Iraq Law Alliance, PLLC

Thomas Willett Donovan
Baghdad, Basra & Erbil
Kurdistan Region

Tel: +964 771 358 6705
Fax: -

Labour and Employment | Iraq


• Oil and Natural Gas Law
• General Corporate
• Public International Law
• Middle East/Investment in Iraq


Thomas W. Donovan is Managing Partner and founder of the Iraq Law Alliance, PLLC.  He divides his time between the firm’s offices in Basrah, Baghdad and Erbil – Kurdistan Region.  His experience centers on petroleum and natural gas law and the surrounding corporate, employment, immigration and customs issues.  He also has considerable amount of experience in public international law, litigation and structured project finance.  Mr. Donovan has published extensively on the development of the domestic Iraqi economy and issues associated with petroleum production and exploration.


• Participating as the sole international attorney in the representation and negotiation of Technical Services Contract (TSC) of a “super-major” private international oil company pursuant to 2009 First Petroleum Bid Round in the Republic of Iraq.
• Representation of major private international oil company in PSC Contract and negotiations with the Kurdistan Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)
• Participating in the representation and negotiation of a Development and Production Sharing Contract (DPSC) of a public international oil company pursuant to 2010 Second Petroleum Bid Round in the Republic of Iraq.
• Conducting due diligence investigations on behalf of a major international energy generation corporation for large scale roll out of Iraqi operations, in conjunction with the corporate establishment operations and advising on corporate activities going forward.
• Litigation on behalf of a major international energy corporation for issues surrounding the enforcement of judgments concerning the Republic of Iraq and the Kurdistan region.

• Washington State Bar Association
• New York State Bar Association
• Western District of Washington Bar Association
• Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Bar Association
• American Bar Association
• Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) (Member of Middle East Executive Committee 2011-2012)
• Who’s Who® Legal: Iraq Oil and Gas Lawyers
• Chambers and Partners® Lawyer Band One:  General Corporate Iraq
• American Bar Association:  International Energy and Natural Resources Committee:  Steering Board. 2011-2012
• United States Business Council in Iraq:  Treasurer and Founding Member of Board of Directors.


