Quinn emanuel trial lawyers

Cheng, Tai-Heng

Tai-Heng Cheng



Tai-Heng Cheng chairs the New York international arbitration practice of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.  He has achieved 9-figure victories in investor-state and commercial arbitrations, worldwide, as well as in US litigation and regulatory investigations. 

Dr. Cheng has over 15 years of experience as an attorney. He has also served as tribunal chair or co-arbitrator in more than a dozen arbitrations with $8bn. to $5mm. at stake, and is a member of the arbitration panels of arbitration institutions in North America, Europe and Asia.

Dr. Cheng is ranked as one of the top 10 arbitration practitioners in North and South America by Who’s Who Legal, and has also been recognized in Chambers Global and Chambers USA for international arbitration, Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Experts in Commercial Arbitration, Benchmark Litigation’s Rising Stars, and Benchmark Litigation’s Under 40 Hot List.  Who’s Who Legal states that Dr. Cheng “excels in the commercial and investment arbitration spheres due to ‘his strong advocacy skills, understanding of economic issues and astute case strategies.’”  Chambers has reported that “the ‘formidable’ Tai-Heng Cheng receives particular praise for his ‘very good negotiating skills’ in the context of arbitral proceedings.”  A Stockholm Chamber of Commerce arbitration tribunal issued an award praising Dr. Cheng’s presentation at the hearing as “a remarkably eloquent and intelligent address . . . with which the arbitrators of course full-heartedly agree in all respects.”  Awards rendered by Dr. Cheng have been confirmed by U.S. District and Appeals courts as well as non-U.S. courts.  A U.S. court has complemented one of Dr. Cheng’s awards as “thorough and well-reasoned.”  

He is an elected fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators, the American Law Institute and the Foreign Policy Association, and serves on the boards of several professional and civic associations.  

Prior to joining the firm, Dr. Cheng was a tenured professor of international law in the United States.  U.S. Federal Circuit and District Courts have cited and relied on his scholarship as authoritative.  Dr. Cheng has a J.S.D. and LL.M. degree from Yale Law School and first class honors in law from Oxford University.

Dr. Cheng is bilingual in English and Mandarin.

  Representative Clients

  • BTG Pactual
  • BPTP (India)
  • EDP Brazil
  • Government of Singapore Investment Corporation
  • Latin American Power
  • Mubadala Investment Authority
  • Republic of Poland

  Notable Representations


  • Represented a pharmaceutical company in a $1bn. arbitration dispute concerning a drug to treat diabetes, achieving a swift and favorable settlement.
  • Represented an Indian cotton company in a $300mm. ICDR arbitration concerning antitrust claims in the U.S.
  • Represented a U.S. energy company in a $1bn. arbitration dispute against a Brazil oil company.
  • Represented Renova against SunEdison and TerraForm Global in a power project arbitration and related bankruptcy, recovering over $100mm. in cash.
  • Represented Italian investors in a bilateral investment treaty dispute against Albania concerning an expropriated media and power plant investments, obtaining an unprecedented order of provisional measures under the ICSID Convention to terminate extradition proceedings in the United Kingdom and criminal proceedings in Albania.
  • Represented BTG Pactual against SunEdison and Terraform Power in a $150mm. ICC arbitration concerning failure to close on a power purchase agreement, obtaining a broad injunction against respondents from dissipating assets in New York court, leading to a settlement prior to SunEdison’s bankruptcy.
  • Represented a hydroelectric power company against Albania in a $400mm. ICC arbitration for breaches of the concession agreement.
  • Represented an Albanian company against Albania in a $400mm. Energy Charter Treaty arbitration concerning a hydroelectric power project.
  • Represented a natural gas company in a $600mm. UNCITRAL arbitration against Pakistan concerning a gas investment.
  • Represented a textile company against Uzbekistan in a $500mm. ICSID bilateral investment treaty arbitration concerning the expropriation of cotton mills.
  • Represented a London and Portugal hedgefund against Société Générale in a JAMS arbitration, winning full damages and 90% of fees and costs.
  • Represented an Asian real estate company against Whitehall (Goldman Sachs) and Hines in a $1.4bn. arbitration dispute in the United States, achieving a favorable settlement.
  • Represented a Brazilian power company in a $100mm. arbitration dispute against Siemens concerning defective power plant turbines, achieving a favorable settlement.
  • Represented Singaporean and Australian publicly-listed companies against Indonesia in $100mm. ICSID bilateral investment treaty arbitrations concerning a mining project.
  • Represented Churchill Mining in the jurisdiction phase of an $1bn. ICSID bilateral investment treaty arbitration against Indonesia concerning a mining concession, defeating jurisdictional objections by Indonesia.


