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Northcutt Ely Edit Profile


Northcutt Ely, American lawyer. Bar: California 1926, New York 1928, District of Columbia 1932, Supreme Court of the United States Court 1930.


Ely, Northcutt was born on September 14, 1903 in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. Son of Sims and Elizabeth (Northcutt) Ely.


Bachelor of Arts, Stanford University, 1924; Juris Doctor, Stanford University, 1926.


Practice law, New York, 1926-1929; practice law, District of Columbia and California, 1933-1997; executive assistant to, Secretary Interior, Washington, 1929-1933; chairman technical advising committee, Federal Oil Cons. Board, Washington, 1931-1933; represented Secretary Interior in negotiation of Hoover Dam power and water contracts, 1930-1933. Counsel to Governor of Oklahoma in negotiating Interstate Oil Compact, 1934-1935.

Co-executor of estate of ex-President Herbert Hoover, 1964-1968. Special counsel Colorado River Board of California, 1946-1976 and various California water and power agys. Special Assistant Attorney General State of California, 1953-1964 in Arizona v.

California; member of national Petroleum Council, 1968-1976. Counsel in 7 Supreme Court of the United States Ct cases involving rights in Colorado, Columbia, Cowlitz, Niagara Rivers and federal natural resource statutes. Legal advisor to Ruler of Sharjah in boundary disputes with Iran, Umm al Qawain, and international arbitration of boundary with Dubai.

Counsel to Swaziland in international river dispute with Republic of South Africa and to Mekong Commission (United Nations) in settling principles for development of Mekong Basin. Counsel to goverments and companies in determination of seabed boundaries in Gulf of Thailand, Mediterranean, East China, South China, Caribbean seas, Persian Gulf. Represented United States Mining companies in enactment of Deepsea Hard Minerals Act, & subsequent reciprocal international recognition of mining leases.

General counsel American Public Power Association, 1941-1981. Counsel Los Angeles, Southern California Edison Company in renewal of Hoover Power contracts, 1980-1997. Counsel from time to time to Govts. of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, Algeria, Malagasy Republic, Ethiopia, Grenada, Thailand on mining and petroleum legislation.

Member United States delegate to United Nations Conference on application of Science and Technology for Benefit Less Developed Areas, 1963, United Nations Conference on mineral legislation, Manila, 1969, Bangkok, 1973. Member board overseers Hoover Institution. Trustee Herbert Hoover Foundation, Hoover Presidential Library.



  • Bar: California 1926, New York 1928, District of Columbia 1932, Supreme Court of the United States Court 1930.


  • Other Work

    • Author: Summary of Mining & Petroleum Laws of the World, Oil Conservation Through Interstate Agreement, The Hoover Dam Documents. Co-author Law of International Drainage Basins, Economics of the Mineral Industries.


Member advisory board Center Ocean Lawys Policy, University Virginia. Fellow American Bar Foundation (life). Member American Bar Association (chairman natural resource section 1973-1974, house delegations 1974-1980, regulatory reform committee), California State Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar Association, American Law Institute (life), International Law Association (chairman American branch committee on deep sea mineral resources 1970-1979), International Bar Association, Sigma Nu, Phi Delta Phi, Sigma Delta Chi.

Clubs: Bohemian (San Francisco). California (Los Angeles). Metropolitan, Chevy Chase, University (Washington).

Fortnightly (Redlands, president 1989). Redlands Country.

  • Member of Phi Delta Phi. Hammer and Coffin. Club: University (Washington, District of Columbia).


Married Marica McCann, December 2, 1931. Children: Michael and Craig (twins), Parry Haines.

Sims Ely

Elizabeth (Northcutt) Ely

Marica McCann

Parry Haines Ely

Michael and Craig Ely (twins)