Practice/Industry Group Overview
Duane Morris, one of the 100 largest law firms in the world, has offices in London, Singapore, Shanghai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Oman and major cities throughout the U.S. including New York, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami and Pittsburgh. Our International Practice integrates the services of attorneys from all of our offices and across all practice areas of the firm, creating a global infrastructure of experienced advisors available to represent our clients in all types of cross-border and international matters.
Our attorneys are recognized authorities in their practice areas and leaders in the international legal and business community. They are frequently quoted by U.S. and international media outlets and are featured speakers at seminars around the world on subjects ranging from international taxation, cross-border mergers and acquisitions and dispute resolution to global product branding, distribution and franchising and patent protection. Duane Morris is also actively involved in facilitating cross-border trade through our attorneys' leadership roles in various international business organizations and chambers of commerce.
- Cross-Border Business Transactions
- Cross-Border Distribution and Franchising
- Customs and International Trade
- Global Employment Relations
- Global Product Branding and Patent Protection
- International Dispute Resolution
- International Tax Planning
- International Wealth Preservation
- Worldwide Immigration
- Worldwide Regulatory Compliance
- Affiliated Businesses
Our international client base, like our practice, is extremely diverse. Duane Morris represents clients from all over the world with business and investment interests around the globe. Our clients range from established blue chip companies to start-up entrepreneurs; from publicly traded companies to family-owned businesses; from major institutional investors to governmental authorities to private clients. We represent clients in industries ranging from automotive to financial services, capital markets and insurance; from construction to commercial lending; from information technologies and telecom to manufacturing; from energy to pharmaceutical and biotechnology.
In addition to practicing law in the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Mexico and Oman, a number of our attorneys are also qualified to practice law in several other jurisdictions, including France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Russia. For decades, our attorneys have advised clients doing business in Brazil, Mexico, the Caribbean, and throughout Central America and South America, and a formal alliance with Mexico City law firm Miranda & Estavillo, S.C. has further strengthened this area. The firm has a strong presence in the key markets of Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Yangon, as well as in Shanghai. Supporting these regional offices, the firm operates a series of country desks for India, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, as well as an alliance in Sri Lanka with the law firm Gowers International.
Many of our attorneys have acquired extensive experience assisting clients in specific geographic regions of the world. As a result, our attorneys are able to provide specialized knowledge when assisting clients venturing into or from countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. In addition, based on our years of experience dealing with cultural differences and our fluency in major world languages (such as French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese), we are able to more easily navigate through otherwise difficult cross-border negotiations.
When local counsel is needed in countries outside the ones in which we practice, Duane Morris provides referrals to, and coordinates worldwide client representation with, other global service providers. Our active participation and leadership roles in prominent international legal networks and our extensive dealings over the years with service providers around the world give our clients unprecedented and immediate access to qualified assistance in more than 100 countries.
Cross-Border Business Transactions
To thrive in today's global economy, businesses engage in cross-border transactions daily. These transactions run the gamut from the establishment of new cross-border ventures (either direct or through an agent or representative), to employee transfers and the sale, purchase, licensing and financing of goods and services (including Internet operations), to negotiating and implementing sophisticated cross-border mergers and acquisitions, public offerings and outsourcing. In addition, the members of our Business Reorganization and Financial Restructuring Practice regularly advise and counsel companies with international operations and their creditors, interest holders and other involved parties on insolvency laws around the globe, as well as the laws and practices in the United States relating to overseas issues in cases under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Whatever the transaction, Duane Morris provides the legal advice and support to help our clients achieve their business objectives quickly and efficiently.
Cross-Border Distribution and Franchising
Before committing significant capital to full-fledged manufacturing, sales or other business operations in a particular country, many international businesses need and want to take interim or alternative steps. Duane Morris works with our clients to help them expand into new global markets in a cost-effective manner through cross-border distribution and franchising channels. We help our clients identify, develop and implement new cross-border distribution and franchising networks, as well as refine existing networks and resolve associated disputes.
Customs and International Trade
Businesses engaged in the import/export of goods and international trade face numerous compliance requirements and oversight responsibilities. Duane Morris assists our multinational clients in navigating through the maze of diverse international trade rules.
We represent clients before all relevant U.S. regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Customs Service; Department of Commerce; Department of Agriculture; International Trade Commission; Environmental Protection Agency; Treasury Department; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Department of Energy; Department of Transportation; Federal Trade Commission; Department of Justice; Court of International Trade; and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Duane Morris attorneys represent clients in connection with antidumping and countervailing duty cases (including annual administrative, changed circumstance and sunset reviews); customs transshipment/country of origin disputes and transfer pricing issues; bilateral and multilateral governmental agreements (such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), NAFTA and specific country-to-country agreements, including the GSP and various free trade agreements); and Foreign Trade Zone (sub-zone) and other customs compliance audits.
Duane Morris also provides specialized services focused solely on the divergent needs of importers to and exporters from the United States, such as:
- Classifying imported goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, determining country of origin, appropriate labeling and marking requirements, and obtaining binding rulings
- Facilitating entry of imported goods, preparing invoice documents and determining dutiable value, evaluating transfer pricing and related party issues
- Adopting and satisfying requirements for special customs procedures (drawback, bonded warehouse, TIB, FTZ, GSP)
- Representing clients in connection with defense or enforcement of Section 201 investigations and 337 proceedings
- Compliance with Customs Modernization Act (MOD Act) requirements
- Classifying goods under "EAR," complying with export regulations, anti-boycott and foreign assets control rules, export licensing, export trade counseling
- Representing clients in connection with defense or enforcement of Section 301 proceedings
- Obtaining export licenses (including licenses from Office of Foreign Assets Control)
- Advising in connection with U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (anti-bribery) and anti-boycott laws
Global Employment Relations
With courts and regulatory agencies frequently changing their view of the law and new statutes and regulations regularly being passed, the rules for multinational employers are in constant flux. Duane Morris guides multinational employers through this legal maze, including the U.S. rules under WARN, COBRA, ERISA, OSHA, IRCA and the ADA, as well as the various EU employment directives relating to compulsory minimum employee benefits, working hours, security of tenure, discrimination, work councils and TUPE. On behalf of our clients, Duane Morris attorneys regularly negotiate, draft, implement and enforce cross-border secondment agreements and other employment related contracts (including noncompetition and confidentiality agreements), handbooks and policies. In addition, when necessary, we obtain the requisite employment and other visas for transferred employees and their families.
