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Name: Huebner, David
Current Position: Former Ambassador


In an effort to calm gay rights supporters who have grown impatient with President Barack Obama’s dithering over revoking the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, David Huebner was chosen to serve as ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Sworn-in December 4, 2009, Huebner became just the third openly-gay ambassador in U.S. history and the first in the current administration.
Born in 1960 in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, a small coal mining town in Schuylkill County, Huebner attended Mahanoy Area High School. In college he studied at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, earning his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in 1982.
While earning his Juris Doctor at Yale Law School, Huebner served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal on Regulation and was a member of the Yale AIDS Law Project. He spent a year in Japan (1984-1985) thanks to a Henry Luce Fellowship that allowed him to serve as an aide to Koji Kakizawa, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives (Diet).
After completing law school in 1986, Huebner joined the Center for Law in the Public Interest.
In 1995, he joined the international law firm, Coudert Brothers. He served as its chairman and chief executive officer from 2003 until shortly before the firm’s dissolution in 2005.
In April 2005, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Huebner to the California Law Revision Commission. Huebner also served as president of the Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission and taught courses at the University of Southern California’s Gould Law School in international arbitration, international intellectual property law and policy, and international business transactions.
He joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton in 2005, and two years later became the firm’s regional managing partner in China. Working out of Shanghai, Huebner led the China Practice and International Disputes Practice, specializing in international arbitration, mediation, and cross-border litigation, and advising clients on corporate compliance and governance issues.
Huebner has represented corporations in the construction and infrastructure, pharmaceutical, technology, entertainment/media, transportation, and energy sectors in arbitrations before various international tribunals. He has particular expertise in intellectual property, mergers and acquisition, licensing, infrastructure, investment, and state entity disputes. Huebner is included on the approved panels of neutrals of several major arbitral institutions, including the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), and the American Arbitration Association (AAA)
Huebner has served as board co-chair and general counsel for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
In addition to teaching at Gould, he has been a guest lecturer at USC’s Marshall School of Business on various dispute resolution and intellectual property issues, at Tsinghua University on international dispute resolution, and at the East China University of Politics and Law on international dispute resolution and intellectual property.
Huebner has been active in non-profits, community organizations, and professional associations such as the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and the International Chamber of Commerce Commission on Arbitration.
He is licensed both as a solicitor in England & Wales and as an attorney in three U.S. jurisdictions (California, New York and the District of Columbia).
Obama Picks Openly Gay Lawyer for Ambassadorship (by Philip Elliot, Associated Press)
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