Theresa Bowman has developed her international arbitration and litigation practices in the areas of commercial disputes and obtaining jurisdiction over, and discovery from, foreign sovereigns and transnational corporate entities. Ms. Bowman has briefed issues of foreign sovereign immunity before both the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the District of Columbia. She has navigated all aspects of complex litigation against many foreign sovereign and multi-national entities in a wide variety of subject areas.
A significant portion of Ms. Bowman’s practice also includes representation of clients in their efforts to enforce intellectual property rights worldwide. Ms. Bowman has represented several global media companies in connection with multi-jurisdictional content protection disputes that require coordination of a cross-border team and navigation of difficult jurisdictional issues.
With a background in Journalism as well as legal, political and investigative reporting for a major broadcast network affiliate, Ms. Bowman offers an advanced and unique approach to effective research and case development techniques in complex litigation matters. Ms. Bowman has traveled all over the world to meet and work with clients, fact witnesses and expert witnesses. She utilizes strong multi-lingual oral communication and writing skills to advocate successfully for clients.
Ms. Bowman is also active in the legal community, serving as the current President of the Board of Directors of the George Washington Law School Alumni Association. In the past she has served as a co-chair of the Litigation Law Forum of the District of Columbia Women’s Bar Association, and as the past President of the Student Bar Association of the George Washington Law School. Ms. Bowman has also been published in the Global Arbitration Review, National Law Review, the International Society of Law’s International Legal Materials as well as the World Financial Review.
International Arbitration and Commercial Disputes
- Robert C. Allan, et. al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 2019 WL 2185037 (D.D.C. May 21, 2019): won $349 million in compensatory damages for 108 passengers aboard a commercial flight (TWA 847) hijacked by Hezbollah terrorists in June 1985, and for their families. Judge Richard Leon, of the U.S. district court in Washington D.C found Iran had financed, supported, trained, and guided Hezbollah for the purpose of using terrorist attacks to promote a largely anti-Semitic and anti-American agenda. He also held the passengers and their families were entitled to be compensated for the physical injuries and emotional trauma they suffered. Iran did not defend and the Court entered a default judgment under the FSIA’s Terrorism Exception – a 2008 statute that gives U.S. victims of terrorist attacks the right to sue a foreign country for damages caused by its sponsorship of those attacks. Each of the 108 plaintiffs has been found eligible to receive partial payment of their judgments from the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund. Congress created the Fund in December 2015 to address the difficulties American victims encounter when trying to enforce court judgments against foreign states that sponsor terrorist attacks.
- TIG Insurance Co. v. Republic of Argentina (D.C. Cir., July 28, 2020): Obtained precedent setting, appellate victory for U.S. judgment creditor seeking to enforce international commercial arbitration awards against a foreign state. Successfully reversed District Court holding that the FSIA’s exception to execution immunity of foreign state property requires its use for commercial activity in the United States both when the litigation commences and when the Court grants the writ of execution. The Court of Appeals reversed, adopting TIG’s arguments for a new Circuit rule requiring district courts to consider the totality of the circumstances at the time of filing the enforcement action, and not at a later date. This precedent greatly reduces the risk that a foreign state debtor can defeat a judgment creditor’s enforcement action by halting the commercial use of their property after the litigation has begun.
- Mady Marieluise Schubarth v. Federal Republic of Germany (D.D.C. pending): Won D.C. Circuit appeal reversing (in part) District Court’s dismissal of U.S. citizen's claims for compensation for the expropriation of her family estate in the former East Germany connected to events in the aftermath of WWII. Schubarth v. Fed. Republic of Germany, 891 F.3d 392 (D.C. Cir. 2018). On remand, this case presents a significant question of first impression under the FSIA’s Expropriation Exception: whether U.S. courts have jurisdiction over claims against a sovereign for expropriation of property located overseas based on actions of an alter ego agency/instrumentality that is completely controlled by the foreign state and has engaged in commercial activity in the United States.
- Estate of John McCarty v. Islamic Republic of Iran (D.D.C.): represented 40 passengers in a second TWA Flight 847 hijacking case asserting claims for $59 million in compensatory damages against Iran. See Allan v. Islamic Republic of Iran.
