Catherine Amirfar is Co-Chair of the Debevoise’s Public International Law Group. Prior to rejoining Debevoise in 2016, Ms. Amirfar spent two years as the Counselor on International Law to the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. 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 arbitration and claims settlement and the intersection of U.S. and international law, including with respect to issues before the Security Council. Ms. Amirfar received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award in recognition of her contributions to the Department.
In 2020, Ms. Amirfar was appointed President of the American Society of International Law, for which she has co-hosted a podcast called “International Law Behind the Headlines.” She is ranked among the top international legal practitioners in the world by Chambers Global (2020). 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 NYU Law School, among others. She is also a member of the American Law Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, the State Department’s Advisory Council on International Law, and the Court of Arbitration of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. She is a member of the ICCA Governing Board and also serves as Co-Chair of the ICCA-ASIL Task Force on Damages in International Arbitration.