Jonathan C. Hamilton

Partner, Washington, DC


“A brilliant strategist and leader,” “an incredible powerhouse,” “a brilliant lawyer,” “a great negotiator,” and “a dynamic driving force” with “first-class expertise, outstanding technical capability, shrewd insight in formulating strategy and a radiant leadership charisma.”
Chambers / Legal 500


Jonathan C. Hamilton is a leading international lawyer and a longstanding partner with the global law firm White & Case LLP.  

Over more than two decades, he has built a multinational and multilingual practice that is ranked at the top of its field and described by professional guides as "a powerhouse at the forefront of Latin American international arbitration" and "the best law firm for Latin America arbitration." (Legal 500)  The practice repeatedly has been ranked number one in the world in international arbitration.  (Global Arbitration Review)  As one professional guide highlights, "White & Case – led by Jonathan Hamilton, the firm's head of Latin American Arbitration – has cemented its position as the top arbitration firm in Latin America." (Latinvex)

Mr. Hamilton has successfully advised on billions of dollars in international disputes and investment involving landmark legal issues of the era that span sectors and jurisdictions across the Americas and beyond. From Machu Picchu to the Panama Canal, he has deep experience with high stakes disputes before diverse courts and arbitration institutions and rules, and deals involving complex negotiation and crisis management.  Accolades have included Most Influential Arbitration Award of the Decade, American Lawyer Global Dispute of the Year/Americas, Best Arbitration Award, Latin Lawyer Deal of the Year and Financial Times Innovative Lawyers.  

"White & Case LLP's Latin America practice head Jonathan Hamilton is ‘an incredibly sharp attorney with an exceptional drive that is transferred to his team and transforms into positive results.'" (Legal 500)  Clients and professional guides describe him as "a super-lawyer-dealmaker," citing his "dominance in the field," "single-minded commitment to the client's cause," "flawless Spanish and very impressive advocacy," "impressive grasp of strategy," "deep understanding and efficiency," "experience, expertise, commitment," "great dynamism, extraordinary background and deep understanding," "experience, tenacity and relationship-building" and "exceptional drive."  (Chambers, Legal 500, LatinLawyer) 

Based in Washington, DC, Mr. Hamilton has a strong record of proven organizational leadership within and beyond the Firm.  He has extensive experience in public affairs and "unlimited skills on the political side of the fence; his ability to foresee, to judge, to understand, he really covers it all.  He prepares for everything, knows what's going on and is always one step ahead." (Chambers)  He started his career with the Firm in New York City and then Mexico City.

Mr. Hamilton is also a seasoned thought leader and professor, serving as the Distinguished Faculty Chair of the International Arbitration Institute at the University of Miami School of Law.  His publications include a book on Latin American investment protections and numerous articles and chapters on investment, procedure, policy, and public affairs.  He has spoken at major conferences worldwide and major universities such as Berkeley, Columbia, Georgetown, Harvard, Oxford, Penn, Virginia and Yale.

Mr. Hamilton completed a J.D. at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Journal of International Law; an M.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and a B.A. at Brandeis University; and the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme at the Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford.  He has additional experience as a federal law clerk, a foreign associate in Peru, a research assistant to legal fiction author John Grisham and a range of policy and philanthropic activities.

Bars and Courts
District of Columbia Bar
New York State Bar
US District Court for the District of Columbia
University of Virginia
University of North Carolina
Brandeis University
Oxford University


Machu Picchu
Representation in a dispute relating to the repatriation of artifacts to Peru, the result of which was described by The Economist as sending "a message to collectors around the world."

Infrastructure development
Representation in a dispute concerning The Quito international airport project, which was described by Latin Lawyer as "one of the most complex project disputes in Latin America's recent history."

Sovereign debt
Representation in a mass claim relating to Argentine Sovereign debt, which was described by IA Reporter as "the first prominent use of an investment protection treaty to challenge a sovereign government's handling of a default and restructuring", and as "a wake-up call", the effects of which "may reverberate widely."

Panama canal
Representation in the negotiation of an agreement and related dispute undertakings, facilitating the continuation of the Canal expansion project.

Multilateral institutions
Representation in the first case by a Latin American state registered at the World Bank arbitration center, relating to the development of the Peruvian energy sector.

Investment protections
Representation in major international cases concerning legal stability protections, which Chambers noted as having established "a strong precedent for stability agreements as a means of protecting foreign investment."

World Trade Organization
Representation in a state-to-state dispute concerning the relationship between free trade agreements and the world trade system.

Social development
Contributions included serving on the US-Mexico Foundation board, on the Vance Center for International Justice board, on foreign policy working groups, and as an international election observer.

Speaking Engagements

"Complex Negotiations and Crisis Management in Latin America: International Development and Dispute Resolution", 2014: Harvard Law School, Cambridge

"Legados Míticos: The Legends of Latin American Arbitration", 2014: ICCA Congress, Miami

"Latin American Investment Arbitration and Negotiation", 2014: University of Miami School of Law

"The Rule of Law and Investment Arbitration", 2014: University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville

"Contract and Treaty Rights and Claims", 2013: AmCham, Lima, Peru

"The Intersection of Investment and Human Rights Regimes", 2013: CCIL Annual Conference, Ottawa

The Public Perspective: Transparency in International Disputes", 2013: ICC Annual Miami Conference on International Arbitration in Latin America, Miami

"Peruvian Investment Arbitration", 2013: Simposio Internacional de Arbitraje, Cámara de Comercio de Lima/Universidad del Pacífico, Lima

"Latin American International Arbitration: Which Latin American Seat?", 2013: GAR Live Conference, New York

"The Importance of Latin American Investment Arbitration", 2013: University of Richmond, Richmond

"Clashing Paradigms for Resolving International Investment Disputes", 2013: Yale Institute of International Arbitration, Miami


The Intersection of Investment and Trade, Global Arbitration Review, 2014

Latin American Truth Commissions, 2013

The Latin American Arbitration Law Compendium, 2000-Present

50 Años de la Convención de Nueva York: Implicancias para América Latina, Revista Ecuatoriana de Arbitraje, 2009

Three Decades of Latin American Commercial Arbitration, University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, 2009

Developments in Latin American Arbitration: 2009, Transnational Dispute Management

Survey of Trends in Latin American Arbitration, International Disputes Quarterly, 2009

Awards and Recognition

Notable Practitioner, Chambers Latin America 2014
International Arbitration – Latin America-wide

Leading Lawyer: Chambers Global 2014
International Arbitration – Latin America-wide

Recommended Lawyer: The Legal 500 2014, 2014
International Arbitration – Latin America

Recommended Lawyer: Who's Who Legal 2014
Commercial Arbitration

Best Lawyer, Best Lawyers 2015
International Arbitration – Commercial/ Governmental

Latin Lawyer

The International Who's Who of Commercial Arbitration

Global Arbitration Review