Ema Vidak Gojkovic
Vidak Arbitration LLC
United States, United Kingdom, Croatia
I divide my time between New York (USA) and London (UK)
• Energy, natural resources and mining: multinational energy and local SPV companies, upstream and downstream, gold, copper, zinc, lead, cobalt, and iron ore mining, oil and gas, concessions and licenses, powerplants, power purchase agreements, electricity transmission projects, liquefied natural gas (LNG), oil and gas pipelines, renewable energy, wind-powered electric generation facility (wind farm), solar plant, steel manufacturing.
• Post-M&A, joint venture, shareholder disputes: partnership agreement, joint venture agreement, share purchase agreement, hostile takeover, minority shareholder protection, cooperation and distribution agreement, working capital disputes, revenue sharing agreement, succession disputes regarding licenses and concessions, franchise agreement, trade secrets, questions of “touch and feel” conformity of products under cooperation and R&D agreements, first refusal option, asset purchase agreement, real estate and development agreement, securities, supply agreement, luxury goods and commodities, waste management
• Hospitality: hotels and resorts, spa and golf resorts, restaurants, food and beverages, franchise
• Technology: technology companies, information technology companies and start-ups, share purchase agreement involving dispute over IP rights, licensing agreement, option agreement
• Life sciences: Health care, pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotechnology
• Financial services: financial agreements, loans (including issues of consumer protection legislation), liquidation sale and settlement
• Public international law: represented investors and states in almost 20 investment treaty arbitration cases, including issues related to mining, energy and natural resources, preferential tariffs and tax assessments, royalty calculation and payments, licenses and concessions, media, distribution, real estate, banking and finance, foreign exchange and currency control legislation, banking, hospitality, social ownership privatization transformations, illegality and corruption, fraud, illegal arms trade and international criminal law, territorial boundary disputes, state succession, and human rights issues relating to freedom of speech, riots, protection of ownership, and prosecution and prevention of terrorism
• Construction: highway, road tunnels, transportation corridors, waterways and other buried infrastructure, contamination of groundwater, port concession and operation, container terminals, manufacturing plant, subcontractor agreements, delay and defects, related geodata, cadaster and land registry conformity issues
Harvard Law School (LLM)
University of Zagreb, Faculty of Law (Mag.Iur.)
• UK Supreme Court Delivers Landmark Judgment on Arbitrator Bias and Duty of Disclosure, 14 NYSBA New York Dispute Resolution Lawyer, Issue 1 (2021)
• The COVID-19 Revolution: The Future Of International Arbitration Is Not Over Yet (with Michael McIlwrath) in Scherer, Bassiri and Abdel Wahab (eds), International Arbitration And The COVID-19 Revolution, Kluwer Law International (2021)
• The ICC’s Guidance Note On Mitigating The Impact Of COVID-19, Practical Law Blog (Apr. 23, 2020)
• WikiLeaks And Beyond: Discerning An International Standard For The Admissibility Of Illegally Obtained Evidence (with Cherie Blair QC), 32 ICSID Review – Foreign Investment Law Journal, Issue 3 (2018)
• The Medium Is The Message: Establishing A System Of Business And Human Rights Through Contract Law And Arbitration (with Cherie Blair QC), 35 Journal of International Arbitration, Issue 4 (2018)
• An Unlikely Tandem Of Criminal Investigations And Arbitral Proceedings: A Case Study Of The INA – MOL Oil & Gas Proceedings, Kluwer Arbitration Blog (Jan. 26, 2017)
• Puppies Or Kittens? How To Match Arbitrators With Parties’ Expectations (with Lucy Greenwood and Michael McIlwrath), Austrian Yearbook on International Arbitration 61 (2016)
• The UNCITRAL Convention On Enforcement Of Conciliated Settlement Agreements – An Idea Whose Time Has Come?, Kluwer Mediation Blog (Oct. 21, 2015)
• Banking Disputes And Regulation In Croatia, Getting the Deal Through (with Luka Rimac) (2014)
• The Recent Amendments To The Croatian Constitution And Their Impact On The Effective Prosecution Of White Collar Crimes Committed in the Privatization Period, The Lawyer (2010) (awarded The University Chancellor's Best Thesis Award in 2010)
Selected Conference Presentations
• Tech Disputes – Lessons Learned From The Perspective Of Counsel And Arbitrator, Joint YCAP/SVAMC-YP Conference on Tech, Start-ups and Dispute Resolution, Virtual/Zagreb (June 2021)
• Arguments That Matter When Asking Investment Arbitration Tribunals To Stay Criminal Proceedings, Mute Off Thursdays – Women’s Arbitration Forum, New York (Jan. 2021)
• The Strategic Pathway In The “New Normal” Of International Arbitration: How Arbitral Institutions Faced The Covid Era, ArbIt and Milan Chamber of Arbitration, Milan (Nov. 2020)
• The Fragmentation Of International Law: Resolving The Conflict Between EU Law And International Investment Law, ABILA International Law Weekend, Fordham Law School, New York (Oct. 2019)
• Force Majeure & Hardship Clauses In Arbitration, ICC YAF, Paris Arbitration Week (April 2019)
• The Art Of Advocacy: Tips, Tricks And War Stories, ICDR Y&I and WilmerHale, London (Sept. 2018)
• Does Investment Arbitration Demand Different Rules And Principles To That Used In Commercial Arbitration, Cambridge Arbitration Days, Cambridge (March 2018)
• International Arbitration Of Business And Human Rights Disputes, Vienna Arbitration Days, Vienna (Jan. 2018)
• Arbitrator Appointments And Parties’ Expectations, NY City Bar, New York (Sept. 2017)
• Harvard Negotiation Method & Women Leadership, Croatian Commerce Association, Zagreb (May 2017)
• Google Inspire: From A Bosnian Refugee To An International Arbitration Lawyer, Keynote Talk, Google HQ, London (Jan. 2017)
• Mandatory Rules and the Public Order – Comparison of Common Law and Civil Law Approaches, ICAC/UNCITRAL III. International Arbitration Readings, Kiev (Nov. 2015)
• External lecturer, McGill University
• Member of the Faculty, FIAA – Foundation for International Arbitration Advocacy
• Member, LCIA Users’ Council
• Member, ICC YAF
• Member, LCIA YIAG
• Founder, Young Croatian Arbitration Practitioners (YCAP)
• Member, American Society of International Law (ASIL)
• Member, Harvard Law School Alumni Network
• Member, International Bar Association (IBA)
• Member, New York State Bar Association (NYSBA)
• Founder, Mute Off Thursdays – Virtual Forum for Women in Arbitration
I am an independent counsel and arbitrator, specializing in international arbitration and public international law.
