Rafael Llano

Partner, Mexico City

Biography

Overview

Rafael Llano Oddone is a seasoned trial lawyer and international arbitrator with extensive experience. In recent years, Rafael has directed many of the most well-known Latin American controversies in the Firm.

Rafael is the head of White & Case's arbitration practice in Mexico City; clients value his experience in large-scale commercial disputes and arbitrations, his advice on investment-related controversies in Latin America, and his guidance in the preparation of arbitration clauses and resolution of disputes in complex international operations.

Rafael regularly represents clients in both commercial and investor-State arbitrations, before numerous fora. He also has negotiated and participated in mediations in complex transnational matters, such as the successful mediation between SGS Société Générale de Surveillance and the Republic of Paraguay, and has served as an arbitrator under various arbitration rules.

As head of the arbitration practice in Mexico City, Rafael has overseen the continuous expansion of that practice in the Latin American region, while regularly collaborating with the Firm's offices around the world. The representation of clients, both inside and outside of Latin America, has given these clients a truly international experience, combined with unique local knowledge. As the only firm in Mexico that offers advice ranked as Band One in both transactional and dispute matters, Rafael's arbitration team offers clients advice on contentious matters with international best practices, coupled with deep business knowledge. Rafael is co-author of a treatise on arbitration clauses focused on Latin America, written in Spanish.

Bars and Courts
New York State Bar
Paraguay Bar
Education
LLM
Harvard Law School
Attorney at Law (Abogado)
Universidad Católica de Asunción
Languages
English
Spanish

Experience

Significant recent experience includes representation of:

  • An Asian company in an ICC arbitration relating to a major Mexican oil-related construction project, and related litigation in the US and Mexico;
  • Multiple financial institutions in a dispute against a Mexican company in relation to a shareholders agreement;
  • A Mexican company in an ICC arbitration concerning a multi-billion merger with a U.S. company;
  • Two South American companies in an ICC arbitration concerning a gas pipeline construction project in Peru;
  • A Central American conglomerate in an ICC arbitration concerning a hydroelectric project;
  • A European construction company in an ICC arbitration concerning a bridge construction project;
  • A U.S. investor and Central American company in an ICC arbitration concerning a hydroelectric project;
  • An Asian company in an ICC arbitration against a South American state involving the mining sector;
  • A South American company in a CIAC arbitration involving the oil and gas sector;
  • An Asian investor in an investor-State arbitration against a Latin American country related to the energy sector;
  • A US investor in an investor-State arbitration against a Latin American country, related to the mining sector;
  • A Latin American oil and gas company in an infrastructure dispute under the rules of the CIRD;
  • A European company in an investor-State arbitration against a Latin American country in the telecommunications sector;
  • The Republic of Peru in an ICSID arbitration involving the maritime transportation sector; 
  • The Republic of Peru in an ICSID arbitration involving the highway construction sector;
  • The Republic of Peru in three related ICSID arbitrations involving the electricity transmission sector;
  • The Republic of Peru in an ICSID arbitration against a US investor involving the energy sector;
  • A Mexican company and an international bank in an ICC arbitration and related U.S. federal litigation concerning the insurance sector;
  • An Asian company in a commercial litigation based in Mexico;
  • A US company in a Mexico-based arbitration involving the automotive sector;
  • A US company in an ICC arbitration involving the satellite communications sector;
  • An Asian contractor in an arbitration involving a power plant in the Middle East under the rules of the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association;
  • A European bank in a Spanish and English-language ICC arbitration involving the sale of interests in a duty-free business in Argentina and
  • An Argentine construction company in an ICC arbitration arising from the construction of a major oil pipeline in Peru
Publications

"Of Carts and Horses: Is There Room for Attachment or Enforcement Ahead of Recognition of Arbitral Awards in Mexico?" Corporate Disputes, Oct.–Dec. 2013 (with Enrique Espejel)

Associate Editor, "Latin American Investment Protections" (2012)

"Cláusulas de Arbitraje para Contratos Internacionales" ("Arbitration Clauses for International Contracts") (2010) (with Paul Friedland)

"Tips for Drafting Arbitration Clauses for Cross-Border Contracts with Latin American Parties," International Disputes Quarterly, Fall 2007

Awards and Recognition

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

Who's Who Legal - Global Arbitration Review: Global Leader in Arbitration (2020) and National Leader – Mexico (2020)

Law 360: "Rising Star" in International Arbitration, 2016