"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

Sean Dougherty, JD

Board Chair

Sean is an associate in Shearman & Sterling’s Capital Markets – Americas group with experience representing and advising corporate, sovereign and investment banking clients in connection with a range of public and private multi-jurisdictional offerings. The firm is a long-standing leader for high yield debt and leveraged finance and has a large market share for equity and convertible debt securities advice in the US and worldwide, along with a strong company counsel practice offering sophisticated securities law and corporate advisory services.

Prior to his role at Shearman & Sterling LLP, Sean worked with the international law firm, Linklaters, in their Hong Kong office, acting for clients across industries and the region, including various sovereigns, as a part of the firm’s award-winning capital markets practice.

Before his legal work, he served in the Office of the President of Capital One Bank as a Financial Analysis Manager. While at Capital One, he also acted as the local CFO for an award winning team that built an asset sales program that eventually executed transactions with aggregate principal value of over $10 billion. He chaired the Global Finance Department’s financial education volunteerism committee, leading the creation of a departmental service program as well.

As one of the founding board members and now board chair, Sean helped establish ICAAD and has worked to lay the foundation for the current and future growth of the organization, including facilitating some of the key relationships for the organization and providing leadership on certain key initiatives.

Sean has also served as a Board member at the Coalition for Debtor Education, a non-profit dedicated to providing financial education services to at-risk groups.

Education: Fordham, JD, cum laude (2013), Thunderbird, MBA in International Finance (2006), University of Vermont, BA in Political Science and Asian Studies, phi beta kappa (2004).

Notable Achievements (e.g. publications, awards, recognition): FT Innovative Lawyers 2014 commendation, Finance Asia Deal of the Month, Capital One Circle of Excellence and Bank One Award.


On May 17, 2019, ICAAD Advisor Erin Thomas’ publication: Compacts of Free Association in FSM, RMI, and Palau: Implications for the 2023-2024 Renewal Negotiations (hrbrief.org/2019/03/compacts-of-free-association-in-fsm-rmi-and-palau-implications-for-the-2023-2...) was cited by the President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jr., in an op-ed published in The Hill (thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/444291-pacific-defense-pact-renewal-vital-to-the-u...). In her piece, Erin points to critical issues stakeholders have raised regarding human trafficking, adoption policies, and COFA migrant rights among other important human rights issues.

Some of the above-mentioned policy gaps span several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly 10 (reduced inequalities) and 17 (partnership for the goals). Holistically, the existing COFA agreements represent the type of inequity that SDG 10 seeks to address. SDG 17 promotes inclusive and participatory decision-making at the international, national, and local levels. Developing transparency on both sides will allow for a more equitable process and outcome for the renewal negotiations.

The issues within the existing agreements also involve SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions) and limited access to justice regarding redress for nuclear testing and environmental destruction. This impacts targets and indicators including SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 3 (good health and well-being). Finally, SDG 10 and 8’s targets for responsible migration policies are important considering the limited provisions for COFA migrants in the U.S. and U.S. territories.
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