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Michele Potestà

Potestà, Michele

Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler

Michele Potestà specializes in international commercial and investment arbitration, as well as public international law. Over the past ten years, Michele has participated in over 50 international investment and commercial arbitrations as counsel, arbitrator and secretary of the tribunal, under all major arbitral rules (ICC, ICSID, UNCITRAL, SCAI, CAM, DIAC, Danish Institute of Arbitration, and others), and in different jurisdictions.

Michele’s areas of expertise include energy and natural resources (oil, gas, mining and solar energy), pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, international sales, banking and finance, shareholders disputes, real estate and construction, aviation, IT- and sports-related commercial disputes. He has particular experience in complex disputes involving states and state entities.

Michele has advised sovereign states on their investment treaty programs and currently acts as expert advisor to the Swiss Government in the inter-State negotiations on the reform of investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS”) in UNCITRAL’s Working Group III.

Michele is regularly appointed as arbitrator. He has sat as president of the tribunal, sole arbitrator and co-arbitrator under various rules, including the rules of the ICC, the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), the Danish Institute of Arbitration, and the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration. He is a member of the ICSID Panels of Arbitrators or Conciliators designated by the Republic of San Marino, and was appointed by the European Commission on the EU list of arbitrators and trade and sustainable development (TSD) experts in bilateral disputes under the EU’s trade agreements with third countries. He is also listed in the panel of arbitrators at VIAC, LCIA, SIAC, AIAC, KCAB International, and Delos.

In 2020, Michele was named the most highly regarded individual in Europe by Who’s Who Legal Arbitration: Future Leaders (Non-Partners), where he was described as a “super smart” and “simply outstanding” lawyer, and commended for his “great breadth and depth of learning on investment treaty arbitration”.

Michele is part of the faculty at the Geneva LLM in International Dispute Settlement (MIDS), for which he teaches investment arbitration, and at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, for which he teaches international investment law. He is also a senior researcher at the Geneva Center for International Dispute Settlement (CIDS) where he co-leads a research project on the reform of ISDS. He has authored numerous publications on issues of investment and commercial arbitration as well as public international law, and is frequently invited to speak at arbitration conferences.

An Italian national, Michele is qualified to practice law in Italy and registered with the Geneva bar (foreign lawyers section). He holds a Ph.D., a bachelor and a master’s degree from the University of Milan. Michele speaks English, Italian, French, German, and Spanish.