Huáscar Ezcurra is hailed as “an extraordinary lawyer and cross-examiner”, with one source naming him as “one of the most persuasive lawyers I’ve ever met”.
Huáscar holds a law degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and a Master of Laws degree from Yale University, USA. Partner of Bullard Falla Ezcurra+ since 2001, his practice focuses primarily on international arbitration, both commercial and investment. Regarding his professional experience, he has more than 20 years of experience acting as arbitrator and counsel in over 80 cases administered by ICSID, ICC, IACAC, CECAP, CCL and AmCham, among others.
What do you enjoy most about working in international arbitration?
What I enjoy most is the possibility of being exposed to the practice of other lawyers. I think that we can learn a great deal by watching others litigate, and being able to experience this from the position of counsel and from the position of arbitrator allows us to learn from different perspectives. This is more enhanced in international arbitration where we are exposed to lawyers from all over the world who have varied and enriching cultural and professional practices. This constant exposure allows me to grow and improve constantly.
What do clients look for in an effective arbitrator?
Clients look for someone who possesses three characteristics. First, someone who is hard-working. This means someone who is diligent when reviewing a case and who is efficient in meeting scheduled deadlines. Second, someone who is intelligent and has extensive experience in the area. Third, someone who is empathetic. Empathy is the ability to put oneself in the other person’s position and try to understand things from their perspective. Under that logic, I believe that an arbitrator must be empathetic with the parties, to better understand the case from their perspective, and with the other arbitrators, to better understand their points of view and thus be able to reach a consensus with them more easily.
How has the relationship between arbitrators and parties developed over your career? How might this affect tribunals?
I have seen a positive change in the relationship between arbitrators and parties in terms of transparency. All this has been made possible by the emergence and development of soft law projects, such as the IBA Rules, among others, that set clearer limits on the types of relationships that arbitrators and parties may have with each other.
On the other hand, I think that nowadays arbitrators understand better that their role is to provide a service to the parties, which consists pf rendering an award which is prompt, complete and detailed. The high level of competition that exists in the sector makes arbitrators respond to these demands in the best way possible.
In your experience, what advantages can clients benefit from in hiring a multilingual arbitrator?
The benefit of having a multilingual arbitrator is that he or she will not only be able to understand different languages but also different cultures, which is vital in an international arbitration where parties, lawyers, and arbitrators from different parts of the world come together. Ultimately, this allows arbitrators to be more empathetic with the parties and the other arbitrators, which will lead to them having a better understanding of the case.
Many arbitral awards are starting to end up back in court for enforcement proceedings. Does arbitration have an enforcement issue, and how could this be addressed if so?
One of the main duties for arbitrators is to ensure, as far as possible, that the award rendered is enforceable. Therefore, I believe it is important for the arbitrator to be familiar with the rules and criteria used at the seat of the arbitration to enforce an award as well as with the New York Convention criteria on these matters. This is vital, particularly in international arbitrations.
What role do you see third-party funding playing in arbitration moving forward?
I believe that third-party funding plays a key role in terms of maximising social efficiency in the filing of arbitration claims. Basically, the figure makes it possible for a third party to analyse the merits of a potential claim to determine whether it is profitable for it to be filed or not.
Currently, I think third-party funding has not been so much applied in Latin America because (i) there are few funders, which makes it very costly to resort to the figure due to the lack of competition; and (ii) the parties are reluctant to share confidential information with third parties, which is something inevitable when resorting to third party funding. Therefore, the challenge is to sort these obstacles to ensure that third-party funding is applied more frequently in the future.
What makes Bullard Falla Ezcurra+ stand out from the competition?
What sets Bullard, Falla Ezcurra+ apart from its competitors is that we seek to turn the academic aspect into a profitable activity with practical impact. We are a firm that has sought to achieve a practice that is at the level of the most rigorous international standards. Also, our firm offers interdisciplinary work. We are one of the few legal boutiques that has its own economic consulting area, and we constantly work with various professionals which provide our team with a unique set of abilities and techniques. Finally, our constant self-improvement has been a main factor in why we have been able to grow and be recognised in the most important rankings worldwide over the years.
What advice would you give to younger practitioners hoping to one day be in your position?
My main advice would be to tell them to work hard to achieve their goals. I think that having grit is the key and that success is guaranteed for anyone who works hard and strives to achieve it. For this, it is necessary to be passionate about your work.