David N. Kay, OBE

Senior Counsel


David Kay’s background as a dual-qualified English barrister and U.S. attorney enhances his current work representing clients on international corporate transactions. David counsels foreign companies and financial institutions establishing or expanding operations in the United States and advises U.S. companies on their overseas operations, including in England, the European Union, the Middle East, Asia and India.

Corporate and Commercial Transactions

David’s clients include companies of all sizes, from start-ups to global corporations, with subsidiaries in the U.S. and overseas. He advises clients on corporate and commercial transactions, including:

  • Joint ventures
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Strategic alliances
  • Distribution, sales and agency agreements
  • Commercial agreements

A speaker and author on the legal and commercial aspects of investing and doing business in Europe and the Middle East, he has published a book, Trading with America, A Practical Guide.

He serves as U.S. outside counsel to foreign companies, where he provides legal advice and strategic counselling to clients on the cultural and business idiosyncrasies of their international operations in the U.S. and elsewhere, and the implications to their business practices.


David has over 20 years’ experience serving as an arbitrator or tribunal chair in complex disputes, multiparty international and domestic arbitrations, including ad hoc arbitrations and those under major international arbitration institutions such as the American Arbitration Association, the International Center for Dispute Resolution, the London Court of International Arbitration and the International Chamber of Commerce.

Previous Experience

David has practiced law in England, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, where he worked in Dubai and was appointed the resident partner of the Abu Dhabi office of a London-based law firm. He was called to the English bar as a barrister in 1979 and has chambers at Hogarth Chambers, 5 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London.


Bar Admissions

England & Wales


Chicago-Kent College of Law
J.D. (1989)

Kingston University London
B.A. in Hons. Law (1978)

Insights & Events

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, London
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • London Court of International Arbitration
  • College of Commercial Arbitrators
  • World Law Group — Past President, Director and Chair of the Membership Committee

Civic Activities

  • British-American Business Council, Chicago — Founding Member, Director and past Chairman
  • British Consul-General, Chicago — Honorary Legal Advisor

Firm Leadership

  • Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP — Managing Partner, 2012-16; Co-chair, International Team; Compensation Committee, Member (two terms)
  • Gardner, Carton & Douglas (prior to the merger with Drinker Biddle & Reath in 2007)  Chairman, Corporate Department; Chairman, Operating Committee


  • H.M. Queen Elizabeth II — Officer of the Order of the British Empire, 2003
  • Kingston University — Honorary Doctor of Laws, 2010
  • Best Lawyers® — Corporate Law; International Arbitration - Commercial, 2020-22

Awards Methodology

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