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 the Firm's Americas Disputes Section. She serves as counsel or arbitrator in commercial, investment, and construction arbitrations around the world, under all major international arbitration rules (ICC, ICDR/AAA, ICSID, LCIA, UNCITRAL) as well as under ad hoc and regional rules.

Ank has been named a "Leading Lawyer" (Legal 500 USA), "Global Elite Thought Leader" in Arbitration (Who's Who Legal: Global Elite Thought Leaders 2019), one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation in the United States (Benchmark Litigation 2017-2019), Best in Commercial Arbitration (Euromoney's Americas Women in Business Law Awards 2016), and Rising Star of the Year (Euromoney's Global Arbitration Awards 2014).

Clients and market sources say:

  • "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 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)
  • "The 'exceptionally good' Ank Santens is praised by her clients as 'terrific to deal with, both in terms of confident legal advice as well as her client relationship manner.' She is experienced handling proceedings brought under all major arbitral rules and has noted expertise in handling Latin American and CEE-based disputes." (Chambers USA 2018)
  • "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)

Clients who benefit from Ank's advice come from a variety of industries, in particular energy and infrastructure, but also mining, insurance, telecommunications, maritime, pharmaceutical, financial services, logistics, waste management, and consumer goods. They hail from around the globe, with a particular focus on Europe and Latin America.

Corporate clients look to Ank for a wide range of commercial disputes, post-M&A disputes, and disputes concerning joint ventures and other shareholder arrangements. Sovereign clients seek Ank's counsel on investment treaty disputes, as well as disputes relating to oil and gas concessions and sovereign borders.

Ank 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) and Delos Dispute Resolution. 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), the Program Committee of NYIAC 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 a culture of international arbitration 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


Investment treaty case, 2017
Ank is representing the investors in an ICSID claim against Argentina concerning the nationalization of the country's private pension system (MetLife, Inc., & Others v. Argentine Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/17/17)

Construction/infrastructure case, 2017
Ank is representing the owner in a AAA arbitration concerning the construction of a flue gas desulfurization project at a power plant located in the U.S.

Post-M&A ICC arbitration in New York, 2015
Ank represented a Latin American retail company (buyer) in an arbitration against a Latin American private equity fund (seller) concerning various warranties, indemnities and tax provisions in a New York-law governed share purchase and indemnity agreement. The case settled on terms favorable to Ank's client.

Investment treaty case, 2014
Ank is defending Bulgaria against claims arising out of investments in Bulgaria's electricity distribution sector. (EVN AG v. Republic of Bulgaria, ICSID Case No. ARB/13/17)

Investment treaty case, 2014
Ank defended Bulgaria in a case arising out of concession agreements for the provision of waste collection and street cleaning services in the city of Sofia, Bulgaria. (Novera AD, Novera Properties V.V. and Novera Properties N.V. v. Republic of Bulgaria, ICSID Case No. ARB/12/16)

Post-privatization ICC arbitration seated in London and governed by English law, 2013
In an ICC arbitration seated in London and governed by English law, Ank represented an Eastern European State in its $100 million claim for a clawback payment due under its privatization contract with a private equity fund for the privatization of the national telecommunications company. Ank's client prevailed and was awarded costs.

Maritime case, 2013
Ank represented a Latin American chemical company in an ad hoc maritime arbitration seated in New York against the Latin American owner of a tanker. The case settled on terms favorable to Ank's client.

Arbitrator ICDR case, 2013
Ank chaired a three-member tribunal hearing claims totalling over $100 million among several Latin American companies, arising from a transportation agreement for the use of a crude oil pipeline in Latin America.

Construction/infrastructure case, 2011
In a fast-track ICC arbitration in New York, Ank represented a Caribbean owner in a dispute with a renowned Japanese contractor, regarding the construction of a desalination and utilities plant in the Caribbean. New York law applied. Ank's client defeated the contractor's claim for wrongful calling of the performance bond and prevailed on most of its counterclaims for faulty construction.

Insurance cases, 2010-2012
Ank has represented an international energy insurer in several ad hoc arbitrations seated in London and arising out of insurance policies governed by New York law.

Court of Arbitration for Sport case, 2010
Ank 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.

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

"Thought Leader: Arbitration" 2021 Who's Who Legal

Leading Lawyer, Legal 500 USA – International Arbitration 2020

Band 2, Chambers USA – International Arbitration 2020

Best in Commercial Arbitration, Euromoney's Americas Women in Business Law Awards, 2016 and 2020

Leading Lawyer, Legal 500 USA

Global Elite Thought Leader in Arbitration, Who's Who Legal's Global Elite Thought Leaders – Arbitration 2019

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

Rising Star of the Year, Euromoney's Benchmark and Expert Guides, Global Arbitration Awards 2014

One of 44 "Rising Stars" in the New York legal profession, New York Law Journal 2013

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 USA; 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