John P. Williams

  • 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 700
  • Washington, DC 20036
  • 202-289-8450
John began his professional career as a securities lawyer in New York City, and has practiced energy and natural resources law with Duncan & Allen since 1985. The focus of his energy practice is primarily the public power segment of the electric power industry in the United States; while the focus of his natural resources practice is primarily international and consists of advisory services to governments and institutions in the development of policy, law, regulations and standard contract provisions governing hard rock mining, as well as representation of public and private clients in negotiations and dispute resolution related to natural resource development.

Since 1989, John has advised The World Bank and governments in South America, Africa and Asia on the modernization of the legal framework for mining including the related tax, investment and environmental law and regulations, and stability agreements. He assisted the governments of Bolivia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and Mongolia in developing their mining laws and regulations enacted in 1997, 2002-03, 1999-2005 and 1997, respectively. John has also been an international mining law adviser to the governments of Angola, Guatemala, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

In the United States, John represents and advises municipalities, electric cooperatives, project developers and related entities in connection with:

  • the formation, structuring and financing of entities and joint ventures for power supply development, acquisition and delivery, including electric municipalizations;
  • contract negotiation, implementation and enforcement, including resolution of disputes through negotiation, arbitration and litigation; and
  • federal, state and local regulation of electric utility matters and related natural resource utilization, including representation in administrative and judicial proceedings and advice on new legislative and regulatory developments.

John has been instrumental in obtaining precedent-setting orders from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concerning the status of power marketers and transmission access conditions for electric utility mergers. He guided Kanab City, Utah through its municipalization in the late 1980s and, in the 1990s, advised a variety of entities in eastern and western states (including Palm Springs, California and the Oneida Indian Nation of New York) on strategies for obtaining access to competitive power supply markets through municipalization.

Prior to joining Duncan & Allen, John was associated with the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City and Paris, France from 1979 to 1985, where he worked extensively with the finance ministries of Finland and France, as well as several French state owned enterprises, and various international commercial banks and major U.S. investment banks on domestic and international financings. During this period, he also served as special counsel to the Bermuda insurance subsidiary of a major oil company and assisted with the law firm's general representation of a Swedish mining company and a multinational mining joint venture in Africa, as well as a Mexican producer of petroleum drilling pipe.

Prior to commencing law school, John served from 1972 to 1975 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal (technical advisor on human resource development projects) and Zaire (leader of regional smallpox eradication team). In law school, John received the 1976 Stillman Prize for the best brief in the first year Moot Court competition and served as an editor, then senior editor, of the N.Y.U. Moot Court Board.

John was one of the two most highly recommended project finance lawyers in a survey of over 500 lawyers around the world by the International Financial Law Review, as reported in its September 1986 issue. He has made numerous presentations on mining law issues at international conferences on five continents, and has spoken on a variety of electric utility related subjects and issues at conferences in the United States.

John is the author of "Wheeling & Dealing: FERC's Evolving Approach to Electric Utility Mergers", published in the August/September 1989 edition of the Electricity Journal, as well as numerous studies of international mining, investment and tax laws for The World Bank. He is a co-author of four books on international developments in mining law published by The World Bank and Mining Journal Books Ltd between 1996 and 2003.

John speaks and works in English, French and Spanish. He can also speak some Swahili and Wolof, and can read Portuguese.

