David Downes

Adjunct Professor of Law

David Downes is Acting Director for Policy in the Office of International Affairs at the United States Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. He leads a team that coordinates international activities across the Department's bureaus on issues such as trade and investment policy, biodiversity, climate change, and cooperation in the Arctic region. Mr. Downes is also an adjunct associate professor at the American University's Washington College of Law. From Fall 2011 he has served as co-chair of the International Environmental Law Committee of the ABA Section of International Law; from 2007-2010 he edited the committee's annual review of international environmental law for an ABA journal The International Lawyer.

From 2000-2009, Mr. Downes was a Program Analyst in the Department's Office of Policy Analysis and served as the Department's Senior Trade Advisor. Before commencing government service, Mr. Downes was Senior Attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), also in Washington, where he created CIEL's biodiversity program, launched its intellectual property work and helped lead its trade and environment program. Before joining CIEL, he practiced law with the Washington firm of Steptoe & Johnson. He received his J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School and has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan.

Professor Downes teaches a course on the International Law of Biodiversity in the Summer Environmental Law Session.



Areas of Specialization

  • International Environmental Law

Degrees & Universities

  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School (cum laude)
  • B.A., University of Michigan