David Rivkin

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP 

David W. Rivkin is Co-Chair of Debevoise’s International Dispute Resolution Group and Past President of the International Bar Association (IBA). A litigation partner in the firm’s New York and London offices, Mr. Rivkin has broad experience in the areas of international litigation and arbitration. Mr. Rivkin is consistently ranked as one of the top international dispute resolution practitioners in the world. Chambers Global (2019) identified Mr. Rivkin as one of the top thirteen international arbitration practitioners worldwide, describing him as “outstanding,” and a “giant” in the field of international arbitration.

Previous editions of the guide have recognized his demonstrated “aptitude for complex, high-stakes disputes” in international arbitration, and highlighted his achievement in securing one of the largest ICSID awards ever. Chambers Latin America (2019) ranks Mr. Rivkin a leading international arbitration lawyer and describes him as a “very thorough and focussed lawyer with excellent advocacy skills.”

Other Chambers publications have noted that he is “a true giant in the field, whose depth of knowledge is incredible,” and that “his advocacy skills are without parallel.”

In 2014, when The American Lawyer named Debevoise the Litigation Department of the Year, one client’s General Counsel noted, “The thing that impresses me about lawyers is when they come up with better answers to problems than I do. Every once in a while, you encounter a lawyer who has really created the better answers. David W. Rivkin is that lawyer.”

In 2012, the American Lawyer’s Am Law Litigation Daily named Mr. Rivkin one of two “Global Lawyers of the Year.” In 2011, the National Law Journal named him one of the country’s “Most Influential Attorneys.”

He has also been ranked as the leading American in international arbitration in Who’s Who Legal (2016) and in Euromoney’s Expert Guide to the Leading Lawyers: Best of the Best (2017).

Mr. Rivkin’s other recognitions include:

  • Consistently ranked in the top tier of International Arbitration counsel and arbitrator in Chambers USA, where he is lauded as “the best arbitration practitioner anywhere in the world” and “a true giant in the field, whose depth of knowledge is incredible.”
  • Listed among the “Stars” of International Arbitration by IFLR Benchmark: Litigation (2019). This publication has acknowledged him for his resourcefulness and ability to represent a diverse set of clients and described him as an “icon.”
  • Listed as a leading lawyer for International Arbitration in The Legal 500 US (2018), which has described him as “a brilliant lawyer and tactician” with an “analytical mind.”
  • Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration comments that “David W. Rivkin is known to everybody and respected by all” and that he “knows all there is to know about the world of arbitration.”
  • Along with Debevoise partner Christopher Tahbaz and co-counsel Bae Kim & Lee, awarded the GAR 2010 Arbitration Win of the Year for representation of Hyundai Heavy Industries.
  • Debevoise won the Chambers USA Award for Excellence in International Arbitration in both 2012 and 2013, and it’s Latin America Award in 2012, 2014 and 2015. In 2006, Mr. Rivkin and partner Donald Francis Donovan won the first Chambers Award for Excellence as the top international arbitration lawyers in the United States.
  • Named a Litigation Trailblazer by the National Law Journal (2015). This award highlights the “who’s who of the litigation professionals going above and beyond the norm, and bringing about meaningful change through their work.”

He has handled international arbitrations throughout the world and before virtually every major arbitration institution. Subjects of these arbitrations have included long-term energy concessions, investment treaties, joint venture agreements, insurance coverage, construction contracts, distribution agreements and intellectual property, among others and they have involved common law, civil law, Islamic law and other systems.

Mr. Rivkin also represents companies in transnational litigation in the United States, including the enforcement of arbitral awards and arbitration agreements.

Mr. Rivkin is a Past President of the International Bar Association (IBA), whose membership includes more than 55,000 members and 200 bar associations. He is the first American to serve in that position in 25 years. In the IBA, he has previously served as Chair of the Legal Practice Division, which includes more than 50 substantive committees, and of the Committee on Arbitration and ADR (Committee D). Mr. Rivkin is Vice Chair of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce; a council member of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration; immediate past President of the North American Users’ Council of the LCIA, for which he previously served as Vice President of the Court and a former member of the Boards of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the American Arbitration Association, for which he also served as a member of its Executive Committee and Chair of the Law Committee and headed task forces to revise the Association’s international and commercial arbitration rules.

He is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, for which he is an Adviser to the Restatement of the Law of International Arbitration, and a Councillor to the Restatement of Foreign Relations Law. He held leadership positions within the ABA’s Litigation Section for twenty years, including five years as Co-Chair of the International Litigation Committee and a member of the Section’s Council and its Director of Divisions.

He is a Fellow of the London-based Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; a Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators; a member of the Commission on Settlement in International Arbitration of the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR); a member of the Centro Internacional de Arbitraje, Mediacion y Negociacion of the Instituto Universitario de Estudios Europeas, Universidad de San Pablo in Madrid; and a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Mr. Rivkin is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was appointed by the U.S. State and Commerce Departments to be a founding member of the NAFTA Advisory Committee on Private Commercial Disputes.

He is a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law and a member of the Sanctions Subcommittee of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy (ACIEP). He is also a Trustee of the Magna Carta Trust and serves as a member of the Board of BritishAmerican Business.

He is a member of many arbitration panels, including the AAA, CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Japan Commercial Arbitration Association, Chinese International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), the Cairo Regional Arbitration Centre, the Fédération International de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In August 2008, Mr. Rivkin served as a member of the Ad Hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. He previously served on the panel for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Mr. Rivkin graduated from Yale University in 1977 with a B.A. magna cum laude and received a J.D. from Yale in 1980. From 1980 to 1981, he served as law clerk to the Hon. Luther M. Swygert, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He has been with Debevoise ever since.


  • Yale Law School, 1980, J.D.
  • Yale University, 1977, B.A.

Bar Admissions:

  • New York


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Debevoise & Plimpton LLP  can handle cases related to laws concerning Litigation, Business, International Law, Energy Utilities & Environmental. We manually verify each attorney’s practice areas before approving their profiles and reviews on our website.
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