In 2020, she and her colleagues in the International Litigation & Arbitration Department were honored as “Firm of the Year” by both Law 360 and Jus Mundi. In 2021, Clara was awarded “Pro Bono Team of the Year” by Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) for her work on behalf of child immigrants. She has been recognized as a leader in international arbitration by Who’s Who Arbitration, Chambers, Global Arbitration Review, and Legal 500.
In her investment and commercial arbitration practice, she offers extensive experience representing sovereigns in international arbitrations before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and other prominent arbitral fora. Among her victories, she successfully defended Uruguay in an ICSID arbitration brought by Philip Morris challenging the State’s tobacco control regulations. As a result, she continues to counsel States in regulation and litigation relating to tobacco control. She is listed by the EU as a Chairperson for Trade & Sustainable Development expert panel proceedings in EU trade agreement disputes, and as an arbitrator by the Peru International Court of Arbitration.
In her public international law practice, Clara has successfully represented States before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in disputes involving territorial rights, human rights and environmental harm, including Ecuador v. Colombia (concerning harms caused by aerial spraying of herbicides), Georgia v. Russia (concerning ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia and South Ossetia), and Uruguay v. Argentina (regarding international environmental protection and sustainable development). She also has substantial experience counseling States in maritime boundary disputes before the ICJ, UNCLOS Annex VII arbitral tribunals, and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). Recent cases include Ghana v. Cȏte d’Ivoire (ITLOS Special Chamber), Bangladesh v. Myanmar (ITLOS), Bangladesh v. India (PCA, Annex VII), and Nicaragua v. Colombia (ICJ).
Her representation of foreign States also includes domestic litigation before U.S. federal courts involving foreign sovereign immunity, in which she has successfully petitioned for each case to be dismissed in the initial stage of the proceeding and won on appeal.
Clara also offers a unique specialty counseling States in securing high priority extraditions of individuals from the United States. Her work involves advising States through the presentation of extradition requests, the consideration of the requests by the Departments of State and Justice, and the litigation of the requests before U.S. courts. She is currently counseling Peru in the extradition of its former president Alejandro Toledo, who faces charges of bribery and money laundering.
Clara is regularly invited to speak on investment arbitration, public international law, and maritime boundary delimitation. She chairs the Rising Leaders Council at the Meridian International Center, which brings together young leaders from the foreign diplomatic community with professionals from the U.S. Government, corporations, multilateral agencies, and media to exchange ideas on international policy. She also currently serves on the Board for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.
Before joining Foley Hoag, Clara worked in the World Bank’s Environment and African Human Development Departments, focused on the bank’s legal policies concerning environment and indigenous peoples, and implementing development projects in Africa.
Specialization in the representation of Sovereign States before the:
- International Court of Justice
- International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea
- International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
- Permanent Court of Arbitration
- Federal and State Courts in the United States
- Executive and Legislative Branches of the United States Government