Most Highly Regarded Firms: Trade & Customs 2011

In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide.

Most highly regarded individuals
Gary Horlick Law Offices of Gary N Horlick, Washington, DC
Edwin Vermulst VVGB Advocaten, Brussels
Paulette Vander Schueren Mayer Brown International LLP, Brussels
Joseph Dorn King & Spalding LLP, Washington, DC
Marco Bronckers VVGB Advocaten, Brussels
Richard Cunningham Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Washington, DC
Charlene Barshefsky Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, Washington, DC
Terence Stewart Law Offices of Stewart and Stewart, Washington, DC
Jean-François Bellis Van Bael & Bellis, Brussels
Timothy Brightbill Wiley Rein LLP, Washington, DC

This year we have identified 255 lawyers who have reputations as leading trade and customs practitioners. As was the case last year, the leading jurisdictions are Brussels and Washington, DC, but the research trend suggests far greater breadth and depth of inclusions this year.

Six-time winner of the Who’s Who Legal Trade and Customs Law Firm of the Year Award, Sidley Austin LLP receives the most inclusions this year. Its trade and customs expertise is international but with a strong hold in the DC office, which fields seven lawyers. Andrew Shoyer negotiates FTAs involving Asia and advises pharmaceutical clients on customs issues. James Mendenhall is highly praised for his expertise and Brenda Jacobs is “great at what she does, very insightful”. Neil Ellis is an ‘accomplished trade lawyer’. Lisa Crosby concentrates on export controls, sanctions and customs law. Richard Belanger has an ‘excellent reputation’ for his expertise in policy and compliance.

The firm also features four lawyers based in Switzerland. Scott Andersen is the co-manager of the Geneva office and focuses his practice on WTO disputes and trade remedies, Nicolas Lockhart advises companies on international trade and regulation arising from WTO agreements. They are joined by the “impressive” Todd Friedbacher. The firm is represented in Brussels by the ‘active and highly recommended’ Arnoud Willems.

Baker & McKenzie LLP features nine lawyers from eight different countries, a testament to its international scope of practice. In Argentina, Esteban Ropolo “is a great professional who routinely advises on foreign trade”. Eugene Lim heads the firm’s international trade planning and controversies practice in Hong Kong and China and covers developments in WTO, APEC, ASEAN and other Asia Pacific trading blocs. Edmundo Elías-Fernández is the firm’s Mexico and Latin America coordinator for the foreign trade and customs practice. He represents clients in relation to foreign trade litigation, non-payment of tariffs and VAT matters. Alongside him is Raymundo Enríquez, who is “excellent, well learned with good judgment”. Based in Caracas, Enie Neri de Ross coordinates the firm’s international trade regulations and antitrust and competition practice groups. She is an experienced lawyer in this field and has represented multinational companies in anti-dumping, valuation and licensing, among other issues.

Edwin Whatley heads the firm’s tax practice group in Tokyo, where he focuses on international tax implications and planning for Japanese corporations in the export industry. James Lockett operates from the firm’s Hanoi office providing international law expertise and counsel to local and foreign companies in Vietnam.

In Amsterdam, Jasper Helder is a “very strong” practitioner of traditional trade issues such as classification, valuation and rules of origin, principally in the EU agricultural arena.

In DC, William Outman is considered a “dean” and “legend of the customs bar”. Peers recommend him for his “excellent” trade litigation and remedies practice.

Hogan Lovells LLP fields seven lawyers based in DC and one in Brussels. Lourdes Catrain is the director of the European Trade practice and advises the WTO on EU legislation. She represents foreign governments in trade investigations and is “outstanding for trade instruments”.

Over in DC, Jeanne Archibald is “well known and respected”. The director of the firm’s international trade and investment group, Deen Kaplan is a “sharp” practitioner in the FTA arena. Craig Lewis is “really very good”. Former general counsel at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Warren Maruyama is an “excellent policy guy”. Mark McConnell is highly praised as a “top-notch thinker, writer and good on details”. He is a “certain inclusion” for his trade policy work. The “legendary” Clayton Yeutter is a former US Trade Representative and is an active lobbyist. Lewis Leibowitz received a number of nominations and is a leading lawyer in international trade matters under domestic and foreign agreements.

The international trade group at White & Case LLP is well known for its client-focused approach and WTO work. Splitting his time between Beijing and DC, Christopher Corr has a specialised practice in anti-dumping investigations, countervailing duties, WTO and NAFTA rules and many more areas. In Tokyo, Osamu Umejima comes highly recommended: “he has never failed to provide us with valuable and practical advice based on his objective analysis as well as his deep insights into the matters we faced”, according to a client.

