Hon. Edwin D. Williamson

Of Counsel, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Edwin D. Williamson has spent his entire professional career with Sullivan & Cromwell, as an associate, partner and now Senior Counsel, except for his service as the U.S. Department of State Legal Adviser from September 20, 1990 until January 20, 1993.

Mr. Williamson’s practice at Sullivan & Cromwell included international financing and transactions and corporate governance issues, as well as advice with respect to the United States’ economic sanctions laws and the ethics rules applicable to government officials. As the State Department Legal Adviser, Mr. Williamson was responsible for formulating the international legal position of the United States in the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf conflict, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the concomitant issues of state succession, and the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the attempt to end the Serbian-Bosnian conflict.

In addition to public policy work in the international investment and corporate governance areas, Mr. Williamson is an active participant on panels and other forums involving public international law and national security issues, such as the domestic and international bases for the use of force, the role of the United States with respect to the International Criminal Court, the law of the sea and the application of international legal principles in the war against terrorism.

Mr. Williamson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law, the Executive Committees of the Business and Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD and the U.S. Council for International Business, the United States Advisory Board of NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and the Board of Directors of Triton Oil & Gas Limited.

A native of Darlington, South Carolina, Mr. Williamson graduated from the University of the South, Sewanee Tennessee, in 1961, from which he received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in 1992. He is a past Chair of its Board of Regents. He received his JD from NYU Law School in 1964, where he was a Root-Tilden scholar and an Editor of the NYU Law Review.

  • 1964, New York University School of Law, J.D.
  • 1992, University of the South, D.C.L.
  • 1961, University of the South, B.A.

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Publications and Multimedia
National Security, the U.N., and the Extraterritorial Application of Treaties - Podcast
International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
March 20, 2014
The President's Authority in Libya - Podcast
International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
April 07, 2011
DOJ's Ex-Detainee Lawyers: The Ethics Issue
Engage Volume 11, Issue 3, December 2010
December 23, 2010
Preventing Attacks through Interrogation and Transfer of Terrorist Suspects - Event Audio/Video
International & National Security Law Practice Group and the Heritage Foundation
May 28, 2009
Medellin v. Texas - Part I: Self-Execution
Online Debate
March 28, 2008
Medellin v. Texas: Presidential Power and International Tribunals - Event Audio/Video
Co-Sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute
September 27, 2007
Are We Overlawyering International Affairs?
Engage Volume 8, Issue 2
May 03, 2007
Are We Over-Lawyering International Affairs? - Event Audio
2006 National Lawyers Convention
November 18, 2006
Customary International Law: The Next Font of Judicial Activism? - Transcript
2003 National Lawyers Convention - "International Law and American Sovereignty"
November 13, 2003
Separation of Powers and Foreign Policy
Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Newsletter - Volume 3, Issue 3, Winter 2000
March 01, 2000
Protecting Everyone's Right to Property
International & National Security Law Practice Group Newsletter - Volume 1, Issue 3, Fall 1997
December 01, 1997
Investment Agreement Negotiations in the OECD
International & National Security Law Practice Group Newsletter - Volume 1, Issue 1, Fall 1996
December 01, 1996