Frederick Davis

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP 

Frederick T. Davis, of counsel to the firm and based in New York and Paris, is a former US federal prosecutor and member of the Paris Bar. Part of the global Litigation Group, his practice focuses on criminal, regulatory and civil litigation and investigations involving US and French laws. Mr. Davis is an experienced trial lawyer who has represented major US, French and multinational companies in both domestic and international criminal investigations. He has also appeared as legal counsel in international arbitrations administered by the ICC, AAA and other institutions, and has served as an arbitrator in ICC arbitrations.

The French government has named him a “Chevalier” of the National Order of Merit of France. Mr. Davis is recommended by Chambers Europe (2018) in the White Collar Crime section, by Chambers Global (2019) as an Expert based in France, and by Legal 500 EMEA (2018) in the Commercial Litigation section. The Chambers guides quote clients reporting that “his knowledge is top class” and that he “has a very fine legal mind and he understands white-collar and criminal investigation issues on both sides of the pond.” In previous editions of Legal 500 EMEA, he is noted as being “highly knowledgeable in US law” and a member of an “unbelievably responsive team”. He is also praised for his “analytical, technical perceptive abilities” by Who’s Who Legal France (2016).

Mr. Davis’s recent matters include investigations, litigations and international arbitrations for General Electric, 3M, American Express, and Johnson & Johnson. He has represented five of the largest banks in France in litigations related to World War II assets; Citibank in many international proceedings including lawsuits in India, Gabon and Australia and Lloyd’s of London related litigation; and the heirs of W. Averell Harriman in a lawsuit against Pamela C. Harriman. In John Hancock Leasing Corp. v. Frank, he was the lead counsel who obtained a $28 million judgment for the plaintiffs in a RICO jury trial, and in 2006 in RMST v. State Bank of Long Island he obtained a $44 million verdict in a jury fraud trial.

Mr. Davis is a past chair of the European Affairs Committee of the New York City Bar Association. He is also a member of the International Bar Association (where he is Co-Chair of the Business Crime Committee), the Federal Bar Council, an elected life member of the American Law Institute, an elected fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and is a member of the recently founded Academy of International Financial Crime Litigators, with headquarters in Basel. He is a frequent lecturer for the New York Law Journal seminars, Practicing Law Institute, International Bar Association, American Bar Association, International Chamber of Commerce, and Federal Bar Council, as well as at the Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature. Mr. Davis taught a full academic course on international litigation and arbitration as the Nomura Lecturer on International law at the Harvard Law School, has taught at the University of Amsterdam, and is presently a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, where he teaches courses in comparative criminal procedures and cross-border criminal investigations. He also founded and led a series of pro bono trial advocacy training seminars (in French and English) for the prosecutors and defence counsel of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and has advised the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on trial strategy.

Mr Davis’s articles in French and English are published regularly in Paris, New York and London, and he appears regularly on television and radio in France on subjects relating to international criminal procedures. His recent publications include “Storm Clouds or Silver Linings: The Impact of the U.S. CLOUD Act,” Litigation Journal of the American Bar Association (February, 2019); “New Article on the CLOUD Act in English and French,” IELR Blog (February, 2019); “Defining a War Crime: Does the Department of Defense Law of War Manual Comply with the Rome Statute?,” George Washington International Law Review (November, 2018); “Financial & Business Crime in France: an Overview,” Financial & Business Crime Global Guide 2018/19 (November, 2018); “France boosts tax fraud prosecution,” Compliance & Enforcement (October, 2018); the France chapter in GIR Know-How: Privilege, published by Global Investigations Review (October, 2018); the France chapter in “The Internal Investigations Review,” part of The Law Reviews series published by Law Business Research, Eighth Edition (July, 2018); “Guest Post: Further Developments On French Law Regarding Anti-Bribery Prosecutions By Multiple States,” The Global Anticorruption Blog (April, 2018); “Deferred Prosecution Agreements – The French Experience,” Commercial Dispute Resolution (March, 2018); “Financial Crime in France,” part of the Practical Law Global Guide Series (November, 2017); “A French Court Authorizes the First-Ever ‘French DPA’,” Compliance & Enforcement (November, 2017); “An Innovative Approach to Fighting Corruption – the Obiang trial in France,” Ethic Intelligence (November, 2017); “Privilege 2017 – France,” part of the Know Howseries published by Global Investigations Review (October, 2017); “The Second Circuit Clarifies How U.S. Constitutional Principles Apply in Multijurisdictional Investigations,” Compliance & Enforcement (August, 2017); “Paris Court of Appeals Rules That US FCPA Guilty Plea Deprives Accused of Rights Under European Convention and Bars Further Proceeding in France,” FCPA Professor (June, 2017); and “The Case for Greater US Deference to Foreign Anticorruption Prosecutions–A Response to Maruca,” Global Anti-Corruption Blog (February, 2017).

In April 2019 Cambridge University Press will publish his book American Criminal Justice: An Introduction, which offers an overview of American criminal procedures and practices, and a French version of that book is in the works.

Mr. Davis joined the firm as a partner in 2006, after serving as a partner in two other well-known firms. He served as an Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1974 to 1979, where he was Chief of Appeals from 1977 to 1978. Mr. Davis served as a law clerk to the Hon. Henry J. Friendly, Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit and to Justice Potter Stewart of the US Supreme Court.

He received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1967 and his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1972, where he was the writing and research editor of the Columbia Law Review.

He is a member of the Bars of New York and Paris.


  • Columbia Law School, 1972, J.D.
  • Harvard University, 1967, B.A.

Bar Admissions:

  • New York
  • Paris


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Debevoise & Plimpton LLP  can handle cases related to laws concerning Corporate, Litigation, White Collar Crime, 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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Debevoise & Plimpton LLP  is located at 919 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022, USA. You can reach out to Debevoise & Plimpton LLP  using their phone line 212 909 7420. You can also check their website or email them at [email protected].
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