Jose W. Fernandez is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Co-Chair of Gibson Dunn’s Latin America Practice Group. His practice focuses on mergers, acquisitions and finance in emerging markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Mr. Fernandez has substantial experience in the telecommunications, energy, water, banking and consumer industries. His clients have included major multinational companies, financial institutions and private equity groups, as well as nearly a dozen foreign governments looking to attract foreign investors. He has also successfully advised U.S. and European companies involved in disputes in developing countries.
Mr. Fernandez was named one of the “World’s Leading Lawyers” by Chambers Global for his M&A and corporate work, and one of the “World’s Leading Privatization Lawyers” by Euromoney Publications. He has been recognized as a leading attorney in the Latin America market by Chambers Global, Chambers USA, The Legal 500 Latin America and The Best Lawyers in Brazil. He was featured by Hispanic Business Magazine in its “100 Influentials List” for several years. Mr. Fernandez is ranked a “Highly Regarded” practitioner by the International Financial Law Review in its 2019 attorney rankings.
Nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Fernandez served as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs from 2009 to 2013. During his tenure, he led the Bureau that is responsible for overseeing work on international trade and investment policy; international finance, development and debt policy; economic sanctions and combating terrorist financing; international energy security policy; international telecommunications and transportation policies; and support for U.S. businesses and the private sector overseas. His work focused on development as a business opportunity for U.S. companies and a strategic imperative for the United States, mostly in the areas of infrastructure, trade and investment, entrepreneurship, and agriculture. He spearheaded the State Department’s “Economic Statecraft” initiative to promote foreign investment into the United States and support U.S. companies overseas, co-led the interagency team that prepared the Model Bilateral Investment Treaty used by the United States today, worked with American businesses to promote responsible business conduct in Myanmar, Bangladesh and the diamond industry through the Kimberly Process, and led the U.S. government’s economic dialogues with Turkey, the UAE, Brazil and several other nations. He was the State Department’s principal representative in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and was also a key figure in devising and implementing U.S. sanctions policy around the world. Mr. Fernandez also served as the Director of the Transition Policy Committees for Governor-Elect Phil Murphy of New Jersey following the Governor’s election in November 2017.
Mr. Fernandez has served on the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College and on the Board of Directors of Accion International, Ballet Hispanico of New York and the Middle East Institute. He has been chair both of the American Bar Association’s Inter-American Law Committee and the Committee on Inter-American Affairs of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and Co-Chair of the Cross Border M&A and Joint Venture Committee of the New York State Bar Association. He also headed the Latin American and Caribbean division of the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative. He He was a founder of TeatroStageFest, a 2-week Latino theatre festival in New York City, and was appointed a Commissioner of New York’s Latin Media and Entertainment Commission by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Mr. Fernandez now serves on the board of trustees of NPR-station WBGO-FM, the Center for American Progress and the Council of the Americas. He is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and serves on the Board of Directors of Iberdrola S.A. (IBEX: IBE).
Mr. Fernandez’s articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald, The Huffington Post, Foreign Policy, Americas Quarterly and many other legal and policy publications. He has been featured by various TV, radio and print media organizations in the U.S. and abroad.
Mr. Fernandez graduated magna cum laude with high honors from Dartmouth College earning a bachelor’s degree in history, and also received an honorary degree from the college. He earned a Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law, where he received the Charles Evans Hughes Prize and a Parker School Certificate of International Law with Honors. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and proficient in French.