Profile, Experience & Services

Jeffrey Barist is an independent arbitrator and mediator, with particular experience in complex cases and international matters. He has tried arbitrations and sat as an arbitrator before most of the major arbitral forums, including the AAA, the ICC, the LCIA, SIAC and ICSID, and in ad hoc cases applying the rules of a specified arbitral forum, UNCITRAL or rules developed by the parties. He has served as a court appointed mediator by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He is a member of the CPR: International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution New York Panel of Distinguished Neutrals and its International Panel. His book, Commercial Arbitration Law and Clauses, is an analysis of the procedural problems of arbitration, using the template of the arbitration clause as a means of focusing on and avoiding the pitfalls that too often can afflict the arbitral process.


In 2010 Jeffrey Barist retired as a partner of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, where he had been the Chair of the National Litigation Department. From 1974 through 1995, he had been a partner at White & Case, where he had headed the litigation group.

As a practicing attorney, Mr. Barist was involved in the trial and adjudication of complex disputes in trial and appellate courts throughout the United States and in arbitral forums in the United States and abroad for over forty years, appearing as lead counsel for many major US and foreign financial institutions and corporations. He concentrated primarily on the litigation and arbitration of cases involving issues of financial services, securities, insolvency and international law.

Mr. Barist was regularly active in matters raising issues of international law, and has argued leading appellate cases involving sovereign immunity, act of state, sovereign debt and the recognition of foreign judicial and non-judicial proceedings by US courts. He has litigated on the trial and appellate level notable recent cases raising issues as to civil liability for violations of international human rights under such theories as customary international law and the Alien Tort Statute. He argued several of the key appeals establishing the German Foundation as the exclusive remedy for Holocaust related damages and resolving the German Holocaust litigation in the United States. He has regularly been involved as lawyer and arbitrator in matters governed by foreign law, including the law of England, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines.

Mr. Barist has particular experience with arbitration and litigation in the following areas:

Complex Business Disputes

Mr. Barist has over forty years experience in the resolution of complex business disputes, ranging over the full gamut of controversies arising from complicated financial instruments, derivatives, contracts, loan agreements, construction disputes, intellectual property and patent rights. He understands the processes in arbitration and mediation best designed to bring these disputes to an economic, speedy and just resolution.


Mr. Barist’s experience began with Texas Gulf Sulfur, which established the prohibition against insider trading, and has continued with involvement in many leading securities cases, including representation of clients in take-over related litigation. He brings to securities cases an understanding of how securities are issued, underwritten and sold and the nature of contemporary investment banking.

Financial Instruments

Mr. Barist has been involved as counsel and arbitrator in numerous cases involving complex financial instruments. He brings to these matters a deep understanding of the business of banking and the financial instruments that are at issue.

International transactions

A major portion of Mr. Barist’s practice has been in the representation of parties, many not of United States origin, in litigations and arbitrations around the world. He has represented numerous European, Middle Eastern and Asian entities. He has argued leading appellate cases in the area of foreign sovereign immunity, act of state, foreign country debt restructuring and international human rights violation. He is familiar with resolving cases involving the laws of other jurisdictions, having served as counsel and as arbitrator in cases involving the laws of many non common-law jurisdictions in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and  South America.


Mr. Barist has been active in the resolution of disputes arising from the interpretation of insurance policies covering the directors and officers liability, professional liability and commercial coverage. He represented major life insurance companies in the resolution of nation-wide cases arising from sales practice complaints.

Insolvency Related Disputes

Mr. Barist has considerable experience in the resolution of such insolvency generated matters as fraudulent conveyances. He has particular experience in disputes arising from an international context. He argued the first appellate case establishing the right of a foreign trustee to sue in a U.S. court and has represented foreign parties contesting the application of U.S. bankruptcy law to multi-jurisdictional proceedings.

Investor State Disputes

Mr. Barist has participated in cases before ICSID. He brings to this area a breadth of knowledge of public international law that dates back to his representation of the Republic of Indonesia in the litigation arising from the collapse of the International Tin Council and includes the representation of sovereign entities in debt restructuring.

Art Law

Mr. Barist was for many years counsel to a major New York art museum, and as such argued successfully the leading appellate case establishing the rule for when the statute of limitations commences for stolen art works. He is a student of art history and is, with his wife, who is an art dealer, a collector of art, and brings to these cases a deep knowledge and experience of how art is collected, sold and exhibited.


Mr. Barist is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a Member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the New York State Bar Foundation.

He is listed in the Legal Media Group’s The Best of The Best for 2009, as one of the 25 leading commercial litigators in the United States, the Euromoney Guide, Experts in Commercial Arbitration, the Euromoney Guide to Litigation Lawyers, The PLC Global Counsel Handbook, Dispute Resolution, and the International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, among others.


Jeffrey Barist received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and his law degree from Harvard Law School, cum laude. He attended the CPR Institute Course for Mediators.


Member of the Bar of the State of New York; United States District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York; Court of Appeals for the Second, Third, Seventh and Eleventh Circuits and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; Supreme Court of the United States.


English (native); French.