Your Complete Guide To The Role Of An International Trade Lawyer


Do you own a business that operates across countries? Do you need clarification about how a business works internationally? Do you need someone to guide you through the process? 

Don’t worry. 

  • If you think international trade lawyer jobs are easy, you are wrong! We all find international trade laws to be quite complex and intimidating. 
  • We need clarification when reading about those long international treaties. However, to keep our commercial activities running across nations, we must abide by those. 
  • As people in business, we don’t always have to know the details of every international trade ever to exist. We can simply seek help from a legal professional who has knowledge of those. That is where international trade attorneys come into the picture. 
  • An international trade lawyer does exactly what their name suggests. They specialize in laws dealing with Commerce and International Trade. 
  • The primary focus of an international trade lawyer is to help businesses or individuals conducting business across international borders. 
  • They study the subject of International Trade law and have a detailed understanding of the international economy. 
  • Since they deal with cross-border matters, they also know a lot about import-export loss trade disputes, trade agreements between Nations, International politics, and economic sanctions. 

In this article, we will tell you all about what an international trade lawyer does, their role, job description, salary, costs, and the laws under which they function.

What Problems Can You Run Into Without An International Trade Lawyer?

If you are running an international trade, you know by now that it comes with a hundred financial and legal challenges. 

  • Even if you are an employee in an international organization, international legal complexities are no stranger to you. If you are a federal employee, you know the numerous trade agreements the USA enters into with various nations on a regular basis. 
  • Transactions can lead to problems. These are the problems that not hiring an international trade lawyer can lead to.
  • With them, you have an expert to guide you around legal compliance. Yes, you are looking at legal troubles, penalties, fines, and even criminal charges
  • There is no guidance on trade restrictions or customs regulations. If you are in the business of import-export without a legal professional, you do not know which laws to follow.
  • No one told you about the federal trade agreements or the regulations under the World Trade Organisation. If you are not an expert, this could lead to unfair trade practices in your business.
  • Do you know which category your products or services fall into? Do you know the most recent categories of goods and services under international trade law? 
  • Do you have protections for your intellectual property? It could be that you are not using the correct patent trademarks or you don’t have copyrights.
  • You never know which country will impose a sanction on goods from your area of business. You could face financial loss. Governments of other nations can confiscate your products. 
  • Not having an international trade lawyer by your side could lead to all of the consequences we just explained to you. Therefore, you need to hire an international trade attorney to minimize risk and ensure legal compliance.

What Is International Trade Law?

To understand how an international trade attorney works, we should probably read up a bit on that branch of law, right?

  • Nations do not deal in local or national economy only. After all, it is 2023. We think globally and act locally. This is where international trade law comes into play.
  • It is that branch of law that looks into the exchange of goods, services, intellectual property, and other business transactions on a global level. For instance, all countries that are a part of the United Nations have to abide by the rules of the World Trade Organisation.
  • International trade law contains a whole set of agreements, laws, and regulations that help Nations conduct business smoothly.
  • This is the branch of law that is responsible for economic cooperation and Wellness globally.

International Trade Law Deals With The Following Elements

The first one on this list is trade agreements. These are treaties between Nations or continents. They outline the terms and conditions under which the countries can carry out trade. 

  • Tariff rates, trade barriers, disputes, and resolution measures all make up the provisions of these trade agreements. 
  • These trade agreements can be global, for instance, World Trade Organisation agreements. Some agreements include certain parts of the world, for instance, the North American Free Trade Agreement. 
  • The United States and Canada have quite a few bilateral trade agreements.
  • Tariffs and Customs make up a big part of Federal income.  
  • This means that the United States charges other nations for selling their goods on American soil. Similarly, they also charge US goods. 
  • International trade law deals with customs regulations that look into the import and export of goods. Necessary documents classification and valuation, these laws deal with it all. 
  • Tariffs are taxes that the US government collects from imported goods. They make it straight to the federal coffers. 
  • Foreign policy is a big part of international politics. We all know how the US has banned Chinese applications. 
  • This is a part of political sanctions from the Government of the United States. Every now and then, these sanctions play an important role in speaking up international trade for countries. 
  • International trade attorneys will tell you which country your government does not get along with. You can conduct your business according to these rules and regulations.
  • Intellectual Property Rights make up a huge part of international trade law. The agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights is the global IP law. It notes down rules regarding patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets.
  • MNCs, big corporate houses, small International businesses, individuals in international trade, and even governments need international trade attorneys. 
  • They play a very important role and have multiple responsibilities. 
  • Not only are they adept in international law, being full-fledged lawyers, but they can also carry out everyday legal activities for you. 
  • Let us look into the role of International Trade lawyers in detail.
  • An international trade attorney will handle your legal complexities
  • As we have said before, they are not just experts on international trade law but lawyers, too. Document filing petitions, legal drafting, notices, legal representation, conducting you in trials, drawing up contracts they can do it all.
  • A lawyer in international trade will ensure legal compliance for your business. They will help you conduct cross-border transactions. 
  • Risk management, strategization, and cross-border business planning- they can help you with these.
  • An international trade attorney can help you draft proper trade agreements and contracts for your clients. 
  • You might be a multinational corporation catering to US citizens only. 
  • Your international trade lawyer can help you go through US commerce laws and protect the best interests of you and your clients.
  • In case of disputes, your international trade attorney will help you come up with alternate dispute resolution techniques. 
  • This means they might solve your problem without even going to court. This is possible through negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
  • They will also represent you in court cases and get you favorable settlements.
  • If you take part in international trade, you know of the various complexities regarding import and export. 
  • An international trade attorney will help you with proper documentation and classification of tariffs. 
  • They will ensure a smooth flow of goods and services across international borders.

More Elements

They advise clients on the current economic and political sanctions. 

  • Being experts on export control laws and restrictions, they can tell you how to legal pitfalls that come from engaging in international trade.
  • As we already discussed, Intellectual property rights (IPR) make up a massive part of international trade. 
  • Therefore, international trade advocates protect your patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets on a global scale. 
  • It means that they can make sure to stop a company in another part of the world from exploiting your copyrighted content. 
  • When it comes to Cross-Border Transactions, they have got your back. Your international trade lawyer can draft the perfect mergers and acquisitions that fit your specific needs. 
  • Be it joint venturesLawyers in this field can help you conduct successful dialogues with government agencies and trade authorities. 
  • If you are involved in diplomatic missions, they are the ones who can advise you on how to go about it.
  • Like all lawyers, they will work on behalf of their clients. They are eligible to provide expert advice relating to trade policies and complexities.
  • International trade attorneys will let you know all about international trade laws and regulations. 
  • They will give you the relevant information you need to deal with your successful case successfully. These are the people who will help you make informed decisions.

For international investments, these lawyers can carry out the needful with due diligence. 

What Are The Qualifications Of An International Trade Lawyer?

An international trade attorney will have the education, skills, and experience to do their job well. 

  • Dealing with global commerce is no easy job. 
  • They are responsible for ensuring compliance with international trade regulations.

So, What Is Their Educational Background Like?

They start by earning a bachelor’s degree from a reputed college (preferably). 

  • If they already have plans to pursue international trade law, choosing a relevant undergrad degree like political science, international relations, or international trade economics might help.
  • Like all lawyers, they earn their Juris Doctor Degree as the next step. For this, they clear their LSATs and secure admission to a law school.
  • After graduating from law school, they pass the bar exam in the jurisdiction where they wish to practice. Here, the law student will have to prove their knowledge of the various laws of the US. 
  • If a lawyer has to gain experience, they can start by interning in an international trade law firm. 

They can also earn a master’s degree with a specialization in international law or trade law. 

What Qualifications Should You Look For In Your International Trade Attorney?

The kind of qualifications that we have listed above are the ones that you should definitely check before hiring a lawyer. 

However, more intricate qualifications will make them a perfect fit for you.

  • Look for Analytical Skills. 

You should hire a lawyer who has the ability to carefully assess situations and guide you toward the relevant international trade laws, treaties, and agreements.

  • Please look for good negotiation skills in your lawyer. If they have proficiency in negotiating, mediation, and resolving trade disputes, they are the one for you.
  • Strong research abilities are something that you have to look for in your lawyer. They should stay updated on new and upcoming trade regulations and policies.
  • Please look into it so that your lawyer has effective communication! 

It is extremely vital. This will ensure that you stay informed about the little developments in your case. 

  • When hiring a lawyer, make sure that they have a relevant specialization. They should also be continuing their legal education. 
  • Since International trade law is vast, they should keep themselves updated on customs law, export control, trade compliance, or investment laws. 
  • Continuing legal education (CLE) courses help them do that. 
  • Depending on their jurisdiction and career goals, an International trade lawyer will have specific licenses or certifications related to international trade law. 
  • Please check if your lawyer is a member of any professional associations and organizations related to international trade law. 
  • If they are, there is a high possibility that they have good networking abilities and access to relevant resources.

Finally, you should go with a lawyer who has experience in dealing with matters similar to yours. 

How To Find A Good International Trade Lawyer Near Me?

Since International Trade Law is not the most popular field, you may need help finding a good international trade attorney. This is especially applicable if you live in a rural or suburban setting. However, do not lose hope. Continue with careful research and consideration. 

