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Former Top U.S. Trade Rep Lawyer Rejoins King & Spalding

July 9, 2019, 4:23 PM

Former general counsel of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Stephen P. Vaughn, who also served as acting trade representative, has returned to King & Spalding as a partner in the firm’s Washington office.

The USTR announced in April that Vaughn would soon be stepping down. He served as general counsel of the office after a stint as acting trade representative from January 2017 to May 2017, while the Trump administration awaited the confirmation of current trade representative Robert Lighthizer by the U.S. Senate.

Prior to joining the trade representative’s office Vaughn worked in King & Spalding’s international trade group, and before that was an international trade lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

During his time in government, Vaughn was involved in “every major trade-related determination and negotiation that has occurred in the past two and a half years,” Wick Sollers, head of King & Spalding’s government matters practice group, said in a statement.

Stephen P. Vaughn

While at the USTR, Vaughn advised on bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations, including the U.S.-China bilateral trade discussions and the negotiations that led to the U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, an update to 1994’s North American Free Trade Agreement, is meant to strengthen the rules and procedures governing trade and investment between the countries. It was signed in November of last year and Mexico was the first country to ratify it last month.

Joseph Barloon, a former colleague of Vaughn’s at Skadden, has taken over his post as U.S. trade representative general counsel.

Steve Orava, head of King & Spalding’s international trade team, said in a statement that Vaughn’s experience makes him “uniquely positioned to give clients insight on the current and potential future direction of U.S. trade law and policy.”

At King & Spalding, Vaughn will counsel clients on trade policies impacting U.S. companies and their workers, with a focus on antidumping and countervailing duty trade remedy cases against dumped and subsidized imports.

Evolving global trade negotiations and fast-changing sanctions regimes have inspired some law firms to hire trade experts, both attorneys and non attorneys.

King & Spalding brought on former European Union official Herve Jouanjean earlier this month to join its international trade group in Paris.

Vinson & Elkins announced Tuesday it has added Damara Chambers from Covington & Burling. Chambers’ practice focuses on international trade, export controls and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which has been cracking down on overseas investors in U.S. companies.

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan Stanzione in Washington at mstanzione@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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