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James M. Gaitis - International Arbitration Chambers
C U R R I C U L U M  
  V I T A E
 
James M. Gaitis, Esq.
International Arbitration Chambers
P.O. Box 1213
Whitefish, Mt 59937
406.224.4228
 

On October 13, 2017, James M. Gaitis was honored for his outstanding contributions to the field of commercial arbitration by being the first individual in the 17-year history of the College of Commercial Arbitrators to be awarded the title of

Distinguished Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators

 
James Gaitis is a internationally recognized domestic and international commercial arbitrator. A long-standing member of the State Bar of Texas (1979-present), he has over 39 years experience as a practicing attorney, academic, and domestic and international arbitrator focusing on the arbitration, litigation, and settlement of complex domestic and international oil and gas and energy disputes. As in-house counsel, outside counsel, special outside counsel, and an arbitrator, he has had experience in over 1,000 state and federal district court actions and appeals, regulatory proceedings, settlement conferences, mediations, and arbitrations relating to a broad variety of upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas disputes. His 28 years of experience serving as an arbitrator in domestic and international oil & gas arbitrations includes cases involving some of (a) the deepest wells drill in the world, (b) the largest offshore production platforms ever designed, (c) the largest pipeline systems and related marine terminals operated by private parties, (d) the largest gas processing plants, and (e) the most advanced drilling, completion, and production technology relating to both onshore and offshore production.

     From 2006 through 2008, as the former Director and Principal Teaching Fellow for the International Dispute Resolution Programme and Global Faculty Member at the Center for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law & Policy, University of Dundee (Scotland), Mr. Gaitis worked extensively with the late Professor Thomas Walde, the former UN Interregional Adviser on Petroleum and Mineral Legislation and EU Jean-Monnet Chair of International, Economic, Natural Resources & Energy Law. He is the Editor of the The Leading Practitioners' Guide to International Oil & Gas Industry Arbitration (JURIS 2015) and a co-Editor of the forthcoming second edition of Take the Witness--Cross-Examination in International Arbitration (L. Newman & J. Gaitis, eds, JURIS 2018, 2d ed.). As the result of his tenure as the co-Editor and then the recurring  Editor-in-Chief of The College of Commercial Arbitrators Guide to Best Practices in Commercial Arbitration (1st ed. 2006, 2d ed. 2010, 3rd ed. 2013, 4th ed. 2017), and as the main contributor to all three editions of the Guide, he has literally played a leading role in crafting best practice guidance for commercial arbitrators in the United States. His advice regarding the operation and effect of various domestic and international arbitration rules, and their interrelationship with applicable law is frequently sought by legal counsel, sitting arbitrators, and arbitral institutions.
 
    In private practice he served variously as lead trial and appellate counsel, in-house counsel, and special counsel for a diverse array of oil & gas companies and private parties active in that industry, including operators and nonoperators, drilling companies, service companies, pipeline companies, midstream companies, and mineral interest owners. Over the past 27 years, he has been listed on a broad variety of international and domestic arbitration panels, including the AAA National Energy Panel, Construction Panel, and Large, Complex Case Panel, Mergers and Acquisitions Panels, the ICDR Panel and the prestigious ICDR Energy Arbitrators List, the British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Centre, and the CPR’s Oil & Gas/Energy Panel and Cross-Border Panel. He has experience serving as an emergency arbitrator in a major international JOA/Production Sharing Dispute relating to an offshore concession, and frequently serves as the sole arbitrator and as chair, party-appointed, and list-appointed arbitrator on tripartite panels in cases governed by the ICDR Rules, UNCITRAL Rules, AAA Rules, and CPR Rules, involving all aspects of the oil & gas industry (downstream, midstream, and upstream) as well as in commercial cases relating to such matters as construction, engineering, sales of assets & businesses, and real property. His arbitrations have involved parties from Europe, South American, Asia, Africa, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. Many of his arbitrations have involved some of the largest corporations in the world, including "National Oil Companies," "International Oil Companies," "SuperMajors," and Fortune 100 and Oil & Gas Journal Top 50 companies.

     A Distinguished Fellow and former five-year Director of the College of Commercial Arbitrators and a Fellow and Chartered Arbitrator of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Mr. Gaitis is also widely recognized as an authority on international arbitration and U.S. arbitration law and practice. He is a frequently invited speaker and lecturer, has testified in district court proceedings as an expert on arbitrator disclosures and ethics, and is the author of numerous articles relating to arbitration law, several of which have been cited repeatedly to the United States Supreme Court, as well as various federal district courts and federal courts of appeal, and other courts such as the Supreme Courts of Texas and Puerto Rico.
 
