Michael Evan Jaffe, a Pillsbury partner with a particular focus in arbitration, litigation and other forms of dispute resolution, is frequently recognized among the most skilled advocates in international arbitration and U.S. litigation.

Based in Washington, DC, Michael is recognized by, among others, Chambers USA, Best Lawyers and Who’s Who Legal for construction litigation and serves on the International Centre for Dispute Resolution’s distinguished panel of energy industry arbitration professionals. With 30+ years of experience in arbitration forums around the world and in domestic arbitration and court proceedings, Michael has acted for clients in a wide array of matters.

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Michael’s representations have involved all types of construction disputes, project performance issues, partnership/joint venture issues, financing transactions, process plant issues, disputes involving petrochemical facilities (especially pipelines and other transfer facilities), roads and other infrastructure projects, as well as hospitals, sports stadiums, airports and large commercial buildings.

Representative Experience

Tried more than 100 commercial cases in courts across the U.S. in the past three decades.

Resolved scores of disputes in numerous arbitration forums worldwide.

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ICC/ICDR and Other International Arbitration Experience

Our international arbitration specialists have acted as arbitrators in ICC and ICDR proceedings, including:

  • A matter that involved a construction project in Mexico. The dispute was between a United States-based contractor and its Mexican joint venture partner on the one side and a joint venture company composed of two Mexican companies. The matter involved construction of a facility in the petrochemical industry.
  • A matter concerning claims arising from the construction of a gas gathering field, pipeline and transfer station in South America.
  • A matter concerning disputes arising from the management of a joint venture company in Monterey, Mexico.
  • A matter involving claims relating to the design and installation of process plant for use in the dairy industry.

As counsel we have acted as advocates in numerous commercial international arbitrations, including:

  • On behalf of a Finnish company, we defended claims arising from the design, procurement and construction of a process plant designed to extract pulp fiber from old corrugated containers and to use the reclaimed fiber in the manufacture of new material for corrugated containers. Claiming that the equipment did not meet contract requirements, the owner refused to make the final contract payment (€8.1million) and initiated a draw against the Finnish company’s €9.875 million performance guarantee letter of credit. The matter was before an ICC Tribunal, which returned a decision in favor of the Finnish company in 2012.
  • We are currently defending an equipment supplier in an ICC arbitration involving allegations that defects in the equipment resulted in significant loss of production, resulting in damages claimed in excess of $170 million.
  • We recently defended a Finnish company in an ad hoc proceeding brought by an Iranian company related to work performed in the 1980s-1990s in connection with the construction of off-shore drilling platforms.
  • We are currently defending an equipment supplier in an ICC arbitration involving allegations that defects in the equipment resulted in damages in excess of $40 million.
  • We defended claims concerning the design and furnishing of equipment for a paper machine at a paper mill in Georgia. The owner contended that there were defects in the design or manufacture of the equipment. The matter was before a tribunal under the auspices of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • We defended claims in an ICC proceeding arising from the design, procurement and construction of a panelboard facility in central China. The owner’s claims focused primarily on a claimed failure of the equipment to meet performance criteria.
  • We defended claims in an ICC proceeding concerning the design and manufacture of engines installed onboard fishing trawlers. The fleet owner contended that the engines were defective in design or manufacture.
  • We prosecuted claims arising from a distributorship arrangement in Brazil between a Brazilian company and an American telecommunications equipment supplier. The matter was before an International Center for Disputes Resolution tribunal.
  • We prosecuted claims in an ICC proceeding concerning construction of barge-based power stations in the Dominican Republic. The contractor asserted claims for delay and force majeure.
  • We defended a European equipment manufacturer regarding claims arising from claimed defects in connection with a utility plant in the Caribbean. The proceedings were instituted before the International Centre for Dispute Resolution.
  • We defended and prosecuted claims in proceedings administered by the Singapore International Arbitration Center Tribunal in a matter involving claims between a technology company and a shareholder.
  • On behalf of a state-owned Middle East petroleum company, we acted as co-lead counsel in a dispute concerning the construction of a facility to receive petroleum products.

Professional Highlights

Recognized by Chambers USA, Construction Litigation – DC since 2003; Best Lawyers, Construction Law and Litigation since 2003; Who’s Who Legal, Construction – DC (2011 – 2015); The Legal 500 U.S., Commercial Litigation (2016); Super Lawyers (2007 – 2016) and Who's Who Legal, Construction (2017).

Member of the advisory board for the Institute for Transnational Arbitration and member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Selected for inclusion in the International Centre for Dispute Resolution’s Energy Arbitrators List.

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  • Adjunct Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, teaching courses in international arbitration.
  • Co-Authored “Burden of Proof as a Prerequisite to Document Production Under the 2010 IBA Rules: An Obituary,” published April 25, 2016, in Transnational Dispute Management.
  • Speaking Engagements
    • “Strategic Dispute Resolution,” Tokyo, Japan (November 2013)
    • “Dispute Resolution in China, From Dragon to Ox: China in 2009” (April 2009)
    • “How to Handle Oil and Gas Industry Cases,” International Commercial Arbitration, Fourth Annual Seminar (American University, Washington, DC) (October 2007)
    • “International Projects: Understanding Risk to Maximize Opportunity,” American Institute of Constructors
    • “International ADR: Statutes, Treaties and Rules,” International Law Institute


  • LL.B., Columbia University School of Law

    B.A., Rice University


  • District of Columbia




  • U.S. Supreme Court

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, Federal and District of Columbia Circuits.