Issues & Appeals for Export Controls

Practice Areas | Issues & Appeals

The first of its kind, our dedicated Issues & Appeals practice focuses on high-stakes export control matters and regulatory agency disputes. We persuasively advocate for reversing adverse agency decisions by uncovering the key issues and understanding export controls in the context of constitutional and other legal requirements. And we use those same skills to resolve issues not before the government, such as regulatory interpretations or disputes between private parties. We also help clients shape export control laws by persuasively advocating for regulatory changes.

When the government takes an adverse position or a regulatory complexity is encountered, our Issues & Appeals practice steps in with unparalleled legal counsel by combining our experience writing export control laws and litigating export control issues, as well as by integrating related practice areas, such as administrative and constitutional law.

We handle Issues & Appeals for a wide range of clients – from Fortune Global companies to startups – involving the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), with substantial experience advocating before the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA).

Our Issues & Appeals practice handles:

Agency Appeals: We handle agency appeals of adverse government decisions, an otherwise highly opaque area, by providing persuasive “last resort” legal counsel in these special situations. We help clients seek the reversal of adverse agency actions, such as enforcement matters, regulatory interpretations, commodity jurisdiction (CJ) determinations, and commodity classification (CCATS) cases.

Enforcement Defense: When confronted with an actual or potential violation, it is crucial that the advocacy and legal strategy behind those situations fully considers the legal context, including administrative and constitutional law. Through our multi-disciplinary approach, we uncover critical legal issues and defenses, analyze whether a violation took place and if the violation is enforceable, and identify other mitigating factors.

Regulatory Interpretations: We assist clients with practical and forward-looking legal guidance that interprets export control laws and considers relevant constitutional, statutory, and administrative law requirements. We assess the validity and enforceability of agency interpretations, and we have successfully sought judicial review of agency interpretations through litigation, including at the appellate level.

Delisting Petitions: As the export control agencies increasingly list more individuals and entities as restricted parties, we assist such restricted parties with petitioning for removal from those lists, such as the BIS Entity List and the AECA Debarred List. For example, we have successfully petitioned for the reinstatement of a statutorily debarred party under the ITAR.

Regulatory Changes: With deep experience on the government side in writing export control regulations and addressing public comments to rulemaking, we help companies advance and protect their interests with effective public comments and petitions for rulemaking that anticipate and address the government’s concerns.

To learn more about our services, contact Christopher Stagg or call (202) 771-7579.

Representative Experience

  • Advising a U.S. company on complying with its ITAR consent agreement requirements.
  • Litigated constitutional and regulatory interpretative issues concerning the ITAR, leading to a federal appellate court finding one of the agency’s core regulatory interpretations as meritless, a rare appellate success against the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.
  • Engaged by a Fortune 150 company to replace its long-standing outside export controls counsel, representing it in a high-stakes matter before the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls that was readily resolved with a novel legal argument.
  • Advised a Fortune 250 company on the legal strategy regarding a high-stakes voluntary disclosure to the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls where there was substantial risk of a proposed charging letter.
  • Successfully represented scores of companies in commodity jurisdiction (CJ) and commodity classification requests (CCATS), including CJ appeals, as well as in obtaining favorable regulatory interpretations through advisory opinion requests.
  • Resolved complex regulatory interpretations for numerous companies, including defense primes and Fortune 500 companies, involving some of the most perplexing export control issues and addressing those matters in light of constitutional and other legal requirements.
  • Advised a Fortune 500 company on its ITAR consent agreement compliance that included resolving disagreements with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls and the Special Compliance Officer.
  • Defended a U.S. aerospace company with international operations in a mandatory disclosure to the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls involving potential ITAR violations of unauthorized exports of significant military equipment to China.
  • Obtained the reinstatement of a debarred party, a U.S. company, under the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations.