Trade & Customs 2015: Analysis

We are pleased to present the results of our research into the international trade and customs legal marketplace. Listing 392 standout practitioners from 213 law firms across 42 countries, it is a substantial resource for those seeking counsel in this field.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Edwin Vermulst VVGB Advocaten/Avocats
Philippe De Baere Van Bael & Bellis
Jean-François Bellis Van Bael & Bellis
Marco Bronckers VVGB Advocaten/Avocats
Laurent Ruessmann Fieldfisher
Iain Sandford Sidley Austin
Scott Andersen Sidley Austin
Todd Friedbacher Sidley Austin
Nicolas Lockhart Sidley Austin
Brendan McGivern White & Case
Washington DC
Gary Horlick Law Offices of Gary Horlick
Simon Schropp Sidley Austin
Mark Moran Steptoe & Johnson
Andrew Shoyer Sidley Austin
Spencer Griffith Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Rest of the World
Ana Caetano Veirano Advogados, São Paulo
Darrel Pearson Bennett Jones, Toronto
Gustavo Uruchurtu Uruchurtu y Abogados Consultores, Mexico City
Suhail Nathani Economic Laws Practice, Mumbai
Daniel Moulis Moulis Legal, Canberra

Sidley Austin leads our research once again with 17 practitioners recognised, six of whom are listed among the most highly regarded practitioners in the world. The Geneva office is home to an exceptional team. Iain Sandford is a “key industry player”, whose practice is built on more than 15 years’ experience working on WTO disputes. With “significant” recent experience on a wide range of issues including trade discrimination, conservation of scarce mineral resources, animal welfare, and trade remedies, he is “widely recommended as a leading lawyer”. Scott Andersen co-founded the office and is currently the co-managing partner. As one of the most highly regarded lawyers in the field, his “impressive practice” specialises in resolving international trade disputes advising governments, leading companies and trade associations. He is known for providing “the highest-quality advice” to clients, which draws on “invaluable and wide-ranging sector experience” including agricultural and industrial actionable and prohibited subsidies, anti-dumping and trade remedy measures, and trade discrimination matter among others. The “exceptional” Todd Friedbacher founded the office alongside him, and “expertly advises” commercial stakeholders and governments, complainants, respondents and third parties in all phases of WTO dispute settlement. With 20 years’ experience of practice, Friedbacher has represented clients in over 50 distinct dispute settlement proceedings, including some of the most high-profile disputes in the WTO’s 20-year history. Alongside them is Nicolas Lockhart, whose renowned international practice focuses on the development and enforcement of international trade rules, in particular at the World Trade Organization (WTO). He is praised for his “exceptional understanding” and ability to “effectively tailor his advice to the industry”.

Ten experts from the Washington, DC office are featured in our research, including Simon Schropp: an “outstanding practitioner”. With a “wealth of experience” in the industry, he advises companies, trade associations, and governments on issues relating to international economic policy, international trade and investment disputes, regulatory issues, and competition and antitrust matters. Schropp has been praised for his “highly skilful handling of complex matters”. Andrew Shoyer co-leads the firm’s international trade practice and is “without doubt a top player”. He has a “fantastic work ethic” and “total comprehension” of a wide range of matters relating to the implementation and enforcement of international trade and investment agreements. Richard Weiner joins them as “one of the very best in the area”. He has a “fantastic understanding of the industry” and provides “meticulous advice” to clients, on matters relating to international trade and market access disputes, WTO litigation, trade remedy proceedings and international treaty negotiations. Neil Ellis has “brilliant, in-depth knowledge of international trade regulation and antitrust matters. With an “exceptional practice”, he has represented clients in some of the most controversial and complicated anti-dumping, countervailing duty, and safeguards cases within the last 20 years.

