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Export Control and Sanctions

Our leading Export Control and Sanctions practice regularly counsels more than 160 companies, financial institutions, sovereign governments, non-profit organizations, and individuals on compliance with the U.S. Department of State's International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the U.S. Department of Commerce's Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and sanctions laws administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). On behalf of our clients, we conduct internal investigations, make voluntary disclosures when appropriate, secure licenses and authorizations from the relevant governmental agencies, and defend clients in the face of civil enforcement actions and criminal prosecutions. We also represent clients who seek to be removed from the various lists maintained by the government, such as OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN). Because of the depth of our practice, we can bring benchmarking experience to our advice that few firms can match. We have particular expertise in the defense and aerospace sector, including having represented ten of the top 15 U.S. defense and aerospace concerns as well as key U.S. allies and major research universities.

Our lawyers have served in senior U.S. government legal, policy, enforcement positions, at the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security. We leverage this experience from our government service to provide real-world, practical advice for our clients—something especially critical in an area where the government's practice and interpretation can be as important as the text of the applicable statute or regulation.

We advise clients on the full range of export control and sanctions issues, including:

  • Helping craft business strategies based on export control and sanctions risks;
  • Conducting internal investigations and audits, and making disclosures to and resolving investigations before the U.S. government;
  • Advising companies on compliance with financial sanctions on Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Cuba, and other countries, including extraterritorial application to non-U.S. companies;
  • Developing and implementing compliance policies and procedures (including technology control plans);
  • Obtaining rulings from OFAC, the State Department Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), and the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on complex interpretive issues;
  • Conducting corporate due diligence related to export control and sanctions compliance, and drafting and negotiating related agreement provisions and contract clauses;
  • Obtaining OFAC licenses and export authorizations under the ITAR and EAR;
  • Defending clients in criminal prosecution for alleged violation of the various sanctions regimes;
  • Seeking delisting of clients on the OFAC SDN list; and
  • Defending clients in OFAC civil enforcement proceedings.


  • United Technologies Corp. in an export compliance audit related following the company’s exports of military software to PRC.
  • Major U.S. contractor in self-reported DDTC investigations of potential violations of U.S. export controls.
  • Logistics company in self-reported OFAC investigation of potential violations of U.S. export controls.
  • Multinational high tech companies in obtaining export controls classification rulings, export licenses, and advisory opinions from DDTC, BIS, and OFAC.
  • Telecommunications manufacturer on the export control aspects of the sale of one of its subsidiaries.
  • Financial institution on compliance issues and licensing matters related to financial and trade transactions with countries subject to OFAC sanctions.
  • Defense and security company charged with export violations in regulatory and legislative arenas.
  • Leading research university on the export control and security requirements for complying with U.S. law in executing grants from agencies such as the DoD, DARPA, Missile Defense Agency, NASA, and the DoE.
  • Multinational manufacturer in designing and implementing antiboycott compliance programs and assisted with identification of antiboycott issues.
  • Leading materials manufacturer in advising the client on the "deemed export" rule requiring employers to obtain export licenses to permit foreign nationals access to technical data/technology during their employment in the United States.
  • Manufacturer of microelectronic, test, and measurement products that had been charged with export control violations.
  • Major technology and management consulting firm in the US$500 million sale of defense and intelligence group to CACI, Inc. and the remainder of its government business to CGI Group for almost US$1 billion.
  • Software company in an investigation into allegedly improper exports.
  • Major defense/aerospace company in the process of securing Department of State approvals and licenses necessary under the ITAR for exports of technical data and defense services.
  • Manufacturer of microelectronic, test, and measurement products in training the company employees on export compliance matters ranging from the preparation of license applications to sophisticated internal screening/compliance procedures.
  • Leading software company designing and implementing comprehensive export control compliance program.
  • Owner of Maltese bank in criminal Iran sanctions prosecution.
  • Former Libyan government official in OFAC delisting petition.
  • Sovereign government on scope of applicable sanctions.
  • Sovereign government in its efforts to have certain of its officials removed from the OFAC SDN list.
  • Leading international bank in sanctions investigation conducted by numerous U.S. federal and state agencies.
  • Major multinational on its business relationships with Latin American entities recently designated by OFAC.

Key Contacts

John P. Barker
John P. Barker
Washington, D.C.
+1 202.942.5328
Amy Jeffress
Amy Jeffress
Washington, D.C.
+1 202.942.5968
Soo-Mi Rhee
Soo-Mi Rhee
Washington, D.C.;
+1 202.942.5312 +82 2 6744 2000
Nicholas L. Townsend
Nicholas L. Townsend
Washington, D.C.
+1 202.942.5249
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Related Services


  • Chambers Global
    International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions (USA) (2023)