Judd L. Kessler

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Alternative Dispute Resolution Attorney in Washington, DC

Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, LLP
 | 2020 K Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-778-3080
Fax: 202-778-3063
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2012 - 2019
Licensed Since: 1972
Education: Harvard Law School
Practice Areas:
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (60%),
  • International (30%),
  • Government Relations (10%)
Languages Spoken:
  • English,
  • Spanish
Attorney Profile

Judd L. Kessler is Counsel to the Firm at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP who principally serves as an arbitrator in international commercial and investment arbitration cases; he alsorepresents clients international business transactions, international compliance programs, international project financing and government contracting. Previously Assistant General Counsel for the U.S. Agency for International Development, Mr. Kessler also served as Chief Counsel for Near East AID programs and was appointed to the career rank of Counselor in the Senior Foreign Service by President Ronald Reagan.

With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, Mr. Kessler is admitted to practice in New Jersey, Maryland and the District of Columbia, as well as before the Supreme Court of the United States. In 2009 he was given the William Roy Vallance Award, in 2004 he was awarded the Inter-American Jurisprudence Prize by the Inter-American Bar Association and he was the International Lawyer of the Year in 2002 for the Inter-American Bar Association.

Mr. Kessler is a member of the Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C., the national coordinator and founder of The Export Legal Assistance Network, a pro bono program to assist individuals and companies that are new to exporting and a past chairman of the International Section of the Federal Bar Association. A former president of the Inter-American Bar Foundation, he is currently a member of the American Bar Association, The American Society of International Law, the International Council for Commercial Arbitration, the London Court of International Arbitration and the International Panel of Arbitrators for the American Arbitration Association/ICDR.

With a keen eye for business and political issues that may be sensitive for major international companies as well as extensive knowledge in ITAR, EAR, OFAC and other U.S. export controls, he provides legal advice for both broad and immediate needs. Mr. Kessler has also been one of 80 lawyers worldwide recognized for their experience in arbitration related to international investment.

Practice Areas
Lawyer Practice Area Pie Chart

Alternative Dispute Resolution (60%)

International (30%)

Government Relations (10%)


Selected to Super Lawyers for 8 yearsbottom-image

Super Lawyers: 2012 - 2019

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About Judd Kessler

Admitted: 1972, Washington D.C.

Professional Webpage: https://www.porterwright.com/judd-l-kessler/


  • Chambers USA and Global, International Arbitration - Band One
  • William Roy Vallance Award, 2009
  • U.S. Presidential, “E” Award (Excellence in Export Service), Export Legal Assistance Network, 1997
  • Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers®, Alternative Dispute Resolution, International Practice
  • Inter-American Jurisprudence Prize, Inter-American Bar Association, 2004
  • William Roy Vallance Award, 2009
  • Recognized as one of approximately 80 most experienced international investment arbitrators worldwide, Investment Arbitration Reporter
  • International Lawyer of the Year (Norberg Award), Inter-American Bar Association, 2002
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, International Arbitration - Governmental

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Maryland
  • National Coordinator, Export Legal Assistance Network
  • American Bar Association
  • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), United States Arbitration Committee
  • American Arbitration Association, International Panel of Arbitrators
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • District of Columbia
  • American Society of International Law
  • London Court of International Arbitration
  • New Jersey
  • Founder, Export Legal Assistance Network
  • Past Chairman, Federal Bar Association, International Section
  • World Bank, International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), Panel of Arbitrators and Conciliators

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Past President, Inter-American Bar Foundation
  • Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C.
  • International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA)

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • “Investment Protection in Latin America,” The Inter-American Bar Association D.C. Chapter, April 11, 2017
  • “Proof of damages in international arbitration: A crucial but not very glamorous aspect of the process,” Arbitration: Journal of Commercial and Investment Arbitration, The Center for International Arbitration, 2011; this article also published in Spanish, Spain Arbitration Review, 2011
  • “Investment arbitration, legitimacy and national law in Latin America: An arbitrator’s perspective,” The American Review of International Arbitration, Columbia Law School, 2016; also published in Spain Arbitration Review, Club Español de Arbitraje Vol. 29 2017
  • “How to Set Up Agents or Distributors in Mexico, Rules on Having a Direct Employee Present and Tax Implications,” U.S. Department of Commerce webinar, Dec. 12, 2012
  • “The Role of the Arbitrator: Hard-and-fast rules or flexible approach?,” American University Washington College of Law, March 2013
  • “Legitimate Expectations,” Investment Treaty Forum, British Institute of International and Comparative Law, May 2013
  • “Legitimate Expectations – What Does It Mean in the Context of Foreign Direct Investment Arbitration,” October 2013
  • “Prevention and Administration of International Investment Arbitration Disputes,” Municipal Government Center of Bogota, November 2013
  • “The Legal Significance of a Decision by a Country to Withdraw from ‘Membership’ in the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes,” International Arbitration at the 50th Conference of the Inter-American Bar Association, June 2014
  • “Third Party Financing in International Arbitration,” The District of Columbia Bar Association, International Section, Feb. 21, 2017
  • Speaker and Commentator, International Business Law, National Association of Manufacturers
  • Speaker and Commentator, International Business Law, International Development Law Institute
  • Speaker and Commentator, International Business Law, American Management Association


  • RWE Innogy GmbH and RWE Innogy Aersa S. A. U. v. Kingdom of Spain - ICSID Case No. ARB/14/34; Panel member with S. Wordsworth, President and A. Joubin-Bret
  • Tza Yap Shum v. Government of Peru ICSID case No. ARB/07/06 - Tribunal president with Prof. J. Fernandez-Armesto and H. Otero
  • Tenaris S. A. and Talta Trading v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela - ICSID Case No. ARB/11/26 - Panel member with J. Beechey, President and T. Landau
  • National Grid PLC v. Government of Argentina - UNCITRAL Ad Hoc case administeered by ICSID - Panel member with Andres Rigo, President, and Prof. Alejandro Garro
  • NEWCO, Inc. v. Government of Belize, UNCITRAL Ad Hoc case, Panel member with M. Hunter, President and Prof. Albert Fiadjoe
  • Repsol S.A. v. Petroecuador - Tribunal President of ICSID Ad Hoc Committee with Prof. P. Bernardini and Gonzalo Biggs
  • Marion Unglaube v. Government of Costa Rica ICSID ARB/08/1 and 09/20 - Tribunal President with Prof. B Cremades and Sir F. Berman


  • Presently serving as Tribunal President in large LCIA commercial arbitration case with O. Garibaldi and G. Fullelove (Title of case is confidential)

Representative Clients:

  • See cases listed above in which I have served as Panel Member, Tribunal President or Sole Arbitrator

Educational Background:

  • Oberlin College, B.A.

Industry Groups

  • Complex Commercial Transactions
  • Energy
  • International Construction And Infrastructure
  • Project Finance
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Office Location for Judd L. Kessler

2020 K Street NW
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006

Phone: 202-778-3080

Fax: 202-778-3063

Judd L. Kessler:

Last Updated: 12/5/2018

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