Catherine Amirfar, Leading International Disputes Lawyer, Returns to Debevoise

12 September 2016

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP today announced that Catherine Amirfar has returned to the firm, as a partner in the International Dispute Resolution Group in New York, following a two-year stint as the Counselor on International Law to the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. At Debevoise, she will focus on international commercial and treaty arbitration, international and complex commercial litigation, and public international law, strengthening the firm’s market-leading international disputes practice even further.

During her tenure as Counselor, Ms. Amirfar advised the State Department on its most significant litigation matters involving international law and foreign relations, and liaised with senior officials of the Departments of Justice and Defense, the National Security Council and the Office of White House Counsel. She represented the United States before international bodies and broadly advised the State Department on international legal issues arising in the areas of human rights, armed conflict, sovereign and diplomatic immunity, international claims settlement and the intersection of U.S. and international law. Ms. Amirfar received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award in recognition of her contributions to the Department.

“Catherine’s recent, high-level government experience has only added to her stellar reputation as one of the leading international arbitration practitioners in the country,” said Debevoise Presiding Partner Michael W. Blair. “We are thrilled to welcome her back to the firm, where she will add additional strength to our world-class international disputes practice.”

“Before her departure for the State Department, Catherine was already widely recognized as a truly gifted international lawyer, a go-to practitioner in both investment and commercial arbitrations and an accomplished commercial litigator,” said Donald Francis Donovan, Co-Chair of the International Disputes Group. “Her two years as the State Department’s chief litigator adds enormously to those capacities. We’re tremendously excited that she will again be employing those broad-gauged skills in the service of our clients here at Debevoise.”

“Catherine represents what is best about Debevoise,” said David W. Rivkin, Co-Chair of the International Disputes Group. “She is an outstanding lawyer who is dedicated to both client service and public service. She was remarkably successful on behalf of our clients in commercial and public international law matters, and her experience at the State Department has only enhanced her ability to handle our clients’ most complex matters.”

Ms. Amirfar regularly represents multinational corporations, sovereign states and international organizations in both U.S. courts and before international arbitration tribunals. She is among the youngest advocates ever to argue before the International Court of Justice. She has written extensively on international arbitration, the relationship between international law and U.S. domestic law, international human rights and humanitarian law, investor-state disputes, and the law of consular and diplomatic immunities. She is a frequent lecturer on international law and has guest lectured at Yale Law School and New York University School of Law, among others. She is a member of the American Law Institute, currently serves as Vice President of the American Society of International Law and has previously served as an officer of the Arbitration Committee of the International Bar Association and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2014, Ms. Amirfar was selected by Chambers USA as the Pro Bono Private Practice Lawyer of the Year and by Benchmark Litigation as a “Litigation Star.” She was a 2013 “Rising Star” in the New York Law Journal, and in 2011 she was recognized by Global Arbitration Review in its “45 under 45,” a selection of the 45 leading figures of the international arbitration bar under the age of 45. She also has been ranked in leading directories, including Chambers Global, Chambers USA, Chambers Latin America, Legal 500 US and Legal 500 Latin America, among others.

“Returning to Debevoise was one of the easiest decisions I have ever made,” Ms. Amirfar said. “The firm and its top legal team have always been a natural fit for me. Debevoise offered me an unparalleled opportunity to return to an elite practice of incredible diversity, working in international commercial and treaty arbitration, public international law, international human rights and complex commercial litigation.”

Ms. Amirfar originally joined Debevoise in 2002 and became a partner in 2008. She received her B.A. in International Relations with honors from Stanford University in 1995 and her J.D. cum laude from New York University School of Law in 2000, where she served as an editor of the NYU Law Review and was awarded top honors in the Orison S. Marden Moot Court Competition.

About the International Dispute Resolution Group

For over four decades, Debevoise has maintained one of the world’s foremost international arbitration practices. The firm has two of the top 14 leading international arbitration lawyers in Chambers Global 2016, and a total of 10 partners ranked among the top lawyers in various guides. The group’s lawyers handle a wide range of the most challenging disputes, and lead professional organizations dedicated to arbitration, including the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA). In the words of The Legal 500 US 2010, Debevoise is “in a class of its own in the US, and among the top five internationally.”

About Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a premier law firm with market-leading practices, a global perspective and strong New York roots. We deliver effective solutions to our clients’ most important legal challenges, applying clear commercial judgment and a distinctively collaborative approach.