MIAMI – Legal news organization Latin Lawyer has bestowed on Reed Smith’s José I. Astigarraga its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award 2024.

Related Professionals: José Astigarraga Peter Rosher

Astigarraga joined the firm in 2017 as global head of the firm’s international arbitration practice. Under his leadership, the firm expanded its practice globally and rose to become a member of the GAR 30, the Global Arbitration Review’s ranking of the world’s top 30 arbitration firms.

“I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to contribute to the development of the practice of international arbitration in Latin America over the course of my career,” said Astigarraga. “Latin Lawyer knows the legal landscape of Latin America, so to have them honor me with this award is wonderfully rewarding.”

Astigarraga has represented many of the world’s leading companies involved in disputes within and outside Latin America. He ranks as one of a handful of the top attorneys worldwide for international arbitration disputes in Latin America, year in and year out.

Astigarraga has extensive involvement in building the arbitration capabilities of lawyers in Latin America. By invitation of the Mexican government, for example, he addressed an assembly of its judges on international arbitration issues, including the New York Convention. He provided training on international arbitration and dispute resolution to public sector entities, such as the negotiators of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. He is a leading figure in training lawyers across the Americas in international arbitration, including at American University in Washington, D.C., and the University of Miami in Florida.

“We congratulate José on this well-deserved recognition, as well as on his many career achievements that culminated in his selection,” said Peter Rosher, who succeeded Astigarraga as global chair of Reed Smith’s international arbitration practice in 2022. “José has had a big hand in developing the next generation of international arbitration practitioners in Latin America and the U.S., and his imprint on alternative dispute resolution will be long-lasting.”

Many of his wide-ranging efforts have helped disseminate professional dispute resolution practices throughout Latin America, including service as vice chair of the Institute of the Transnational Arbitration (ITA). As chair of ITA’s Americas Initiative, he conceived ITAFOR, which today serves as a dynamic forum for the discussion and debate of topical issues in arbitration throughout the region.

His work goes beyond the field of international arbitration. Astigarraga, among other things, served as an expert for the U.S. government before the Organization of American States, and for the World Bank, which published the work he co-authored on Latin American insolvency systems. He served as vice chair of the Board of the National Law Center for InterAmerican Free Trade, whose initiatives included legal reform work in the region. These included developing a model secured lending law and simplifying shipping documentation for cross-border commercial truck traffic in the NAFTA region.

His dedication and contributions to strengthening of the rule of law and dispute resolution in the Americas were earlier recognized when he received the “Lawyer of the Americas” award from the University of Miami School of Law’s InterAmerican Law Review in 2005, for his “outstanding and exemplary service in the field of international law.”

In the next chapter of his career, José plans to expand his work as a mediator and arbitrator, leveraging his years of experience with complex business disputes, his knowledge of common and civil law, his familiarity with Latin America, his bilingual Spanish-English language skills, and his bi-cultural background. “I am looking forward to my next chapter, and I know that the firm’s practice will continue to thrive under Peter Rosher’s leadership.”