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Future Leaders

Future Leaders

Juan Felipe Merizalde Urdaneta

Juan Felipe Merizalde Urdaneta

Juan Felipe MerizaldeCarrera 7 No. 71 - 21Torre B, Piso 15BogotáColombia

Future Leader

WWL Ranking: Future Leader

Peers and clients say:

"Juan is one of the best”
“He has one of the most beautiful minds of the new generation of Colombian arbitration practitioners”
“Juan is a leader in investment disputes in Latin America; he is sharp and nimble"
"I’m totally inspired by his deep knowledge of the arbitration process”


Juan Felipe Merizalde’s practice focuses on international commercial arbitration and investment arbitration, particularly disputes involving Latin American parties.  He has considerable experience as counsel and arbitrator in over 50 cases before the most renowned institutions, including the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague. Juan Felipe’s investment-treaty experience includes two recent successive victories in 2020 for a Central American State, as well as being part of the team that obtained the dismissal of 97% of the claims against Colombia in its first ever ICSID Arbitration.

In December 2020, Juan Felipe launched his own practice in Bogota, Colombia, acting as counsel and arbitrator in commercial and investment cases.  He is currently acting as lead counsel in two ICC cases in the energy sector as well as a potential investment arbitration against a Latin American country.  Prior to starting his own firm, Juan Felipe worked for 12 years at Dechert LLP in its Paris and Washington D.C. offices. At Dechert, he gained vast experience with one of the most renowned Latin American practices in the world.

When he was just 35 years old, the ICC appointed Juan Felipe to act as chair in his first international arbitration.  Since then, Juan Felipe has acted as arbitrator in over 10 cases. Juan Felipe’s involvement with the ICC is likewise noteworthy, having been a member of the ICC Commission Task Force on “Maximizing the Probative Value of Witness Evidence,” and being recently invited to join the Task Force on “Addressing Issues of Corruption in International Arbitration.

Juan Felipe is considered a truly international practitioner, having obtained a double law degree from the Université Panthéon Assas (in Paris) and the Universidad del Rosario (in Bogota).  He also obtained a Masters in Private Law from Panthéon Assas and an LL.M. in International Business Regulation, Litigation and Arbitration from New York University.  He has been invited to teach international law and international arbitration courses at prestigious institutions such as American University, Georgetown University, and the International Law Institute in Washington D.C. 

In 2018, Who’s Who Legal ranked Juan Felipe as #4th “Most Highly Regarded” individual in The Americas (non-partners), adding in 2019 that he “is extremely talented and possesses a deep knowledge of arbitration.  He is highly recommended for his expertise in the field, particularly for his ‘impressive cross examination skills’.”  Both Chambers Latin America and The Legal 500 have identified Juan Felipe as a “Rising Star” and “Associate to Watch” since 2019.  The Legal 500 described him as “truly remarkable,” quoting one of his peers saying that “I have not seen the legal and leadership capacities of Juan Felipe in other lawyers of his age. It is also rare to find such a young lawyer with so much recognition among his peers and in the international legal market.

Juan Felipe is admitted to practice in New York, the District of Columbia (Special Legal Consultant) and Colombia. Juan Felipe also passed the Paris Bar Exam (art. 100). 

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