Suzanne Spears

 

Suzanne is an experienced public international lawyer who specialises in international dispute resolution and Business and Human Rights (“BHR”). Qualified in New York, she holds graduate degrees in law and international relations from Columbia University, and an undergraduate degree in international relations from Tufts University. She was a United States Fulbright Scholar in Spain.

In her international dispute resolution practice, Suzanne advises and represents private clients, governments and international organisations on a wide range of public international law and commercial issues. Her practice focuses on investor-State disputes arising under international investment agreements and treaties, international commercial arbitration and transnational litigation. She has particular experience with disputes involving Latin America, Africa and the energy and natural resource industries.

Suzanne has represented and advised multinational corporations in high-stakes and complex international disputes under all the major arbitration rules (e.g., ICC, UNCITRAL, ICSID, PCA) and in transnational litigation before United States courts and the courts of England and Wales. She has acted as counsel to States before the International Court of Justice and ad hoc arbitral tribunals under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Suzanne co-heads the firm’s BHR practice. In that capacity, Suzanne advises multinational corporations on dispute prevention and resolution, risk management, compliance and governance focusing on the human rights impacts of business operations, and the emerging regulation of business and human rights. Clients seek her advice on highly sensitive issues, such as relationships with host governments and security forces, human rights grievance mechanisms, human rights due diligence and compliance, dispute resolution with local communities and transnational litigation involving BHR issues.

Before joining Volterra Fietta, Suzanne practiced in the London office of one of the world’s leading international arbitration practice groups. Before that, she practiced in both London and New York in the international dispute resolution group of another leading global US firm.

While in private law practice, she also has served as the Non-resident Fellow on Business and Human Rights at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut and provided research on a pro bono basis to the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative on Business and Human Rights.

Prior to going into private law practice, Suzanne held positions with leading human rights and international affairs organisations. She was a legal consultant to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia; the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights; the United Nations Development Fund for Women; the United Nations Association of the USA; and Amnesty International. She also served as Research Associate for International Law and Organizations at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Suzanne is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School’s London campus, where she teaches International Arbitration.

She speaks and publishes regularly on BHR and international investment law and arbitration.

Direct dial: +44 (0)207 380 4394

Email: suzanne.spears@volterrafietta.com

Education

JD, Columbia Law School (James Kent Scholar, Parker School Certificate in Foreign and Comparative Law), USA

Master in International Affairs, Columbia University, USA

US Fulbright Scholar, Spain

BA, International Relations (with Highest Honours), Tufts University, USA

Languages

English and Spanish

Bar admissions

New York