Brendan McGivern is the executive partner of the Geneva office and the head of the WTO practice at the firm. He is a recognised “expert” in trade disputes, remedies and negotiations. In DC, William Clinton has built an “impressive” reputation as an authority on developments relating to NAFTA and the WTO. He regularly advises foreign governments and trade ministries. Walter Spak is a “definite yes for inclusion”. Gregory Spak is known for his knowledge of bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements in Latin America. Similarly, in Florida David Bond is “excellent on Latin American trade issues”.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP enjoys six listings. James Searle in Brussels specialises in trade remedies and anti-dumping, especially for companies operating within the Asia-Pacific region. Mark Moran is “terrific”. He ‘stands out as an excellent thinker, writer and oral advocate’. Edward Krauland is “very well regarded for export control work”. George Grandison is “certainly recommended for inclusion”, as is Susan Esserman, a former Deputy US Trade Representative and former US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration. Richard Cunningham is “a doyen of the trade bar and a rainmaker at the firm” and is one of this year’s most highly regarded lawyers.

King & Spalding LLP enjoys five listings, divided between Geneva and DC. Joseph Dorn is the founder of the international trade practice group and is “excellent in terms of analysis, with a persistent and thorough approach”. He is also one of the most highly regarded practitioners in this year’s research. He is joined in DC by the “experienced” Gilbert Kaplan, and “excellent” Stephen Orava. In Geneva, Daniel Crosby is “an effective adviser” and Jasper Wauters is a “knowledgeable” lawyer with experience working at The Hague and for the American Law Institute reporting on WTO cases.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP makes a notable contribution to the research with five lawyers featuring this year. Spencer Griffith divides his time between DC and Beijing, where he focuses on international trade and litigation within the context of WTO, countervailing duties, anti-dumping cases and trade policies, among other areas. Valerie Slater is “highly thought of” and is considered “very good” by our sources. “Top notch” Hal Shapiro formerly served as a senior adviser and trade committee representative for the National Economic Council at the White House, and has over 20 years experience in trade and economic policy. Lars-Erik Hjelm, formerly of the US Customs Service, focuses on customs law and policy and acts for companies during immigration and customs investigations. Warren Connelly is “well established” in the field.

Van Bael & Bellis has a good showing in Brussels. The “outstanding” Jean-François Bellis is one of the most highly regarded lawyers in this year’s research and “one of the main men in Brussels”. Philippe De Baere is also ‘outstanding’: he is a trade remedies and WTO lawyer and counts General Electric and Far Eastern Textile as clients. Fabrizio Di Gianni concentrates on international and European trade law, EU and Italian competition law. Richard Luff acts for clients in a range of industries, such as the steel, chemical, energy and electronics sectors and is a “superb” lawyer. Benoît Servais’ practice centres on trade remedies with an emphasis on customs law, anti-dumping and anti-subsidies laws.

VVGB Advocaten is a leading firm in this practice area and two of its lawyers are recognised this year. Edwin Vermulst and Marco Bronckers are each among the most highly regarded trade and customs lawyers this year. They are internationally renowned for their work in trade remedies and customs laws, and provide “prompt, efficient and cost-effective, top-notch services”.

From the Law Offices of Gary N Horlick, Gary Horlick is this year’s most highly regarded individual in our trade and customs research. He received the most peer and client nominations overall for his work in trade policy and practice. He is “a name who has been consistently impressive in this year, as he is every year”.

Also in Brussels is Paulette Vander Schueren of Mayer Brown International LLP. She is “well respected” and “top of the league”. She is among our most highly regarded individuals for 2011. The firm is well represented in DC by Mickey Kantor, Duane Layton and Matthew McConkey.

At Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in DC, former US Trade Representative, chief trade negotiator and principal trade policymaker for the United States under the Clinton Administration, Charlene Barshefsky is “leagues above others”. She received numerous votes and is one of the most highly regarded individuals of 2011. Also featuring from the firm is Stefan Ohlhoff and Claus-Dieter Ehlermann in Brussels and Robert Novick in DC.

From the Law Offices of Stewart and Stewart, Terence Stewart is one of the most highly regarded lawyers this year. He has a “huge reputation, well deserved” and is “one of the leaders worldwide”.

Timothy Brightbill of Wiley Rein LLP is a renowned practitioner and is much praised by clients. He is among the most highly regarded lawyers this year. Alongside him are Alan Price, who is “knowledgeable and creative”, and Charles Owen Verrill who is “prominent” in the field.

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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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