At the Brussels office Arnoud Willems leads the EU trade and customs team. He is a “fantastic lawyer” who represents the interests of multinational companies in high-profile trade matters and has been praised for his “intricate knowledge” when advising clients on strategies for solving market access problems and resolving the disputes which affect their businesses. Jacques Bourgeois is “a recognised authority” on European Union trade and customs law. Described as “immensely talented”, Bourgeois has over four decades of experience as a leading individual in the field. Alongside him Sven De Knop is a “savvy and experienced lawyer”, who has been involved in major EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations. In addition, he has particular experience with EU regulatory issues concerning chemicals, steel, and life sciences (including biotech, food and pharmaceuticals).

Closely following behind, Baker & McKenzie continues to provide “world-class expertise” and garners 14 listings in this year’s edition across multiple offices, attesting to the global reach of the firm. In San Francisco William Outman II is a “brilliant specialist” who “stands head and shoulders above the competition” for his knowledge of US customs and border protection issues relating to customs classification and valuation, country of origin, marking, enforcement, transfer pricing, and post-entry audits. The “esteemed” Jasper Helder in the Netherlands is “highly recommended” for his “adroit advice” concerning economic sanctions and EU export controls to a range of multinational clients. In London Ross Denton is a “renowned authority” on a wide range of international trade law issues. He is praised for his “sharp handling of complex transactions”, and for providing “pragmatic, clear and meticulously worked out advice”. They are joined in Argentina by the “truly excellent” Rufino Beccar Varela who offers “exceptional handling” of a wide range of issues relating to trade and customs law, and is praised for his “thorough attention to detail”. Alongside him Esteban Pablo Rópolo is a “top presence” in South America, with a “reputation for providing high-quality advice”. Diane MacDonald is “a seasoned international trade lawyer”, who “skilfully” represents companies in US customs enforcement proceedings, export control matters and unfair trade practice cases. Bart McMillan leads the Chicago international trade compliance sub-practice group, and advises US and foreign companies on international trade compliance matters. He is praised for being “commercially astute and very knowledgeable”. In Venezuela Enie Neri de Ross is the coordinator of the firm’s international trade regulations and antitrust and competition practice groups in Caracas. She has “extensive experience” in international trade law and is praised for being “truly outstanding, innovative and a technically gifted” lawyer.

Mayer Brown maintains its status as a provider of leading international expertise with 10 listings in our research. The “very talented” Paulette Vander Schueren leads the Brussels branch of the firm’s government and international trade group. With “a consummate understanding of the trade and customs industry”, she is regarded as “one of the very best on the continent”. Nikolay Mizulin joins her as an “innovative and dedicated adviser” with “vast experience” advising corporations and governments in anti-dumping, safeguard and anti-subsidy cases before EU institutions and the investigating authorities of Russia, China, Ukraine, Brazil and the US. At the Washington, DC office, Mickey Kantor is known for his “incredible insight and diligence”, advising clients on the expansion of their activities into foreign markets. The “clear sighted and strategic” Matthew McConkey is praised for “knowing everything there is to know” about anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and general international trade and import issues. Timothy Keeler is recommended by clients and peers for being “extremely knowledgeable and accessible.” Susan Schwab has over three decades of experience relating to international trade and policy issues, whose “scrupulous approach” has led her to being considered a “go-to lawyer” for clients. Duane Layton is “a sensational lawyer” who “certainly knows his stuff”. As head of the firm’s government and global trade group in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Washington, DC, he has a “formidable reputation within the industry.”

King & Spalding boasts nine listings. As the founding partner of the firm’s international trade and practice group Joseph Dorn has an “eminent practice”, which includes representing major international clients in trade disputes in the United States and abroad as well as before the World Trade Organization. He is joined in Washington, DC by Christopher Cloutier who provides “first-rate advice” drawing on his wealth of experience as a leading trade lawyer. Stephen Jones has an “acclaimed reputation” for his “outstanding work in the field”. He regularly represents domestic industries in trade remedy proceedings, with a particular focus on anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations, administrative reviews, and appellate litigation. 

