Phone: (202) 297-9057
801 17th St. NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006
Independent Arbitrator, Lawyer
Areas of Expertise:
✔ Aviation ✔ Banking & finance
✔ Commercial/Business ✔ Construction
✔ Contract Disputes ✔ Energy including oil and gas
✔ Engineering ✔ Industrial
✔ Insurance ✔ Intellectual Property
✔ International ✔ Joint Ventures
✔ Mergers & Acquisitions ✔ Mining
✔ Partnerships ✔ Pharmaceuticals
✔ Real Estate ✔ Securities
✔ Shareholder Disputes ✔ Technology
✔ Telecommunications ✔ Transportation
While a partner at Fried Frank, Elliot Polebaum established the Firm’s worldwide international arbitration practice and headed it for more than twenty-five years while dividing his time between the Washington and Paris offices of the Firm. He has appeared as counsel before arbitral tribunals throughout the world in more than 140 international cases.
Law Clerk to James L. Oakes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 1977-78. Law Clerk to William J. Brennan, Jr., Supreme Court of the United States, 1980-81. Partner, Fried Frank, 1989-2016; Of Counsel March 1, 2016-February 28, 2017; Retired from Fried Frank since March 1, 2017. Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, 2004-2005 academic year through 2018, teaching international arbitration.
Recent Cases as Arbitrator: President in an ICC arbitration between Japanese and Canadian parties to a supply agreement in the nuclear industry. Chair in an American Arbitration Association case between US parties to a real estate acquisition and use agreement. Presiding Arbitrator in a PCA arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules between construction companies and an international organization. Co-Arbitrator in an ICDR case between French and US pharmaceutical companies arising out of a collaborative research and licensing agreement. Co-Arbitrator in an ICSID arbitration under the Barbados/Venezuela Bilateral Investment Treaty. Chair in an AAA arbitration between US industrial companies party to a steam purchase and sale agreement. Chair in an ICDR case between US and Chinese parties arising out of a biotechnology licensing agreement. Co-Arbitrator in consolidated ICC cases presenting drilling rig construction claims between Singaporean and Dutch parties. Co-Arbitrator in an HKIAC case between US and Chinese parties arising out of an acquisition agreement. Co-Arbitrator in an ICC case between Japanese and Korean parties arising out of a patent licensing agreement. Sole Arbitrator in an ICDR case between Egyptian and US parties. Co-Arbitrator in two ICC cases between US and English pharmaceutical companies arising out of asset purchase and supply agreements. Emergency Arbitrator in an ICDR case among Dutch, German and Japanese parties to cross-licensing agreements. Chair in an ICDR case between US and Danish parties to an equipment supply agreement. President in an ICC case between the respective US subsidiaries of two Chinese companies arising out of a supply agreement. Sole Arbitrator in an ICDR case between English and US companies to a pooling agreement in the transportation industry. Sole Arbitrator in an ICDR case between Polish and US parties to a services contract in the telecommunications sector. Co-Arbitrator in an ICDR case between Indian and US pharmaceutical parties to a Cooperation Agreement. Chair in an ICC case between Canadian and Argentine parties to an acquisition agreement. Co-Arbitrator in an ICDR case between US and Mexican companies arising out of a stock purchase agreement. Co-Arbitrator between US and Caribbean companies arising out of a hotel resort operating agreement. Chair in an ICC case between Japanese and South American parties to a power plant construction agreement. Sole arbitrator in an ICDR case between French and Korean parties to a semi-conductor supply agreement. Co-Arbitrator in an ad hoc UNCITRAL case between a Canadian company and a U.S. company arising out of a distribution agreement. Co-Arbitrator in an ICDR between Swedish and US companies arising out of an acquisition agreement. Chair in an ICC case between US and Canadian companies arising out of a joint venture agreement. Co-Arbitrator in an ICDR case between British and US companies arising out of a development, marketing and strategic alliance agreement. Sole Arbitrator in an ICC case between German and US companies arising out of a distribution agreement. Co-Arbitrator in an ICDR case between an Austrian US companies arising out of a software license and distribution agreement.