Recent Presentations
  • Mining as a Catalyst and Laboratory for Law Development in Francophone Sub-Saharan African Countries, Workshop on “Africa as a New Frontier – Lawyers, extractive economies and global reconfigurations of political authority”, Normative Orders, Cluster of Excellence at Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, F.R. Germany (June 2016)
  • Fundamental Issues in Mining Law, Mining Learning Series: Policies, Laws and Regulations for Sustainable Mining, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. (March 2016)
  • Une Perspective Internationale sur la législation minière/An International Perspective on Mining Legislation, Forum International sur les Mines et le Pétrole de Madagascar, Antananarivo, Madagascar (September 2015)
  • Le Droit Minier et la protection de l’environnement, Journée du Barreau 2015, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (July 2015)
  • Recent Developments on Increasing the Government Take from Mining in Africa, Mining in Africa: Opportunities and Legal Challenges, a conference of the International Bar Association-SEERIL and The Tanganyika Law Society, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (September 2014)
  • An International Perspective on Mineral Legislation and Agreements, Mining Policy, Law and Taxation Review Workshop of the Ministry of Energy and Mining Development, Speke Resort, Munyono, Uganda (July 2014)
  • L’Harmonisation de la Réglementation Minière en Afrique and Eléments Clés d’un régime fiscal et douanier équitable et durable pour le secteur minier, Forum sur les Pratiques Juridiques et Fiscales pour l’Exploitation Minière, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (June 2014)
  • Recent Trends in Mining and Royalty Legislation in Africa, Biennial Conference of the International Bar Association-SEERIL, Berlin, Germany (April 2014)
  • Diagnostic du Cadre Légal du Secteur Minier au Sénégal and Diagnostic du Cadre Fiscal du Secteur Minier au Sénégal, Atelier de Restitution du Diagnostic du Cadre légal et fiscal du secteur minier au Sénégal, du Ministère de l’Industrie et des Mines, Direction des Mines et de la Géologie, Dakar, Senegal (January 2014)
  • Les Points de convergence et de divergence des parties sur chacun des thèmes du Code Minier de la RDC, et des propositions de conciliation, Cérémonie d’Ouverture de l’Atelier Tripartite sur la Révision du Code Minier du Ministère des Mines de la République Démocratique du Congo, Kinshasa, DRC (November 2013)
Past Employment Positions
  • Sullivan & Cromwell, in New York City and Paris, France (1979 to 1985)
  • English
  • French
  • Spanish

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • United States Court of Federal Claims
  • United States Court of International Trade
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States


  • Harvard University (A.B. (Government), 1971)
  • Princeton University (M.P.A. (Economics), 1978)
  • New York University (J.D. 1979)

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • International Energy and Resources Committee of the ABA’s Section of the Environment, Energy and Resources (former Chair)
  • ABA Section of International Law and Practice, Member
  • Energy Bar Association
  • International Bar Association
  • Power Law Committee (Vice Chair) and Mining Law Committee (Member) of the IBA’s Section on Energy, Environment, Resources and Infrastructure Law
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation


  • Allen Clark, Koh Naito, Natalie Stevens, Peter Van der Veen, & John Williams, THE POTENTIAL FOR MINING INVESTMENT IN TRANSITION ECONOMY COUNTRIES OF EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA (Mining Journal Books, 2003)
  • Chapter II: Legal and Fiscal Aspects of Mining Regulation in Latin America in A MINING STRATEGY FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (World Bank Technical Paper No. 345, 1996)
  • John P. Williams, Global Trends and Tribulations in Mining Regulation, JOURNAL OF ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES LAW, Vol. 30 No. 4, December 2012
  • John P. Williams, International Best Practice in Mining: Who Decides and How - And How Does It Impact Law Development? GEORGETOWN JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, 2008 Symposium Issue
  • John P. Williams, Legal Reform in Mining: Past, Present, Future and The Latin American Mining Law Model in INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE MINERAL LAW AND POLICY – TRENDS AND PROSPECTS (Elizabeth Bastida, Thomas Wälde and Janeth Warden-Fernandez, eds., Kluw
  • John P. Williams, Wheeling & Dealing: FERC's Evolving Approach to Electric Utility Mergers, THE ELECTRICITY JOURNAL, August/September, 1989
  • Koh Naito and Felix Remy, MINING SECTOR REFORM AND INVESTMENT: RESULTS OF A GLOBAL SURVEY (Mining Journal Books, 2001)
  • Koh Naito, Felix Remy & John P. Williams, REVIEW OF LEGAL AND FISCAL FRAMEWORKS FOR EXPLORATION AND MINING (Mining Journal Books, 2001)

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