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Professor Wallace graduated from Yale College in 1953 with high honors. He proceeded to attend Harvard Law School where he obtained an LL.B in 1957. After law school Professor Wallace practiced trusts and estates law at Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison LLP. However, private practice did not fully satisfy his curiosity and he wanted to pursue a career in academia as well. After deciding he would teach international law, which was just emerging as a major field of study in American law schools, he went to join the U.S. Agency for International Development to gain some practical experience in the field before he would start teaching it.

After serving at USAID for four years he was hired to Georgetown Law in 1966. While he taught Property, he also created various new courses dealing with international economic law and development. Since its founding Professor Wallace served as the faculty advisor for Georgetown’s Journal on international law and supervised Georgetown’s foreign student program (LLM) for 25 years, during which time the program grew from 7 students to 150. Professor Wallace has authored a number of publications, including “Dear Mr. President: The Needed Turn around in America’s International Economic Affairs” and “International Regulation of Multilateral Corporations,” as well as many articles and book reviews. He has authored, edited, or co-edited more than twenty additional books on various aspects of international economic law, including casebooks on “International Business and Economic Law,” “International Procurement Law,” and most recently “Investor-State Arbitration.” In 1970, Professor Wallace became the second director at the ILI.

Over the years, Professor Wallace managed to expand the focus of the ILI to address the development of international law generally, and the promotion of the rule of law, particularly. He prepared the application to set up the ILI’s affiliate in Kampala, which led to the establishment of ILIAfrican Center for Legal Excellence (ACLE), a legal training center that now runs year-round courses on a variety of subjects. With ILI-ACLE Don Wallace drafted 16 laws for Rwanda, including a common law of contracts for a country wishing to move away from its modern francophone roots. Professor Wallace has served as an arbitrator, expert, and counsel in several ICSID and UNCITRAL arbitration cases. His first major involvement in investor- state arbitration goes back to his days as counsel to various law firms representing American nationals before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in the early 1980s. Since the inception of NAFTA, Professor Wallace has been involved in a variety of capacities in international arbitral proceedings.

He was co-counsel with Christopher Dugan (1948-2012) and Noah Rubins (now a partner at Freshfields) in the Loewen v. United States case. Professor Wallace’s most important work in this field, though, is the book titled “Investor-State Arbitration,” published by Oxford University Press, which he co-authored with Chris Dugan, Noah Rubins and Borzu Sabahi. Professor Wallace has devoted considerable time and effort over the years to public service. He was Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law and Practice from 1978 to 1979, was the chairman of the ABA’s Private International Law Coordinating Committee, and a member of the ABA’s House of Delegates. Among many other projects, in 1991 they co-chaired several committees of meetings between the ABA and Soviet Legal Establishment in Moscow, attended by 5,000 people.

Professor Wallace also led the first delegation from the ABA into China in 1979. Prof. Wallace taught in China at Renmin University and established legal exchanges and technical assistance programs with China, that continues to exist today through the International law institute. Professor Wallace has been a delegate to UNCITRAL for about 30 years. He is probably the longest serving delegate (occasionally the Chief Delegate to meetings) for the United States, and chairman of the UNCITRAL colloquium on PPPs in 2014. During his tenure, he has primarily worked on four subjects:  construction contracts,  public procurement, private financing of infrastructure (“PFI” or PPPs), and commercial fraud. 

Professor Wallace was the presiding officer of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) Foundation of Rome and is currently its vice-president. Professor Wallace is a member of the Consultative Group of the American Law Institute’s Restatement of Foreign Relations Law (and a member of the American Law Institute) and of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law. He was also Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Technology and World Trade of the U.S. Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment, and a member of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Conference on State Succession in Respect of Treaties.

In 1992, he received the Harry Leroy Jones Award for outstanding achievement in foreign and international law. At the heart of Professor Wallace’s endeavor has been the promotion of the rule of law as the source of economic and societal prosperity in countries around the world—developed and developing. His career and many accomplishments serve as a fantastic example of how the rule of law can make a real difference in the everyday lives of people.