Areas of Practice
  • Harvard Law School, J.D., 1989, Senior Editor, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy
  • Harvard University, A.B., magna cum laude, 1986, Phi Beta Kappa
Judicial Clerkships
  • Hon. Maryanne Trump Barry, US District Court, District of New Jersey, 1989-1991
Bar & Court Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • US Supreme Court
  • US District Court, District of Columbia
  • US District Court, District of New Jersey
  • US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

John L. Jacobus

1330 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
TEL: +1 202 429 6276
FAX: +1 202 429 3902

John Jacobus, a partner in Steptoe’s Washington office, focuses on commercial disputes that are resolved through litigation and arbitration, as well as internal investigations and corporate compliance matters. 

Mr. Jacobus earned an A.B. in History, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Harvard University (1986), and a J.D. from the Harvard Law School (1989).  He joined Steptoe after clerking for a US Federal District Judge and serving for several years as a Trial Attorney in the Attorney General's Honor Program at the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, DC.

Litigation & Arbitration

Over the course of his career, both in public and private service, Mr. Jacobus has appeared in numerous state and federal court proceedings throughout the US.  He has extensive jury trial experience.  While at DOJ, he was the recipient of several Departmental Awards conferred by the US Attorney General, including two Special Achievement Awards, one for Sustained Superior Performance of Duty (1994) and another for Meritorious Acts or Service Performed on behalf of the Department (1993).

A large part of Mr. Jacobus’s work relates to the resolution of commercial disputes through both domestic and international arbitrations.  He has handled disputes conducted within the framework of the American Arbitration Association (AAA); the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA); the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); and other internationally-based arbitration centers around the world.  

Internal Investigations/Corporate Compliance

Mr. Jacobus’s work also focuses on internal investigations and corporate compliance matters, with a special emphasis on US and international anti-corruption laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), as well as corporate governance and safety reviews.  Mr. Jacobus is also familiar with, and has represented companies in compliance matters raised by, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the DOJ.

Mr. Jacobus has led internal investigations taking place around the world (including, for example, a review of corporate practices in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and the West Coast of Africa, among other areas).  In that capacity, Mr. Jacobus has served as a direct advisor to the General Counsel and/or Special Board Committees of large, multi-national corporations.          


Mr. Jacobus also serves as counsel to energy companies, drawing on his litigation and corporate counseling experience to resolve disputes involving the management and safety of large power generation facilities.  He has represented utilities in substantial litigation involving safety incidents and related matters.  He has also provided representation with respect to power purchase agreements and engineering, procurement and construction contracts.         


Since he joined Steptoe, a significant part of Mr. Jacobus's work has been with the firm’s Insurance and Reinsurance Group.  He is a leader within the firm’s reinsurance practice, which comprises over 20 lawyers dedicated to counseling, litigation and arbitration.  

With respect to reinsurance, Mr. Jacobus has focused on representing cedents, reinsurers and retrocessionaires in litigation and arbitrations within the United States and in private international dispute resolution centers around the world. 

Mr. Jacobus also has a corporate insurance and reinsurance practice, focused on commutation and work-out issues, as well as merger and acquisition activities that are handled through reinsurance assumption agreements and the novation of reinsurance treaties. 

Mr. Jacobus’s work on behalf of insurers and reinsurers has involved a broad range of issues arising in the life & health and the property & casualty sectors, as well as many specialty areas, including cyber insurance, financial guarantee and surety products.  

Mr. Jacobus is an internationally known member of the insurance and reinsurance bar.  He is a Member of the Aida Reinsurance and Insurance Arbitration Society (ARIAS), in both the United States (ARIAS-US) and the United Kingdom (ARIAS-UK).  He is also a Member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).  He is a Chairman Emeritus of the Insurance and Reinsurance Practice Group for Lex Mundi, the world’s largest association of private law firms.  At Lex Mundi, Mr. Jacobus was responsible for leading member activities involving insurance and reinsurance firms in the 120 countries where Lex Mundi operates.

Cyber Risks

Mr. Jacobus also counsels companies with respect to cyber risks and hedging strategies to counter known cyber perils.  He has lectured and taught courses on understanding cyber exposures and insurance coverage for cyber risks.  


  • J. Jacobus & B. Watson, Clapper v. Amnesty International and Data Privacy Litigation: Is a Change to the Law “Certainly Impending”?, 21 Rich. J.L. & Tech. 1 (Fall 2014)
  • Change Is Here
    March 2009, Global Reinsurance
  • Briefing Paper: US Asbestos Liabilities
    June 2007
  • J. Jacobus, T. Rohner & A. Hefty:  Conflicts of Interest Affecting Counsel in International Arbitrations, 20 Mealey's International Arbitration Report No. 8, August 2005
  • J. Jacobus:  Suspension of Limitation Periods in Cases of Fraud or Negligent Concealment - Fairness and Market Efficiencies, 14 Mealey’s Litigation Report, November 13, 2003
  • J. Jacobus, R. Porter, & S. Dunn:  The Right to Arbitrate Reinsurance Disputes is Preserved After September 11, 13 Mealey's Litigation Report: Reinsurance No. 2, May 16, 2002
  • J. Jacobus:  Constitutional Law: Eminent Domain and Conditional Grants of Building Permits, 11 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y, 1988
  • J. Jacobus:  Constitutional Law: The Eighth Amendment and Sympathy Instructions to Juries in Death Penalty Cases, 10 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y, 1987

Representative Matters


  • In Re Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1663, 297 F.R.D. 136 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108042 (D.N.J. Aug. 13, 2013).
  • Red Lion Medical Safety v. Ohmeda, Inc., 63 F. Supp.2d 1218 (E.D. Cal. 1999).

Constitutional Law

  • Evans v. Williams, 206 F.3d 1292 (DC Cir. 2000).
  • Szefczek v. Hillsborough Beacon, 286 N.J. Super. 242, 668 A.2d 1099 (Law Div. 1995).
  • Nixon v. United States, 978 F.2d 1269 (DC Cir. 1992).


  • Hudson v. Reno, 130 F.3d 1193 (6th Cir. 1997).


  • City of Benton v. NRC, 136 F.3d 824 (DC Cir. 1998).
  • Delmarva Power & Light Co. v. Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc., No. Civ. 96-1705, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13758 (E.D. Pa., Sept. 16, 1996).


  • United Technologies Corp. v. American Home Assur. Co., 118 F. Supp.2d 190 (D. Conn. 2000).


  • The Legal 500 US, Insurance: Advice to Insurers, 2015-2016
  • Special Achievement Award, US Department of Justice, 1993 – In Appreciation and Recognition of Meritorious Acts or Services Performed on Behalf of the Department 
  • Special Achievement Award, US Department of Justice, 1994 – In Appreciation and Recognition of Sustained Superior Performance of Duty 
  • Mr. Jacobus regularly presents lectures on current legal issues, particularly in the field of insurance and reinsurance.  Recent appearances include:  
    -  Cyber Risk at Aida Reinsurance and Insurance Arbitration Society’s 2013 Spring Conference, May 9, 2013
    -  Noerr LLP Reinsurance Conference in Munich, Germany on the distinctions between US and international arbitrations, April 30, 2013

Select News & Events

Selected Publications

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Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • ARIAS - US
  • ARIAS - UK
  • London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)