Former State Department Deputy Legal Adviser Samuel Witten Joins Arnold & Porter's International Practice
Washington, DC, April 20, 2010 - Arnold & Porter announced today that senior State Department lawyer Samuel Witten has joined the firm as counsel in the Washington, DC office. Mr. Witten has an extensive background in public international law, international economic law, and international dispute resolution. He served in the State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser for 19 years, including six years as Deputy Legal Adviser and five years as Assistant Legal Adviser for Law Enforcement and Intelligence. Mr. Witten recently served as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration (2007-2009), managing the State Department's programs for the relief of refugees and conflict victims around the world, with a budget of well over US$1 billion.
Mr. Witten will further strengthen Arnold & Porter's public international law and national security law practices, which represents both foreign governments and international companies in litigation and arbitrations and in domestic enforcement and regulatory matters. With Mr. Witten's arrival, there are now four former senior members of the State Department's Legal Adviser's Office at Arnold & Porter. These include partners John B. Bellinger III, Paolo Di Rosa, and Jeffrey H. Smith. Mr. Bellinger joined the firm last year after serving from 2005 to 2009 under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as The Legal Adviser for the State Department (the US Government's principal lawyer on international matters). Mr. Di Rosa joined the firm in 2007, after serving as the Assistant Legal Adviser in charge of the Office of the Legal Adviser for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department during the Clinton Administration. Jeffrey Smith, former General Counsel of the CIA, served as the Assistant Legal Adviser for Law Enforcement and Intelligence at the State Department earlier in his career.
"Sam is a highly talented lawyer, with an in-depth understanding of the complex international law and trade issues that are relevant to our clients involved in international business," said Mr. Di Rosa, head of Arnold & Porter's international arbitration practice, who worked with Mr. Witten at the State Department. "In addition, his vast experience in public international law and treaty matters will be especially useful to our sovereign clients."
"I am delighted that Sam is joining us," said Arnold & Porter partner Mr. Bellinger, who was the State Department's Legal Adviser when Mr. Witten served as Deputy. "In addition to his extensive experience in treaty negotiation and international dispute resolution, Sam has deep knowledge of counter-terrorism, transnational economic crime, and the implementation of US law enforcement treaties, along with experience in direct coordination with federal prosecutors in US law enforcement investigations and prosecutions. His background adds to our deep bench in this area and complements our existing capabilities. Sam will be a tremendous asset to our clients."
As Deputy Legal Adviser from 2001 to 2007, Mr. Witten oversaw the State Department's legal work on economic and business issues, including economic sanctions, international aviation, international trade, and international investment matters. He and the staff he supervised collaborated with the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control on international sanctions matters; with the US Department of Transportation on economic rights for US air carriers in international commerce; and with the Office of the US Trade Representative on trade and investment matters. He also supervised the State Department's legal work on international law enforcement cooperation; human rights and refugees; environmental matters; Western Hemisphere Affairs; and East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Mr. Witten testified frequently as an Administration expert witness before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on treaties including the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention; the UN Convention Against Corruption; and dozens of bilateral treaties between the United States and other governments for international cooperation on law enforcement matters. In 2005-2006, Mr. Witten also served as the Acting Director of the State Department's Office of War Crimes Issues and negotiated the repatriation of detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to their countries of nationality.
During Mr. Witten's tenure as the State Department's Assistant Legal Adviser for Law Enforcement and Intelligence (1996-2001), he worked closely with the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and served as the State Department's lead negotiator for numerous international treaties and agreements on law enforcement matters, including extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties. He coordinated the State Department's support for US investigations and prosecutions of violations of US criminal laws, including economic sanctions, arms export controls, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and supervised the Department's international extradition program.
Mr. Witten also has extensive international dispute settlement experience. He oversaw the successful arbitration and settlement of the US Government's claims that the United Kingdom overcharged US air carriers for the use of London's Heathrow Airport. In addition, he represented the United States in disputes with Iran at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, including written submissions to the Tribunal on international claims issues and oral argument in a commercial dispute over the Iranian government's failure to compensate US businesses for goods lost in international shipping.
In addition to his work at the State Department, Mr. Witten served as a trial attorney in the Foreign Commerce Section of US Department of Justice's Antitrust Division (1992-1993), helping to increase international cooperation between US and foreign antitrust agencies. Earlier in his career at a prominent national law firm (1989-1992), he worked on issues relating to international commerce, particularly the rights of US air carriers to do business outside the United States. Following law school, he served as a law clerk for US District Judge Stanley Brotman of the US District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Mr. Witten's professional awards include two selections as a Presidential Meritorious Executive, six State Department Superior Honor Awards, and the Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award. He has a JD from the Columbia University School of Law and a BA from the University of Maryland.
Arnold & Porter also recently expanded its international practice with the return of international finance lawyer Eli Whitney Debevoise II, after his service of three years as an Executive Director at the World Bank.
Arnold & Porter LLP is an international law firm of more than 700 lawyers with offices in Brussels, Denver, New York, Northern Virginia, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The firm, founded in 1946, maintains more than 25 practice areas spanning a broad spectrum of the law, with a primary focus on litigation, transactional matters, and regulatory issues.