Mr. Donald Francis Donovan


Mr. Donovan is the President-Elect of ICCA, to take office on 1 April 2016.  He served as Chair of the Program Committees for the 2006 Montreal Congress and the 2008 Dublin Congress.  He has also served as Vice President, as Chair of the Foundation Committee, and as a member of the Nominating Committee.  He has been a member of the Governing Board (formerly the Council) since 1998.

General bio

Mr. Donovan is Co-Head of the International Disputes Group at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where he concentrates his practice in international disputes before courts in the United States, international arbitration tribunals, and international courts.   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 both commercial and investor-state cases.  He has long been regarded as one of the leading arbitrators and arbitration practitioners in the world. 

Mr. Donovan is the immediate past President of the American Society of International Law. He 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 (ITA), and he has also served as an Alternate Member of the ICC International Court of Arbitration).  Mr. Donovan teaches International Arbitration and International Investment Law and Arbitration at the New York University School of Law.  He is also a visiting professor at the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London, and in Summer 2015, he taught the general course on investor-state arbitration at the International Academy for Arbitration Law.

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.

Awards, Nominations and Special roles

Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession (Chambers & Partners May 2013).

Premio Nacional de Jurisprudencia (Mexican Bar Association, December 2006) (only non-Mexican ever so honored).

Orden del Águila Azteca (Government of Mexico, March 2007) (highest award given to non-Mexicans).