     James Gaitis is particularly known for his managerial, organizational, and analytical legal skills. It is because of these managerial, organizational, and analytical skills that he repeatedly has been invited to coordinate the production of, and serve as editor for and a contributor to, what have been recognized as being amongst the leading arbitration practice guides in commercial and oil & gas arbitration. Prominent fellow arbitrators with whom he has served on significant arbitrations have characterized his draft awards with superlatives such as "superb", "outstanding," and "thorough." Arbitration proceedings in which James Gaitis serves as the chairperson are characterized by an incisive and early preparatory process that gives rise to the prompt creation of a prehearing and hearing schedule and related case management order that together ensure efficiency and a fundamentally fair hearing.
    
      
ARBITRATION PANEL/ROSTER EXPERIENCE
 
 Fellow and Chartered Arbitrator, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (since 2003)
 CIArb, Presidential Panel (Arbitration)
 Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators (since 2004) (Distinguished Fellow as of October 2017)
 Distinguished Neutral, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (Charter
    Member) 
 ICDR (International Center for Dispute Resolution) (Panel of International
     Arbitrators)
 ICDR International Energy Panel
 The Energy Arbitrators List (Global Panel of Energy Arbitrators--list sponsored by
    the ICDR)
American Arbitration Association—Construction Panel 
American Arbitration Association—Large, Complex Case Panel
American Arbitration Association—National Energy Panel
American Arbitration Association—National Roster of Neutrals
American Arbitration Association—Mergers & Acquisitions Panels
American Arbitration Association—Joint Ventures Panel
 CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution—Energy, Oil and
     Gas Panel
 CPR Cross-Border Panel (International Arbitration)
 British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Centre, International Panel
  
  
1995-99  Planning Committee & Arbitration Council, Center for Professional Responsibility, South Texas College of Law, Houston, Texas
 
 ARBITRATION/ADR EXPERIENCE
 
1990-Present. Served as an arbitrator in approximately 200 domestic and international arbitrations relating to:
 
 
Oil & Gas Disputes, Energy Disputes--Upstream, Midstream, Downstream
 
·        U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, bribery and corruption
         natural gas sales agreements (e.g., re quantity, deliverability, commitment, 
              price review/price reopener clauses, measurement, engineering,
              take-or-pay obligations, force majuere)
         production sharing agreements and concessions
         mergers & acquisitions (oil & gas, construction, engineering)
         offshore operating agreements, unitization agreements, participation
              agreements, floating production platforms, Integrated Project Teams
              (IPTs), Development Plans
         production platform construction
         oil & gas accounting software and licensing
         pipeline operations, maintenance, management, decomissioning 
·        joint operating agreement disputes (JOAs) (e.g., re COPAS, joint interest accounting,
              operator's duties, acreage dedications, casing point elections)
         farmout agreements
         Areas of Mutual Agreement (AMIs) and Uniform Maintenance Agreements (UMIs)
         oil and gas drilling operations (e.g., drilling accidents, equipment failures
              horizontal, multilateral, and underbalanced drilling, completions)
         oil & gas development programs
·        production (e.g., re production handling agreements)
         oil & gas leases, assignments, overriding royalty interests
         gas gathering agreements
·        unitization agreements
·        natural gas marketing (e.g., supply commitments, open price terms, price 
            redeterminations, indexed pricing)
·        natural gas processing disputes
         gas plant accounting
         liquids storage
         fracking
·        natural gas, NGL, and oil measurement
·        coalbed methane production, measurement, and gathering
         oil and gas shale exploration and development
·        cogeneration supply contracts
         oil field technology development and testing
·        oil field intellectual property/patents
         joint venture and partnership disputes in the oil and gas industry and
             energy industry
         offshore drilling, completions, and production
 
Commercial Disputes 

·        commercial contracts
         mergers & acquisitions
         repudiation/anticipatory repudiation
         business valuations (fair market value, EBITDA, capital pricing model,
           GAAP, normalization and elimination accounting entries, etc.)
·        sales of goods/UCC
·        fiduciary duties & agency law
         accounting disputes
·        trusts
·        fraud, tortious breach of contract
·        patents
·        service agreements
·        real estate
         construction disputes (M&A disputes, construction accounting)
·        construction claims (defects, delays, lack of supervision)
         construction lending
·        engineering design and defects
·        antitrust, restraint of trade
·        noncompete agreements, earn-ins, trade secrets, trademarks
·        requirements and outputs contracts
·        acquisitions, sales of assets
         project finance
         domain names
         manufacturing
 
Experience as legal counsel or arbitrator with many major oil & gas producing regions, including but not limited to: the Hugoton Basin (Kansas), Bakken, Powder River Basin (Montana & Wyoming), Offshore Gulf of Mexico, Santos Basin (Brazil), Anadarko Basin (Texas Panhandle & Oklahoma),  North Sea, Offshore West Africa, San Juan Basin (New Mexico & Colorado), Permian Basin (West Texas & New Mexico), Kazakhstan, Barnett Shale (Texas), Eagle Ford Shale (Texas), Williston Basin (Montana & North Dakota), Uinta Basin (Utah), Lake Washington (Louisiana), Arkoma Basin (Oklahoma).
 
