Most Highly Regarded Firms: Trade & Customs 2012

In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide. Our listings grow to encompass 276 lawyers from 41 countries in this edition, the largest we have published to date in this sector.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Lawyer Firm
Gary Horlick Law Offices of Gary N Horlick, Washington, DC
Edwin Vermulst VVGB Advocaten, Brussels
Marco Bronckers VVGB Advocaten, Brussels
Charlene Barshefsky Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, Washington, DC
Ana Caetano Veirano Advogados, São Paulo
Paulette Vander Schueren Mayer Brown Europe-Brussels LLP, Brussels
Valerie Slater Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Washington, DC
Terence Stewart Stewart and Stewart, Washington, DC
Philippe De Baere Van Bael & Bellis, Brussels
Laurent Ruessmann Crowell & Moring LLP, Brussels



Sidley Austin LLP has been recognised eight times in the Who’s Who Legal Awards as the leading firm in this field, and once again earns the highest number of nominees in this edition with 11 lawyers selected. Andrew Shoyer chairs the firm’s international trade and dispute resolution practice and is one of six inclusions from the DC office. Described as a “superlative lawyer”, sources were rich in their praise. “You can’t touch him in terms of WTO work,” according to one interviewee. Neil Ellis is described as “very professional and accommodating” and is held in high esteem by clients and peers alike. Brenda Jacobs represents US importers and retailers of consumer products as well as major domestic apparel retailers and is very highly rated, while James Mendenhall is well known as a former general counsel of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Richard Belanger is very highly regarded for his customs and export control work, while Richard Weiner is well respected as a former in-house counsellor on international trade to the European Commission. The firm is very strong in Switzerland, with four lawyers selected in Geneva. Scott Andersen is co-manager of the Geneva office and a “guru for WTO work”. Todd Friedbacher opened the office in 2000 and is well regarded for his WTO work, as is the similarly well-known Nicolas Lockhart. Iain Sandford joined the firm in March 2012 after serving as a WTO dispute settlement panellist and working in the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, among a range of other roles. In Brussels the “hugely respected” Arnoud Willems heads the firm’s EU trade team.

The nine lawyers selected from Baker & McKenzie are based in seven countries. William Outman is considered “one of the leaders of the customs bar” in DC, and Robert Eisen is praised for his valuation work in New York.

In the Netherlands, Jasper Helder is much in demand for his customs work for international clients and Brian Mulier also scores highly. Enie Neri de Ross in Caracas is a former president of the Venezuelan anti-dumping commission and well regarded throughout Latin America, while Raymundo Enríquez in Mexico and Esteban Rópolo in Argentina are very highly regarded for their regulatory practices. Eugene Lim in Hong Kong is “always very responsive, knowledgeable and offers practical solutions to matters” according to his clients, and Edwin Whatley is among the leading experts in Japan.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s contingent rises to seven in this edition. The majority are in DC, where Susan Esserman chairs the firm’s international department. The former Deputy USTR is extremely highly rated in the market, and she appears alongside four US colleagues. Richard Cunningham is a “key figure”, recognised for his import relief and trade policy expertise. Clients were effusive in their praise of Mark Moran: “He is a beautiful advocate and top notch in terms of strategy, he is always one step ahead.” Edward Krauland and the “very sharp” George Grandison complete the firm’s US contingent. Eric Emerson is managing partner of the firm’s Beijing office and “very well known locally”, while James Searles gives the firm a valuable presence in Brussels.

Lourdes Catrain is Hogan Lovells’ European group trade director and one of the most highly recommended experts in Brussels. She was commended across the full range of trade-related work, including export controls and sanctions. She is joined by six more colleagues from the DC office. Jeanne Archibald is leader of the firm’s government regulatory practice group and former general counsel of the US Department of the Treasury. Alongside her, Warren Maruyama is former general counsel of the Office of the USTR where he was viewed as “very smart and thoughtful”, and he is a “great strategic thinker in policy battles” according to our sources. Lewis Leibowitz is recognised for the quality of his trade and customs practices, and Mark McConnell is “off the charts” according to our sources; “hugely impressive and his analysis is always spot on”. Deen Kaplan represented the Ministry of Commerce of the government of China in the US subsidy and anti-dumping investigations and is “energetic and highly effective”. Craig Lewis is well known for his representation of US and non-US manufacturers in anti-dumping proceedings before regulatory agencies in China and elsewhere, and is a “major player”.

The six nominees from White & Case are led by Walter Spak in the DC office. Head of the international trade group his knowledge of import trade laws is “second to none”. His brother Gregory Spak is recognised for the quality of his trade regulation practice, and William Clinton is highlighted for his WTO and NAFTA practice. David Bond divides his time between the DC and Miami offices and is “one of the leading figures for Latin American trade issues”. Brendan McGivern is head of the firm’s WTO practice and one of the leading lawyers in Geneva, while Osamu Umejima in Tokyo is praised as “the leading figure in the international trade scene in Japan” by his clients, who commend his “great experience and sound advice”.

