Lauren Mandell is a leading international trade and investment attorney with a focus on the negotiation of free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties and the resolution of disputes arising under such agreements. In his recent tenure at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Mr. Mandell served as the US lead negotiator of the investment chapter of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and played a major role in the other signature trade negotiations under the Obama and Trump Administrations. As a litigator, Mr. Mandell has successfully resolved disputes using World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement, investor-state dispute settlement, commercial arbitration and US courts. Mr. Mandell is particularly adept at navigating trade and investment issues involving China.

At WilmerHale, Mr. Mandell has advised companies across a range of sectors—including accounting, automotive, aviation, banking, electronic payments, insurance, life sciences, private equity, retail, oil and gas, and technology—regarding US and international law on trade and investment. The subject matter of these engagements has included the US-UK free trade agreement negotiations, the implementation of the USMCA and the US-China Phase One Trade Agreement, and the Section 301 investigations of digital services taxes in France and other jurisdictions.

Prior to joining WilmerHale, Mr. Mandell served for six years in senior legal and policy roles at USTR. From 2016–2019, Mr. Mandell was the Deputy Assistant USTR for Investment, the agency’s lead for the negotiation, implementation and enforcement of investment chapters of free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties. In that role, in addition to serving as the US lead negotiator of the investment chapter of the USMCA, Mr. Mandell served as the US lead negotiator of the amended investment chapter of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement; the US lead negotiator in investment dialogues with Australia, Ecuador, Kenya, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom; and a US delegate in global forums such as UNCITRAL, ICSID, APEC and the OECD. On the implementation and enforcement side, Mr. Mandell served as the US lead in the first-ever government-to-government consultations regarding an investment dispute under a US free trade agreement. Mr. Mandell also participated in the Section 301 investigation of China’s trade practices and the ensuing bilateral negotiations that culminated in the US-China Phase One Trade Agreement.

From 2013–2016, Mr. Mandell served as an attorney-advisor in USTR’s Office of the General Counsel, including two years as Chief Counsel for Negotiations, Legislation and Administrative Law. In that role, Mr. Mandell managed teams of attorneys across a range of subject matters, including investment, services, financial services, state-owned enterprises and competition law. In addition, Mr. Mandell served as the US lead counsel in the US-China and US-India bilateral investment treaty negotiations; the US lead counsel in the Trans-Pacific Partnership investment chapter and state-owned enterprises chapter negotiations; and the US lead counsel in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership investment chapter and state-owned enterprises chapter negotiations. Mr. Mandell also served as US lead counsel in a WTO case against China and participated in numerous investor-state dispute settlement cases in which the United States was a respondent or a participating third party. 

Prior to joining the US government, Mr. Mandell practiced law for six years at firms in Washington, New York and Hong Kong. Mr. Mandell also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in China.

Professional Activities 

Mr. Mandell actively engages in professional activities focused on the development of international trade and investment law. For example, Mr. Mandell sits on the US State Department’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law. Mr. Mandell is also an active member of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) and served on the program committee for the ASIL Annual Conference in 2019.

Mr. Mandell also teaches international trade and investment law. He is currently a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School. In addition, he regularly serves on the faculty of Georgetown University Law Center’s Global Trade Academy.


  • Named a "Rising Star" for International Trade by Legal 500 in 2023.

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  • Education

    • JD & LLM, International and Comparative Law, Duke University School of Law, 2007

    • BA, History and Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, 2000

  • Admissions

    • District of Columbia

    • New York



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