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Donald B. Ayer (Don)
Of Counsel


(T) +1.202.879.4689
(F) +1.202.626.1700


  • Harvard University (J.D. 1975; Harvard Law Review, Articles Editor; M.A. in History 1973); Stanford University (B.A. in History with great distinction 1971; Phi Beta Kappa)

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia


  • Justice William H. Rehnquist, U.S. Supreme Court (1976 Term); Judge Malcolm R. Wilkey, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit (1975 Term)

Government Service

  • Deputy Attorney General, U.S. DOJ (1989-1990); Principal Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. DOJ (1986-1988); U.S. Attorney, E.D. California (1981-1986); Assistant U.S. Attorney, N.D. California (1977-1979)

Donald Ayer has practiced appellate litigation for three decades and has argued 19 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also has argued many cases before other federal and state appellate courts. His experience covers subject areas ranging from criminal appeals to business torts to a wide range of constitutional and technical statutory and regulatory issues. He also has been lead counsel in 20 federal court jury trials.

After graduating from Stanford University and Harvard Law School, he clerked for Judge Malcolm R. Wilkey of the D.C. Circuit and for Justice William H. Rehnquist. Before entering private practice in 1990, Don served for 10 years in the United States Department of Justice as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in San Francisco, as United States Attorney in Sacramento, as Principal Deputy Solicitor General under Solicitor General Charles Fried, and as Deputy Attorney General. He also has served as president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court and currently teaches a course in Supreme Court Advocacy at Georgetown University Law Center and Duke University Law School.

Don is listed in Best Lawyers in America (appellate practice), Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Chambers USA (national appellate), and D.C. Magazine's "Top 100 Lawyers in Washington, D.C." He is a member of the ALI, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and chairman of the Publications Committee of the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Honors & Distinctions

  • Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law School, Supreme Court Litigation (2006-present)

    Senior Lecturer, Duke Law School, Supreme Court Litigation (2008-present)

    Adjunct Professor, NYU Law School (2007-2009)

    President, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers (2010-2011)

    President, Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court (2006-2007)

    "Top 100 Washington D.C. Super Lawyers" (2009-2013)

    "Washington's Top Lawyers — Supreme Court," Washingtonian magazine (2009-2011)

    Appellate Lawyer of the Week, National Law Journal (August 11, 2010)
Donald Ayer Don