery in Related Proceedings" at the 30th Annual ITA Workshop (Dallas, 2018)

Spoke on "Third-Party Funding in International Arbitration" as part of a panel on "Hot Topics in International Arbitration" at an LCIA event (Buenos Aires, 2018)

Participated in a panel on "International Arbitration Awards – Examining and discussing the drafting of International awards and data from a review of ICDR international awards" at the ICDR-AAA International Arbitration Track at the ILAW conference (Miami 2018)

Spoke on a panel entitled "¿Bifurcar o no bifurcar el procedimiento arbitral?" at the ICC PANARB 2018 conference (Panama, 2018)

Moderated a panel on Soft Law in International Arbitration at the IBA Annual Conference (Sydney, 2017)

Spoke on "Further Issues to Consider in the Arbitration Clause" at the ISDA conference on "Derivatives Disputes; Litigating and Arbitrating the ISDA Master Agreement" (New York, 2017)

Moderated panel on "Exploring Intra-Tribunal Dynamics and Decision-Making: Delegation" (New York, 2016)

Spoke on interim measures at the 2016 ITA Workshop (Dallas, 2016)

Advocate at The King's College-Columbia Praelium, a mock hearing event (London, 2016)

Panel on Strategic and Practical Considerations in Multi-Jurisdictional Disputes at a Hedge Fund and Capital Markets Litigation Committee Program (New York, 2016)

Co-chaired the ITA-ASIL Conference: "A Spotlight on Ethics in International Arbitration: Advocates, Arbitrators and Awards" (Washington DC, 2016)

Keynote on "Oral Advocacy" at the Ninth Annual ICDR Practice Moot and Lecture Series (New York, 2016)v


Editor of The CPR Corporate Counsel Manual for Cross-Border Dispute Resolution

Belgian country reporter for the World Arbitration Reporter (Juris) (with Olivier Van Outryve)

International correspondent of the Romanian Review of Arbitration

"The State of Play of Enforcement of Emergency Arbitrator Decisions," in Maxi Scherer (ed), Journal of International Arbitration, Kluwer Law International 2007, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp. 1 – 16 (with Jaroslav Kudrna)

"The US Law of International Commercial Arbitration Restated," 21/1 DISP. RES. MAG. 8, [pincite 8-12] (Fall 2014) (with Professor Catherine A. Rogers and Suyash G. Paliwal)

"International arbitration: a PRIME choice?," Financier Worldwide (July 2012) (with Trina Ng)

"The Move Away from Closed-List Arbitrator Appointments: Happy Ending or a Trend to Be Reversed?," (2011) (with Heather Clark)

United States country reporter for the New York Convention Country Reports (IBA Subcommittee on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards) (2010)

"New York's Federal Court of Appeals Addresses Jurisdictional Requirements for Recognition and Enforcement of New York Convention Awards," IBA Arbitration Newsletter, pp. 202-05 (with Damien Nyer)

"Difficulties Enforcing New York Convention Awards in the U.S. Against Non-U.S. Defendants: Is the Culprit Jurisprudence on Jurisdiction, the Three-Year Time Bar in the Federal Arbitration Act, or Both?," (2009) (with Damien Nyer)

"Arbitration between main contractor and owner: Can its outcome also bind a subcontractor?," Global Arbitration Review, Vol. 4, Issue 5 (2009) (with Kate Brown de Vejar)

"Costs in International Arbitration: A Plea for a Debate on Early Guidance by the Arbitral Tribunal on the Principles it will Apply when Deciding on Costs," (2009) (with Olga Mouraviova)

"Expert Determination Clauses in Contracts Providing for International Arbitration – What Happens when the Expert's Decision is Not Final and Binding?" Arb. Int'l., Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 687 et seq. (2007)

"ICSID Tribunals Apply New Rules on Amicus Curiae," Mealey's Int'l Arb. Report, Vol. 22, #2 (February 2007) (with Andrew McDougall)

"ICSID Amends its Arbitration Rules," [2006] Int.A.L.R. 4, pp. 119-22 (August 2006) (with Andrew McDougall)

"Recent Decision in International Arbitration Addresses Principles Regarding the Use in International Arbitration of Settlement Documents and Evidence Alleged to Have Been Obtained in an Improper Manner," W&C Int'l Disp. Resol. Newsletter, Vol. 18, No. 2 (June 2005) (with Stephen Bond)

"The Internationalization of American Commercial Arbitration," The Institute for Transnational Arbitration's News and Notes, Spring 2004, pp. 1 et seq. (with Paul Friedland)

Awards and Recognition

International Arbitration - Band 1, Chambers USA 2021

Hall of Fame, United States - International Arbitration, Legal 500, 2021

International Arbitration - Band 2, Chambers USA 2021

International Arbitration, Arbitrators - Band 3, Chambers USA 2021

Listed in Euromoney's Women in Business Law Guide, 2021

Listed in Euromoney's Commercial Arbitration Expert Guide 2021

Leading Lawyer, United States - International Arbitration, Legal 500, 2021

"Thought Leader" in Arbitration, Who's Who Legal 2021

Top 30 Experts in Commercial Arbitration, Euromoney's Best of the Best USA 2021

Top 500 in Global Litigation, Lawdragon Global Litigation 500 Guide 2021

Leading Lawyer, Legal 500 USA 2020

Global Elite "Thought Leader" in Arbitration, Who's Who Legal 2020

One of the "Most Highly Regarded Individuals" in Arbitration, Who's Who Legal's Future Leaders 2017

Award for Best in Commercial Arbitration, Euromoney's Americas Women in Business Law Awards, 2016

Rising Star of the Year, Euromoney's Global Arbitration Awards 2014

One of the world's "45 under 45" international arbitration practitioners, Global Arbitration Review 2011

Ranked in: Chambers USA (Band 2); The Best Lawyers in America; Global Arbitration Review 100; The International Who's Who of Commercial Arbitration; The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers; Legal 500 Latin America; Guide to the World's Leading Commercial Arbitration Attorneys; Guide to the World's Leading Women in Business Law; Euromoney's Benchmark Litigation Guide; PLC Which lawyer?; Who's Who Legal; Superlawyers