Leadership in the Profession

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Since Debevoise’s founding in 1931, many of our lawyers have served in senior leadership positions at prominent bar and other professional organizations, and in a variety of public service roles. Debevoise lawyers have led the four preeminent bar associations in the world, including the American Bar Association, the International Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association and the International Council for Commercial Arbitration.


Their service represents a commitment not only by the individuals assuming these responsibilities, but also by the firm in supporting them.

Bar Service

“It allows you to think about the broader issues. It’s an opportunity to have a real impact.”


– David W. Rivkin, Partner

“It’s part of the ethos of the firm…It’s a firm-wide commitment.”


– Donald Francis Donovan, Partner

Bar and Professional Associations

The major bar associations play a significant role in improving the way legal systems serve people–through a broad range of programs targeting improved access to justice, protection of human rights, supporting the quality and independence of the judiciary, among others.  

Further, Debevoise lawyers serve as board members or officers in over 100 bar organizations and not-for-profit organizations in New York, Washington, D.C. and around the world.

New York City Bar Association Presidents

  • John S. Kiernan (2016-2018)
  • Barbara Paul Robinson (1994-1996) (first female president)
  • Oscar M. Ruebhausen (1980-1982)
  • Francis T.P. Plimpton (1968-1970)


Recent Roles

International Bar Association
There are 15 Debevoise lawyers who currently hold leadership positions on IBA committees. Partner David W. Rivkin, who served as President of the IBA from 2015 to 2016, was the first U.S. lawyer to hold that position since 1990.

American Bar Association
Deborah Enix-Ross, Senior Advisor to Debevoise’s International Dispute Resolution Group, is Immediate Past Chair of the House of Delegates, the policy-making body of the American Bar Association. Previously, former litigation partner Lorna Schofield was Chair of the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section. She is now a U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

International Council for Commercial Arbitration
Donald Francis Donovan served as President of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) (2016-2018), which has long played a leading role in the field of international commercial arbitration and, more recently, investor-state arbitration.

Public Service

Public service is ingrained in the culture of the firm. Since Debevoise’s founding, our lawyers have been committed to using their passion to engage in activities that have a positive impact in our communities. This drive continually expresses itself in many ways.

 

Recent Developments

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Partners Mary Jo White, former Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (2013-2017), and Andrew J. Ceresney, former Director of Enforcement (2013-2016), returned to the firm in early 2017. Both were partners at Debevoise before serving at the SEC. Mary Jo White is the Senior Chair of the firm and Andrew J. Ceresney is Co-Chair of the Litigation Department.

Partners Julie M. Riewe and Robert B. Kaplan, each a former Co-Chief of the Asset Management Unit of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, are partners in the White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group. Debevoise is the only law firm to have a chief of the Asset Management Unit of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement as partner.

State Department 

Partner Catherine Amirfar returned to the firm in 2016 after serving as a Counselor on International Law at the U.S. Department of State.

Judgeships

Debevoise has a significant number of alumni – including partners, counsel and associates – serving as federal judges in New York, and a higher number compared to our peer firms.

 

  • Lorna Schofield serves on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Judge Schofield is the first Filipino American to serve as an Article III federal judge.
  • Greg Woods serves as a U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • John Koetl serves as a U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • J. Paul Oetken serves as a U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • Laura Taylor Swain serves as a U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • From 1988 to 2006, the Honorable Michael B. Mukasey, who is Of Counsel to the firm, served as U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and served as Chief Judge from 2000 to 2006.
  • Michael E. Wiles serves as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of New York.
  • Former U.S. District Judge John Gleeson, who sat in the Eastern District of New York, has joined the firm as a litigation partner in New York. Judge Gleeson spent more than two decades on the federal bench, appointed by President Clinton in 1994.

Attorneys General

Debevoise is the only firm to have two Former Attorneys General—a former U.S. Attorney General, Michael B. Mukasey, and former Attorney General of the U.K., Lord Goldsmith QC.