• “An Overview of the NGO Law in Iraq,” Canadian Journal of International Law, December 20, 2012.
• Success in the Iraqi Petroleum Sector,” Trends Magazine, November 2012.
• “Lack of Federal Oil Law Cripples Iraq’s Recovery,” The National, October 18, 2012.
• “The NGO Law in Iraq,” International Law Office Brief, September 10, 2012.
• “Impact of Recent Immigration Changes to Defense Contractors,” International Law Office Brief, July 23, 2012.
• “The Requirements for Initial Public Offerings on the Iraqi Stock Exchange,” International Law Office Brief, February 28, 2012.
• “Iraq’s Taxation,” Eye on Iraq Magazine, Issue 11, December 2011.
• “Payment of Tax and Social Security Contributions for Foreign Workers,” International Law Office Brief, November 11, 2011.
• “Kurdistan Contracts,” Eye on Iraq Magazine, Issue VI, June 2011.
• “Debate Continues on the Legality of Kurdistan Oil Contracts,” International Law Office Brief, June 6, 2011.
• “Buoyed by Oil, A Semblance of Stability in Iraq,” The National, March 29, 2011.
• “Effects of ‘Islamaphobia’ on Muslim Immigrants and Their Advocates,” International Journal of Peace and Development Studies, Vol. 2(3) pp. 59-66, March 2011.
• “Enforcing Judgments and Awards in the Petroleum Sector,” Iraq Oil Review, Issue 3, May 2011.
• “2011 Prospectus for the Iraqi Petroleum Sector,” Iraq Oil Review, Issue 2, March 2011.
• “Iraq’s New Government and the Petroleum Sector,” Iraq Business News, February 2, 2011.
• “The Petroleum Sector Following the New Unity Government,” International Law Office Brief, February 1, 2011.
• “Iraq Legal Regime Protects Environment,” Iraq Oil Report, January 31, 2011.
• “Emergence of an Environmental Regulation in Iraq,” International Law Office Brief, December 14, 2010.
• “Doing Business in Iraq,” Eye on Iraq Magazine, Issue Five, December 2010.
• Iraq Legal Regime Concerning the 2009-2011 Petroleum and Natural Gas Rounds,” Iraq Oil Review, Issue 1, December 2010.
• “Investment Opportunities and Risk in Modern Kurdistan,” International Law Office Brief, September 12, 2010.
• “The Chinese Dragon in Iraq: China Expands its Participation in Major Infrastructure Projects,” Eye on Iraq Magazine, Issue IV August 2010.
• “The Electricity Sector in Iraq: Master Plan to Increase Generation Capacity, Provide Reliable Power,” Arab Construction World Magazine, Volume XXVIII, Issue No. 7, July 2010.
• “Petroleum Rounds Reveal Level of Chinese Involvement in Oil and Gas Sector,” International Law Office Brief, July 7, 2010.
• “Energy Politics,” The Brief, June 2010.
• “A Post Election Analysis of Iraq’s Upstream Oil Industry,” Middle East Policy, Vol. XVII, No. 2, Issue 104, Summer 2010.
• “The Iraqi Upstream Oil and Gas Industry,” Oil Gas Energy and Law Intelligence Journal, ISSN 1874 -418 X, May 2010.
• “Iraq’s Petroleum Industry: Unsettled Issues,” Middle East Institute Viewpoints, May 2010.
• “Electricity: Demands and Reality,” Eye on Iraq Magazine, Issue III, May 2010.
• “Master Plan to Develop Electricity Sector and Meet Ever Increasing Demand,” International Law Office Brief, April 15, 2010.
• “The Commercial Laws of Iraq,” Digest of International Laws, Oxford University Press, April 2010.
• “Dispute Guide to the Middle East,” Published by Herbert Smith, LLP Law Firm, April 2010. (First and Second Editions)
• “Iraq: Investment Guide,” Published by Herbert Smith, LLP Law Firm, March 2010. (First and Second Editions)
• “Court Case Will Affect Shape Iraq’s Oil Policy – and It’s Politics,” The National, March 2, 2010.
• “Ratification of Petroleum Contracts in Iraq,” International Law Office Brief, February 1, 2010.
• “Structural Options in Iraq” International Law Office Brief, February 15, 2010.
• “Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Arbitral Awards: Iraq,” International Law Office Brief, June 25, 2009.
• “The Labour Code Outlined: Iraq.” International Law Office Brief, June 17, 2009.
• “Few Know About The Murph, The Tug Boat Sunken off Vashon’s Shore,” Maury Island Beachcomber, March 10, 2009.
• “State’s Landlord Tenant Code Unfair to Owners,” The Tacoma News Tribune, March 4, 2009.
• “A Long Way From Tacoma: Practicing Law in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Washington State Trial Lawyers Trial News. March 11, 2009.
• “The Practice of Law in Saudi Arabia.” De Novo Magazine. February 2009.
• Intervention Border and Maritime Issues in CARICOM, Chapter 5, “Suriname – Guyana Boundary Conflict,” ed. Kenneth Hall and Myrtle Chuck-a-sang, Ian Randle Publishers, 2007.
• “Immigration Policy Changes After 9/11: Some Intended and Unintended Consequences,” Social Policy Journal, vol. 4, no. 1, 2005.
• “The American Immigration System: A Structural Change with a Different Emphasis,” International Journal of Refugee Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 17, no. 3, 2005.
• “Challenges to the Territorial Integrity of Guyana,” Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, with forward by former United States President Jimmy Carter. vol. 32. no. 3, 2004.
• “From INS to USCIS: The Impact of Homeland Security on U.S. Immigrants,” Tolley’s Journal of Immigration Asylum and Nationality Law, vol. 18, no. 2, 2004.
• “Debunking False Impressions About Detention Center,” The Tacoma News Tribune, June 17, 2004.
• “Tacoma’s Seawater,” The University of Washington Ledger, June 17, 2004.
• “Tribal Courts’ ‘Victory’ Might be an Illusion,” The Tacoma News Tribune, April 25, 2004.
• “Guyana Invokes Annex VII of United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea Against Suriname for Disputed Maritime Boundary,” American Society of International Law Insights, April 2004.
• “The French Guiana – Suriname Boundary Dispute at the Itany – Marouni Triangle,” The Journal of Caribbean History, vol. 38:2, 2004.
• “The Marouni River Tract and its Colonial Legacy in South America,” Chicago-Kent Journal of International Law, vol. 4, Spring 2004.
• “Suriname – Guyana Maritime and Territorial Disputes: A Legal and Historical Analysis,” Journal of Transnational Law and Policy, Florida State University College of Law, Vol. 13, Fall 2003.
• “Jurisdictional Relationships Between Nations and their Former Colonies,” Across Borders International Law Journal, 2003.


2003 – Juris Doctorate (JD), New York Law School, New York, NY
2002 – Tulane University Institute of European Law at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
1998 – Masters of Arts (MA), American University, School of International Service, Washington D.C.
1997 – Bachelor of Arts (BA), American University, School of International Service, Washington, D.C.
1996 – Arabic Language Institute, American University in Cairo, Cairo Egypt
1994 – Arabic Language Institute, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
1993 – Bellarmine Preparatory School, Tacoma, WA
1991 – Semiha Şakir Ӧzel Deneme Lycee, Istanbul, Turkey


Tom is most proud of completing two solo trans-continental bicycle rides. One from Tacoma, WA to New York City (29 days) and one from Perth, Western Australia to Sydney, New South Wales (30 days). Tom is also a PADI Certified Scuba Divemaster.


