Barshefsky, Charlene

Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky

Barshefsky, Charlene

Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky

Partner

  • Chair, International Trade, Investment and Market Access Practice Group

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. 

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.

Experience

  • 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.

Recognition

  • Award Text

    Lawyer of the Year for International Trade and Finance Law

    Best Lawyers in America®

    2017

  • Award Text

    Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Legal Profession

    Chambers & Partners

    2007

  • Award Text

    Elite Leading Lawyer for International Trade

    The Legal 500 United States

    2009-2017

Insights & News

Credentials

  • Education

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

    • BA, University of Wisconsin, 1972

  • Admissions

    • District of Columbia

  • Government Experience

    • Executive Office of the President

      Office of the United States Trade Representative

      United States Trade Representative
    • Executive Office of the President

      Office of the United States Trade Representative

      Deputy United States Trade Representative

Credentials