Global Product Branding and Patent Protection
Intellectual property is today's competitive weapon for multinational businesses, yet its exploitation and protection represent twin challenges of ever increasing complexity. Duane Morris helps clients protect and enforce their key intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and brands on a worldwide basis. We represent clients in cross-border technology transfer agreements, research and development and collaboration agreements, international registration of intellectual property rights and opposition and enforcement proceedings.
International Dispute Resolution
The unprecedented growth of international business has created an equivalent need to efficiently resolve cross-border disputes. Duane Morris represents multinational clients in a wide range of international disputes ranging from the resolution and enforcement of commercial disputes to products liability defense, to insolvency litigation, to enforcement of covenants not to compete and trade secret protection, to logistics, shipping and aviation litigation. We also advise on choice of governing law and choice of jurisdiction clauses in contracts to optimize clients' remedies in the event of a dispute in the future. We are committed to promptly resolving disputes for our clients, not perpetuating them. Duane Morris attorneys have years of experience successfully representing foreign parties in legal proceedings commenced within the United States and around the world. Once decisions are rendered, we are then able to quickly and effectively enforce judgments and arbitration awards around the globe with the help of our expansive network of qualified foreign advisors in more than 100 countries.
International Tax Planning
International businesses and private clients frequently cite their desire to minimize worldwide taxes as one of their principal objectives. Duane Morris' team of international tax attorneys helps clients achieve this goal by suggesting and implementing tax-efficient structures to minimize worldwide effective tax rates, which, in turn, increase clients' after-tax cash flow and bolster their bottom lines. Depending upon the particular foreign country and the type of taxpayer involved, as well as the taxpayer's particular foreign tax credit position, worldwide tax savings in excess of 50 percent may be possible. Such tax savings can be achieved by skillfully avoiding U.S. anti-deferral tax rules (such as the controlled foreign corporation and passive foreign investment company regimes) and creatively utilizing related party transactions, transfer pricing, regional holding companies, tax treaties, tax havens and low-tax jurisdictions. Additional tax savings can also be achieved through tax advantageous structuring of cross-border transactions and financing arrangements; and tax efficient structuring of cross-border employee transfers.
International Wealth Preservation
Families and private clients with assets and beneficiaries in multiple countries face difficult issues when transferring wealth from one generation to the next or simply within the family. Duane Morris' dedicated team of professionals alleviates the stress associated with these transfers and guides clients through the intricate web of international laws governing them. Our attorneys advise clients on, among other things, family business and governance issues, as well as preserving family wealth through the use of international trusts, Qualified Domestic Trusts and foreign insurance trusts. We also provide pre-immigration U.S. tax planning for foreign persons with substantial financial interests around the world.
As any multinational employer can attest, immigration laws, if not properly interpreted and followed, can present significant obstacles to successfully conducting a global business. Duane Morris helps clients avoid these dangerous pitfalls by providing immigration services which include:
- Obtaining all types of U.S. visas, including:
- U.S. immigration visas (green cards)
- U.S. tourist and business visitor visas (B-1, B-2 visas)
- U.S. student visas (F visas)
- U.S. treaty trader and investor visas (B-1, E-2 visas)
- U.S. intercompany employee transfer visas (L-l visas)
- U.S. temporary worker and training program visas (H-IB, H-2B, H-3 visas)
- U.S. physician exchange program visas (J-1 visas)
- U.S. visas for aliens of extraordinary ability in science, education, arts, business or athletics (O visas)
- U.S. entertainer and athlete visas (P visas)
- UK business visitor exemptions
- UK highly-skilled migrant program visas
- UK investor visas
- UK sole representative business visas
- Obtaining necessary visas and work permits for employees being relocated to other countries outside the United States and United Kingdom
- Representing clients seeking political asylum, naturalization, diplomatic petitions, visa extensions, consulate petitions, employment authorization and visa waivers
- Defending clients in deportation hearings
- Pre-immigration income and estate tax planning
Worldwide Regulatory Compliance
In today's global business environment, good business practice demands that multinational companies take steps to ensure that they are acting in a lawful manner and avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. Duane Morris helps clients develop programs designed to educate directors, officers, owners and employees in all aspects of compliance. We also counsel our clients on conducting internal investigations and defend clients in government investigations, criminal prosecutions and civil enforcement actions. We provide regulatory compliance and defense services within the United States and around the world in such divergent areas of law as antitrust (including the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino and Clayton Acts), customs and international trade, employment, insurance and securities (including Sarbanes-Oxley Act). We also provide advice and counsel in connection with the USA Patriot Act and other anti-money laundering statutes and regulations.
To assist our clients, Duane Morris has established a number of affiliates in nonlaw fields to complement the law firm's full range of legal services. These businesses bring specialists together from a variety of disciplines and industry backgrounds to respond to clients' international business and investment objectives. These affiliated businesses include: Duane Morris Government Strategies (providing lobbying and government relations services), Tax Accounting Group (providing U.S. tax compliance services), and several other companies (providing financial guidance, brand protection and other services to businesses and individuals).