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Blaine Sloan Lecture on International Law

October 29, 2014, 12:00 pm,  Ottinger Hall, Room 02

Donald Francis Donovan
Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP

The Advocate in the Transnational Justice System


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 served as President of the American Society of International Law from 2012 to 2014. 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 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.

Biography taken from Debevoise website - see the full biography here:


The Blaine Sloan Lecture on International Law honors F. Blaine Sloan for developing the international law studies program at Pace. A member of the United Nations Legal Office for three decades and Director of the General Legal Division, Professor Sloan has contributed significantly to the development of private and public international law. He represented the Secretary General at the 1978 UN Conference on the Carriage of Goods by Sea; at the sessions from 1969–1978 of the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL); and at the 1966–1978 sessions of the Legal Sub-Committee on the Peaceful uses of Outer Space. His UN service involved him in that organization’s work on Vietnam, relief for Palestinian refugees, peacekeeping in the Middle East, the UN Commission on Korea, and as Legal Advisor to Security Council sessions in Africa and Latin America.


Professor Blaine Sloan joined the Pace Law School faculty in 1979 and taught International Law. For many years Professor Blaine Sloan was associated with the United Nations Legal Office as Director of the General Legal Division and as Deputy to the Under Secretary General. While with the United Nations he was on various peacekeeping and refugee foreign mission assignments in the Middle East and Korea. He was legal advisor to the Security Council in meetings away from headquarters and Representative of the Secretary-General at meetings of the Legal Sub-committee on Outer Space and the International Trade Law Commission. (UNCITRAL). He published many articles on international law and organization, including a widely quoted article on General Assembly resolutions. His book, General Assembly Resolutions in Our Changing World, was published in 1991. He was also a member of the Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association.

The Blaine Sloan Lecture on International Law honors Blaine Sloan, former Professor Emeritus of International Law and Organization at Pace Law School, for developing the international law studies program at Pace. Professor Sloan passed away on April 12, 2012. You can read more about him and his legacy in this memorial lecture.


Past Lectures

October 3, 2012

Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Joint Special Representative African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)

 "Making Peace in Darfur (Sudan): Stubborn Reality and the Audacity of Hope”


September 15, 2011

Justice Richard Goldstone of the Constitutional Court of South Africa

 "The Developing Global Rule of Law”

October 4, 2010
The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG
“The Use of Foreign Judicial Authority…Why Justice Scalia is Wrong.”


  >> View lecture video          
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Scott Horton
Contributing Editor, Harper's Magazine
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Mark D. Welton, PhD (Lt. Col., Ret.)
Professor of Law, United States Military Academy, West Point
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José E. Alvarez
Hamilton Fish Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, Columbia University School of Law
"The Promise and Perils of International Organizations"



Philippe Kirsch
President, International Criminal Court (ICC); and Judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Division
"The International Criminal Court and the Enforcement of International Justice"



Barbara Stark
Professor of Law, Hofstra University School of Law
"Women and Globalization: A World of Change"



Michael Greenhalgh Bridge
Professor of Commercial Law and Dean of the Faculty of Laws, University College London (UCL)
"Uniformity and the Law of International Sale"



George J. Annas
Edward R. Utley Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health
Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law
Professor of Socio-Medical Sciences, Boston University School of Medicine
Founder and first Director, Boston University's Law, Medicine, and Ethics Program
"Human Rights and Health in a World of Inequality"

Harold G. Maier
David Daniels Allen Professor of Law Emeritus, Vanderbilt University Law School 
"The Cuban Democracy Act: Is the Cure Worse than the Disease?"



M. Cherif Bassiouni
President Emeritus, International Human Rights Law Institute; and Distinguished Research Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law
President, International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences (ISISC), Siracusa, Italy
"International Humanitarian Law"


David J. Scheffer
Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law; and Director of the Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern University
First U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues (1997–2001)
"War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity"


W. Ramsey Clark
Sixty-Sixth Attorney General of the United States
"The Legality and the Effects of the United Nations Sanctions against Iraq"



Stephen M. Schwebel
Judge, International Court of Justice (President from 1997–2000)
"The Performance and Prospects for the International Court of Justice"



Shoshana Netanyahu
Justice, Supreme Court of Israel
"The Supreme Court of Israel: A Safeguard of The Rule of Law"



W. Michael Reisman
Myres S. McDougal Professor of International Law, Yale Law School; Chairman, Hague Arbitration Tribunal, Bank for International Settlements
International Election Observation



Benjamin B. Ferencz
Chief Prosecutor for the United States Army, Einsatzgruppen Trial of the 'Subsequent Nuremberg Trials' at Nuremberg, Germany
Adjunct Professor of International Law (1985-1996), Pace University School of Law
"International Criminal Courts: The Legacy of Nuremberg"


Ronald St. John Macdonald, CC, QC
Founding President, Canadian Council on International Law
Judge, European Court of Human Rights
Solidarity in International Public Law


Ian Brownlie, CBE, QC, FBA
Chichele Professor of Public International Law, University of Oxford; and Distinguished Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford
"The Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes in Practice"



David O'Keeffe
Emeritus Professor of European Law, University of London (UCL)
"The Constitutionalization of Europe and Legal Issues of the Maastricht Treaty"



Louis Henkin
University Professor Emeritus and Special Service Professor, Columbia Law School; and chairman, Columbia University Center for the Study of Human Rights; former president, American Society of International Law
"Congress, the President, and the United Nations"


John N. Hazard
Nash Professor Emeritus of Law, Columbia Law School;
President, International Academy of Comparative Law; President, American Foreign Law Association and of the American Branch of the International Law Association; Former president of the International Association of Legal Sciences
"New Thinking in Soviet Approaches to International Politics and Law"


Oscar Schachter
Hamilton Fish Professor Emeritus of International Law and Diplomacy, Columbia Law School; Advisor, UN Commission on Transnational Corporations 
"Just War and Human Rights"



F. Blaine Sloan
Professor Emeritus of International Law and Organization, Pace Law School
"The United Nations Charter as a Constitution"