Before founding my independent practice, I practiced in leading international law firms including King & Spalding (London and New York), Baker McKenzie (Vienna), and Omnia Strategy under Cherie Blair QC (London).
I have a mixed civil/common law background. I hold degrees from Harvard Law School and Zagreb Faculty of Law, and I am triple-qualified in New York, England & Wales, and Croatia.
Throughout my career, I represented clients in over 40 complex, high-stakes, commercial or investment arbitrations under all major arbitral rules, including ICC, LCIA, SCC, AAA, HKIAC, ICSID, UNCITRAL, and SAS HGK. I sat as arbitrator in both ad hoc and institutional arbitrations.
I am recognized by WWL as a Future Leader – Arbitration (2019-2022) as “a true star” and “the best arbitration lawyer of her generation”.
A client in a multi-billion dollar arbitration testified: “Ema is a tremendously talented and energetic lawyer, unparalleled in her hard work and devotion to her clients. She is hands down the best arbitration lawyer of her generation.”
WWL 2022 noted: “She is a role model for the new generation of arbitrators and one to watch.”
My philosophy as an arbitrator is described here: https://www.vidakarbitration.com/arbitrator-philosophy
I strive to be a thought leader in my professional field. I teach, speak and publish on international arbitration topics. Recently I spoke at Harvard Law School, Cambridge Arbitration Days, Paris Arbitration Week, Vienna Arbitration Days and Kiev Arbitration Days. I published in leading journals like ICSID Review and Oxford Journal of International Arbitration. For my article on arbitrator appointment, written with M. McIlwrath and L. Greenwood, I was shortlisted for the GAR Best Innovation Award (2017).
I am passionate about equality and diversity. I am a founding co-chair of Young ArbitralWomen Practitioners (YAWP) and of Mute Off Thursdays — a virtual forum for senior women in arbitration, which won the GAR Pledge Award for the Best Diversity Initiative of 2021.
"She is a role model for the new generation of arbitrators and one to watch" – Who’s Who Legal, Arbitration Future Leaders 2022
"Ema is an extremely bright and sharp mind, and definitely one of the stars of the new generation"
– Who’s Who Legal, Arbitration Future Leaders 2022
"She is incredibly knowledgeable, experienced and innovative" – Who’s Who Legal, Arbitration Future Leaders 2022
"Ema is technically strong and ethically impeccable" – Who’s Who Legal, Arbitration Future Leaders 2022
“Ema is brilliant, insightful, and knowledgeable beyond her years” – Who’s Who Legal, Arbitration Future Leaders 2021
“She brought tremendous clarity to very complicated issues and showed deep understanding of client needs” – Who’s Who Legal, Arbitration Future Leaders 2021
“Ema is a true star – one of the best arbitration lawyers of her generation” – Who’s Who Legal, Arbitration Future Leaders 2020
“Ema combines an impeccable knowledge of arbitration law and legal cultures with passion and ethics” – Who’s Who Legal, Arbitration Future Leaders 2020
“Ema is a real star, combining sharp intellect with exceptional pragmatism and intuition. She will flourish from the start” – Gary Born (WilmerHale) in a comment for Global Arbitration Review, Dec 2020
“Ema is a formidable lawyer who has achieved a tremendous amount in her career” – Cherie Blair QC (Omnia Strategy) in a comment for Global Arbitration Review, Dec. 2020
“Ema is a real trailblazer […] she'll attain success through her energy, sharp mind and hard work” – Michael McIlwrath (Baker Hughes, a GE company) in a comment for Global Arbitration Review, Dec. 2020
“Ema is a brilliant lawyer” – Who’s Who Legal, Arbitration Future Leaders 2019
“She is capable of transforming complicated issues into simple and straightforward points”
– Who’s Who Legal, Arbitration Future Leaders 2019