An experienced trial lawyer, Charles Davant has represented clients in disputes over contracts, trade secrets, intellectual property licenses, real estate, civil rights, labor law, financial services, and numerous other areas in state and federal courts, and in JAMS, AAA, and ICC arbitrations.  Charles has particular experience defending major law firms and accounting firms accused of malpractice or other wrongdoing.  He was selected to The Best Lawyers in America for Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law (2019), and he was named by Super Lawyers to the Washington, D.C. “Rising Stars” list for Professional Liability Defense (2013-2016).  He has advised or defended more than 30 law firms, including six of the “AmLaw 10,” the highest grossing firms in the United States.

Born and raised in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, Charles graduated first in his class, summa cum laude, from Duke University School of Law.  He was Executive Editor, Duke Law Journal, and a member of the Order of the Coif.  Charles graduated with high honors from Dartmouth College.  He clerked for Judge Ronald M. Gould of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before joining Williams & Connolly in 2003. 

In 2017, he was appointed by the D.C. Court of Appeals to chair its Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, on which he has served since 2011.  Since 2015, he has served as a D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility Hearing Committee member. He is a member of the firm's Ethics Committee and of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers.

Charles lives on Capitol Hill with his wife and their two children.  An avid runner, he has completed nine marathons.

Representative Experience

  • Defended through a two-month federal trial in New York City a financial services company accused of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract, and involving more than $1 billion in alleged damages.
  • Defended through jury trial in St. Louis a law firm accused of negligently preparing a contract provision for a corporate transaction.
  • Defended through jury trial in Chicago an accounting firm accused of negligently failing to discover fraud in a financial statement audit.
  • Defended through a federal trial in Los Angeles a group of labor unions accused of labor-law and contract violations.
  • Defended a global pharmaceutical company through a five-day International Chamber of Commerce arbitration hearing in Milan, Italy.
  • Defended through trial in D.C. Superior Court a tenant in a lease dispute.
  • Prosecuted through trial in the District of Columbia a disbarred lawyer who continued to practice without a law license.
  • Prosecuted through an arbitration hearing in Washington, D.C. a law firm’s claim that another party had breached a settlement agreement.
  • Defended through an arbitration hearing in New York City an accounting firm accused of unlawful discrimination against a former partner.
  • Argued cases before the highest courts in the District of Columbia and Kansas.
  • Defended a law firm accused of negligent due diligence relating to acquisition of a company in China.
  • Defended law firms accused of negligence in their defense and settlement of antitrust class actions in New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.
  • Defended multiple law firms accused of overbilling.
  • Defended law firms and accounting firms against claims by bankruptcy trustees and creditors’ committees.
  • Counseled law firms on matters involving professional liability and the Rules of Professional Conduct.
  • Defended a lawyer and law firm in an Order to Show Cause proceeding regarding alleged lawyer misconduct.
  • Defended lawyers accused of violating the Rules of Professional Conduct in an investigation by Disciplinary Counsel.
  • Represented an accounting firm in investigations by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the Securities Exchange Commission, and the Department of Justice.
  • Represented law firms and lawyers in disputes over attorneys’ fees.
  • Defended a public company against a customer’s allegations that a product was defective and breached warranties.
  • Represented a clinical research organization in an action for theft of trade secrets against a major pharmaceutical company.

Education

Clerkships

Recognitions

Selected to The Best Lawyers in America ®, list in the category of Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law, 2019

Selected to Washington, D.C. “Rising Stars” list for Professional Liability Defense, Super Lawyers, 2013-2016

Admissions

Other Government Service

Chair, District of Columbia Court of Appeals Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, 2017-present

Member, District of Columbia Court of Appeals Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, 2011-2017

Member, D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility Hearing Committee, 2015-present

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