Attended a diverse variety of mediation, arbitration, and risk analysis training seminars and programs sponsored by private domestic and international organizations, state bar associations, the ICDR, American Arbitration Association, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the ITA, AIPN, ICC, IBA, ABA etc.  Author and speaker on a variety of topics relating to arbitration and ADR, including matters concerning the operation of arbitration statutes and treaties (e.g., the Federal Arbitration Act, English Arbitration Act 1996, the New York and Panama Conventions) and domestic and international institutional arbitration rules (e.g., the UNCITRAL, ICC, LCIA, ICDR international rules and the AAA, CPR, and JAMS domestic and international rules).
 
Former Director of the L..L.M in International Dispute Resolution Programme at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum & Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP), Post-Graduate School of Management & Policy, University of Dundee, and Principal Teaching and Research Fellow (lecturing LL.M students in international dispute settlement & international commercial arbitration) (2006-07))
 
PRIOR PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Trial counsel in hundreds of civil court actions and regulatory proceedings, and in over 30 appeals (including approximately 15 appeals with reported appellate decisions).  Legal consultant providing a broad variety of advice relating to domestic and international business conduct and transactions, and dispute resolution alternatives.
 
6/87-6/89  Special Counsel to El Paso Natural Gas Company.  Responsible for the conduct, management, supervision, and coordination of contract, tort, and antitrust litigation pending in state and federal district and appellate courts involving over three billion dollars in contract, tort, and antitrust claims.  Also served as trial and appellate counsel, and as lead settlement negotiator, in certain of the above-described actions and proceedings. Managed and coordinated a large assortment of highly experienced trial lawyers, many of whom were partners in some of the largest law firms in the U.S.
 
1/80-6/86  Partner, Emery, McCandless & Gaitis, P.C. (Oklahoma City, OK)  Acted as lead trial and appellate counsel, and transactional counsel, for various domestic and international oil and gas producers, mineral interest and royalty owners, drilling contractors, service companies, gas processors, and natural gas pipelines in state and federal district court actions, state regulatory proceedings, and related appellate proceedings, as well as in arbitration proceedings, mediations, settlement conferences, and contract negotiations.  Represented domestic and international oil and gas clients in commercial transactions with respect to their conduct and practices in the oil and gas business in the southwestern and western United States, and North America.  Represented oil and gas clients, both as creditors and debtors, in bankruptcy proceedings.  Representation of clients in matters pertaining to real estate transactions, real estate disputes, plant construction, and construction disputes.
 
6/78-12/79  Counsel, El Paso Natural Gas Company/El Paso Exploration Company.  Responsible for in-house representation in connection with state and federal district court proceedings, state regulatory proceedings and related appeals involving disputes between oil and gas producers, the implementation of the NGPA, and the drafting and negotiation of natural gas purchase contracts, farmout agreements, joint operating agreements, and unitization agreements.
 
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS/ACTIVITIES 
 
 State Bar of Texas (1979-present)
 Oklahoma Bar Association (1980-2009)
 State Bar of Montana (1992-present)
 Board of Editors, Journal of World Energy Law and Business (Oxford University
    Press in collaboration with the Association of International Petroleum
    Negotiators)
 Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (2015-16--drafting committee--Model
     International Dispute Resolution Agreement)
 Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA) (Advisory Board Member)
 AAA-ICDR Foundation--Founding Donor and Member, Chair's Circle
 Houston International Arbitration Club
 Global Faculty Member & Honorary Lecturer, Centre for Energy, Petroleum 
     & Mineral Law & Policy, University of Dundee, Scotland (2007-2013)
 Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (2003-present) (Member, Standing
     Subcommittee on Arbitration, 2013-2016)
 College of Commercial Arbitrators (Member, Board of Directors: 2006—2009;
     2012- 2014); chair, ad hoc committee/study group on arbitrator disclosures
     (2008); chair, Amicus Committee (2008); Task Force Member—National
     Arbitration Summit, Washington D.C., Fall 2009); co-chair, editorial
     committee (2010-2013); International Arbitration Comittee
 National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (Charter Member)
 CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution
     (Academic Member, Energy Committee, Arbitration Committee--2002-08; CPR
      Task Force on Arbitral Secretaries--2015)
 Associate Editor, Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence (2006-2008)
 Associate Editor, Transnational Dispute Management (2006-2008)
 Task Force Member—College of Commercial Arbitrator’s Summit on 
     Business to Business Arbitration, 2010
  Honorary Host Committee, 13 Annual Spring Conference, ABA Dispute
      Resolution Section, Denver, CO—April 2011
 
EDUCATION
 University of Notre Dame—BA 1976
 University of Iowa College of Law—JD 1978
 Note & Comment Editor, Iowa Law Review
 
LANGUAGES  
English (native language)
Russian (advanced reading)
Spanish (advanced reading)
Greek (introductory)

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