Served as panelist in various CCA, ICC, ICDR, HKIAC and other arbitration conferences.
Admitted in New York, Massachusetts, and Washington DC
For his work as arbitrator, Mr. Polebaum is recognized in Band 1 of Chambers Global Rankings in the category of International Arbitration: Arbitrators USA where he is described as "a distinguished international arbitration practitioner with notable experience as both arbitrator and advocate in a wide range of arbitral proceedings." (2017). He "enjoys an outstanding reputation for his credentials as arbitrator, with deep experience in disputes heard under all major institutional rules and in ad hoc proceedings" (2018) and enjoys "enormous respect in the arbitration community" (2019 and 2020). For his work as counsel, Mr. Polebaum was consistently recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in International Arbitration (National), where he was described as a "lawyer with superb writing skills," "outstanding on his feet," and "always meticulously prepared," and by Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business in International Arbitration (USA), where he was described as "incredibly able and astute," and a "very talented and excellent counsel." Mr. Polebaum was also consistently recognized by Legal 500 in Litigation: International Arbitration, where he was described as "one of the best international arbitration lawyers" in the market and an "outstanding advocate."
ICDR/AAA (Including Aerospace, Aviation and National Security Panel and M&A and Joint Venture Panel) CPR LCIA HKIAC KLRCA Member, Arbitration Committee of the US National Committee of the ICC Member ICC Nominations Commission, 2018-2021
◾Member, Board of Directors of the New York International Arbitration Center (NYIAC) (2012-2017) ◾Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators, Past Co-Chair of International Committee and Current Member of the Board of Directors ◾Member, Law360’s 2016 and 2017 International Arbitration Editorial Advisory Board ◾Member, Arbitration Committee of the US National Committee of the ICC ◾Member, ICC Commission on Arbitration ◾Member, London Court of International Arbitration ◾Member, Panel of Arbitrators of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution ◾Member, Panel of Arbitrators of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre ◾Member, Panel of Arbitrators of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration ◾Member, CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution Panel of Distinguished Neutrals ◾Member, Institut pour L'Arbitrage International
B.A., Middlebury College, 1972, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. M.P.A., Harvard University, 1975. J.D., New York University, 1977. Order of the Coif.
Recent Publications: ◾INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION: COMMERCIAL AND INVESTMENT TREATY LAW AND PRACTICE (ALM/Law Journal Press 2015, 2016 Update) ◾Determining the Fate of Federal ICSID Award Enforcement, Law360 (April 6, 2016) ◾Inside India’s New Investment Treaty Initiative, Law360 (February 19, 2016) ◾Book Review, "Addressing Issues of Corruption in Commercial and Investment Arbitration," The Paris Journal of International Arbitration (2015/4). ◾Oman Held Not Liable for Actions of State-Owned Enterprise, New York Law Journal (December 4, 2015) ◾English Court Removes Arbitrator for Lack of Impartiality, Mealey's International Arbitration Report (April 2015) ◾The English Courts Examine Multiple Dispute Resolution Clauses, Law360 (March 20, 2015) ◾Abusive Reorganization of Investments to Obtain International Treaty Benefits, New York Law Journal (February 11, 2015) ◾Finding of Arbitrator's Evident Partiality and Interlocutory Judicial Removal of an Arbitrator, Mealey's International Arbitration Report (February 2015) ◾U.S. Supreme Court Holds That an Arbitral Tribunal's Decision on Precondition to Arbitration Is Entitled to Deference, International Arbitration Law Review (Vol. 17, Issue 3, 2014) ◾Challenging the Validity and