Delissa A. Ridgway

  • Honorable Delissa A. Ridgway

Judge Delissa A. Ridgway sits on the U.S. Court of International Trade, an Article III federal trial court with exclusive nationwide jurisdiction over disputes involving the interpretation and application of U.S. customs and international trade laws.

Prior to her appointment to the Court in 1998, Judge Ridgway served as Chair of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the U.S. (“FCSC”), an international tribunal responsible for adjudicating claims by U.S. nationals against foreign sovereigns.  Before her 1994 appointment to the FCSC by President Clinton, Judge Ridgway was a member of the International Practice Group at Shaw Pittman (now Pillsbury Winston Shaw Pittman) in Washington, D.C., where she concentrated on international commercial arbitration.  She began her career at Shaw Pittman in the firm’s Nuclear Energy Practice Group, and spent the decade following the Three Mile Island accident litigating TMI-related actions and challenges to the licensing of nuclear plants.  Much of that litigation focused on emergency preparedness, and Judge Ridgway became one of the nation’s leading experts on the subject.

Judge Ridgway has been an Adjunct Professor of Law on the international law faculties of Cornell Law School and American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C.  In addition, she frequently serves as a consultant/lecturer for international rule of law development and judicial capacity-building programs sponsored by U.S. government agencies, international organizations such as the U.N., and a range of NGOs, and travels the world working with judges and other public officials, lawyers, and the business community to promote a legal environment to attract international trade and foreign direct investment.

Judge Ridgway is a member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation (“ABF”); a member of both the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society and the ABF Fellows Research Advisory Committee;  a member of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements, and Co-Chair of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) Section of Litigation’s Task Force on Implicit Bias; a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Bar Building Corporation; and a member of the New York City Bar’s Council on International Affairs, as well as the National Association of Women Judges.

A past Chair (2009-2010) of the ABA Judicial Division’s National Conference of Federal Trial Judges (“NCFTJ”) (the national association that represents the interests of all federal trial judges), Judge Ridgway has served for more than a decade on the National Council of the Federal Bar Association, and is a former member of both the Board of Governors of the D.C. Bar and the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, as well as past President (1992-93) of the Women’s Bar Association of D.C. (one of the oldest and largest in the country).

Judge Ridgway was named Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence for 2003 by the University of Missouri.  In addition, she was honored as Washington, D.C.’s “Woman Lawyer of The Year” for 2001, and was also the 2000 recipient of the Earl W. Kintner Award – the Federal Bar Association’s highest honor – for “outstanding achievement, distinguished leadership, and continuing participation” in bar activities nationwide.  Her many other honors include the D.C. Bar’s Frederick B. Abramson Award, conferred on her in 1996, “in recognition of extraordinary service to the profession,” as well as her 1997 recognition by the FBA as one of four “Distinguished Women in International Law,” an honor she shared with then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Singleton McAllister, General Counsel of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Judge Ridgway is a 1975 honors graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she completed coursework for an M.S. in Community/International Development.  She received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in 1979.