Donald Francis Donovan

Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Donald Francis Donovan

Donald Francis Donovan

Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Biography

Mr. Donovan serves as counsel in international disputes before courts in the United States, international arbitration tribunals, and international courts. Based on surveys of other practitioners in the field, Chambers Global 2013 recently identified him as one of the five leading public international lawyers and eleven leading international arbitration practitioners in the world. He has been described in that and other publications as “a recognized leader in commercial, investment, and international law cases,” as “one of the world’s leading practitioners in both investment treaty and commercial arbitration,” as “one of the best advocates that you will ever see,” as a “visionary,” an “absolute star,” an “arbitration superstar,” a “tremendous intellect,” a “truly amazing lawyer,” a “towering figure,” a “brilliant” and “superb” oral advocate, and as “combative,” “extraordinarily talented,” and “absolutely excellent, truly top of the line.”

Mr. Donovan currently serves as President of the American Society of International Law. He also serves as a Member of the US Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law; a Member of the Advisory Committees of the American Law Institute for the Restatement of US Foreign Relations Law and for the Restatement of the US Law of International Commercial Arbitration; a Member and Honorary Vice-President of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA); Alternate US Member of the ICC International Court of Arbitration; and as a Member of the Board of Human Rights First and Chair of its Litigation Committee. He served from 2000-2005 as Chair of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration. He teaches International Arbitration and International Investment Law and Arbitration at the New York University School of Law, and he regularly speaks and writes on international law, international arbitration and international litigation topics.

Mr. Donovan has argued international law, arbitration law, commercial law, and other issues before the US Supreme Court, the US Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits, and other federal and state courts throughout the United States; the International Court of Justice, the Arbitral Tribunal Established by the 1930 Hague Agreement, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; and arbitration tribunals sitting around the world, constituted under the auspices of the world’s leading arbitration institutions, in a wide range of economic sectors, in disputes arising under both contracts and treaties. His practice includes the representation of states, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and multinational companies. He regularly sits as arbitrator in international cases, including under the auspices of ICSID, the ICC, and the ICDR.

Mr. Donovan’s representations include

* the United Nations in US federal court in asserting its rights under the UN-US Headquarters Agreement in Ungar v. PLO and under the Convention on Privileges and Immunities in Brzak v. United Nations;
* the European Commission as amicus curiae in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, in which the EC urged the US Supreme Court to take a rigorous international law approach to the Alien Tort Statute;
* the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as amicus curiae in Boumediene, in which the US Supreme Court addressed the rights of the Guantánamo detainees to judicial review of their detention;
* a group of negotiators of and experts on the Chemical Weapons Convention as amici curiae in Bond v. United States, in which the US Supreme Court is now considering a constitutional challenge to the federal statute implementing the Convention;
* the Finnish manufacturer Oy Metsä- Botnia AB in connection with the Case Concerning Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Arg. v. Uru.) in the International Court of Justice, which concerned Botnia’s project in Uruguay;
* Tethyan Copper Company (jointly owned by Barrick Gold and Antofagasta Minerals) in parallel
arbitrations arising from a copper-gold project against the Government of Balochistan under a contract and the Government of Pakistan under a bilateral investment treaty;
* the Swiss manufacturer Holcim Ltd. in its ICSID proceeding against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela under a bilateral investment treaty for the expropriation of its Venezuelan subsidiary, in which Holcim recovered some US$650 million;
* the lead claimant in Reineccius v. Bank for International Settlements, in which a five-member tribunal constituted under the 1930 Hague Agreement awarded private shareholders some US$500 million after holding that the Bank had inadequately compensated those shareholders for their compulsorily withdrawn shares;
* Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corporation (jointly owned by Barrick Gold and Goldcorp) in a dispute with the Government of the Dominican Republic regarding the Pueblo Viejo mine, the largest foreign investment in the Dominican Republic;
* the Government of Ghana in proceedings in the US District Court in Washington, DC, arising under the New York Convention and in related arbitrations;
* the US insurance company CIGNA Worldwide in pursuing contempt proceedings, including an appeal before the Third Circuit, arising from a US antisuit injunction and raising issues under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and of individual sovereign immunity;
* the Brazilian airline VRG before the Second Circuit in an appeal from an order denying enforcement of a Brazilian arbitration award and raising issues under the New York Convention and US arbitration law;
* the Governments of Mexico (Avena), the Federal Republic of Germany (LaGrand), and Paraguay (Case Concerning Vienna Convention on Consular Relations) in proceedings against the United States in the International Court of Justice arising under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations; and
* the petitioner in Medellín v. Texas and Medellín v. Dretke, in which the US Supreme Court addressed the US constitutional issues arising from the President’s and individual Mexican nationals’ efforts to enforce the ICJ judgment in Avena.

