Ank Santens

Partner, New York


Ank Santens is “held in high regard for her expertise in investor-state arbitrations and is experienced in advising both investors and states” (Chambers USA 2024). Market sources note that “she’s really smart, she's serious and she has high integrity”, and also highlight her unique ability as “a formidable opposing counsel.” (Chambers USA 2024). An “excellent professional”, she is also praised by clients as having “deep knowledge of their industry” (The Legal 500 Latin America 2023).


Ank Santens is a partner in the Firm's International Arbitration Practice. 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.  

Ms. Santens' industry experience includes energy and infrastructure, as well as telecommunications, mining, life sciences, financial services / insurance / pensions, waste management services, and consumer goods, among others. Her clients include corporates and sovereigns from around the globe, with a focus on Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the United States.

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

  • Ank delivers sound advice with a strategic and multidisciplinary approach. She's knowledgeable, strategic, dedicated and responsive, as well as genuinely caring about her clients." "She's a wonderful, extremely impressive and measured lawyer." "She's really smart, talented in arbitration and strong procedurally." (Chambers USA 2023)
  • "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)
  • "Clients recommend Ank Santens in New York for her 'effective' cross-examination techniques and trust-inspiring approach." (Legal 500 USA 2023)
  • "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 takes a proactive approach to the prevention and resolution of international disputes, and regularly advises on the drafting of dispute resolution clauses in international contracts and structuring foreign investments. She is the chief editor of The CPR Corporate Counsel Manual for Cross-Border Dispute Resolution, a practical manual for the drafting of international dispute resolution clauses, investment treaty planning, and managing the resulting disputes. Ank 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 the Chair of the Foundation for International Arbitration Advocacy (FIAA), 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 also serves on the Executive Committee of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA), the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA), and the Editorial Committee of International Arbitration Case Law, and is an Honorary Overseas Member of the London-based Commercial Bar Association (ComBar). 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 serves on the Board of International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP), an international pro bono organization, and is proud recipient of ISLP's Global Impact Volunteer Award. 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. She also served as a Board member of the French-American School of New York. 

At White & Case, Ank has served in several leadership roles, including Chair of the New York's Women's Network, Head of the Americas Disputes Regional Section, and Secretary of the Firm.

Bars and Courts
New York
US District Court for the Southern District of New York
US District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Solicitor of England and Wales
semester (concentration on dispute resolution)
Columbia University

New York

Columbia University School of Law

New York, Harlan Fiske Stone scholar

Master in Law
KU Leuven

Belgium, cum laude

Bachelor in Philosophy
KU Leuven

Belgium, cum laude

ERASMUS Student, Law Faculty, University of Granada, Spain, magna cum laude

Leadership in Law Firms
Harvard Law School

Executive Education



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

  • Advising several investors on potential investment treaty claims against various Latin American countries.
  • PCCW Cascade (Middle East) Ltd. v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (ICSID Case No. ARB/22/20). Representing the State. Ongoing.
  • Honduras Próspera Inc. v. Honduras (ICSID Case No. ARB/23/2). Representing the investors. Ongoing.
  • Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and CDP Groupe Infrastructures Inc. v. United Mexican States (ICSID Case No. ARB/23/53). Representing the investor. Ongoing.
  • 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). Result confidential.
  • MAKAE Europe SARL v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (ICSID Case No. ARB/17/42). Result confidential.
  • Represented an Eastern State in a confidential ad hoc investment treaty arbitration brought by Western European investors. Obtained bifurcation on jurisdiction and a dismissal of the case for lack of jurisdiction.
  • 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. Obtained complete victories.
  • 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

  • ICDR arbitration in New York under New York law on behalf of the owner of an LNG plant in Nigeria against the contractor, claiming for faulty construction of LNG trains and seeking over US$ 700 million in damages.
  • 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.
  • UNCITRAL arbitration between an international organization (client) and a Turkish contractor regarding the rehabilitation of a road in Central Asia. Concluded by amicable settlement.
  • 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.

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 Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) arbitration against the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in relation to FIDE's 2010 presidential 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

  • LCIA arbitration between a European Formula One company and a U.S.-based sponsor relating to a sponsorship agreement (Sole Arbitrator).
  • ICC arbitration between a European company and a European State and various State entities relating to a terminated contract for the construction of a power plant (Co-arbitrator).
  • CEPANI arbitration between a U.S. multinational and a European individual relating to a former employment relationship (Chair).
  • 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

Spoke at the inaugural GAR Live Riyadh conference on a panel titled "An ISDS starter kit: back to basics" (Riyadh 2024)

Co-led a training session on "Multiple arbitration agreements and/or claims" at the ICC Institute of World Business Law's advanced training on Complex Arbitrations, part of the18th ICC New York Conference on International Arbitration (New York 2023)

Presented "An Overview of Investment Treaty Arbitration" webinar hosted by the Nairobi Centre of International Arbitration, White & Case LLP, and International Senior Lawyers Project (Virtual 2023)

Spoke on a panel entitled "Arbitrating ESG Disputes" at Columbia Arbitration Day (New York 2023)

Spoke on "Is Latin America facing unusually high risks? An economic analysis and its contractual consequences" as part of a panel at the 20th ICC Miami Conference on International Arbitration (Miami 2022)

Co-chaired the 33rd Annual Workshop of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA) on "Arbitrator Ethics in International Arbitration: A Developing Story of Challenges, Codes, Conflicts and Disclosures" and moderated a roundtable on "Emerging Codes of conduct for arbitrators in ISDS" (Virtual 2021)

Co-chaired the 32nd Annual Workshop of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration on "Ethical Challenges with Virtual Arbitration Proceedings" (Virtual 2020)

Spoke on "The impact of new technology on the arbitration industry" at the SCCA 19th International Conference organized by the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration (Riyadh 2019)

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)

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)

Spoke on "Third-Party Funding in International Arbitration" at an LCIA event (Buenos Aires, 2018)

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

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

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


"Security for Costs: Facially Anti-Arbitration But Upon Consideration Decidedly Pro-Arbitration" in Pro-Arbitration Revisited: A Tribute to Professor George Bermann From His Students (JurisNet 2023) (with Stephen Hogan-Mitchell)

Chief 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)

"Latin American arbitration in transition" in Latin America Focus (White & Case 2021) (with Jonathan C. Hamilton, Viviana Mendez, and Estefanía San Juan)

"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)

"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)

Awards and Recognition

Award for Best in Commercial Arbitration, Euromoney's Americas Women in Business Law Awards, 2021 and 2016

International Arbitration, Counsel: Band 2, Chambers Global 2023 & Chambers USA 2023

International Arbitration, Arbitrators: Band 3, Chambers Global 2023 & Chambers USA 2023

Named one of the Top 30 Experts in Commercial Arbitration (Euromoney's Best of the Best USA), one of the Top 500 litigation lawyers (Lawdragon Global Litigation 500 Guide), a "Leading Lawyer" in International Arbitration (Legal 500 USA), "Global Elite Thought Leader" in Arbitration (Who's Who Legal: Global Elite Thought Leaders), and one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation in the United States (Benchmark Litigation)

Ranked in: Who's Who Legal: Global Leaders; 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; Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Commercial Arbitration Attorneys; Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Women in Business Law