- Drafted multiple Appellate briefings in litigation for US investors to obtain enforcement of a $200 million RICO judgment against a foreign sovereign, several government officials, and its alter ego and successor-in-interest sovereign-owned entities. The matter involved litigation of Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”), post-judgment enforcement exceptions for commercial activity, waiver and takings.
- Facilitated proceedings for US judgment debtor to obtain enforcement of a multi-million dollar judgment entered against a foreign sovereign. The enforcement proceedings specifically focused on the breadth of discovery and contempt power that Courts may properly exercise over foreign sovereigns.
- Worked to obtain domestic recognition and default judgment through the New York Convention of Foreign Arbitral Awards, on the basis of an arbitration award obtained by a leading European biotechnology research non-profit against a US-based, non-profit global medical research consortium.
- Collaborated with a team of partners and associates to conduct ICC arbitration on behalf of Claimant for contractual and non-contractual claims reaching over $100 million, including lost profits, arising out of a pharmaceutical joint venture in the Middle East.
- Worked to obtain favorable allocation of fees in UNCITRAL arbitration for Claimant, an African subsidiary of a large international risk management and security consulting company, in multi-million dollar breach of contract claim against several international oil and gas companies.
- Acted as Defense Counsel for a large Canadian telecommunications firm, obtaining dismissal of a consumer tort lawsuit on the basis of jurisdictional deficiencies.
- Consulted a private individual in FSIA litigation over claims against a European museum for the return of artwork stolen during the Nazi regime.
- Counseled a US company in litigation against several Central American companies for breach of contract. Successfully obtained judgment after navigating the Hague Convention On Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters.
- Counseled a US construction company in breach of contract dispute against nation-wide organization with no formal corporate identity. Litigation involved the use of multiple alter egos and shell corporations related to non-existent entities.
International Copyright Litigation
- Representing an international mobile game developer in a dispute with its publisher and distributor involving sequel rights and derivative works.
- Representing a large digital media company in a dispute concerning the scope of the immunities provided to internet service providers under the Communications Decency Act.
- Filed friend of the court brief on behalf of the Software and Information Industry Association in Allen v. Cooper (U.S. Supreme Court) – a precedent-setting case involving state sovereign immunity and the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act.
Professional, Business and civic Affiliations
- President, Board of Directors, George Washington University Law School Alumni Association (2017 – present)
- Executive Committee, George Washington University Law School Alumni Association, Board of Directors (2013 – present)
- Board of Directors, Georgetown Business Association (2014 – 2016), Executive Committee (2014 – 2016)
- Board of Directors, George Washington University Law School Alumni Association (2011 – present)
- Co-chair, Litigation Law Forum, Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia (2016 - present)
- Executive Committee, George Washington University Law School Alumni Association (2014 – present)
- The Council on Women’s Leadership, Meridian International Center (2013 – 2016)
- International Law Section, Bar Association of the District of Columbia (2011 – present)
- International Law Section, Bar Association of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2011 – present)
- Sidwell Friends School Alumni Association (2004 – present)
Other Career Experience
- Associate, Law Offices of Charles H. Camp, P.C. (2012-2016)
- Law Clerk, The Honorable Judge Reggie Walton, U.S. District Court (2011-2012)
- Business Wire , December 19, 2022
- March 2019
- Global Arbitration Review - Investment Treaty Arbitration Know-how, March 2023
- The Guide to Investment Treaty Protection and Enforcement - Enforcement and Recovery: Practical StepsGlobal Arbitration Review , December 2021
- Global Arbitration Review - Investment Treaty Arbitration Know-how, September 2021
- Global Arbitration Review - Investment Treaty Arbitration Know-how, August 2020
- April 21, 2020
- Hague Service Convention Out of Reach for Foreign Parties Who Select California Arbitration Forum and Agree to Informal Notice of Suit MethodsApril 10, 2020
- April 3, 2020
- March 6, 2020
Events & Speaking Engagements
- Virginia, 2011
- District of Columbia, 2013
- U.S.D.C., District of Columbia, 2015
George Washington University Law School, J.D., 2011
Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, B.S., 2008; cum laude
Spanish, professional proficiency
French, working proficiency
Irish Gaelic, limited working proficiency