David Godfrey graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, summa cum laude, in 1987, with a B.A. in Political Science. He received a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1993.
Godfrey went on to a successful career as an attorney, practicing law with a number of prominent international law firms, including Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, Chadbourne & Parke, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and White & Case. He also spent two years at the International Finance Corporation, the private investment arm of the World Bank.
Godfrey was hired as Special Counsel by Yukos Oil Company in April 2002; he was promoted to Vice President and General Counsel of Yukos Oil Company in January 2005.