People

Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky

Partner

Chair, International Trade, Investment and Market Access Practice Group

Barshefsky, Charlene

Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky is WilmerHale's Senior International Partner. She joined the firm after serving as the US Trade Representative—the chief trade negotiator and principal trade policymaker for the United States—from 1997 to 2001, and acting as deputy USTR from 1993 to 1996. As the USTR and a member of the President's Cabinet, she was responsible for the negotiation of hundreds of complex market access, regulatory and investment agreements with virtually every major country in the world. She is best known internationally as the architect and chief negotiator of China's historic WTO Agreement, as well as global agreements in financial services, telecommunications, intellectual property rights, high-technology products and cyberspace. She is recognized as a central figure for international business and international economic and trade issues. Her 25-year legal career in the field has encompassed international litigation, commercial negotiations, investment and regulatory advice, and dispute resolution, and she has written and lectured extensively both here and abroad.

Ambassador Barshefsky has been honored by both Harvard and Yale law schools; her negotiations are the subject of several Harvard Business School case studies and numerous profiles and she is the recipient of a number of honorary degrees and industry awards.

Practice

Ambassador Barshefsky's practice centers on international business transactions, the structuring and negotiation of commercial agreements and the removal of trade and regulatory impediments to exporting to or investing in markets throughout Asia, Europe and Latin America. She is exceptionally skilled in crafting market penetration strategies for goods, services and investment, and devising practical solutions to market access barriers, including negotiation with private parties and foreign governments worldwide. She also formulates sophisticated government relations strategies to complement, when necessary, the overall substantive legal approach. She advises companies in connection with trade litigation and dispute resolution in the US and abroad, as well as commercial and regulatory issues in the United States for foreign corporations. 

Honors & Awards

Publications & News

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March 14, 2014

Chambers & Partners Recognizes WilmerHale in its 2014 Global Edition

Thirty-one WilmerHale lawyers have been named among the “World’s Leading Lawyers for Business” in the 2014 edition of Chambers Global. In addition to these individual accolades, 13 of the firm’s practice areas were also recognized.

January 27, 2014

New US and EU Guidance on Interim Agreement for Iran Sanctions Relief

As we have discussed previously, on November 24, 2013, the United States and the other members of the P5+1 (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China) reached agreement with Iran on the JPOA, an initial understanding on the disposition of Iran's nuclear program.

January 7, 2014

WilmerHale’s Strategic Response Group Profiled in The Washington Post

December 2, 2013

Washingtonian Magazine Names 14 WilmerHale Attorneys to "Best Lawyers" List

November 15, 2013

Laying the Political Groundwork for Continued Economic Reform: The Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s Third Plenum

On Tuesday, China’s Third Plenum—a major conclave of top Communist Party (“CCP”) officials—concluded with the publication of a Communiqué announcing general statements about policy priorities and specific structural changes to the CCP, designed in part to affirm and advance economic reforms with a target date of 2020.

August 15, 2013

Best Lawyers in America® 2014 Recognizes Nearly 100 WilmerHale Partners, Naming Eight “Lawyer of the Year”

Nearly 100 WilmerHale lawyers have been selected for inclusion in the 20th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®—a respected peer-review publication in the legal industry. The 2014 list also highlights eight WilmerHale partners who have been named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers.

June 5, 2013

The Legal 500 United States Recognizes Firm, Attorneys with Top 2013 Rankings

The Legal 500 United States has released its annual rankings, selecting WilmerHale as one of the preeminent law firms in the country.

May 24, 2013

Chambers USA 2013 Final Results Announced

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business today announced its final rankings for the 2013 edition, in which 93 WilmerHale lawyers and 44 firm practice areas have been recognized as leading in their field.

March 27, 2013

The National Law Journal Names Three WilmerHale Partners Among America’s Most Influential

WilmerHale’s former Co-Managing Partner William Lee and Partners Charlene Barshefsky and Seth Waxman were recognized as three of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal.

October 1, 2012

President Obama Issues Order Prohibiting Foreign Acquisition of US Company

On September 28, 2012, President Obama issued an order prohibiting a Chinese-owned company from acquiring four U.S. wind farm project companies. Although the U.S. government has not disclosed the national security issues raised by the transaction, the Treasury Department stated that the “wind farm sites are all within or in the vicinity of restricted air space at Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman in Oregon.”

Speaking Engagements

Recent Highlights

Ambassador Barshefsky is an advisor to a number of Fortune 100 and other multinational corporations in connection with their trade and investment activities in China, Europe and the United States, including in such areas as financial services, telecommunications, high-technology goods and services, consumer products, agriculture and intellectual property rights.

Professional Activities

Ambassador Barshefsky is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Board of the America-China Society, a Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association and a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Trilateral Commission. She serves on the Boards of Directors of American Express Company, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., Intel Corporation, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. She is a trustee of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Practices

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Education

JD, Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, 1975

BA, University of Wisconsin, 1972

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia