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Laura Abrahamson

Laura C. Abrahamson, Esq., FCIArb


Case Manager
Anne Lieu
T: 213-253-9706
F: 213-620-0100
555 W. 5th St., 32nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Biography

Available to conduct virtual/remote mediations, arbitrations and other ADR proceedings on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom. 

Laura C. Abrahamson, Esq.,
joins JAMS with robust ADR experience, following her illustrious legal career in private practice and in-house senior leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies. She brings a unique, well-rounded and pragmatic perspective to her ADR practice, as well as deep national and international experience in the engineering, construction, oil and gas, and chemicals industries.

Ms. Abrahamson has experience as an arbitrator, advocate and client in more than 100 arbitrations and major litigation matters and more than 50 mediations within the U.S. and significant jurisdictions around the world, including matters involving antitrust, complex commercial contracts, energy, engineering and construction, environmental, labor and employment, insurance coverage, intellectual property, securities and sports and entertainment.

Prior to joining JAMS, Ms. Abrahamson served as senior vice president, deputy general counsel and global head of litigation at AECOM, an American multinational firm that provides engineering, design, consulting and construction services, where she oversaw complex, cross-border disputes under the rules of major institutions. Previously, Ms. Abrahamson spent nearly 20 years in-house at Occidental Petroleum (OXY), where she led major litigation and domestic and international arbitration efforts. Her experience at OXY and AECOM included numerous plaintiffs’ domestic and international arbitration claims arising out of energy, power and construction infrastructure projects; most notably, an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Ecuador was recognized by Global Arbitration Review as the “Most Important Published Decision of 2012” and selected as the “2013 Global Dispute of the Year, Investment Arbitration” by The American Lawyer.

Prior to moving in-house, Ms. Abrahamson spent her first seven years of private practice at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, specializing in complex commercial litigation and arbitrations, including representing Big Four accounting firms in shareholder class actions following the 1980s savings and loan crisis and participating in four trials. She returned to private practice at O’Melveny & Myers from 2014 to 2016, focusing on energy and construction matters as well as domestic and international arbitration.  

Ms. Abrahamson holds a degree in business administration from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, with a dual major in accounting and finance, and a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, she currently serves on the board of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, North America Branch; on the executive board of the California International Arbitration Council; on the board of trustees of the Institute for Corporate Counsel; on the executive board of the Corporate Counsel International Arbitration Group; and as a member of and arbitrator for the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport. During her service on nonprofit boards, Ms. Abrahamson led forensic accounting investigations that uncovered defalcations and accounting irregularities. 

As a mediator and arbitrator, Ms. Abrahamson is sensitive to the financial, political and other pressures facing parties in disputes, and uses her decades of experience as both an advocate and a client; her strong financial and legal backgrounds; and her ability to quickly synthesize information and assess strengths, weaknesses and nuances of cases to promote fair and efficient resolutions.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb)
  • Served as chair and as co-arbitrator in cases brought by U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) relating to sanctions for alleged doping violations by athletes
  • Acted as advocate, counsel and/or client in more than 50 domestic and international commercial and investment treaty arbitrations under JAMS, AAA, DIAC, ICC,  ICSID, LCIA, Thai and UNCITRAL rules
  • Participated in more than 50 mediations
  • 24 years of experience managing litigation teams in the engineering, construction, oil and gas, and chemical industries
  • 9 years in private practice at large international law firms handling complex commercial, labor and employment, energy and securities class actions
  • Speaker on a variety of ADR topics, including domestic and international arbitration case management, arbitration reform, and diversity and inclusion, before professional organizations and numerous arbitration thought leadership panels

Representative Matters as Advocate and Client

Energy/Oil and Gas/Chemicals

Disputes with clients, joint-venture partners, state, federal and local governments, royalty owners and third parties arising out of oil and gas and chemicals operations, interpreting production sharing, joint venture, midstream, gas processing, transportation and purchase and sale agreements and lease and indemnity obligations; disputes relating to construction of power projects and energy infrastructure, including the following:   

  • $2.3-billion ICSID investment treaty arbitration related to expropriation of oil and gas assets in Ecuador
  • More than 30 lawsuits with over $200 million at issue challenging crude oil and natural gas valuation and accounting for royalty payments in Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wyoming (including multiple mediations)
  • $200-million-plus UNCITRAL investment treaty arbitration asserting right to reimbursement of value-added tax on goods and services related to oil and gas production in Ecuador (arbitration under New York law and English court proceedings through the House of Lords challenging award)
  • $100-million-plus ICC arbitration under New York law for recission of sale of Argentine oil and gas assets
  • Two $50million-plus Texas lawsuits (one through bench trial and appeals through Texas Supreme Court, the other through jury trial and Texas Court of Appeals) relating to valuation and accounting for casinghead gas produced in carbon-dioxide injection tertiary recovery operations in West Texas (multiple mediations)
  • $30-million-plus UNCITRAL international arbitration related to interpretation of  sole-risk provisions (including mediation)
  • $20-million-plus London-seated international arbitration under ICC rules relating to Peruvian oil and gas operations (including mediation)
  • $20-million-plus dispute in Irish courts related to alleged contractual breaches and defective engineering design and construction of wind farms  
  • LCIA and ICC international  arbitrations interpreting production-sharing agreements and joint-venture agreements in Colombia and Yemen
  • Claims for antidumping orders before U.S. International Trade Commission related to imports of chlorinated isocyanurates from China and Spain (including mediation)

Engineering and Construction

Disputes between owners, contractors and design professionals involving claims of delay, disruption, variations, cost overruns, acceleration, defects and breach of contract arising out of public infrastructure projects (airports, highways, subways, wastewater treatment plants); private infrastructure projects (power plants, oil, gas and chemical refineries and plants); public building projects (hospitals, prisons, courthouses, schools and universities); private building projects (hotels, high-rise office buildings, private hospitals); heavy construction projects (dams, bridges); and stadiums and arenas, including the following:

  • $900-million-plus London- and Geneva- based international arbitrations related to subway construction project in Saudi Arabia  (included multiple mediations)
  • $500-million-plus dispute in Australia related to heavy construction project toll road (included multiple mediations)
  • $100-million-plus case involving heavy construction project for state highway expansion in California (three-month jury trial and multiple mediations)
  • $100-million-plus ICC arbitration involving claims and counterclaims relating to construction of Iowa fertilizer plant (included mediation)
  • $100-million-plus international arbitration claims relating to construction of natural gas plant in Oman
  • $100-million-plus case involving claims of cost overruns in construction of Miami Dolphins’ stadium
  • $100-million-plus ICC arbitration involving heavy construction project for toll road in Texas
  • $80-million-plus Thai arbitrations relating to construction of Bangkok airport
  • $80-million AAA arbitration arising out of EPC contract for construction of Illinois power plant (included mediation)
  • $50-million-plus AAA arbitration relating to upgrade of wireless network in Grand Central Terminal in New York (including multiple mediations)
  • $50-million-plus dispute in English courts arising out of courthouse construction project  
  • $40-million-plus London-based international arbitration arising out of luxury hotel and office complex project in Azerbaijan (included multiple mediations)
  • $10-million Canadian-based international arbitrations relating to alleged design deficiencies in wastewater treatment plant
  • $10-million UAE-based international arbitration under DIAC rules relating to design and construction contract for private hospital complex (included mediation)
  • Mediated $50-million claims for design defects related to public hospital construction in Bermuda
  • Mediated $15-million claims for design defects and construction defects related to “leaky building” condominium project in New Zealand

Accounting, Finance and Securities Class Actions

  • Multiple securities shareholder class actions alleging auditing and accounting failures following savings and loan crisis
  • Multiple lawsuits challenging accounting practices for oil and gas production expenses, joint-venture billing and royalty payments
  • Securities shareholder class action alleging financial impropriety, corporate governance issues and adequacy of disclosures relating to free cash flow and factoring
  • Shareholder derivative actions in Delaware and California relating to executive compensation agreements and disclosures
  • Securities class action alleging inadequacy of disclosures of government contractor

Antitrust

  • Antitrust suits in multiple jurisdictions relating to exchanges of compensation data in oil and gas and chemical industries
  • Spearheaded defense of FTC antitrust investigation of silicates business and DOJ antitrust investigations of oil and chemical industries’ compensation practices
  • Handled negotiations relating to Omani government requirements for joint purchasing

Business and Commercial

  • $700-million breach of contract suits in Oklahoma state court and Southern District New York federal courts arising out of failed merger agreement (including mediation)
  • $30-million lawsuit involving allegations of breach of contract and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage (jury trial and subsequent appeals to Tenth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court, including mediation)
  • $25-million dispute relating to termination of franchise/distribution rights in Brazil
  • $10-million-plus arbitration relating to alleged breach of exclusive distribution and licensing agreements for waterproof cases for mobile devices
  • $10-million-plus dispute relating to claims of fraud in connection with anchor tenant leases in major shopping center (jury trial)

Environmental

  • Case seeking to enjoin $3.5-billion U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sale of strategic Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve
  • Multiple toxic tort class actions, including the following:
    •  Alleged dioxin exposure and contamination at former coal site in Kentucky
    • Alleged benzene exposure and contamination at oil refinery operations in Texas and Louisiana
    •  Alleged butadiene release and exposure in Texas
    • Alleged ammonia release and exposure in Louisiana
    •  Alleged PCB release, exposure and contamination in Louisiana estuaries
  • Multiple actions brought for indemnification by purchasers of service stations for alleged environmental contamination by leaking underground storage tanks
  • $50-million-plus AAA arbitration related to alleged environmental damage associated with oilfield operations in Texas
  • $50-million-plus claim relating to alleged environmental damage following oil blowout in Bangladesh

Governmental Investigations, False Claims Act and Corporate Governance 

Conducted internal investigations into alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and False Claims Act (FCA); responded to subpoenas and governmental agency investigations and defended and negotiated resolution of  qui tam,  government agency, NGO  and corporate governance actions, including the following:

  • FCPA allegations relating to use of consultants in South American and Middle Eastern countries
  • Multiple state and federal qui tam FCA cases alleging underpayment of oil and gas royalties and severance taxes
  • FCA qui tam cases alleging timekeeping errors related to DOE contract for cleanup of nuclear facility
  • FCA qui tam case related to eligibility  for Small Business Act program award
  • World Bank investigation into awards of work in Asia
  • Multiple Alien Tort Claims Act cases involving alleged human rights abuses in connection with oil and gas operations in Colombia and Ecuador

Insurance Coverage

Disputes relating to engineering, construction,  oil and gas and chemical general liability, premises liability, bodily injury, business interruption and asbestos coverage, including pre-litigation negotiated resolution and mediations of coverage and the following:

  • $500-million-plus insurance coverage actions relating to Niagara Area/Love Canal contamination in New York and New Jersey (including mediation)
  • $200-million-plus business interruption coverage lawsuit relating to Colombian pipeline bombings (six-week jury trial  in California and multiple mediations)
  • $10-million general liability insurance coverage action in New York relating to construction of football stadium (including mediation)

Intellectual Property

  • $1-billion federal court lawsuit for alleged trademark fraud and infringement (including mediation)
  • $100-million-plus Texas state court action alleging breach of confidentiality and misappropriation of trade secret seismic and geological information in connection with proposed acquisition of oil and gas interests in Colombia
  • Negotiated multiple licensing contracts for software app developer

Labor and Employment

Investigated and litigated numerous sexual harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination and other labor and employment claims in U.S. state and federal courts, as well as in Colombia, Ecuador, Oman, Peru and Venezuela, including the following:

  • Claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy (jury trial in Southern District of California)
  • Claim for wrongful termination based on allegations company failed to follow policies in terminating employee after sexual harassment investigation (mediation)
  • Claims for sexual harassment and constructive discharge based on alleged actions by supervisors
  • Claims for discrimination based on race in California and Texas
  • Claims for discrimination based on gender and age in California, Texas, Kentucky and Oman
  • Claims for alleged failure to provide meal and rest breaks in California
  • Claims relating to alleged sexual harassment and bullying in California and Colombia
  • 50-plus cases filed in Peru involving claims for profit sharing and other labor benefits

Personal Injury

  • Multiple cases in Peru and U.S. related to fatal chartered airplane crash  
  • Claims for wrongful death related to pedestrian fatalities in Philadelphia
  • Claims for wrongful death and injuries related to oil field accidents
  • Claims for wrongful death and injuries related to chemical plant accidents
  • Claims for wrongful death related to fatal traffic accident in Texas

Sports and Entertainment

  • Chaired USADA arbitration relating to appropriate sanction for alleged doping violation by masters cycling athlete
  • Co-arbitrator in USADA arbitration related to alleged doping violation by  track and field athlete
  • Litigated applications for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunctions to require cable company to carry certain programming (including mediation)
  • Negotiated contracts for video game and mobile app production company

Honors and Awards

  • Most Important Published Decision of 2012, Global Arbitration Review
  • 2013 Global Dispute of the Year: Investment Arbitration, The American Lawyer

