ITA In-House Counsel Task Force

Formed in June 2018, the ITA In-House Counsel Task Force provides a platform for in-house lawyers in the international arbitration community to collaborate, share knowledge, and network. To achieve this mission, the ITA In-House Counsel Task Force organizes events and creates content specifically tailored to in-house lawyers. Events include presentations or interviews with arbitrators, in-house counsel, leaders of arbitral institutions, and outside counsel.

Membership is limited to in-house lawyers who are employed by a private sector company that is an ITA member and is a user or potential user of international arbitration. The Task Force currently has 25 members from numerous Fortune 500 companies. Task Force members actively engage and share lessons learned. Visit this page to learn how to become a member of the ITA.  If you are interested in joining the Task Force, please contact Suzana Blades.

Past Events

  • Interview with Clyde Lea, former Deputy General Counsel for Litigation and Arbitration at ConocoPhillips (January 24, 2019, Houston)
  • Martina Polasek, Deputy Secretary-General at ICSID, presentation on ICSID’s project to amend its Rules with respect to efficiency, third-party funding, and security of costs (June 19, 2019, Dallas)
  • Tim Martin, independent arbitrator and expert, presentation on “JOA Disputes in the International Oil and Gas Industry” (October 23, 2019, Houston)
  • Interview with Stephen L. Drymer, arbitrator, counsel, and mediator (January 23, 2020, Houston)
  • Jorge Mattamouros, Partner at White & Case, presentation on virtual hearings, followed by virtual happy hour (April 23, 2020, virtual)
  • In-House Counsel Task Force discussion on the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic with Alberto Ravell (ConocoPhillips) and Aaron Rofkahr (Chevron) (June 18, 2020, virtual)
  • Presentation by Sylvia Noury and Lee Rovinescu of Freshfields on New Developments in Investment Treaty Protection and Treaty Shopping, September 28, 2020
  • Interview with Karl Hennessee, SVP Litigation, Investigations & Regulatory Affairs at Airbus, December 3, 2020
  • Presentation by Tom Sikora, Exxon Mobil, on the Future of ISDS, UNCITRAL Working Group 3 and the Energy Charter Treaty, April 21, 2021
  • Presentation by Conway Blake, Debevoise & Plimpton, on The Liability of Parent Companies for Overseas Operations: Emerging Legal Issues for Multi-nationals, June 17, 2021

ITA In-House Counsel Task Force Leadership

Steering Committee Chair

Suzana M. Blades
ITA Executive Committee
Assistant General Counsel, Commercial Litigation and Arbitration
ConocoPhillips Company
Houston, TX

Steering Committee Members

Marcela Berdion-Straub
Lead Counsel, Litigation
TOTAL American Services, Inc.
Houston, TX

Mimi M. Lee
Managing Counsel, Litigation
Chevron Upstream
San Ramon, CA

Tomasz J. Sikora
ITA Senior Vice Chair
Senior Counsel
Exxon Mobil Corporation
Houston, TX

Ex Officio Members

Ginny Castelan
Task Force Secretary
Houston, TX

Joseph E. Neuhaus
ITA Chair
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
New York, NY

David B. Winn
Senior Vice President and ITA Director
The Center for American & International Law
Plano, TX