International Business Law

Our International Business Law attorneys provide the necessary expertise and guidance for clients to effectively transact international business while minimizing legal and regulatory risk.

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Legal Guidance That Spans Global Markets

Today, business is increasingly operating in global markets and dependent on international supply chains. The number of U.S. companies exporting products and engaging in foreign operations continues to grow, while foreign companies continue to invest heavily in the U.S. and rely on U.S. consumers to purchase their products. The nature of today’s economy has made it necessary for organizations to operate in foreign markets, as well as to manufacture and sell goods and services worldwide. Our International Business Law attorneys provide the necessary expertise and guidance for clients to effectively transact international business while minimizing legal and regulatory risk. Our expertise in international business law has enabled us to support companies based in the U.S. and abroad as they operate more aggressively in the international business space. Through our ongoing involvement in our clients’ international growth, and our affiliations with prestigious law firm networks, we have been involved with international business transactions in more than 40 countries.

Many of our clients pursue opportunities around the world. We assist them in identifying capital and strategic partnership opportunities, and guide them in establishing foreign entities, manufacturing facilities, and distribution channels. Our International Business Law Team understands the specific international laws and customs that control how business is conducted in foreign markets. With cooperation and assistance from our network of international business lawyers, not only can we explain the nuances of international law, but also—importantly—the cultural challenges our clients may encounter.

In addition to helping U.S. companies penetrate foreign markets, we support foreign companies looking to establish or invest in U.S. assets and operations. The U.S. offers lucrative markets, abundant capital and attractive acquisition opportunities. Americans spend vast sums of money on every kind of product and service, creating rich opportunities for foreign business expansion into the U.S. Many U.S. companies are attractive candidates for acquisitions by foreign companies seeking to capture existing markets or acquire U.S.-based research, development, manufacturing or distribution capabilities.

Foreign Student Visitors

Since 1989, Phillips Lytle has hosted law students from several different countries. These students gain valuable hands-on experience with respect to U.S. law and business operations, while providing the firm with opportunities to continue building relationships with international law firms.

A Bridge to International Markets

Phillips Lytle is a member of LawExchange International, an association of independent international law firms covering the world’s commercial centers within Europe, North and South America, Asia/Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.

Because of our affiliation with this worldwide group of trusted legal advisors, we can provide invaluable knowledge regarding our client’s business interests in terms of navigating local laws, procedures, economic and business climates, cultures and politics in international markets.


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International Business Law Services

As Phillips Lytle is a full-service law firm, the following list highlights many of the services we offer international business law clients.

Cross-Border Tax and Securities Claims

We evaluate the tax implications of setting up foreign subsidiaries and represent our clients before regulatory bodies. We also advise foreign individuals and companies on U.S. tax laws and represent them before local, state and federal taxing authorities. Additionally, our attorneys have extensive experience representing companies in securities-related lawsuits and arbitration proceedings.

Compliance Counseling and Defense

In addition to the broad opportunities of the world marketplace, conducting international business comes with regulatory risk. For U.S. companies doing business abroad, or foreign companies doing business in the U.S., this means potential exposure to numerous legal and regulatory risks. The firm has extensive experience helping our clients navigate international business law and preparing for and minimizing risks relating to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act, as well as the increasing array of international sanctions regimes (e.g., those pertaining to Iran and Russia) imposed by the U.S., the EU, and the UN.

Our International Business lawyers help companies prepare for and navigate these risks by designing appropriate approved compliance programs to minimize corruption risks and mitigate penalties in the event of an investigation, conducting privileged internal assessments in response to possible violations, and defending the company to achieve reasonable and commercially workable settlements in the event of formal governmental action.

Entity Formation

Our attorneys assist corporations in selecting the most appropriate business structure for their opportunities. Phillips Lytle attorneys assist in a broad range of international business law matters, which include creating agreements between U.S. clients and foreign investors; delivering capital to foreign subsidiaries; and aiding foreign companies in receiving international investments.

We regularly represent foreign companies establishing U.S. subsidiaries.

  • We helped a UK company establish an assembly facility in New York State
  • We set up a holding company for a Swedish bank
  • We assisted in the formation of companies and subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands, the UK, Mexico and the Philippines
  • We were involved in establishing a holding company in Luxembourg for a parent company’s multinational subsidiaries

We routinely advise our clients on the unique environmental laws of various countries, conduct cost-benefit analyses for setting up foreign operations and assist in compliance matters. We also advise foreign companies with U.S. operations on domestic environmental standards and represent them in matters before regulators and the courts.

Facilities Security Clearances

Companies seeking to bid for U.S. government contracts — especially in the areas of defense and energy products and services — are often required to obtain a Secure Facilities Clearance to undertake classified work. Foreign-owned, foreign-controlled or foreign-influenced (FOCI) companies and international organizations face specific challenges in obtaining such clearance. Our International Business Law expertise allows our attorneys — with the requisite clearance — to provide critical assistance and guidance on the various aspects of this process.

