Arif Hyder Ali is the co-chair of Weil’s International Arbitration practice, which consists of some 30 partners and associates spread across the firm’s 21 offices. Mr. Ali is based in the firm’s Washington, DC office.
He is consistently rated as one of the world’s leading international arbitration and public international lawyers by: Chambers and Partners (USA, Global and Latin America), Global Arbitration Review, Who's Who in American Law, Who's Who in Public International Law, The Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Experts in Commercial Arbitration, Lawdragon, PLC Which Lawyer?, The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, Washington Super Lawyers, and The International Who's Who of Commercial Arbitration Lawyers. He has also received several awards for client service and results. For example, in 2011, he received the International Law Office's Client Choice Award for International Arbitration (USA); and in 2001, he was decorated by the King of Bahrain with the Order of Bahrain (II) for his role in representing Bahrain in its territorial and maritime border dispute with Qatar before the International Court of Justice.
Mr. Ali has represented parties from the United States and Canada, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and across Asia in international commercial and investment arbitrations under many of the major international and regional arbitral regimes (e.g., ICC, ICSID, LCIA, UNCITRAL, ICDR, CRCICA, DIAC). He has also represented parties before inter-governmental tribunals, including the US-Iran Claims Tribunal and the United Nations Compensation Commission.
He has served as lead counsel in arbitrations covering a broad range of industries and economic activity, including foreign direct investment; privatization; the construction, operation and commercialization of thermal, nuclear, and hydro power plants; oil and gas pipeline construction and concession-related matters; mining concessions; gas pricing disputes; natural resource exploitation projects and contracts; the development and operation of tourism and hospitality projects; project finance and development agreements; contract stabilization and renegotiation issues; patents and trademarks; top-level and second-level domain names; and information technology-related disputes. A number of his cases have set important precedents and are the subject of academic commentary.
Mr. Ali frequently sits as an arbitrator and has also served as a mediator in a wide variety of international disputes, involving the governing laws of different jurisdictions and under various institutional regimes.
He is also an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University, where he teaches international arbitration. From 2007 to 2012 he was an honorary lecturer and member of the Global Faculty of the University of Dundee’s Centre for Energy, Mining and Petroleum Law and Policy. He sits on the editorial boards of publications such as the Arbitration and Mediation Review and Dispute Resolution International. He is also an advisory board member of the Foreign Direct Investment International Moot Court Competition and the International Bar Association's Subcommittee on Investment Arbitration. In addition, he has served as an advisor to several arbitral institutions, including the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center, the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, the Gulf Cooperation Council Arbitration Centre, and the Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre.
Mr. Ali has taught at law faculties and spoken at more than one hundred conferences around the world on a wide variety of topics, including dispute resolution and risk management in the hydrocarbons and mineral extraction industries; power sector disputes; construction sector disputes; arbitration developments in various jurisdictions and regions of the world; substantive, procedural, and evidentiary issues in state-investor arbitration; substantive, procedural, and evidentiary issues in international commercial arbitration; enforcement of arbitral awards; information technology and Internet dispute resolution; arbitral deliberations and decision-making; globalization and international economic development; rule of law and international investment; and diversity issues and the practice of international law.
From 1993 to 1996, he was a section chief at the UN Compensation Commission, a special division of the UN Security Council, and from 2000 to 2001, he served as senior counsel at the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center.
While attending Columbia University, Mr. Ali was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, in December 1986. At New York University School of Law, he was awarded the Vanderbilt Medal and was a research assistant to Professor Andreas F. Lowenfeld, a member of the Annual Review of American Law, and president of the International Law Students Association. He received his Juris Doctor degree in 1990.
Mr. Ali is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and is a Registered Foreign Lawyer in England and Wales. His working languages are English, Spanish, and French. He is also conversant in Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, and Portuguese.
He is an avid Manchester United fan, secret poet, determined chef, and intrepid traveler. His love for the law is only surpassed by his love for his family.
