Ricardo frequently serves as lead counsel in business transactions and business disputes — both domestic and international. He has also successfully represented clients in civil and criminal proceedings before U.S. and international agencies. For his expertise, the Florida Bar recognizes him as a Board-Certified Specialist (B.C.S.) in international litigation and arbitration, and he is a Fellow at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in the United Kingdom.
He has deep experience in a wide range of industries, including construction, energy (fossil and renewables), internet and technology, and hospitality. He also has experience in the securities, banking and finance, insurance, bond guarantees, healthcare, textiles, agriculture, and transportation sectors.
On the disputes side, he is lead counsel to businesses and individuals in high-profile litigation and international arbitrations. He represents businesses and national governments in arbitrations and negotiations under foreign investment treaties and large infrastructure project contracts. He also represents parties in litigation before U.S. federal and state courts, and he represents businesses and individuals in criminal investigations before the U.S. Department of Justice.
Additionally, he represents business executives in proceedings involving Interpol, for example requests for removal of Interpol Red Notices. And he has represented individuals in proceedings before international human rights bodies, including requests for precautionary measures before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
In arbitrations under foreign investment treaties, he has served as lead counsel in disputes under more than ten various bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and multilateral investment agreements such as the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) and the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). As part of his professional and academic research, he also regularly publishes on topics such as enforcement of arbitral awards under the New York Convention, the ICSID Convention, and the U.S. Federal Arbitration Act.
He has deep experience handling disputes under the rules of numerous arbitral institutions, including the:
- International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), with hearings conducted at the facilities of the World Bank in Washington D.C.
- United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), with hearings conducted at Permanent Court of Arbitration/International Court of Justice (PCA/ICJ) in the Hague, the Netherlands
- International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
- International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR)
- Houston Maritime Arbitrators Association (HMAA)
- American Health Law Association (AHLA)
- Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC)
As part of his counsel work in international arbitrations, he has successfully represented claimants in proceedings against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the world internet regulator. The disputes he handled included some of the first cases under ICANN’s Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) program.
He is also listed in the roster of international arbitrators of the American Chamber of Commerce in Lima, Peru, selected among other international arbitration practitioners from around the world.
In business transactions and compliance, he counsels clients in international and domestic business transactions, business formation, and business regulation. He helps businesses protect their assets and investments overseas preemptively from unfair government conduct through foreign investment treaties and political-risk insurance. He also assists clients in the formation of business entities involving foreign and domestic parties, trademark searches, and negotiation of business operational agreements.
On the compliance and regulatory side, he advises clients on international sanctions and restrictions issued by the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), a dependency of the U.S. Department of Treasury. He also advises clients in compliance matters under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and before the U.S. Department of Justice. And he helps clients comply with foreign investment reporting requirements before the U.S. Department of Commerce.
In addition, he provides guidance on customs-related issues before the Customs and Border Protection within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Court of International Trade.
He has lectured on international commercial arbitration and investment-treaty arbitration at universities and conferences worldwide, including Georgetown Law in Washington, D.C., the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima, Peru, the International Bar Association, the International Law Section Conference of the Florida Bar, the Swiss-Chinese Law Association (SCLA), the Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats (AIJA), and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC).
As part of his involvement in professional organizations, he co-founded the Georgetown International Arbitration Alumni group. He is also actively involved in the International Bar Association (IBA) and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR). And he is in the Executive Committee of the Georgetown University Alumni Club of Miami.
Representative matters he has handled at Shook and at previous law firms include:
International Arbitration (Investor-State and Commercial)
- Represent a Japanese medical device manufacturer in an investment treaty dispute against a Central American State.
- Lead counsel for a U.S. construction company and its CEO, in a multimillion-dollar investment arbitration under ICSID rules against a Central American State.
- Lead counsel for European and South American hospitality investors in a multimillion UNCITRAL investment treaty dispute against a North American State.
- Lead counsel for a North American investor as lead counsel in proceedings before INTERPOL, resulting in the deletion of two Red Notices.
- Represented a consortium of energy companies from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America in ICSID proceedings in Washington, D.C., against a South American state-owned enterprise in a natural gas dispute (proceedings and pleadings entirely in Spanish).
- Represented an Eastern European State in UNCITRAL proceedings under the Energy Charter Treaty at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in an investment dispute with a European multinational company over energy and heat co-generation.
- Represented an investor in parallel proceedings in Washington, D.C., and Paris against a European State in a dispute over energy investments and allegations of corruption.
- Advised a South American hydrocarbon transport company in a cross-border contractual dispute with a North American distributor under the Rules of Arbitration of the Houston Maritime Arbitrators Association.
