top of page



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 and 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. In 2007, Ambassador Barshefsky was chosen as one of the National Law Journal’s “50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America,” and she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Chambers & Partners for her outstanding contributions to the legal profession. She is consistently recognized as a leader in the area of international trade by Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers and Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. She has been selected by her peers for inclusion in numerous editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of government relations and international trade and finance law. In addition, Ambassador Barshefsky has been listed in each edition of Who’s Who Legal, The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers since 2003.


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.

Recent Highlights

Advisor to a number of Fortune 100 and other multinational corporations in connection with their trade and investment activities in China, Europe and the
United States, including in such areas as financial services, telecommunications, high-technology goods and services, consumer products, agriculture and
intellectual property rights.

Professional Activities

Ambassador Barshefsky is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Board of the America-China Society, a Fellow of the Foreign Policy
Association and a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Trilateral Commission. She serves on the Boards of Directors of American Express
Company, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., Intel Corporation, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. In additional recognition of her
international breadth and depth, she has also been elected to the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations.

bottom of page