Awards and Rankings
“Practice chair Arif Ali is rated for his extensive knowledge in oil and gas, energy and mining matters. ‘He is wonderful,’ sources say.” Chambers & Partners Global 2012
“He is hailed as ‘a polished maestro in his field.’” Chambers & Partners Latin America 2012
"Arif Ali now cochairs the firm's international arbitration practice, and he is highly praised by sources as being 'very knowledgeable, articulate and a gentleman.' He brings a wealth of experience in the arbitration arena, with expertise in diverse industries and jurisdictions. He is particularly noted for his work in matters concerning Latin America and is equally adept in commercial and investment treaty arbitration." Chambers & Partners USA 2012
“Arif Ali has great energy and market sense, and has done a wonderful job building a team.” Chambers & Partners Global 2011
“Arif Ali . . . is praised for his international arbitration skills. He is an impressive lawyer who is making substantial inroads into the market.” Chambers & Partners Latin America 2011
“Co-chair of the group Arif Ali is credited by interviewees with responsibility for much of the firm's success. Sources describe him as a ‘brilliant lawyer and a real pleasure to work with: he has vast knowledge and a pragmatic approach.’ He has succeeded in expanding the firm’s Latin American presence over the last year, and is fast becoming recognized as a key player in the region.” Chambers & Partners USA 2010
“Arif Ali is much commended by peers for his ‘extensive knowledge’ of complex arbitration issues, while clients greatly appreciate the ‘clarity of his explanations throughout a process that can often be complicated.'” Chambers & Partners USA 2008
“Possessed of ‘diamond pedigree,’ [Arif] has an ‘intuitive sense for advocacy and a seemingly inexhaustible passion for the subject of arbitration.’ He also draws particular acclaim for his ‘unique case preparation methods, which are the best and most rigorous in the field.'” Chambers & Partners USA 2007
International Law Office Client Choice Awards (2010)
Excerpts of Anonymous Client Interviews
“In my initial consultation with Mr. Ali, he clearly stood out amongst his peers. His uptake of our circumstances was rapid, his questions cut to the quick and his conclusions and advice were concise. I left the meeting with no doubt about my choice of representation.”
“Mr. Ali has a thorough knowledge of international arbitration law which has obviously earned him great respect from: his colleagues … who rely on him; opposing counsel; and the arbitrators themselves, who obviously respect him.”
“Mr. Ali’s preparation for hearings is thorough. He is demanding of himself and his colleagues and will not be outworked. Mr. Ali’s anticipation of the opposing side's tactics is keenly intuitive.” “Presentation skills during the proceedings are concise, eloquent and persuasive. Mr. Ali’s focus and adaptability during the hearings is insightful. He thinks clearly on the run having the impressive ability to intake large volumes of information, boil that information down quickly, come to accurate conclusions and make moves on the fly.”
“Mr. Ali has an outstanding intellect evident in his ability to quickly absorb relevant technical and scientific information. He combines his superior legal abilities and intellect with an unwavering commitment - a willingness to give every drop of effort he has inside him.”
“Arif has worked on our international arbitration. Having consulted other leading international law firms with formidable Arbitration teams and reputations, we were immediately impressed with Mr Ali’s 'Outside of the Box’ thinking and his uncanny ability to spot from the outset, potential argument angles that had been completely missed by the other firms.”
“Arif has an absolutely brilliant ability to rapidly understand the complexities of a business operation in the context of a contentious dispute, and to develop masterful strategies of advocacy that drive meaningful resolutions and advance the business objectives of the client. I never cease to be astounded by the facility with which he takes command of a seemingly overwhelming web of facts, witnesses, languages, and laws, and assembles it into an orderly and powerful narrative of advocacy. This ability is the ultimate client service, because Arif engages with and appreciates the intricacies of our business practices, and he is able to articulate the critical connections between those practices and the laws and contractual relationships that govern them.”
“Equally important is Arif’s ability to transcend cultural barriers, embracing and nurturing relationships with our associates around the world to foster the trust and open communication that is critical to successful international representation. His dedication to developing his own team of incredibly talented and diverse colleagues is another example of his instinct that inclusiveness is important both for the benefit of the young lawyers he mentors, but also to provide engaged and effective client service to a global company.”