Our attorneys are deeply familiar with the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual. We work regularly with officials at the Defense Security Service (DSS) and Bureau of Industry and Security to expedite processing of Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) codes and DD Form 441 documents, as well as representation in DSS clearance audits. For FOCI companies, our attorneys not only provide guidance through the SF-328 process but also have experience negotiating appropriate Social Security agreements (SSA) and finding approvable SSA Board candidates – all of which results in critical time saved in qualifying for U.S. government business opportunities.

Financial and Banking Transactions

Our client roster includes numerous major foreign and domestic banks. We regularly handle loan transactions where the borrower or guarantor is organized under the laws of a foreign country, and we also represent foreign banks in U.S.-based transactions.

Foreign Investment Review and Approvals

Foreign companies or investment funds looking to invest (via an M&A transaction or other direct investment) in a U.S. business or asset, or a U.S. entity seeking to sell or to avail itself of foreign-sourced capital, is more likely to confront U.S. regulatory review in closing a proposed transaction. Under the 2018 Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), and its pursuant regulations, foreign investments into the U.S. involving certain specified businesses, infrastructure, technologies or designated real estate areas are subject to review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States — which under FIRRMA has expanded authority to block or even unwind transactions that in its view raise unresolved U.S. national security concerns. In addition, investment transactions involving certain investors, shareholders or entities may be blocked by the U.S Treasury, if linked to persons or companies subject to U.S. sanctions or appearing on certain lists maintained by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Phillips Lytle attorneys regularly assist clients in assessing exposure to such reviews; and in navigating these restrictions where necessary — preparing required filings, engaging with authorities, negotiating mitigation strategies in appropriate cases, and otherwise helping manage the compliance process to support client objectives.


Phillips Lytle lawyers have extensive expertise in a wide variety of immigration issues. Particularly as it applies to international business matters. Our Immigration attorneys assist with employment-based applications and border issues related to admission to the country.

Our lawyers are recognized for their expertise in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa program and work in conjunction with our Banking and Financial Services Team to represent qualified EB-5 filings. Our business immigration work includes assisting U.S. companies in obtaining regional center certification from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in addition to representing individual foreign nationals seeking permanent U.S. residency under the program.

Visit the Immigration Law Practice page for more information.

Intellectual Property

Our Intellectual Property Team has relationships with more than 95 international law firms in 71 countries. Through these relationships, we are able to facilitate international trademark and patent work in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Joint Ventures

Venturing alone in unfamiliar territory can spell disaster for any company. We help our clients set up joint ventures with financial and strategic partners to reduce risk, increase productivity and realize synergies. Our attorneys have represented clients in the formation of joint ventures in Canada, China, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico and the United Kingdom, among others.

Licensing and Worldwide Distribution Agreements

We create licensing agreements between our clients and foreign distributors and partners. One recent agreement involved the sale of medical products in Europe, Australia, Japan, and South America.

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Our Litigation attorneys have assisted with a wide variety of international business law matters.

  • Represented an Israeli bank in a U.S. estate claim
  • Filed breach-of-warranty action against an Italian printing press manufacturer
  • Represented a Canadian construction firm in arbitration over a U.S. project
  • Represented a UK company in New York State litigation concerning projects in the Dominican Republic and the Middle East
  • Represented a German company in a product liability suit in New York State
Mergers and Acquisitions

Our attorneys handle numerous acquisitions and divestitures for manufacturers, service providers, financial institutions, technology firms, emerging companies and closely-held businesses. We have been involved in several mergers and acquisitions for U.S. companies with operations throughout the world, as well as companies domiciled in numerous countries.


With the globalization of financial services and products, we routinely assist U.S. companies to secure financing from foreign banks and help foreign banks in financing transactions with U.S. companies. Examples include representation of a foreign bank with a $20 million increase in a credit facility secured by U.S. assets, and representation of a foreign bank in the purchase of $500 million in listed equity securities held by an investment fund based in the Cayman Islands.

Meet Our International Business Law Team

David J. Murray Senior Counsel
Samuel Borbor-Sawyer Senior Associate
Anna Mercado Clark Partner, Chief Information Security Officer, Governing Committee
Douglas W. Dimitroff Partner, Managing Partner, Governing Committee
F. Kenneth Graham Partner
Asaf Hahami Partner
Vlad Kapustin Special Counsel
Timothy P. Kucinski Partner
David J. McNamara Partner
Sean C. McPhee Partner
Eoin Ó Muimhneacháin (Moynihan) Associate
Danielle M. Rizzo Partner
James Kevin Wholey
Ling Yao Associate
David J. Murray Senior Counsel
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Samuel Borbor-Sawyer Senior Associate
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Anna Mercado Clark Partner, Chief Information Security Officer, Governing Committee
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Douglas W. Dimitroff Partner, Managing Partner, Governing Committee
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Eoin Ó Muimhneacháin (Moynihan) Associate
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Meet the Team

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