Matthew D. Slater is a partner based in the Washington, D.C. office.
Mr. Slater’s practice focuses on international investment-treaty and commercial arbitration. He also regularly represents clients in related international litigation and in a diverse range of matters in U.S. courts, including government regulatory and enforcement actions; constitutional law; commercial and securities law; and product liability litigation. Mr. Slater is also active in the firm’s pro bono practice, including pending litigation on behalf of a class of homeless people who have been denied the minimum wage for their work for evictions companies.
In his international arbitration and litigation practice, Mr. Slater often represents foreign sovereign governments. Selected recent experience includes acting as counsel to:
- The Russian Federation in three parallel arbitrations under UNCITRAL Rules in The Hague brought by purported shareholders of Yukos Oil Company. The claims total more than $100 billion and allege unfair treatment and expropriation in violation of the investment provisions of the Energy Charter Treaty. The arbitrations are thought to be the largest in the world in amount in dispute and, among other things, represent the first case against Russia that tested whether provisional application of the Energy Charter Treaty vests jurisdiction in an international arbitral tribunal constituted under the Energy Charter Treaty.
- The Republic of Argentina, together with the Procuración del Tesoro de Argentina, in claims brought at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) under the Argentina-Italy bilateral investment treaty concerning interests in Argentine bonds, alleging unfair and discriminatory treatment and expropriation and seeking billions of dollars in damages. It is the first attempt to pursue a mass claim – more than 180,000 claimants in a single proceeding – in an ICSID arbitration and also involves a novel attempt to use investment treaty arbitration to challenge a sovereign bond default and debt restructuring.
- The Russian Federation in an arbitration under the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce Rules initiated by RosInvestCo, a former Yukos minority shareholder, against the Russian Federation alleging expropriation under the UK – Soviet Union bilateral investment treaty.
- YPF S.A., a major Argentine oil and gas producer, in a successful commercial arbitration and, separately, in defending against enforcement of an unrelated Argentine arbitral award in federal court in Delaware.
- The Republic of Iraq in winning the dismissal of a $47.5 million claim for breach of contract brought by Agrocomplect AD in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The case was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
Mr. Slater joined the firm in 1985 and became a partner in 1992. In 1995, Mr. Slater was appointed Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Air Force, where he worked in government service until then rejoining the firm in 1999. Mr. Slater served as the Air Force’s dispute resolution specialist with responsibility for the department’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, overseeing major litigation concerning national security information and the military and state secrets privilege, tort claims, environmental claims, major bid protests before the General Accounting Office and in the federal courts, major contract claims, and base closures. He also was responsible for a range of matters including acquisitions, civilian and military personnel law, international agreements, intelligence and law enforcement oversight, military justice, investigations, fiscal and administrative law, information and privacy law, congressional and media relations, and contractor suspension and debarment. Mr. Slater was awarded the Air Force Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service.
Mr. Slater's international arbitration practice has been recognized by The Legal 500 U.S.
He frequently writes and speaks on international litigation and arbitration issues. Recent publications include regular articles for The International Lawyer
's annual year in review issue and authoring a chapter on the Energy Charter Treaty in Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Energy Sector
, published by the Association for International Arbitration. In addition, Mr. Slater has addressed topics involving arbitration of complex energy disputes, enforcement of international arbitral awards, the Energy Charter Treaty, and investment treaty arbitration.
Mr. Slater received a J.D. degree, cum laude
, in 1983 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of The University of Chicago Law Review. He received an undergraduate degree, magna cum laude
, from Harvard College in 1979. Mr. Slater served as law clerk to the late Judge Carl McGowan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and also practiced with a plaintiffs litigation firm in Charleston, West Virginia.
Mr. Slater is a member of the Bar in the District of Columbia and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal appellate and trial courts. He is a member of the Members Consultative Group of the American Law Institute, the Restatement Third, Project on The U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration, and previously served as a member of the ICC Task Force on Arbitration Involving States or State Entities. Mr. Slater also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and on the Board of Trustees of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.