Alongside them in the Geneva office is the “highly skilled” Jasper Wauters. With “a long track record of excellence”, he regularly advises clients on free trade negotiations as well as taking part in the negotiation and drafting of free trade agreements on behalf of sovereign clients. Daniel Crosby is a “naturally gifted lawyer” and “as smart as they come”. He is praised for his “hard work and dedication” when assisting clients to achieve their economic and business objectives. Charles Julien, is “a certain inclusion”, and is widely praised for his “superb advice and strategic approach”.

Steptoe & Johnson fields a remarkable team of trade and customs lawyers, with nine listings. In the Washington, DC office Mark Moran is “a global leader”, representing private parties and governments in international investment and trade litigation and arbitration, and also in bilateral and multilateral treaty negotiations. In addition the “highly accomplished” Susan Esserman is recommended for “routinely handling complex” international litigation and dispute resolution matters, as well as providing “excellent legal and strategic advice” to foreign and domestic clients looking to expand their access to global markets. Richard Cunningham is an “incredibly impressive lawyer”. Described as “someone to be reckoned with”, Cunningham represents corporate and governmental clients in relation to US government trade policy issues, as well as in negotiating private and governmental agreements to find resolutions to market-access problems. Matthew Yeo has a reputation for “excellence and achievement” founded on his “extensive experience”. He is one of a select group of private practice lawyers who appear in WTO dispute settlement proceedings on behalf of member governments. James Searles is the firm’s leading trade and customs lawyer in Brussels. He is a “consummate professional” with an “exhaustive knowledge base”, who specialises in environmental and competition law issues relating to EU and international trade law.

Cassidy Levy Kent continues to maintain its leading presence in our research with eight lawyers listed in this edition. In Washington, DC John Greenwald is a lawyer of “exceptional technical ability”. He is described as having an “innovative way of looking at things that delivers a fresh approach to structuring and implementing solutions”. Jennifer Hillman is described as “second to none” when dealing with international trade litigation and policy matters, including antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings. Robert Cassidy is praised for his “commitment, experience and all-round technical excellence.” His practice focuses on matters pertaining to cross-border business transactions, including anti-dumping and countervailing duty proceedings, export controls, customs issues and economic sanctions. Jack Levy is recommended for his “expert analytical skills” and “ability to find the answers to clients most complex business issues”.

Appleton Luff’s “world-class” expertise in this legal sector is reflected by its six listings. In the Singapore office Edmund Sim is “highly respected” as a lawyer who “thoroughly understands clients’ business requirements” and works to develop “a pragmatic legal solution”. Arthur Appleton stands out as a “leading light” in the Geneva market with over 25 years of experience in the field of international trade law. Appleton has worked throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America with businesses, governments, international organisations, and non-governmental organisations on various international trade issues. At the Brussels office David Luff is known for his “high level of skill” when handling “intensely complex and demanding matters”.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld also achieves six listings in this edition. In Washington, DC Spencer Griffith is a well-reputed name, who provides “clear and effective strategies” to meet the needs of clients. Valerie Slater is “widely recognised as a leading lawyer” in the market, having represented clients in proceedings before the US Department of Commerce, the US International Trade Commission and the Office of the US Trade Representative. They are joined by Hal Shapiro, who heads the firm’s international trade practice. His “impressive clientele” comprises multinational corporations, US trade associations and foreign governments, advising them on an impressively wide range of international business and policy issues relating to trade and customs law.

Hogan Lovells offers a high level of international expertise in the sector, with six leading lawyers recognised. In Washington, DC Warren Maruyama focuses his practice on the negotiation, implementation and enforcement of international trade and investment agreements. He combines “extensive technical expertise” with his “commercial, pragmatic approach”. Craig Lewis has a fantastic reputation and clients “couldn’t wish for a more skilled lawyer”. He is known for his “commercial acumen” and providing “insightful advice”. Mark McConnell is “considered to be one of the leading international trade litigators in the United States” and his “vast knowledge” and “extensive experience” makes him a “standout practitioner” in the area.