  • Represented an NYSE-listed international company in multiple matters triggered by a short seller's reports, successfully ending regulatory investigations, dismissing a securities class action lawsuit in California, and defeating a motion to dismiss defamation claims brought against the short sellers in New York, which was unprecedented in that jurisdiction.
  • Represented Indian real estate company and Indian nationals against a JP Morgan subsidiary in opposing confirmation of a $70mm. LCIA arbitration award, successfully defeating attachment and discovery, and ultimately dismissing the petition with prejudice on jurisdictional grounds.
  • Represented New York real estate company against a JP Morgan subsidiary in a 28 USC § 1782 petition for discovery in aid of foreign proceedings, successfully defeating the petition.
  • Won a motion to compel Citigroup to arbitrate a $1bn. dispute in the Southern District of New York and Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Represented an Albanian power company in the worldwide enforcement of a $600mm. judgment against Enel Sp.A. concerning a hydroelectric project, involving legal actions in multiple countries.
  • Represented a sovereign wealth fund in a $5bn. real estate dispute involving commercial mortgage backed securities, achieving a swift and favorable business solution.
  • Represented a CFO in an eight-week federal white collar trial and appeal concerning a $50mm. fraud, obtaining a sentence of 1 day time-served and no restitution.
  • Represented a Taiwanese banker facing white collar crime charges in U.S. federal court relating to a $1.7bn. accounting fraud in Japan.
  • Represented multiple sovereign wealth funds against the U.S. Department of Justice concerning the 2008 financial crisis, achieving no action by the DOJ and no publicity.
  • Represented the Republic of Poland against a gun seller supported by the National Rifle Association in a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia concerning a rare World War I rifle, resulting in the repatriation of the rifle to Poland where it is on permanent display in a museum.


  • Chair of a $150mm. ICC international arbitration concerning a resort in Mexico, with 12 parallel litigations and arbitrations in the United States and Mexico.
  • Chair of a CPR arbitration tribunal in an $8bn. dispute between defense contractors concerning military aircraft intellectual property (wrote and issued the award within 9 months from appointment and 1 month from the submission of post hearing briefs).
  • Chair of an ICDR international arbitration in a franchise dispute between European and Latin American corporations (wrote and issued the award within 1 year from appointment).
  • Emergency arbitrator in an ICDR arbitration, rendering a decision in 14 days that lead to a swift resolution of the dispute.
  • Co-arbitrator in an ICC arbitration between a Brazilian and US entities seeking, inter alia, declaratory relief concerning the closure of a waste treatment facility.
  • Co-arbitrator in an ICC insurance dispute arbitration seated in Singapore.
  • Co-arbitrator in a $100mm. ICC arbitration concerning a pricing dispute between two Thai manufacturing companies.
  • Chair of a $50mm. HKIAC international arbitration in a investment dispute between 24 Chinese and Hong Kong entities, in proceedings in English and Mandarin.
  • Chair of a $50mm. ICDR arbitration between a Turkish company and a Canadian company, governed by Bahamas law.
  • Sole arbitrator in an ICC arbitration between a U.S. company and an Indian company in a dispute arising from an oil well failure in Canada, with parallel proceedings in Texas.
  • Sole arbitrator in a dispute between a U.S. bankruptcy estate and a Taiwanese entity.
  • Co-arbitrator in a $50mm. ICC arbitration between a Chinese company and a Canadian company in an aviation dispute. The decision was nominated for most important decision at the 2016 GAR Awards because of its message that Chinese companies would not be discriminated against in arbitrations in the United States.
  • Co-arbitrator in an UNCITRAL international arbitration between U.S. and Hong Kong corporations.
  • Co-arbitrator in an ICC international arbitration in an intellectual property licensing dispute between Canadian and Japanese corporations.


  • Testifying expert on public international law in a $500mm. SCC arbitration concerning an airport project in Russia.
  • Testifying expert on international arbitration in a $4bn. bankruptcy proceeding in Canada and the United States.
  • Testifying expert and consultant on international law and U.S. law in Singapore court proceedings to successfully oppose extradition of individuals for conspiracy to defraud the United States.
  • Amicus curiae in a U.S. Federal Court of Appeals case involving a $400mm. state succession dispute between a hedge fund and sovereign state.
  • Consultant to Kosovo on matters of state succession.
  • Consultant to South Sudan on succession, oil concessions and expropriation.


