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Jonathan Drimmer

Partner, Paul Hastings, LLP; Senior Advisory, BSR

Jonathan C. Drimmer is a partner in the Investigations and White Collar Defense practice based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.  He is one of the world’s leading attorneys on business and human rights, and is a frequent speaker, author and commentator on human rights, the UN Guiding Principles on Security and Human Rights, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the UK Modern Slavery Act, and Environmental, Social and Governance Issues.

Mr. Drimmer is the former Deputy General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Barrick Gold, one of the world’s largest mining companies.  At Barrick, he developed among the first global human rights programs after the groundbreaking adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights.  He thus is perhaps the only private practitioner to have designed, implemented, and overseen a global rights program regulatory for a major multi-national company. The program he built at Barrick has served as an industry standard, and elements of it have largely been duplicated by numerous other companies in and outside of the extractive sector.  As one publication noted, Mr. Drimmer has “amass[ed] global accolades for compliance innovations” (Law 360, May 25, 2019), and aspects of Barrick’s human rights program are the subject of a 2016 Harvard Business School Case Study.

Mr. Drimmer has particular expertise in developing remediation processes and programs, and in representing companies in disputes in a range of judicial and non-judicial forums, such as transnational tort cases, OECD National Contact Point Specific Instances, UN inquiries, and human rights commission claims.

Over the course of his career, he has:

  • Structured human rights programs for centralized, decentralized, and matrixed organizations
  • Developed discrete and holistic approaches to enhance a company’s culture of compliance
  • Prepared innovative human rights policies, procedures and guidances designed to maximize effectiveness and usability
  • Developed and delivered novel live and on-line human rights training approaches
  • Participated in numerous human rights investigations around the world
  • Created and implemented a human rights assessment program
  • Conducted dozens of pre- and post-acquisition human rights due diligence exercises in connection with mergers and acquisitions
  • Drafted and negotiated human rights contract provisions on a regular basis
  • Helped pioneer the use of metrics and key performance indicators for human rights program management
  • Developed leading approaches to conducting third party due diligence
  • Assisted in developing and enhancing internal reporting mechanisms
  • Frequently provided real time advice in connection with pressing human rights issues

Based on this body of work, Mr. Drimmer has been recognized as one of the world’s leading attorneys in ethics and compliance by Ethisphere Magazine, was selected by the National Law Journal as Regulatory & Compliance Trailblazer, was recognized by Legal Era as one of the top 100 in-house counsel in the world, and was selected by Law500 as one of the 100 most influential in-house counsel in the U.S. and in Canada.  He served on the Board of Directors of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights from 2012-2014 and 2015-2017. He is a Strategic Advisor for the Secretariat of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, a Senior Advisor to the consultancy Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), an advisor to the Mining Association of Canada’s ISR Committee, and a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Board for the U.S. OECD National Contact Point. He is on the faculty of Competent Boards, which trains board members on Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) issues, and repeatedly has spoken at and/or chaired every major human rights conference in North America.

He previously served in the Justice Department as Deputy Director of the Criminal Division’s Office of Special Investigations, where he led cross-border investigations, first-chaired numerous prosecutions, and argued federal appeals, and received the first U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Award for Human Rights Law Enforcement. He is a former Bristow Fellow in the Office of the U.S. Solicitor General, and a judicial clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He has taught international law courses at Georgetown University Law Center for nearly 20 years.

Speaking Engagements and Publications

  • OECD Guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct & Sector Specific Guidance: A Manual for Canada, Global Compact Network Canada (April 2018) (working group lead)
  • Children’s Rights and Security Checklist and Handbook, UNICEF (2017, 2018) (working group co-lead)
  • Auditing Implementation of Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights: A Guidance Document to Assist Companies and their Auditors Assess Implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, Global Compact Network Canada (2015) (primary author and working group lead)
  • The Third Pillar: Remedies, Reparations and the Ruggie Principles, in The Business and Human Rights Landscape (Cambridge Univ. Press 2015, K. Bravo & J. Martin eds.) (co-authored book chapter)
  • Does the Hand Fit the Glove?: Assessing your Company’s Anti-Corruption Compliance Program, ACC Docket (June 2013)
  • Kiobel and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, ACC Docket (June 2012)
  • Think Globally, Sue Locally: Trends and Out-of-Court Tactics in Transnational Tort Actions, 29 Berk. J. Int’l L. 456 (2011)
  • Think Globally, Sue Locally, Wall Street Journal (June 2010)
  • Emerging Risk, Private Equity Manager Monthly (February 2010)
  • Is Second Circuit Ruling a “Talisman” Against Alien Tort Statute Suits? Washington Legal Foundation Legal Backgrounder (February 2010)
  • New Costs of Doing Business Abroad, L.A. Daily Journal (December 2009)
  • Specific Corporate Compliance Challenges: Extractive Industry, in Corporate Compliance Practice Guide: The Next Generation of Compliance (Carol Basri, ed.) (Oct. 2009)
  • How to Steer Clear of the Human Rights Litigation Trend, Engineering & Mining Journal (May 2009)
  • At Home And Abroad, Corporate Counsel (April 2009)
  • It’s a Crucial Process, National Law Journal (August 2008)
  • Cross-border Justice the American Way, Law Society Gazette (UK) (January 2008)
  • Don’t Be Dubbed A Human Rights Abuser, Legal Times & (October 2007)
  • Corporate Exposure Under the Alien Tort Claims Act, Corporate Counsellor (June 2007)
  • Courts Mixed on Foreign Claims, Hart’s E&P (October 2006)
  • The Saddam Hussein Verdict: Mixed Progress, National Law Journal (November 2006)
  • Appearances include 60 Minutes, NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, CBS This Morning, CNN, CNN International, BBC, MSNBC, Fox News, FoxFiles, Prime Time Justice, Court TV, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, Canadian Broadcasting Channel, NPR’s Morning Edition, Voice of America, and ABC News Radio. Quoted in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Financial Times, The New Yorker, USA Today, Harper’s, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Sun Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Houston Chronicle, American Lawyer, New York Law Journal, The International Herald Tribune, The Detroit Free Press, AP, Reuters, and UPI
  • Numerous conference presentations and panels, and working group roundtables, on FCPA and human rights issues. Numerous Lexis/Nexis Expert Commentaries on issues related to the prosecution of state leaders, human rights, cross-border law enforcement, and other international legal issues


  • UCLA School of Law
  • Stanford University

Bar & Court Admissions

  • D.C. Bar
  • California Bar (inactive)

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