Michael A. Fernández


Michael focuses on representing international and domestic clients in complex commercial litigation in state and federal courts, international arbitrations, and regulatory compliance matters. He is experienced in issues concerning complex jurisdictional issues and cross-border discovery matters.

Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, Michael has experience representing foreign and domestic companies and individuals in matters covering a broad range of industries, including cryptocurrency, commodities, construction and real estate, food and beverage, gaming, financial services, moving and storage, and oil and gas. He has also represented international clients in various investigations and proceedings before authorities in the United States.

Commercial Litigation: Michael has litigated several cases through trial and has handled numerous appeals before the New York State Appellate Divisions and several federal courts. Among his many high stakes matters, Michael was a member of the successful trial team that represented the defendant in a lawsuit that alleged that he had entered into a putative partnership to invent and mine Bitcoin. The lawsuit sought over half a trillion dollars in damages. After four years of intense litigation, four weeks of trial, and seven days of arduous jury deliberation, in a case that was widely thought to be unwinnable, they found that there was no partnership.

Michael also frequently represents and advises clients in cross-border disputes that raise complex questions of personal jurisdiction, choice of law, and similar issues. Most notably, he successfully argued an appeal before the New York State Appellate Division, First Department which resulted in the dismissal of a breach of contract action brought against a Brazilian national domiciled in Uruguay and an Uruguayan corporation on jurisdictional grounds.

Domestic and International Arbitration: Michael regularly represents parties to international commercial and investment treaty arbitrations conducted in Spanish and English under the major international rules including UNCITRAL, ICSID, ICC, and ICDR. In addition to representing clients in pending arbitrations, he has represented clients in connection with proceedings to compel arbitration and to obtain the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards.

He has also served as an arbitrator in cases administered by the American Arbitration Association and the International Center for Dispute Resolution.

Corporate Internal Investigations: Michael has represented clients in various investigations and proceedings before authorities in the United States, including a large state-owned oil company in Latin America on investigative matters.

With over 10 years of experience, he honed his skills in cross-border litigation at leading global law firms. Most recently, he was a partner with an international litigation firm with offices in Miami and New York.

Michael is also very active in several legal professional organizations, investing his time and energy in the mentorship and education of young lawyers. He is currently an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School, where he teaches courses focused on transnational disputes, and he guest lectures at universities in the United States and abroad, most recently at Columbia Law School.

Michael earned his bachelor's degree, with distinction, from Yale University and his master's degree from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He earned his law degree from Columbia Law School, where he was the managing editor for the Journal of Transnational Law. While in law school, Michael interned with the Honorable Justice Ronaldo T. Acosta, New York Appellate Division, First Judicial Department, and the Honorable Justice Barbara Lagoa, Florida Third District of Appeal.



Cozen O’Connor Adds Up and Coming Litigator and International Arbitration Practitioner Michael A. Fernández to its Award-Winning Commercial Litigation Practice

February 01, 2024

Fernández is a fast-rising international business litigator with a strong track record of successfully resolving high-value cross-border business disputes originating in Latin America and other regions.


Certified Questions from the Appellate Division as a Tool for Bettering the Rule of Law [New York Law Journal]

September 14, 2023

Michael Fernández contributed an article to the New York Law Journal discussing the current framework for certification from the Departments of the Appellate Division to the Court of Appeals available under CPLR 5602.

Provisional Measures in Aid of Arbitration in Brazil [American Review of International Arbitration]

January 09, 2023

Michael Fernández contributed an article to the American Review of International Arbitration discussing how Brazilian courts assist parties to arbitration proceedings by issuing provisional measures.

Same Proposition, Different Outcome? Need for Harmonization for Evidentiary Standards [Kluwer Arbitration Blog]

September 13, 2022

Michael Fernández contributed an article to the Kluwer Arbitration Blog discussing three evidentiary issues that have significant discrepancies in the common law and civil law systems.

Textual, Contextual, Good Faith, or Common Intent: The Need for a Baseline for Evidentiary and Interpretative Standards in International Arbitration [Kluwer Arbitration Blog]

June 06, 2022

Michael Fernández contributed an article to the Kluwer Arbitration Blog discussing the need for greater uniformity in evidentiary and interpretive rules in international arbitrations.

Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards in the U.S. Post Daimler AG v. Bauman [Kluwer Arbitration Blog]

November 26, 2020

Michael Fernández contributed an article to the Kluwer Arbitration Blog discussing the challenges created by the personal jurisdiction requirements under U.S. law in the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards.

Interpreting Ambiguous Domestic and Foreign Arbitral Awards [New York Law Journal]

March 11, 2019

Michael Fernández contributed an article to the New York Law Journal comparing the approach that New York federal and state courts treat ambiguous awards.

The Corruption Defense: Practical Considerations for Claimants [Kluwer Arbitration Blog]

January 22, 2019

Michael Fernández contributed an article to the Kluwer Arbitration Blog discussing the history of the corruption defense.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

Protecting Your Rights and The Money Chase

February 16, 2024 - Miami, Florida

Ensuring Effectiveness of Pre-Arbitral Mechanisms

February 07, 2024 - San José, Costa Rica

Arbitration of Fintech Disputes

November 14, 2023 - New York, NY

Arbitration of Cryptocurrency Disputes

March 16, 2023 - New York, NY

A Tour Around The Arbitration World

June 15, 2022 - Austin, Texas

Developments in ISDS: The Roaring 20s?

August 10, 2021 - Webinar

Arbitrator Immunity and Liability Survey

December 02, 2020 - Webinar


  • Columbia University School of Law, J.D., 2012
  • Tufts University, M.A., 2012
  • Yale University, B.A., with distinction, 2007

Awards & Honors

Mission Ambassador, Hispanic National Bar Association, 2023

Top Lawyer Under 40, Hispanic National Bar Association, 2022

Rising Star, Commercial Arbitration, LMG Expert Guides, 2022

Rising Star, Civil Litigation Defense, Super Lawyers, 2018-2023

Ones to Watch: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Commercial Litigation, Best Lawyers, 2021-2022

Empire Counsel, New York State Bar, 2018

Legal Team Award, Her Justice Commitment to Justice Award, 2014

Pro Bono Service Award, New York City Family Court Volunteer Attorney Program, 2013 & 2014

  • New York
  • U.S. District Court -- Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court -- Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

American Bar Association:

  • Co-Chair, Client Representation Committee
  • Section of Dispute Resolution

New York City Bar Association:

  • Former Chair, Inter-American Affairs Committee
  • Affiliate Member, Arbitration Committee

New York State Bar Association:

  • Committee on Courts of Appellate Jurisdiction
  • Committee on Civil Practice Law and Rules

New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department

  • Member, Committee on Character and Fitness

Florida Bar Association:

  • Member, iLaw Conference 2024 Steering Committee

Hispanic National Bar Association:

  • Chair, International Law Section
  • Co-Chair, Foreign-Trained Attorneys Section

Inter-American Bar Association:

  • Executive Committee Member, IABA-NY
  • Council Member

Chartered Institute of Arbitrators:

  • New York Branch Committee

International Chamber of Commerce:

  • Young Arbitrators Forum Representative

Young ITA:

  • Chair, North America
  • Mentorship Facilitator

Latino Judges Association Foundation, Inc., Board Member

American Arbitration Association (AAA)

Costa Rica Center of Conciliation and Arbitration (CICA)

Arbitration Center of Mexico (CAM)

Conflict Resolution Commission of the Chamber of Industry of Guatemala (CRECIG)