• Arabic – Fluent
• Dutch – Fluent
• Turkish – proficient


• “Focus on Iraq,”  4th Annual Anti-Corruption Summit, American Conference Institute, February 25-26, 2013, Dubai, UAE.
• “Iraqi National Oil Forum,” Iraq Energy Institute Conference; December 12, 2012.
• “3rd Global Forum on Anti-Corruption Compliance in Emerging Markets,” American Conference Institute, July 16-17, 2012, Washington, DC.
• “Kurdistan Projects,”  MEED Conference, June 7-9, 2012, Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq.
• “Iraq Oil and Gas EPC Projects,”  MEED Conference, April 16-18, 2012, Istanbul, Turkey.
• “Fourth Annual Defense Contracting Summit,”  American Conference Institute, Arlington, VA, February 23, 2012.
• “Third Middle East Summit on Anti-Corruption:  Iraq Panel,”  American Conference Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE, January 23-24, 2012.
• “Brownfields in the Middle East,” MEED Seminar, Abu Dhabi, UAE, November 16, 2011.
• “Doing Business in Iraq,”  Akinci Law Office Conference, November 14, 2011, Istanbul, Turkey.
• “Al-Anbar Investment Conference,” October 26, 2011, Istanbul, Turkey.
• “Iraq Mega Projects,” CWC Conferences, October 18-20, 2011, Istanbul, Turkey.
• “The Legal and Regulatory Framework for Doing Business in the Middle East,” Lexis-Nexis Conference, Dubai, UAE, October 3-4, 2011.
• “Global Migration: Iraq”  Speech Sponsored by Berry, Appleman and Leiden, LLP; Houston, TX, USA, September 21, 2011.
• “MEED Iraq Power & Gas Conference,” Istanbul, Turkey, Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) Conference, June 14, 2011.
• “4th Arabian World Construction Summit 2011,” Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) Conference, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, May 23-25, 2011.
• “Iraq and Afghanistan Contracting Summit:  Opportunities and Allaying Risk,” American Conference Institute, Arlington, VA, February 16, 2011.
• “Iraq Utilities 2010:  The Challenges and Opportunities in Iraq’s Power and Water Sector,” Middle East Economic Digest Conference, Istanbul, Turkey, December 13-14, 2010.
• “Doing Business in Iraq,” Conference sponsored by Herbert Smith, LLP, London, October 6, 2010.
• “Current Status of the Iraqi Petroleum Round,” Conference sponsored by Middle East Institute, Washington, DC, June 6, 2010.
• “Iraq:  The Future,” Conference sponsored by the Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, October 10, 2009.
• “Making Tough Personnel Decisions in a Global Recession:  Doing it Right and Minimizing Liability,” Employment Law Alliance Presentation, June 29&30, 2009.
• “The Immigration and Naturalization Act in Practice,”  Kitsap County Council for Human Rights, June 2006.
• “Reorganization of Immigration Services Following 9/11,” Pierce County Bar Association, July 2005.


• “Analysis: Legal Conflict Looms as Oil Politics Deteriorate,”  Iraq Oil Report, February 1, 2013
• “Corruption and Cronyism Hinder Kurdistan,” Financial Times, September 5, 2012.
• “Insight into Doing Business in the Middle East,”  Interview televised on, May 28, 2011.
• “Al-Maliki Takes the Reins in Iraq Once More,”  Middle East Economic Digest (MEED), January 17, 2011
• “Kurdistan Set to Export Oil From February,” Middle East Economic Digest, Issue 2, January 11, 2011.
• “Hydrocarbon Legislation Still A Long Way Off in Iraq,” Middle East Economic Digest, Issue 34, August 24, 2010.
• “Getting Down to Business in Iraq:  International Investment After the Withdrawal,”  Presentation at the Middle East Institute, Washington, DC, June 29, 2010.
• “Six Key Lawyers Advising on Iraq,” Middle East Economic Digest (MEED), May 12, 2010.
• “Iraq’s Oil Deals,” Minneapolis Post, April 6, 2010.
• “Future of Iraq Oil Deals Uncertain,” Global Post, April 5, 2010.
• “Iraq Elections Will Not Derail Oilfield Development,” Middle East Economic Digest (MEED), March 29, 2010.
• “Analysis:  Oil Behind the Election,” Global Post, March 5, 2010.
• “Baghdad Law” ABA Journal, published by the American Bar Association (ABA), December 1, 2009.
• “A Different Kind of Battle:  Some U.S. Companies Operating in Iraq Fight to Get Paid,”  Corporate Counsel Magazine, October 1, 2009.
• “Iraq: A Legal Minefield,” Chambers and Partners Client Brief, Autumn 2009.
• “Contractors Find Iraq Government Slow to Pay Invoices,” The National Law Journal, August 4, 2009.
• “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” The Brief, October 2009.
• “In The Line of Fire,” The American Lawyer, August 1, 2009.
• “Man Says He’s North Korean: Seeks Asylum,” Seattle Post Intelligencer, August 28, 2004.
• “North Korean in Custody: Seeks Asylum,” The Seattle Times, August 28, 2004.
• “Freed Chaplain Yee Speaks on Islam,”  The Tacoma News Tribune, November 11, 2004.
• “North Korean Asylum Seeker Speaks of Covert Training For Suicide Missions,”  The Tacoma News Tribune, August 28, 2004.
• “Former North Korean Soldier Seeks Asylum in the U.S.,” Albany Democrat Herald, August 29, 2004.
• “Kitsap Immigrants Happy to Be Here,” The Kitsap Sun, October 28, 2004.
• “Nationality Key Factor in Asylum Bid,” The Tacoma News Tribune, September 28, 2004.

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