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Paul Downs

New York

Paul Downs

Paul Downs focuses his practice on sovereign investors, including government employee pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and other government investors in their cross-border transactions.

Paul has structured and closed direct investments, co-investments, "club" deals involving multiple sovereigns in multiple jurisdictions, and in diverse asset classes, including infrastructure, energy, lotteries, technology, real estate, venture capital, and financial services, among others.

Paul's expansive experience with sovereign investors has attuned him to their unique needs and posture with regulators outside their home countries. His practice extends to counseling them in connection with establishing operations in major financial centers and diversifying across geographies and asset classes to achieve their desired returns. His long, practical experience in cross-border deals produces pragmatic answers to the complex problems that arise from transactions with pieces in jurisdictions whose laws were never designed to work well together.

Paul's practice also extends to players who collaborate with or provide financial advisory services in transactions involving sovereign investors, as placement agent or financial advisor.

In addition, Paul has served on the board of an NYSE-listed company and completed cross-border transactions in global industries including financial services; media; luxury goods; automotive; and clean, conventional, and unconventional energy. His practice has reached places throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

Paul's commitments outside the practice of law reflect his global perspective. He sits on the board of International House New York, is president of the American Foreign Law Association, and is a director of the Council for the United States and Italy.

Representative Experience

Non-U.S. government employee pension fund in joint venture to acquire state lottery concession and in bids for national lottery systems.

U.S. investment bank as placement agent for equity to launch of major branded new entrant cruise line.

Consortium of sovereign investors venture to acquire stake in midstream asset in U.S.

Major cable network in simultaneous buyback of foreign country rights to its flagship channel and launch of second channel in that country.

U.S.-based fashion company in proposed acquisition of Italian luxury fashion brand.

Education and admissions


  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1977
  • A.B., magna cum laude, Princeton University, 1974


  • President, American Foreign Law Association
  • Member, International Bar Association
  • Member, Business Law Section, American Bar Association
  • Member, Association of the Bar of the City of New York

Bar admissions and qualifications

  • New York
  • California
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