Public International Law

Debevoise’s Public International Law group is widely regarded as one of the world’s best. In Chambers Global (2022), Debevoise is ranked in Band 1 for public international law and international arbitration. No other firm can match the Debevoise team—not only in the number of leading individual practitioners and rising stars, but also in the exceptional cadre of counsel and associates, and the breadth and depth of the practice and experience.

Members of the team have experience at the most senior levels of government, business, international organizations, and NGOs. The attorneys also take a leading role in the preeminent professional bodies in the field. For example, Donald Francis Donovan is a recent past President of the American Society of International Law; Lord Peter Goldsmith is the former Attorney General of the United Kingdom; David W. Rivkin is the immediate past President of the International Bar Association; Catherine Amirfar is currently a Vice President of the American Society of International Law and formerly the Counselor on International Law in the Legal Adviser’s Office at the U.S. State Department; and Natalie Reid is a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.

Debevoise handles matters of unmatched significance, complexity and diversity. Lawyers in the group have extensive experience in treaty interpretation and enforcement before international courts and tribunals. Debevoise is one of a select group of law firms that has prevailed in treaty cases before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and has won several of the most prominent investment treaty awards on record. The team also has broad experience in litigating issues of public international law arising before domestic courts. Debevoise attorneys have succeeded in the enforcement of privileges and immunities under international and U.S. law, and successfully brought and defended claims for international law violations under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute.

The team also has advised sovereign governments and multinational corporations in public international law matters, as well as prominent international and non-governmental organizations, including the United Nations, the European Commission, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Independent Diplomat and the International Bar Association.

Debevoise’s extensive public international law practice includes:

  • Maritime and land boundary disputes;
  • International trade and investment law;
  • International environmental law and climate change expertise;
  • Sovereign and other immunities;
  • International criminal law;
  • International human rights law; and
  • The law of war.