Robert Houston is an international arbitration associate who has acted for and against sovereign States and State-owned entities, major corporates, and other clients in complex cross-border matters with substantial amounts in dispute, including in international investment treaty and commercial arbitrations under the arbitral rules of the ICC, ICSID, SCC, SIAC, and UNCITRAL.
Robert is also the pro bono coordinator of the Singapore office, a founding member and executive director of The Global Pro Bono Bar Association, and a leader in the firmwide Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative, in which he has coordinated a number of multi-jurisdictional pro bono projects involving multiple K&L Gates offices and collaborating firms around the world.
Prior to joining the firm, Robert represented the United States in Singapore through the development of scholarship related to the use of international arbitral process to resolve disputes in public international law with the U.S. Department of State Fulbright Program. He served as a Captain in the 1-175 Infantry Battalion of the Maryland Army National Guard and earned the U.S. Army’s Meritorious Service Medal for his work as the U.S. battalion communications officer deployed to the Egyptian Sinai with the Multinational Force & Observers peacekeeping mission in 2011-2012.
Robert holds the Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown Law in Washington, D.C. and the Master of Economic Law degree (Master II, Global Governance Studies) from Sciences Po Law School in Paris. He completed his internship service with international arbitration teams in the offices of two global law firms in Paris and Singapore, served as a summer law intern with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and Consumer Protection Branch, and completed a judicial internship with Judge Lynn Leibovitz of the District of Columbia Superior Court.
Robert and his wife live with their four children in Singapore.
Prior to joining the firm, Robert was involved in the U.S. Department of State Fulbright Program, where he represented the United States in Singapore through research and the development of scholarship related to the use of international arbitral process to resolve disputes in public international law.
He completed his internship service in the offices of two global law firms in Paris and Singapore, where he provided legal research and writing support to the international arbitration teams. He served as a summer law intern with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and Consumer Protection Branch and also as a judicial intern with Judge Lynn Leibovitz of the District of Columbia Superior Court.
- Fulbright Grant Recipient, U.S Department of State Fulbright U.S. Student Program, 2014-2015.
- Recipient, Meritorious Service Medal, U.S. Army, 2011-2012.
- Member, International Law Association (Singapore Branch), 2021-Present
- Member, Union Internationale Des Avocats (International Associate of Lawyers), 2021-Present.
- Member, INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION, 2021-Present.
- Member, American Society of International Law, 2021-Present.
- Member, International Associate of Legal Ethics, 2021-Present.
- Member, American Mensa, 2021-Present.
- Member, U.S. Chess Federation, 2021-Present.
- Member, Sciences PO Alumni, 2021-Present.
- Participant, International Law eAcademy, National University of Singapore - Centre for International Law, 2020.
- Attendee, AAA-ICC-ICSID 36th Joint Colloquium on International Arbitration, 2020.
- Participant, SIAC South Asia Academy 2020, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, 2020.
- Member, ICC Singapore Arbitration Group, 2019-Present.
- Executive Director, The Global Pro Bono Bar Association, 2018-Present.
- Advocate and Attendee, Singapore International Arbitration Academy, 2016.
- Arbitrator, Vis East International Arbitration Moot Competition, Hong Kong, 2015.
- Technical Editor, Vindobona Journal, Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Alumni Association, 2015.
- Speaker, “Current Climate for Investments – Concerns for Investment Structuring & Disputes in Southeast Asia” webinar, 28 June 2022, K&L Gates Straits Law and Tilleke & Gibbins
- Speaker, "World Arbitration Update 2021," Virtual Conference, (15 October 2021).
- Facilitator, ”Pro Bono Student Empowerment in a Post-Pandemic World”, Inaugural Asia Pro Bono Virtual Conference (25 September 2020).
- Presenter, “Cross-Border Pro Bono”, 8th Asia Pro Bono Conference, Kathmandu, 2019.
- Presenter, “Advocates of Conscience: Reflections on International Legal Professionalism with The Global Pro Bono Bar Association”, presented at T.M.C. Asser Instituut (The Hague), Modern Slavery Law Clinic, Monash University (Kuala Lumpur), and Pepperdine Law Modern Slavery Practicum Course (Malibu via Remote Connection), 2019.
- Organizer, Presenter, and Moderator, “The Difference Pro Bono Can Make: A Look at Immigration Detention & International Legal Professionalism”, in association with UNHCR for the 7th Asia Pro Bono Conference, Hong Kong, 2018.
- Presenter, “Student Pro Bono: Different by design”, 7th Asia Pro Bono Conference, Hong Kong, 2018.
- Panel Organizer and Moderator, “The Role of Public Interest Engagement in Developing International Law: From Pro Bono Practice to Private Sector Involvement”, International Law Association 78th Biennial Conference, Sydney, 2018.
- Presenter, “Pro Bono and the Fight Against Human Trafficking”, 6th Asia Pro Bono Conference, Kuala Lumpur, 2017.
- Panelist, Discussion on Fighting Human Trafficking and Slavery, Thomson Reuters Livestream Event for the Trust Women Conference, UN Women, Singapore Committee, Singapore, 2016.
- Organizer and Moderator, “Pro Bono Engagement with Human Trafficking and Forced Labour in South East Asia”, K&L Gates LLP, Singapore, 2016.
- Seminar Instructor, “Getting to YES: Waiver of Sovereign Immunity in Energy Disputes in Southeast Asia” (with Glenn Cheng; accredited by the Singapore Institute of Legal Education for Continuing Professional Development training in Singapore), Singapore Management University, 2016.
- Presenter, “Investment Treaty Arbitration: At the Crossroads of Geopolitics & Legal Practice” (accredited in New York and California for continuing legal education training; available on the K&L Gates LLP Global Online Learning Center), K&L Gates LLP, Singapore, 2016.
- Symposium Organizer and Speaker, “Public Interest/Private Dispute: The Future of the Public-Private Divide in International Arbitration”, White & Case LLP, Paris, 2014.
- Singapore, LEGAL 500: INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION COUNTRY COMPARATIVE GUIDE(5th ed. 2020).
- How To Prep For Investor-State Disputes Related To COVID-19, LAW360.COM (with Ian Meredith and Matthew Weldon) (8 June 2020).
- “Singapore”, Legal 500: International Arbitration Country Comparative Guide (4th ed. 2019).
- “The Year in Review”, ABA SECTION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, DISPUTES, INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION, VOL. NO. 51 ABA/SIL YIR (N.S.), page nos. 109-25 (2017) (contributing author to Section III on Singapore and Hong Kong topics).
- “The Positional Game: Anticipating Uncertainty in the Age of the Trans-Pacific Partnership”, GLOBAL GOVERNMENT SOLUTIONS® 2016: MID-YEAR OUTLOOK, K&L GATES LLP, pp. 124-25 (with Andre Jumabhoy) (2016).
- “New Ports of Call: The Agreed Text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Signals a New Landscape for Pacific Trade, Investment, and Dispute Resolution”, Arbitration World (31st ed.), K&L Gates LLP (January 2016; co-authored with Haig Oghigian and C.J. Hoppel).
- “Believing in Miracles”, 20 CARDOZO ELECTRONIC L. BULL. 1, Spring-Summer 2014.
- “Justice as Fairness’ as a Guiding Principle in Arbitration”, COM. & BUS. LITIG. (A.B.A.), November 12, 2012.
- ISDS: “reform in the air,” GlobalArbitrationReview.com, 29 November 2021