  • International trade law is a complex field. 

Therefore, there is an extreme need to choose the right attorney. Not just international trade law all other fields require proper legal representation. 

  • Hiring the wrong person could significantly impact your business or legal matters. 

So, in this section, we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to find the perfect international trade lawyer near you.

The First Step is to Identify The Problems 

Conduct your own research. Understand the nature of your business. If need be, read up on the applicable laws, rules, and regulations. 

  • Once you are sure of your international trade-related needs, begin your search accordingly. 
  • For instance, if your business deals with import/export regulations, search for an international trade attorney with specialization in it. 

Make Use Of The Internet 

Like most matters, resources online can be helpful. Use the search engines and various legal directories, and find good attorney listings around you. With your location services on, the search results will be suited to your area. 

  • Common legal websites where you can find attorneys with varied specializations include Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell, FindLaw, and LawyersInventory.  

Bar Associations Will Help You Out

If you wish, check the state’s bar association website. They have a list of licensed attorneys who specialize in international trade law.

Try Asking For Referrals From Friends And Family

Referrals are always trustworthy sources for attorneys. 

  • You can ask your colleagues or other business owners for referrals if you want to hire an international trade attorney. 
  • You can also ask your friends and family to get the proper reference.

As of 2023, multiple legal directories are available to you online and offline. 

  • The American Bar Association has a legal directory with a list of trustworthy lawyers. 
  • You can even search for lawyers who fit the exact subcategory of International Trade law you are looking for.

Look For International Trade Law Firms

If you are in need of a lawyer, then a law firm is the perfect place for you. Conduct a quick Google search about the law firms in your area. 

  • Check the kind of services they provide. 
  • If the firm deals with business law, ask them about their expertise in international trade, import/export, or Global Business. 
  • Check the reviews left by previous clients on the law firm’s website.
  • If you have found an attorney that fits your specific needs, review their profiles and performance online. 
  • Go through their educational qualifications, experience, and practice areas and see if they meet your requirements.
  • Next, give them a call and schedule a consultation. 

First consultations are usually free of charge. Ask them all the relevant questions about your case. Give them the necessary details and see what they have to say.

How Much Does An International Trade Lower Get Paid?

An international trade attorney is no different than other lawyers when it comes to deciding factors. 

  • This means that the location, experience, and size of the law firm will decide how much they make every year.

However, let us look at the average salary an international trade attorney can make in the United States.

Firstly, It Always Comes Down To Experience

  • The more experienced the attorney is, the more will they earn. International trade law is an ever-evolving discipline.
    Therefore, the more the Attorney practices and games experience, the more they can charge for each case. 
  • An entry-level attorney who has 0 to 2 years of experience will earn around $50,000 to $100,000 a year.

Multiple Factors Play Into This Amount

If they are practicing in a big city, they are likely to earn more. 

  • Also, if they are practicing in a reputed law firm, they are likely to earn as much as an experienced lawyer in a smaller one.
  • A lawyer having more than five years of experience could earn up to $300000 a year. 
  • This is on an average. However, it is worth mentioning that some specializations of International trade law will pay you more than others.
  • Partners or senior attorneys in law firms who have more than 15 years of experience are capable of making up to $400000 a year.
  • Please note that these numbers change every year.
  • Sources (www.ziprecruiter.com) say that as of March 20, 2023, an International Trade Attorney in the United States makes around $90,573 per year. 
  • For those wanting to get a basic salary estimate, this amount comes down to $43.54 per hour, or $1,741 per week, or $7,547 each month.

Make sure that you conduct research on your case and the type of your business before hire a lawyer. Look up how much it can cost you and what documents you need. 

Finally: What Should You Ask An International Trade Lawyer Before Hiring Them?

Next, right before you are about to hire an international trade lawyer, there are a few things you should ask them first. 

Let us look at some of them. 

Question 1: How Have You Been Practicing International Trade Law?

This question is the most important because they might have been practicing law for a long time. However, it is the specialization in international trade that will help you in your case. It will let you gauge how experienced they are in dealing with cases relating to international business laws. 

Question 2: Have You Ever Dealt With Cases Similar To Mine?

This will help you understand whether your lawyer has experience in your specific field of international trade. If you know that he does, it would be a definite green flag. 

Question 3: What Is Your Fee Structure Like?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask any lawyer before you hire them. Understanding how they charge, how much they charge, and if they work on contingency is extremely important. Hiring legal help is no joke. There have been instances where individuals went bankrupt and were no longer able to afford legal representation. Therefore, it is always better to discuss finances before you reach an agreement with them.

With this, we come to the end of this article. We were able to give you the information you were looking for! Lett us know how you found our article in the comments below!

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