Melissa Stear Gorsline was counsel in some of the earliest and most cutting-edge investor-State arbitrations in International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) history, with a focus on public international law and treaty-based arbitration. Melissa played an integral role in some of the first international investment arbitrations brought under Chapter Eleven of NAFTA in the late 1990s. She has handled numerous investment arbitrations, including those setting important legal precedents on the rules of treaty succession and the scope of the "illegality" objection to jurisdiction. She has significant experience representing corporate clients and States in claims for denial of justice, denial of fair and equitable treatment, nationalistic discrimination, expropriation, and umbrella clause (contract) violations, as well as all manner of jurisdictional objections and merits defenses. In addition, Melissa has experience prosecuting and defending ICSID annulment applications, enforcement proceedings, and set-aside proceedings.
Melissa also has experience in complex international commercial litigation and arbitration, generally arising from an alleged breach of contract and in arbitrating such matters pursuant to arbitration rules and in litigating them in U.S. federal and state courts, and in Section 1782 discovery and other U.S. litigation related to foreign or international proceedings and matters.
Melissa is consistently ranked as a leading international arbitration lawyer and is described by clients as "a superhero in investment arbitration" (Legal 500).
Melissa has been appointed as a member of the U.S. ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR. She is vice chair of the Virginia State Bar International Practice Section's Board of Governors and an adjunct professor of International Arbitration at the University of Maryland and the American University.
Supreme Court Makes Civil RICO Available Against Fraudulent Domestic Efforts to Avoid International Arbitration Award Enforcement
U.S. Supreme Court Rules That the FSIA Does Not Grant Foreign State-Owned Entities Immunity From Prosecution
LatAm at a Glance: A Political Thermometer and Key Regulatory Developments Impacting Foreign Investments
Chile's Proposed Constitutional Changes to Natural Resources Rights Could Have Devastating Effects on Foreign Investors: How Can International Law Protect Them?
- March 21, 2023
eFLAME Infocus: Enabling and Protecting New Investment in Gas Infrastructure in Europe https://informaconnect.com/flame-conference/eflame-infocus/
- May 13, 2021
International Arbitration in 2020: Lessons to Take Into 2021 and Beyond
- May 5, 2021
ABA International Arbitration Skills Masterclass, Plenary Presentation on Cross-Examining and Redirecting Fact Witnesses & Faculty
- April 3, 2018
2018 CIArb Conference: Arbitrating Disputes with Foreign Sovereigns and Sovereign-Owned Entities
- June 21, 2017
VA CLE Annual International Practice Seminar 2017: What Should International Practitioners Expect from the Trump Administration?
- June 8, 2017
The Global Pound Conference Series, Mid-Atlantic 2017, "Access to Justice and Dispute Resolution Systems: What Do Parties/Users Need and Expect?"
- October 22, 2015
"NAFTA at 21," American Bar Association Section of International Law Fall Meeting 2015
- May 6, 2015
Modern International Dispute Resolution
- April 22, 2015
2015 Speakers Series: Commercial, Political, and Regulatory Risks: Bringing the Rule of Law to Your Foreign Investments
- March 5, 2015
Investing in Africa: Preparing and Protecting Foreign Investment Through Local and International Mechanisms
- February 25, 2015
Executive Roundtable Series - Commercial, Political, and Regulatory Risks: Bringing the Rule of Law to Your Foreign Investments
- May 30, 2013
Tools for Success in International Sales Intermediary Contracts and Dispute Resolution
- February 23, 2012
Executive Roundtable Series: International Litigation and Arbitration: Offensive and Defensive Trends for Corporate Counsel
"Exceeded every expectation; she's a well-rounded professional and has the skills and depth to handle any case she is tasked with."Chambers USA
- The George Washington University (J.D. with highest honors 1998); Duke University (B.A. cum laude 1995)
- Virginia, District of Columbia, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia, Eastern District of Virginia, and Eastern District of Michigan
Law360 "International Arbitration MVP" (2022)
Individually ranked in the 2022 and 2023 editions of Chambers Global
Individually ranked and member of the International Arbitration team ranked Band 1 in the 2021-2023 editions of Chambers USA
The Legal 500: "a magician of cross examination" whose "thoroughness, preparedness, and agility during witness testimonies is outstanding"
Member of a team recognized in the Global Arbitration Review's 2020-2023 editions of the GAR 30
- Law Clerk to Judge Michael W. Farrell, District of Columbia Court of Appeals (1998-1999)