- DCA Trust v. ICANN (.AFRICA). Represented an African internet trust against ICANN in an ICDR dispute in Washington, D.C., over the registration of domain name extensions.
- Dot Registry, LLC v. ICANN (.INC/.LLC/.LLP). Represented a U.S. internet company against ICANN in an ICDR dispute in Washington, D.C., over registration of domain name extensions.
Litigation Before U.S. Courts
- Counsel in proceedings in U.S. Courts for the execution of an international arbitration award under the arbitration rules of the International Chamber of Commerce.
- Advised a U.S. health care provider in proceedings before state and federal courts, as well as an arbitration panel constituted under the arbitration rules of the American Health Lawyers Association.
- Counsel in U.S. Federal Court in proceedings under the Hague Child Abduction Convention.
- Advise a Bermudan telecommunications infrastructure company in the development of a payment mechanism that is in compliance with Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) sanctions lists and general licenses issued by the U.S. Treasury.
- Advise U.S. manufacturers on import restrictions, tariffs and import appraisal methods including Section 301 and 19 U.S.C. §1401 “First Sale Rule.”
- Advise a Chinese electric car manufacturer in OFAC compliance matters before the U.S. Treasury Department.
- Advise a U.S investor in reporting requirements before the U.S. Department of Commerce
- Advised a retail entrepreneur on cross-border formation, trademark and banking operations issues and drafted operational agreement in Spanish with other company members from the U.S. and Latin America.
International White Collar Crime and International Human Rights
- Represented a North American investor as lead counsel in proceedings before INTERPOL, resulting in the deletion of two Red Notices.
- Represented a U.S. investor in tax fraud investigations and plea negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Represented a North American investor as lead counsel in proceedings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Before joining Shook, Ricardo was the principal of International Dispute Resources, LLC, where he represented clients in international investment treaty and commercial arbitrations. He also represented investors and sovereign states as part of the international arbitration and trade group at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Washington, D.C.
During law school, he served on the executive board of the American University International Law Review and was the editor of the Human Rights Academy and Humanitarian Law Book. He also was an intern at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Presentations, Publications, and Media Appearances
Panelist, International Construction Arbitration— Keeping the Project Moving Forward—Conflict Management Options, iLaw2023 Global Forum on International Law, February 17, 2023 (covering dispute avoidance and resolution boards, or “DARBs” and other conflict management and prevention strategies).
The American Arbitration Association Makes Major Changes to the AAA Commercial Arbitration Rules, November 2022.
The 2022 ICSID Amendments: Key Strategic Considerations for Parties, September 2022.
Panelist, New Trends in International Dispute Resolution, IBA Young Lawyers' Training Course: Fundamentals of International Legal Business Practice, Coral Gables, Florida, October 29, 2022.
Presenter, Protecting Investments in an Age of Pandemic, Russia-Ukraine War & Political Shifts in Latin America, ACC South Florida 12th Annual CLE Conference, September 16, 2022.
Document Production Requests in Investment Treaty Arbitration: Considerations for Parties and Practitioners, 40 Under 40 International Arbitration 2021.
Panelist, Trade and Foreign Investment in the United States: Key Points for Cross Border Businesses During COVID-19, Swiss Chinese Law Association (SCLA) Global Leaders Forum, July 31, 2020.
Virtual Hearings in International Arbitration: A Checklist, COVID-19 Primer, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, April 13, 2020.
Protection of Businesses Overseas from Foreign Government Conduct, Webinar, December 2019.
Special Report: International Dispute Resolution, Financier Worldwide, December 2019.
Panelist, Chinese Foreign Investment in Latin America, Free Trade and Protectionism Recent Developments on International Trade and Investments, AIJA (International Association of Young Lawyers/Association International des Jeunes Avocats) Half-Year October Conference, Miami, November 2, 2019.
Transfer Controls in Investment Agreements, Transnational Dispute Management (2016).
Investment Treaty Protection of Commercial Arbitration Awards: Lessons from the Jurisprudence, 26 Am. Rev. Int’l Arb. 4, 553 (2015).
Contributor, The Energy Charter Treaty (with Arif Ali and Alexandre de Gramont) (2015).
Panelist, International Arbitration Practice: The Associate Perspective, Georgetown Law, Washington, DC, February 2014.
Contributor, Spain’s Nexus to Investment Disputes, Spain Arbitration Review (with Arif Ali) (2013).
Contributor, Equity-Based Decision-Making & FET, The Journal of World Investment and Trade (with Srilal Pereira) (2012).
Contributor, The relationship between the U.N. and the International Criminal Court, War Crimes Research Office (2009).