ITAR & Export Controls

Practice Areas | ITAR & Export Controls

Our export controls practice combines regulator, industry, and litigation experience to bring premier legal representation. With government experience writing export control laws, by integrating related practice areas, and having the rare distinction of litigating export control issues, we provide unparalleled legal counsel by deeply understanding and adding depth to export controls. And with regulator experience, we are anticipatory and strategic, as we understand the government’s perspective and how to navigate otherwise highly opaque regulatory agencies.

We advise a wide range of clients – from Fortune Global companies to startups – on U.S. export controls under 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 export controls practice handles all aspects of the ITAR and EAR, including:

Issues & Appeals: For matters involving regulatory agency disputes and other high-stakes situations, such as agency appeals and enforcement defense, see our Issues & Appeals practice.

Jurisdiction & Classification: We have unrivaled experience resolving jurisdiction and classification issues, which uniquely includes being deeply involved in reforming the U.S. Munitions List and Commerce Control List when in government. We are especially experienced with highly complex classifications, encryption classifications, formal commodity jurisdiction (CJ) and classification (CCATS) requests, and designing effective jurisdiction and classification programs.

Regulatory Guidance: 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.

Compliance Programs: We design and implement best-in-class compliance programs that are specifically tailored to the company’s activities and risk profile. We work with companies to develop highly customized compliance programs, including for companies under heightened government scrutiny, such as companies that must comply with consent agreement requirements. We also perform audits, risk assessments, and gap analysis.

Investigations & Enforcement: We work with companies to conduct internal investigations into potential violations and defend against government investigations. As part of that process, we determine whether a violation took place, analyze whether the violation is enforceable, and identify other legal defenses. We also advise companies in the highly opaque area of enforcement proceedings to seek a favorable resolution.

Consent Agreements: We have substantial experience advising companies on ITAR consent agreements, including defending against proposed charging letters and negotiating the terms of consent agreements. We also help companies develop and execute plans and strategies to comply with their consent agreement obligations to meet deadlines, increase efficiency, and improve or repair government relations.

General Counseling: We work with companies to resolve export control concerns, such as by providing legal guidance on regulatory interpretations, advising on transactional compliance issues, and working with non-U.S. clients on the de minimis and foreign direct product rules. We also advise on licensing strategies and applying for hard-to-obtain licenses involving significant national security and foreign policy concerns.

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

Representative Experience

  • Represented a Fortune 250 company on its ITAR consent agreement, including by establishing an enterprise-wide jurisdiction and classification program, as well as by creating the legal strategy and submissions leading to favorable commodity jurisdiction (CJ) determinations.
  • Resolved complex ITAR and EAR 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.
  • Successfully defended U.S. and non-U.S. companies in ITAR and EAR enforcement cases, counseling them on potential defenses, developing the legal strategy, and anticipating government concerns and objections.
  • Represented scores of companies in successful commodity jurisdiction (CJ) and commodity classification requests (CCATS), including appeals and reconsideration, as well as in obtaining favorable regulatory interpretations through advisory opinion requests.
  • Assisted a publicly traded company under an ITAR consent agreement by determining the jurisdiction and classification of more than 6,000 items, including technical data and technology.
  • Conducted an export controls and economic sanctions risk assessment for a technology company in anticipation of a possible initial public offering (IPO).
  • Audited the export compliance programs of numerous U.S. companies, strengthened their compliance with enhanced policies and procedures, and provided customized awareness and specialty training.
  • Performed merger and acquisition due diligence regarding a target company that was previously sanctioned by the Department of Commerce for apparent violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
  • Advised a major aerospace and defense company under an ITAR consent agreement by reviewing and updating its jurisdiction and classification program to identify and handle complex assessments.