Top of page

Frances E. Bivens


Acts as lead counsel in high-stakes litigation and arbitration. Focuses on energy, power and infrastructure disputes and mass tort cases.

Frances serves as lead counsel in high-stakes litigation matters in federal and state courts around the United States and arbitrations around the globe. She has an electrical engineering degree and is experienced in litigation involving technical issues, including energy, power and infrastructure disputes and mass tort cases. She also regularly handles complex financial matters.

Her practice has included cross-border disputes arising out of the United Kingdom, India, China, Korea, Hungary, France, Switzerland, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Papua New Guinea.

Crain’s New York Business has named Frances among its “Notable Women in Law” and Benchmark Litigation lists her among the “Top 250 Women in Litigation.” She is ranked in Band 1 by Chambers USA for her work in international arbitration. She is the second vice-chair of the New York International Arbitration Center.

Experience highlights

Commercial Litigation
  • JPMorgan Chase in a dispute with Tesla regarding the impact of an Elon Musk tweet on the value of an equity derivative
  • JP Morgan Securities in a securities class action and derivative litigation involving recent events at Bed Bath & Beyond
  • A major U.S. defense contractor in amicably resolving a high-stakes dispute against an intergovernmental entity
  • Digicel in an ICSID arbitration regarding a $100M telecom tax levied by Papua New Guinea
  • A Brazilian state-owned oil company in a post-M&A dispute in the ICC arising out of the sale of an Argentinian energy business
  • TenCent Music in successfully defending a Section 1782 action in aid of a foreign commercial arbitration, including a Second Circuit appeal
  • Con Edison in consumer class action litigation brought by ratepayers in federal and state court in New York
  • A pharma company in an emergency ICDR arbitration arising out of a JV agreement
  • A state-owned Brazilian bank in ICC arbitration relating to a JV to provide IT services to financial institutions
  • Sete Brasil in an ICC arbitration arising out of the Petrobras bribery scandal, relating to the construction of deepwater drilling rigs
  • Corsair Capital in a complete victory after a hearing in an international arbitration arising out of a complex Indian banking transaction
  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury in successfully defending a challenge to the government rescue of AIG
  • Ernst & Young in a trial in Boston federal court arising out of the failure of Bank of New England
Mass Tort and Product Liability Litigation
  • Con Edison in mass tort litigation and government investigations arising out of tropical storm Isaias, Superstorm Sandy and multiple steam ruptures and gas explosions
  • Full dismissal of claims against Corelle Brands in class action alleging a product defect in Pyrex bakeware
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries, the manufacturer of the Deepwater Horizon, in MDL related to the Gulf Oil Spill
Investigations and Board Representations
  • Special litigation committee of the SCANA board in an investigation into the construction of a nuclear facility
  • A major utility in investigations of its public reporting of the performance of safety devices and the certification of subcontracted workers
  • Morgan Stanley in successfully resolving investigations by the DOJ and SEC into FCPA violations relating to real estate investing operations in China



BTI Consulting Group – “Client Service All-Star,” 2023

Crain’s New York Business – “Notable Women in Law,” 2019

Benchmark Litigation – United States and New York, Star; “Top 250 Women in Litigation”

Chambers USA – International Arbitration: Enforcement, Band 1

Chambers USA – International Arbitration: Counsel

Legal 500 U.S. – General Commercial Disputes

American Lawyer – “45 Under 45,” Top Women Lawyers, 2011

J.D., Columbia Law School
  • Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
Sc.B., Electrical Engineering, Brown University
Law Clerk, Hon. James L. Oakes, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 1994-1995
Law Clerk, Hon. Jack B. Weinstein, U.S. District Court, E.D. New York, 1993-1994
Professional history
  • Davis Polk since 1995
  • Associate, Morrison & Foerster, 1992-1993
Qualifications and admissions
  • State of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. New York
  • U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, S.D. New York
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Back to top