  • Yale Law School
    (J.S.D., 2004)
    • Howard M. Holtzmann Fellow for International Dispute Resolution, 2000-2001

  • Oxford University
    (M.A., 2004)

  • Yale Law School
    (LL.M., 2000)

  • Oxford University
    (B.A., Law, First Class Honors, 1999)
    • Oxford University Scholar, 1997-1999


The State Bar of New York; United States District Courts: Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York, Western District of New York; United States Appeals Courts: Second Circuit


  • Mandarin

  Prior Associations

  • New York Law School:
    • Professor of Law (with tenure), Co-Director, Institute for Global Law, Justice & Policy, 2006-2012

  • Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney, LLP:
    • Senior Legal Advisor, 2007-2012

  • Hebrew University, Faculty of Law:
    • Visiting Professor, 2012

  • Vanderbilt Law School:
    • Visiting Professor, 2010

  • Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP:
    • Associate, 2003-2006

Publications and Lectures

Author of over 60 books and articles, including:

  • International Arbitration in the United States(Kluwer Law International, forthcoming, 2014) (co-editor).
  • When International Law Works (Oxford University Press, 2012).                       
  • State Succession and Commercial Obligations (BRILL, 2006) (cited as authoritative by US courts)
  • State Incapacity and Sovereign Immunity in International Arbitration, Singapore Academy of Law Journal, Special Issue on Arbitration (2014).                       
  • Finality & Justice in ICSID Annulments, 31 Berkeley J. Int’l L. 263 (2013).
  • Why New States Accept Old Obligations, 2011 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1 (2011).
  • Renegotiating the Odious Debt Doctrine, 70 L. & Contemp. Probs. 7 (2007) (cited as authoritative by US courts).
  • Precedent and Control in Investment Treaty Arbitration, in Investment Treaty Law: Current Issues III (BIICL, 2009), revising 30 Ford. J Int’l L. 1014 (2007), 5:3 Transnat’l Dispute Mgmt. (May, 2008).
  • Power, Authority and International Investment Law, 20 Am. U. Int’l L. Rev. 465 (2005). 
  • Testing Urbaser’s Approach To The Availability of Local Remedies, 15 Journal of World Investment & Trade 285 (2014).                         
  • Recovery of Fees and Costs, in International Arbitration in the United States(Kluwer Law International, forthcoming, 2014).                        
  • A Workaround The Most Favored Nation Clause Dispute, 29 ICSID Review, (forthcoming, 2014).
  • Should Syria Honor Assad-Era Debt. 8 Yale J. Int'l Affairs 126 (2013). 
  • International Arbitration, in Judicial Benchbook on International Law (2013).              
  • Developing Narratives in Investment Treaty Arbitration, 9 Santa Clara J. Int’l L. 215 (2011).                         
  • International Mediation, Arbitration, and Innovation, 5 Contemporary Issues in International Arbitration and Mediation 434 (2010).
  • State Succession and Commercial Obligations: Reflections on Kosovo, in Looking to the Future: Essays in Honor of W. Michael Reisman 675 (2010).
  • Reflections on Culture Med-Arb, 4 Contemporary Issues in International Arbitration and Mediation 421 (2010).”

Professional Activities

  • Arbitration Panels
    • Panel of Neutrals, Pacific International Arbitration Centre (PIAC), 2016-present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA), 2013-present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA), 2012-present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, American Arbitration Association (AAA), 2012-present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), 2012-present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), 2009-present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), 2009-present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, The International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR), 2009-present.
  • Professional Associations and Civic Engagements.
    • College of Commercial Arbitrators
      • Fellow: 2014-present.
    • Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGBT Youth
      • Board of Directors: 2014-present.
    • American Society of International Law
      • Counsellor, 2016-present; Executive Council: 2010-2013; Chair Awards Committee: 2011; Co-chair Annual Meeting: 2011.
    • American Law Institute
      • Elected Member: 2009-present, Members Consultative Committee on Restatement on International Commercial Arbitration, 2009-present; Members Consultative Committee on Principles of World Trade Organization Law, 2009-present.
    • American Bar Association
      • Steering Committee, Arbitration, 2012-present.
      • International Law Section, 2009-present.
    • American Bar Foundation
      • Fellow: 2011-present.
    • ICC Task Force on the Revision of ICC as Appointing Authority in UNCITRAL or other Ad Hoc Proceedings
      • 2015-present.
    • Investment Claims Advisory Board
      • Board Member, 2017-present.
    • Institute for Global Law, Justice, & Policy
      • Co-chair, Advisory Council, 2014-present
    • Institute for Transnational Arbitration
      • Executive Committee, 2011; Co-chair, Dallas Meeting, 2011, Academic Council: 2008-present.
    • Foreign Policy Association
      • Honorary Fellow:, 2007-present.
    • New York State Bar Association
      • Special Counsel, Special Committee on Legal Competency, 2005-2010.
    • New York City Bar Association
      • International Law Committee, 2003-2006; UN Committee, 2003-2006; Standing Committee on International Dispute Resolution, 2006-2009, 2013-present.
    • International Arbitration Club of New York
      • Founding Member, 2010-present.
    • New York International Arbitration Center
      • Program Committee, 2013-present.