Donald B. Ayer

Donald B. Ayer
Firm: Jones Day
Address: 51 Louisiana Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-2113
Phone: (202) 879-4689
Fax: (202) 626-1700
E-mail: Contact Us
Web site:

Position Areas of Practice Bar Admissions
Education Published Works Representative Cases
Lawyer Profile:

Don Ayer is the Firm's most experienced Supreme Court lawyer, with 19 arguments before the Court. He has argued more than 60 other appeals. 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.

He is immediate past president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and has served as president of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court in Washington, D.C. Don currently teaches a course in Supreme Court Advocacy at Georgetown University Law Center and Duke University Law School. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America (appellate practice), Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Chambers USA (national appellate), Washingtonian magazine's "Top Supreme Court Lawyers in Washington," and Super Lawyers "Top 100 Lawyers" in the D.C. area.

Don previously served as the Deputy Attorney General and Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States and as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California. He is a member of the ALI, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and serves on the advisory boards of the NYU Institute of Judicial Administration, the Georgetown Law School Supreme Court Institute, the State and Local Legal Center, and the Publications Committee of the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Current Employment Position(s):

Areas of Practice:
Government Regulation
Issues & Appeals
Product Liability & Tort Litigation
Appellate Advocacy in the U.S. Supreme Court
Appellate Litigation in Other Federal & State Courts
Administrative & Agency Litigation
Trial Litigation in Federal & State Courts
U.S. Court of Federal Claims Litigation
Bar Admissions:
District of Columbia
Harvard University Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1975

Harvard University, 1973
Major: History

Stanford University, 1971
Honors: With Great Distinction
Major: History

Published Works:
Why the High Court's Work Goes Beyond 'Balls and Strikes', The Washington Post, 2010

Representative Cases:
Alaskan legislator obtains favorable ruling from U.S. Supreme Court, narrows reach of honest services fraud statute (2010)
American Standard successfully appeals adverse judgment in dealer termination case
Andrade Gutierrez prevails in third-party defendant's appeal of judgment ordering arbitration (2009)
Anti-communist Albanian client wins U.S. political asylum (2009)
Assistant Attorney General represented in terrorist surveillance and interrogation investigations (2010)
Bellaire files amicus brief concerning proper construction of the Coal Health Benefit Act of 1992 (2009)
Breed Technologies settles multi-million dollar accounting fraud litigation in Florida (2009)
Chevron pursues federal court and administrative actions to challenge process for finalizing ownership interests at Elk Hills oil field (2010)
Chevron victorious in challenge to Hawaii statute capping rent collected from lessee gas stations as Takings Clause violation
Cole National challenges California restrictions on business and financial relationships between opticians and optometrist or ophthalmologist (2009)
Field Auto City prevails in U.S. Supreme Court case involving Truth in Lending Act damages-limiting provisions
Fior D'Italia restaurant defends U.S. Supreme Court case concerning the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (2009)
Florida Board of Regents prevails in Supreme Court case involving States' 11th Amendment immunity from suit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
FMC appeals adverse False Claims Act judgment involving procurement of Bradley Fighting Vehicle (2009)
Haig will beneficiaries challenge retroactive application of trusts and estates law by Hawaii Supreme Court
Individual plaintiffs prevail in landmark U.S. Supreme Court case interpreting supplemental jurisdiction statute (2009)
Leading American corporations file amicus brief urging 10th Circuit to reverse order enjoining enforcement of Kansas judicial election regulation
Mariner Health Care appeals dismissal of $400 million accounting fraud lawsuit in Georgia state court (2009)
Mining companies file amicus brief opposing liability for Coal Act retiree benefits (2009)
Port Authority of NY and NJ challenges DOT’s planned auction of slots at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports (2009)
Prisoner asserts rights under Religious Freedom and Institutionalized Persons Act (2006)
Prisoner pursues U.S. Supreme Court appeal of dismissed lawsuit alleging constitutional violations in family law matter
Prisoner represented in the 9th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court in case involving the Prison Litigation Reform Act's exhaustion requirement
Pro bono client persuades 6th Circuit to reverse dismissal of federal habeas petition for failure to exhaust state remedies
R.J. Reynolds appeals State of Ohio claim that it violated "brand-name merchandise" provision of the Master Settlement Agreement
R.J. Reynolds petitions for certiorari to resolve issue of whether suit is permitted on claim having no connection to the forum
R.J. Reynolds secures first defense verdict in Gelep "Engle progeny" lawsuit (2011)
R.J. Reynolds secures victory in first "Engle Progeny" appeal (2010)
Research In Motion obtains stay of injunction following BlackBerry patent challenge
Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center obtains reversal of $36 million jury verdict in Idaho Supreme Court
Sandra Craft pursues Supreme Court case involving attachment of federal tax liens
Taita Chemical appeal reduces award under Delaware fiduciary duty law
Third Circuit reverses district court, affirms right to seek DNA evidence post-conviction under §1983
U.S. corporations file amicus brief urging U.S. Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of Minnesota judicial election regulations
U.S. Supreme Court affirms parole challenges brought under federal civil rights law (2009)
Washington Legal Foundation urges U.S. Supreme Court to review state appropriation of interest earned on lawyers' trust accounts
Past Employment Positions:
N.D. of California, San Francisco, Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1977 - 1979

E.D. of California, Sacramenti, U.S. Attorney, 1981 - 1986

U.S. Department of Justice, Principal Deputy Solicitor General, 1986 - 1988

U.S. Department of Justice, Deputy Attorney General, 1989 - 1990

West Practice Categories:
Alcoholic Beverages, Apparel, Asbestos, Bankruptcy Litigation, Chemicals & Cosmetics, Class Actions, Complex Litigation, Federal Appellate Practice, Federal Claims Court, Federal Trial Practice, Firearms, Food & Agricultural Products, Food & Drug Administration, Government Agencies & Programs, Housing & Urban Development, International Trade Litigation, Law Enforcement Agencies, Litigation & Appeals, Machinery & Tools, Medical Products & Devices, Medicare & Medicaid, Military & Veterans Appeals, Motor Vehicle Defects, Multidistrict Litigation, Patent Litigation, Pharmaceutical Products, Products Liability Law, Recreational Products, Social Security -- Disability, Social Security -- Retirement & Survivors Benefits, State & Local Agencies, State Appellate Practice, State Trial Practice, State, Local & Municipal Law, Tax Litigation, Tobacco, US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, US Supreme Court, Veterans' Affairs, Welfare

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