White & Case is represented by six “exceptional” lawyers. At the Geneva office Brendan McGivern is “the best of the best”. With “unrivalled technical, strategic and intellectual skills”, he is the head of the world trade organisation practice at the firm. In DC Walter Spak is the head of the firm’s international trade group, and is among the most highly regarded professionals in the sector. He has “immense experience” from almost 35 years in practice in which he has “successfully supported clients in virtually every aspect of import and export trade law”. James Killick in the Brussels office is known for his “boundless knowledge of the sector” and “clear sightedness in relation to complex issues”.

Van Bael & Bellis has an “impressive team” of trade and customs lawyers, particularly in the Brussels office where five out of the six lawyers identified by our research are based. Philippe De Baere is an “expert practitioner”, whose practice focuses on EU and WTO trade law together with EU customs law and export controls, and is highly regarded by clients for his “commercial acumen and strategic approach”. Jean-François Bellis is the managing partner of Van Bael & Bellis and has been described as “a lawyer like no other”, who “brings innovation and vision to the rapidly changing trade and customs industry.” Alongside them, Fabrizio Di Gianni is a “highly accomplished lawyer”. He advises a wide range of “impressive clients” including governments, companies, producers, importers and industry associations, providing “consistently dependable advice” regarding matters involving all stages of the proceedings before the investigating authorities.

Further recognition goes to the most highly rated lawyers in our research outside of the above-mentioned firms.

Edwin Vermulst, at VVGB Advocaten/Avocats, is a founding partner and one of the firm’s most highly acclaimed practitioners. He is “technically outstanding” and generally considered to be “one of the leading experts on anti-dumping, subsidies and safeguards.” Marco Bronckers has aleading reputation in international trade law” and has been described as “a true great” in the field whose practice involves a blend of law and policy. They comprise four practitioners recognised at the firm in our research

At Fieldfisher Laurent Ruessmann is “beyond impressive”, specialising in a range of international trade issues including anti-dumping, safeguard procedures and litigation, anti-subsidy and customs matters under EU and member state legislation, the WTO and other international agreements. Jochen Beck at the firm is also recommended.

At Holman Fenwick Willan in Brussels Folkert Graafsma is “as good as it gets”, having successfully represented clients in over 150 anti-dumping and countervailing duty proceedings. He is recognised for the breadth of his expertise, which encompasses a wide range of industries including solar panels and biodiesel, as well as for his high profile work as counsel to India in the WTO anti-dumping dispute EC – Bed Linen.

Gary Horlick, at his own firm is “a sensation”. He provides “high-level legal counsel and representation” in matters pertaining to international trade, investment and dispute resolution. Horlick is “certainly one of the world’s best” and “the lawyer of choice” for many clients.

At Veirano Advogados in Brazil, Ana Caetano leads the firm’s international trade practice group. Clients value her “exceptional ability to understand business needs” and recommend legal options that align with company business goals.  With an “exhaustive knowledge base”, she is at the “forefront of the ever-changing trade landscape in Brazil and abroad.” Paula Farani de Azevedo is a “consummate professional” and “an incredible legal strategist” whose “outstanding” work has “played a pivotal role in the industry”.

At Bennett Jones in Canada, Darrel Pearson is the co-chair of the firm’s international trade and investment practice. He is universally regarded as “one of Canada’s preeminent lawyers” for his “outstanding work in the field of international trade and customs law”. The firm achieves a further three listings in recognition of its impressive trade and customs practice.

Gustavo Uruchurtu from Uruchurtu y Abogados Consultores in Mexico is recognised by our research. He is particularly praised for his “excellent attention to detail” and “creative approach”, with peers describing him as “head and shoulders above others” in the Mexican market.

Suhail Nathani heads the international trade and customs practice at Economic Laws Practice in India. This practice has “received national and international acclaim” for its contribution to “some of the most high-profile trade remedial litigations” involving investigations and reviews, having represented both domestic industry and exporters.

In Australia Daniel Moulis is the founder of Moulis Legal. Daniel is “widely acknowledged to be one of the world’s leading international trade lawyers”. His “genius” is often cited by peers and clients in recognition of his three decades of experience advising across “the full spectrum of cross-border business and trade regulation.”

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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