Charlene Barshefsky - Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

Charlene Barshefsky

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2005

Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky is WilmerHale's Senior International Partner. She joined the firm after serving as the US Trade Representative—the chief trade negotiator and principal trade policymaker for the United States—from 1997 to 2001, and acting as deputy USTR from 1993 to 1996. As the USTR and a member of the President's Cabinet, she was responsible for the negotiation of hundreds of complex market access, regulatory and investment agreements with virtually every major country in the world. She is best known internationally as the architect and chief negotiator of China's historic WTO Agreement, as well as global agreements in financial services, telecommunications, intellectual property rights, high-technology products and cyberspace. She is recognized as a central figure for international business and international economic and trade issues. Her 25-year legal career in the field has encompassed international litigation, commercial negotiations, investment and regulatory advice, and dispute resolution, and she has written and lectured extensively both here and abroad.

Ambassador Barshefsky has been honored by both Harvard and Yale law schools; her negotiations are the subject of several Harvard Business School case studies and numerous profiles and she is the recipient of a number of honorary degrees and industry awards.


Ambassador Barshefsky's practice centers on international business transactions, the structuring and negotiation of commercial agreements and the removal of trade and regulatory impediments to exporting to or investing in markets throughout Asia, Europe and Latin America. She is exceptionally skilled in crafting market penetration strategies for goods, services and investment, and devising practical solutions to market access barriers, including negotiation with private parties and foreign governments worldwide. She also formulates sophisticated government relations strategies to complement, when necessary, the overall substantive legal approach. She advises companies in connection with trade litigation and dispute resolution in the US and abroad, as well as commercial and regulatory issues in the United States for foreign corporations. 

University of WisconsinBA Catholic University of America, Columbus School of LawJ.D.

Office Location

1875 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2017 Lawyer of the Year in International Trade and Finance Law of the Washington DC Metro Area
Charlene Barshefsky has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2017!

Practice Areas

Government Relations Practice
International Trade and Finance Law (Trade)