Paulette Vander Schueren of Mayer Brown International LLP in Brussels is one of the foremost trade and customs lawyers in the world and very highly regarded in the market. “She is very client friendly and extremely knowledgeable,” and was commended for her “dedication to clients as well as her generosity towards her colleagues in the profession”. Nikolay Mizulin is “building a tremendous reputation for himself” alongside her. The “heavyweight” DC office includes two former USTRs in Mickey Kantor and the “internationally renowned” Susan Schwab, a strategic adviser to the firm. Duane Layton is picked out for his trade remedy work and Matthew McConkey stands out for his anti-dumping and trade work.

Valerie Slater heads the international trade practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in DC and is “extremely highly respected in the bar”. Well known for her anti-dumping and countervailing expertise, she is one of the most highly recommended lawyers in this year’s research. Warren Connelly has represented clients such as Samsung Electronics, Mazda, Walt Disney and Shell Oil and is a “very strong lawyer”. Hal Shapiro is a former senior adviser for International Economic Affairs and senior counsellor to the director of the National Economic Council at the White House, and Lars-Erik Hjelm is a “pre-eminent authority on customs law”. Spencer Griffith divides his time between DC and Beijing and represented Samsung in an anti-dumping case.

Van Bael & Bellis is one of the leading firms in Brussels with five nominees selected for inclusion. Philippe De Baere is “practical, intelligent and clients like him very much”, and he earns a place among the most highly regarded individuals in the area worldwide. Managing partner Jean-François Bellis is a “very prominent figure with a first-class track record”, and was appointed by the WTO director-general as a member of a WTO panel. Fabrizio Di Gianni scores highly once more, and Richard Luff is known for his anti-dumping and anti-subsidy expertise and his “effective and impressive” representation of clients before the European Commission, the European Court of Justice and the WTO. Benoît Servais is recognised for his “first-class” trade practice as well as for his customs expertise.

The five listings from King & Spalding LLP are split between Geneva and DC. In the former, Jasper Wauters “has really come into his own in recent years” and is praised for his representation of clients in WTO dispute settlement proceedings. Daniel Crosby is known for his work for clients in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. Stephen Orava divides his time between the Geneva and DC offices and is well regarded in both markets. In DC, Joseph Dorn is the founder of the international trade practice group and a “big name in the field”, while Gilbert Kaplan also scores highly.

Grunfeld Desiderio Lebowitz Silverman & Klestadt LLP also sees five of its lawyers selected for inclusion. Francis Sailer in DC was a deputy assistant secretary of commerce in the first Bush administration and is highly rated, while Alan Lebowitz, one of the firm’s founding partners, leads a trio of nominees from New York and is well known for the quality of his customs work. Richard Wortman manages the Los Angeles office and strengthens the firm’s profile on the West Coast.

Charlene Barshefsky at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in DC is a former USTR and a “quite wonderful lawyer”. She is once again listed among the most highly rated lawyers in the worldwide research, and is joined by Robert Novick, former general counsel in the office of the USTR. Stefan Ohlhoff is selected for inclusion in Germany, and the “fantastic” Claus-Dieter Ehlermann in Brussels is a former chairman of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization and director-general of the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission.

Four lawyers from Arent Fox LLP in DC are selected for inclusion. Kay Georgi is “outstanding for export controls and anti-dumping”, while Matthew Nolan is a “formidable talent” praised for his trade remedy practice. The “smart and insightful” Matthew Clark is much in demand for his “wonderful advocacy skills”, and the “hugely talented” John Gurley completes the firm’s featured quartet.

VVGB Advocaten in Brussels “exceeds our high expectations consistently in terms of the high quality of their work, their punctuality, their attention to detail, their around-the-clock availability and their client-friendly approach”, in the words of admiring clients. It is the only firm with two partners on our list of most highly rated lawyers worldwide (see sidebar opposite). Edwin Vermulst has served as a WTO panellist and is much in demand across the full range of trade work. Marco Bronckers is “very strong, creative and policy oriented”, and has argued before EU and national courts, WTO panels and the WTO Appellate Body. Natalie McNelis is special counsel to the firm and an “outstanding litigator” according to our sources.

Elsewhere in Brussels, Laurent Ruessmann at Crowell & Moring LLP earns a place among the leading figures in the practice area as a result of his “top-class representation of a range of clients”, and his work for respondents was particularly well regarded. John Brew and Jeffrey Snyder from the DC office are also selected for inclusion.

The “premier trade remedies practice” of Holman Fenwick Willan is also extremely well regarded. Folkert Graafsma has successfully represented clients in over 150 anti-dumping and countervailing duty proceedings, and Konstantinos Adamantopoulos is a “well-respected, high-quality trade lawyer” in the eyes of his peers.

Gary Horlick at his own firm in Washington DC is once again “the number one lawyer in the world in this discipline”. Described as a “dean of the bar”, he is “untouchable on all aspects of the law and policy”.

Also in DC, Terence Stewart from Stewart and Stewart is once again among the most highly regarded lawyers in the worldwide research. An “unrivalled WTO expert”, his trade remedy practice is internationally respected. From the same firm, Elizabeth Drake is described as “invaluable” by her clients, and Eric Salonen is extremely well known for his trade remedy and trade policy expertise.

Ana Caetano leads a trio of nominees from Veirano Advogados in Brazil, and is one of the outstanding practitioners in this year’s research. Recommended for her trade remedy and customs work, she is “one of the finest trade lawyers in Latin America”.


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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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