Mr. Donovan joined Debevoise after serving as law clerk to Associate Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the US Supreme Court and as legal assistant to Judge Howard M. Holtzmann of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal. He received his BA in 1977 from the University of Virginia and his JD in 1981 from Stanford Law School, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and served on the Stanford Law Review. He is competent in Spanish.

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President-Elect at American Society of International Law

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Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

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Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

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Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees & Migration at United States Department of State

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Partner at White & Case LLP

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Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia University - Law School

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Partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

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Founder at The Law Offices of Kenneth R. Feinberg PC

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Presiding Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

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Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

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Donald Francis Donovan
Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Education
J.D., Order of the Coif
Class of 1981

Stanford began offering a curriculum in legal studies in 1893, when the university engaged its first two law professors. One was Benjamin Harrison, former President of the United States, who delivered a landmark series of lectures on the Constitution. The other was Nathan Abbott, who served as head of the nascent law program. Abbott assembled a small faculty to which he imparted a standard of rigor and excellence that endures to this day.In an effort to acknowledge the emerging professional nature of the department, Stanford's Board of Trustees passed a resolution in 1908 to substitute the term 'law school' for 'law department,' though technically the law program remained a department within the university.The law school was at the forefront of efforts to institute the California Bar exam, which was added to the requirements to practice law in California in 1919. The law school was accredited by the American Bar Association in 1923, the year the ABA began certifying law schools.

B.A.
Class of 1977

The University of Virginia (often abbreviated as UVA, UVa, or Virginia) is a public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States. It was conceived and designed by U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, and established in 1819. UVA's initial Board of Visitors included former Presidents of the United States Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Monroe owned the initial site of the University, which was mostly farmland. His law office and farmhouse are now the site of Brown College at Monroe Hill, a residential college at UVA. UVA is one of the eight original Public Ivy universities, and it is the only university campus in the United States that is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In the 2013 edition of U.S. News and World Report's National University Rankings, the school was listed as America's 2nd best public university; tied with UCLA and surpassed only by UC Berkeley.

Memberships
Member
Prior
Career History
Partner
Current

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP provides legal services. Practice areas include: complex acquisition, financing transactions, litigation & arbitration, tax, employee benefits, and trusts & estates. The company was founded in 1931 by Eli Whitney Debevoise and is headquartered in New York, NY.

Adjunct Professor
Current

Founded in 1835, New York University School of Law has a record of academic excellence and national scholarly influence. One of the first law schools to admit women, it has been long committed to welcoming students of diverse backgrounds, people who had been discriminated against by many other institutions. Located on the University's campus in Greenwich Village, NYU Law has been a leader, and continues to be, in areas such as law and business, clinical education, public service, interdisciplinary colloquia and global studies.

Clerk
Prior

The Supreme Court of the United States (abbreviated Scotus since 1879)[1] is the highest federal court in the United States. It has ultimate (and largely discretionary) appellate jurisdiction over all federal courts and over state court cases involving issues of federal law, plus original jurisdiction over a small range of cases. In the legal system of the United States, the Supreme Court is the final interpreter of federal constitutional law, although it may only act within the context of a case in which it has jurisdiction.

Boards & Committees
President
Current

TO FOSTER THE STUDY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND TO PROMOTE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ON THE BASIS OF LAW AND JUSTICE.

Political Donations
$10K
2012

Former President of United States

$500
2012

Instructor, General Studies Writing Program at Bowling Green State University

$2,500
2012

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is the only organization solely dedicated to electing a Democratic Senate. From grassroots organizing to candidate recruitment to providing campaign funds for tight races, the DSCC is working hard all year, every year to elect Democrats – and give President Obama the help he needs on Capitol Hill to move our country forward.

Awards & Honors
Admitted to the New York Bar
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