• Print
  • |
  • |
  • PDF

International Business & Dispute Resolution


Cross-border transactions require special expertise. One needs to know not only the laws of the relevant foreign countries but also the particular terms or issues that arise as a result of a transaction's being cross-border. What due diligence must be conducted in order to be certain that a company being sold or acquired has complied with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and its foreign counterparts? What are the methods and implications of sending an employee abroad or establishing a foreign subsidiary? What terms must be included in cross-border sales, agency, or distribution agreements to provide effective, enforceable contracts?

Members of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn's International Cross-Border Transactions Team have lived, worked, and taught in several foreign countries. A variety of foreign languages are fluently spoken and written by Miller Nash Graham & Dunn lawyers and staff, including Mandarin Chinese (native), Spanish (native), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Vietnamese. Practicing foreign lawyers and law students from China, India, France, Germany, Mexico, Korea, and Japan are regularly hosted in the firm's offices for educational purposes, strengthening Miller Nash Graham & Dunn's foreign legal relationships and its ability to effectively do business in foreign cultures.

Members of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn's international practice team assist clients with:

  • Establishing foreign/U.S. joint ventures, foreign subsidiaries, and representative offices
  • Mergers, acquisitions, and sales involving foreign-based businesses
  • Cross-border information technology contracting, with experience in over 35 countries
  • Preparation of sales, distribution, franchise, and agency agreements for sales between the United States and foreign countries
  • Yacht purchases and sales with international registration and documentation
  • Customs issues, including petitions to mitigate fines or avoid forfeiture of seized goods; export/import regulations; and protection of intellectual property rights through customs intervention
  • Secured financing and letters of credit involving foreign-country collateral or debtors
  • Advice on foreign laws affecting U.S. companies doing business abroad

Dispute Resolution

Litigating local disputes with international issues is different from litigating pure “domestic” disputes. And international arbitrations are different from domestic arbitrations. Miller Nash Graham & Dunn International Dispute lawyers understand how to make those differences work to a client’s advantage and understand how to explain to clients the differences between the dispute resolution system they are familiar with and the dispute resolution systems they find themselves in.

A party in a dispute with international issues has to plan its case differently. Foreign law may apply and needs to be proved. International conventions or letters rogatory may need to be used to obtain effective service or foreign discovery. And experienced foreign counsel is often necessary, to confirm what appears to be the applicable foreign law and provide declarations for court submittal, or to assist with the difficulties of discovery in a foreign country. Miller Nash Graham & Dunn’s lawyers with international dispute resolution expertise are familiar with the intricacies of litigating cases with international issues. And the firm has an extensive network of strong relationships with foreign counsel that can get the best foreign-law expert overnight when needed.

International arbitrations, unlike domestic arbitrations, are conducted before a variety of institutional tribunals under a variety of procedural rules. And they each have their own set of “unwritten” rules. The kind of advocacy that a good lawyer uses in an American arbitration may not necessarily be successful in an international arbitration. Cultural differences matter. An experienced international arbitration lawyer adjusts his or her “American” approach in particular ways to be an effective advocate. The Miller Nash Graham & Dunn lawyers who do this work have handled arbitrations before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), CIETAC (China), the Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC), the International Arbitration Centre of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, the American Arbitration Association’s International Dispute Resolution Centre, and other well-known tribunals. Our lawyers know how to achieve the best results in these unique venues.

Miller Nash Graham & Dunn is proud to be counsel to Process Forwarding International, the entity appointed by the Department of Justice of the United States and with the U.S. Department of State to effect service of foreign process under The Hague Service Convention, The Hague Evidence Convention, and the Inter-American Convention.

Representative Experience

Preparation of opinion letter to Japanese wood products parent company regarding effect of the "direct and indirect substitution" rules of the above Act on the parent and its affiliated companies if a foreign subsidiary acquired a wood products mill in the United States, including analysis of what international sales characteristics make a foreign importer an "exporter" for purposes of the Act.
Arbitrated lumber sales contract dispute between United States buyer and sellers from Russia and Austria to successful resolution before International Arbitration Centre of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.
After five years before the state of Washington federal district court and two trips to the 9th Circuit, successfully obtained an order of civil contempt after trial, a $2,550,000 (public) contempt settlement, and a Permanent Injunction for Japanese clients based on several international maritime treaties in order to ensure safety at sea as a result of defendants' annual "direct action" campaigns in the Antarctic Southern Ocean against Japanese fleet. 9th Circuit decisions reported at 774 F.3d 935, 588 Fed.Appx. 701, 702 F.3d 573, 725 F.3d 940, and 708 F.3d 1099. Institute of Cetacean Research and Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd. vs. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Paul Watson, United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Seattle, Case No. C11-2043JLR, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, No. 12-35266.
AAA International Center for Dispute Resolution arbitration between Saudi Arabian product distributor and U.S.-based manufacturer under Saudi Arabian government-sponsored form of unregistered distribution agreement.
Successful defense of federal court action to recognize and enforce arbitral award rendered by a provincial Chinese arbitration institution. Foreign arbitration awards are enforceable in the United States under the New York Convention and their enforceability is difficult to challenge. Defended on the basis of lack of due process because all communications from the arbitral proceeding were in Mandarin, a language that the client did not know. This was a very significant decision nationally and internationally.