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, Board, North American Branch, Chartered Institute or Arbitrators, 2020–present
  • Member, Executive Committee, Corporate Counsel International Arbitration Group, 2019–present
  • Executive Board, California International Arbitration Council, 2018–present
  • Member, California Advisory Committee, International Centre for Dispute Resolution, 2018–present
  • Member, Board, Institute for Corporate Counsel, 2019–present
  • Member, Board, Boarding for Breast Cancer, 2016–present
  • Member, Arbitral Women, 2018–present
  • Member, Women in Sports Law, 2019–present
  • Member, Sports Law Association, 2019–present
  • Member, International Expert Panel, “Overseas Construction Projects by Chinese Enterprises: Legal Risks and Inspiration,” Sixth Working Group, Permanent Forum of China Construction Law, 2018
  • Member, Advisory Board, Institute for Energy Law, 2014–2016
  • Member, Advisory Board, Institute for Transnational Arbitration, 2014–2016
  • Reporter, Arbitration Guidelines and Rules Subcommittee, International Bar Association, 2015–2016

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • “Evaluating and Learning From Business Disputes in a VUCA World,” CPR European Conference on Business Dispute Management, 2020
  • “ADR in a Time of Pandemic and Global Warming: How the System Must Adapt to the Future,” Society for Construction Law, 2020
  • “The Future of Dispute Resolution,” USC Gould/JAMS Arbitration Institute Webinar Series, 2020
  • “Litigation Management Roundtable,” ABA Section of Litigation Corporate Counsel Seminar, 2020
  • “Transparency in Commercial Arbitration,” CPR Annual Meeting, 2020
  • “False Claims Act: Recent Trends and Reducing Risk,” Construction SuperConference, 2019
  • “Tools for Timeliness,” ICC West Coast Conference, 2019
  • ”Best Practices in International Arbitration,” USC/JAMS Arbitration Symposium, 2019
  • “Arbitration Challenged: Reforming Commercial Arbitration in Response to Legitimacy Concerns,” ICCA Congress, 2018
  • “Would Construction Arbitration Benefit From Value Engineering, or Does It Need a Full Overhaul?” GAR Live Construction Disputes, 2018
  • “How to Maximize Efficiency In a Complex Case,” AAA Construction Conference, 2018
  • “Efficient Litigation Management and Cost Containment,” Chief Litigation Officer Summit, 2018
  • “The Diversity Dividend: The Power of the Purse,” Groundbreaking Women in Construction Conference, 2017
  • “Managing the Client Through the Dispute Resolution Process: An Industry Perspective," Construction SuperConference, 2016
  • “Arbitrating in the U.S.: Minimizing Risks,” The Essentials of International Arbitration Involving Japanese Companies Conference, 2015
  • “Thinking Like a GC: Updates on Substantive Legal Developments,” ACI’s Women Leaders in Environmental and Energy Law Forum, 2015
  • “In-House Counsel’s Perspective on the Effective Management of Arbitration,” Hong Kong ICC Arbitration Week, 2015
  • “The Hottest Oil & Gas Claims For 2015—And How To Beat Them,” Institute for Energy Law’s 66th Annual Oil & Gas Law Conference, 2015
  • “Toxic Tort Litigation Update,” ACI’s 5th National Forum, 2014

Articles

  • “Cost, Delay and Transparency: A Comment on Continued Legitimacy Concerns from a User’s Perspective,” Evolution and Adaption: The Future of International Arbitration, ICCA Congress Series No. 20, Kluwer Law International BV, 2020, pp. 354-360 (Jean Kalicki and Mohamed Abdel Raouf, Eds.)
  • “Hottest Oil and Gas Claims of 2015—And How to Beat Them,” Proceedings at the Institute for Energy Law’s 66th Annual Oil & Gas Law Conference, Matthew Bender (with Barry Barnett), 2015
  • Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Global Head of Litigation; AECOM; 2016–2020
  • Senior Counsel, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, 2014–2016
  • Associate General Counsel – Litigation, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, 1994–2014
  • Associate; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; 1987–1994
  • J.D., UCLA School of Law, 1987
    • Top 15% of class
    • Judicial Externship, Hon. David R. Thompson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • B.S., Bachelor of Science, Business Administration (Accounting and Finance), University of California, Berkeley, 1984
    • Beta Alpha Psi, National Accounting Honor Society

News

Events

Practice Areas

  • Accounting/Finance
  • Antitrust & Competition
  • Arbitration
  • Business & Commercial
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
  • Construction
  • Employment Law
  • Energy & Utilities
  • Engineering & Construction
  • Entertainment & Sports
  • Environmental Law
  • Governmental/Public Agency
  • Insurance
  • International & Cross-Border
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Securities
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee
Available worldwide

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This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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