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Santiago Gatica

Senior Associate

International arbitration |

Remarkable intelligence, legal knowledge and great capacity for work

The Legal 500, 2023

Profile details

About Santiago Gatica

Santiago is a senior associate in our International Arbitration Group in New York and focuses on commercial and investment arbitration in Latin America.

He has extensive experience in commercial and investment arbitration proceedings under ICC, LCIA, CIETAC, ICSID, ICSID Additional Facility and UNCITRAL rules, in both English and Spanish. Santiago covers a broad range of sectors, including telecommunications, financial services, energy, infrastructure, mining, agribusiness, manufacturing and airport services.

Before joining Freshfields, Santiago worked for serveral years in leading firms in Uruguay and China. He teaches international arbitration at the University of Montevideo in Uruguay and at Cardozo School of Law in New York. He frequently writes and speaks on relevant topics of arbitration in Latin America. Among others, Santiago currently serves as member of the ICDR Young & International (Y&I) Board and vice-chair of the IPBA Cross-Border Investment Committee. 

Santiago speaks English and Spanish, and basic Portuguese and Mandarin.

Recent work

  • Secured $2.8bn in an ICSID award for Grupo Agroinsumos against Venezuela under the Venezuela-Spain BIT in relation to the expropriation of its investments in the most important group of companies in the country's agribusiness. 
  • Secured $254m in an UNCITRAL award for Glencore against Bolivia under the Bolivia-UK BIT in relation to the nationalization of its tin and antimony smelters and its investment in a tin mine.
  • Secured $105m and on order to the State to accept the shares in its Bolivian subsidiary in an ICSID Additional Facility award for Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) against Bolivia under the Bolivia-Spain BIT in relation to Bolivia’s decade-long inability to complete the nationalization of the private pension fund administration sector.
  • Representing two mining companies in an ICC multi-party arbitration concerning the interpretation of the billings reconciliation provision of a certain maintenance and repair agreement.
  • Representing an airport operator in an LCIA arbitration against a Central American State arising out of the termination of the concession agreement involving the country's four international airports.
  • Representing Luis García Armas in an ICSID Additional Facility arbitration against Venezuela arising out of the expropriation of his investments in the food importation and distribution sector and other measures.
  • Representing Mexican telecommunications company América Móvil in an ICSID Additional Facility arbitration against Colombia under the free trade agreement between Mexico and Colombia in relation to the expropriation of the assets held by Colombia’s largest mobile phone provider.


University education

  • Master of Laws (LL.M.), Harvard Law School, United States (2017).
  • School of Law, University of Montevideo, Uruguay (2011).

Professional qualifications

  • Admitted to practice in Uruguay.
  • Admitted to practice in the State of New York.

Professional memberships

  • ICDR Young & International (Y&I), Board Member.
  • Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA), Cross-Border Investment Committee, Vice-Chair.
  • Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA), Investment Arbitration Sub-Committee, Member.
  • Club Español e Iberoamericano del Arbitraje, Member.
  • Uruguay Very Young Arbitration Practitioners (URUVYAP), Founder.
  • International Arbitration Seminars & Courses (IASC), Chair.
  • Uruguay-China Chamber of Commerce, Fiscal Commission.


  • Cardozo School of Law, Investment Arbitration, Adjunct Professor
  • University of Montevideo, International Arbitration (graduate course), Professor.
  • University of Montevideo, Diploma on Arbitration (postgraduate degree), Executive Coordinator and Professor.
  • University of Montevideo, U.S. Law Program, Professor.