Donald B. Ayer is an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School, where since 2006 he has taught a class on Supreme Court Litigation. In 2018 he retired as a partner in the Washington Office o Retired Partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Jones Day. He has argued 19 times in the U.S. Supreme Court, more than 70 cases in the intermediate appellate courts, and has also been lead counsel in approximately 20 jury trials.
Before joining Jones Day in 1990, Mr. Ayer spent approximately ten years in the United States Department of Justice, including two Presidential appointments. He served as an Assistant U.S. States Attorney in the N.D. Cal. from 1977-79, from 1981-1986 as United States Attorney in Sacramento, and from 1986-1988 as Principal Deputy Solicitor General under Solicitor General Charles Fried, during the final three years of the Reagan Administration. By appointnment of President George H.W. Bush, he also served as Deputy Attorney General during 1989-1990.
After receiving an AB from Stanford in 1971, an M.A. in American History from Harvard in 1973, and a J.D. from Harvard in 1975, he clerked for Judge Malcolm R. Wilkey, of the D.C. Circuit, and for Justice William H. Rehnquist.
He is presently a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, and Chair of the Publications Committee of the Supreme Court Historical Society. He served previously as President of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court.