Enforceability of Arbitral Awards Is a Risky Endeavor, Mealey's International Arbitration Report (January 2014) ◾Laos' Challenge to Arbitration Award Highlights Complexities in Enforcement, New York Law Journal (May 30, 2013) ◾Looking to Enforce a Foreign Arbitral Award in the United States? Do Not Forget About Personal Jurisdiction, Mealey's International Arbitration Report (May 29, 2013) ◾Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Resolves a Disputed Issue of Law - U.S. Discovery Is Available in Private International Commercial Arbitration Proceedings, Mealey's International Arbitration Report (January 30, 2013)
Past Speaking Engagements: ◾Speaker, "Expedited and Emergency Arbitrations," GAR Live Frankfurt, June 2017, Frankfurt. ◾Speaker, "So You Really Want To Be An International Arbitrator?", Young International Arbitrators Forum, April 2017, New York. ◾Speaker, "The Hearing in International Arbitration," 19th Annual ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Meeting, April 2017, San Francisco. ◾Speaker, "The Arbitrability of Economic Sanctions," Georgetown International Arbitration Society, February 2017, Washington, DC. ◾Moderator, "Parties, Counsel, and Arbitrators," Conference on Teaching Transnational Commercial Law, November 2016, Washington, DC. ◾Speaker, "The Hearing in International Arbitration," Joint American Arbitration Association/College of Commercial Arbitrators Program, October 2016, Orlando. ◾Moderator, Debate on The Use of Witness Statements in International Arbitration, College of Commercial Arbitrators Annual Meeting, October 2016, Orlando. ◾Speaker, Round Table on Legal Privilege in International Arbitration, Revue de Droit des Affaires Internationales, September 2016, Paris. ◾Speaker, USCIB Expatriate Subcommittee, "ICC Disclosure and Other Transparency Initiatives," April 2016, Paris. ◾Speaker, ABA Dispute Resolution Section Spring Meeting, "The International Arbitration Hearing," April 2016, New York. ◾Speaker, "L'Entreprise Face aux Conflits," November 2015, Paris. ◾Moderator, College of Commercial Arbitrators, Debate on the Appointment of Arbitrators, October 2015, New York. ◾Speaker, "The IBA Guidelines on Party Representation," New York International Arbitration Center, September 2015, New York. ◾Speaker, CIArb Centennial Celebration, March 2015, Hong Kong. ◾Speaker, Young ICCA, March 2015 New York. ◾Moderator, College of Commercial Arbitrators, Debate on Tribunal Authority To Remove Counsel, November 2014, Marina del Rey. ◾Speaker, Washington College of Law, "U.S. Supreme Court Decisions on Arbitration," Washington D.C., March 2014. ◾Speaker, Georgetown International Arbitration Month, "Advantages of International Arbitration," Washington D.C., March 2014. ◾Speaker, London Arbitration Almanac, "The U.S. Year in Review," November 2013, London. ◾Speaker, International Bar Association, "Mass Claims -- Abaclat and Ambiente," October 2013, Boston. ◾Debater, Hong Kong International Arbitration Week, "The Power of International Tribunals to Protect the Integrity of the Proceedings," October 2013, Hong Kong. ◾Speaker, College of Commercial Arbitrators, "Arbitration in Latin America," October 2013, New Mexico. ◾Speaker, PLI International Arbitration, "Pet Peeves of Arbitrators: Best (or at Least Good) Practices," June 2013, New York. ◾Speaker, "Investment Treaty Arbitration," December 2012, Ankara. ◾Speaker, "Litigation v. Arbitration: Pros and Cons," Hong Kong International Arbitration Symposium, June 2012, Hong Kong. ◾Speaker, "What Israeli Companies Need to Know About International Arbitration," May 2012, Tel Aviv. ◾Moderator, Panel on "Arbitration of Intellectual Property Disputes," Third Annual ICC Asia-Pacific Conference, March 2012, San Francisco. ◾Speaker, "Discovery in Complex International Arbitration," American University Washington College of Law Eighth Annual Seminar, October 2011, Washington D.C. ◾Speaker, "Expert Witnesses in International Arbitration," CCH International Arbitration Summit, May 2011, Hong Kong.