New Partner Establishes Trade Group’s California Presence; His Practice Focuses on Global Customs, Trade Compliance
Los Angeles – August 27, 2018: Crowell & Moring LLP is pleased to announce the addition of David R. Stepp as a partner in the firm’s International Trade Group in Los Angeles. With more than 30 years of experience, Stepp provides strategic counsel on global customs and international trade compliance. At Crowell & Moring, he will advise multinational companies and importers as they move goods across borders and establish subsidiaries around the world. He joins the firm from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.
Stepp’s arrival expands the presence of the firm’s recognized International Trade Group into California, further broadening the global practice’s reach to serve clients across the Pacific Rim.
“David’s global customs experience represents a wonderful addition to our International Trade Group,” said Philip T. Inglima, chair of Crowell & Moring. “Further building our highly-regarded trade practice is a firm priority, and David’s presence in California presents new opportunities for us. He has a well-earned reputation as a trusted advisor, and his experience will be a tremendous benefit to many of the firm’s clients.”
Stepp’s practice focuses on customs compliance and counseling, including tariff classification, valuation, country of origin marking, free trade agreements, Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) participation, and other international trade regulatory requirements. He also advises companies on their e-commerce strategies globally, conducts global customs and international trade audits, and counsels clients on improving, benchmarking, and coordinating compliance programs across borders. He also has experience in advising on trade remedies and coordinating government investigations, including FCPA matters. His clients span a range of industries, including retail, e-commerce, aerospace, motor vehicles, steel, food, agriculture, textile/apparel, footwear, electronics, cosmetics, and other consumer goods.
“Given the current trade wars and uncertainties of the global trade environment, clients are hungry for deft guidance to minimize tariffs, resolve supply chain disruptions, and secure market access,” said John Brew, chair of the firm’s International Trade Group. “David has a strong trade practice and skill set that meets all of these client needs, and is focused on the movement of goods and services in Asia. His practice meshes well with our existing trade group and expands our capabilities to provide counsel on emerging trade issues worldwide.”
Stepp has practiced in Los Angeles, Singapore, and Washington. He joined Bryan Cave as a partner in 2005, and he later served as managing partner of Bryan Cave’s Singapore office (2014-2017), coordinating regulatory issues for clients across Asia. While in Singapore, he led initiatives focused on strategic business and professional development in Southeast Asia. His previous experience includes working with a major U.S. customhouse broker where he advised the company’s importing clients on U.S. customs practices and procedures. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
“The firm is strongly committed to strengthening our litigation and regulatory capabilities in California, and David’s arrival provides further momentum in that effort,” said partner Jason C. Murray, the head of Crowell & Moring’s Los Angeles office and co-chair of the firm’s global Antitrust Group.
Stepp is active in the international trade and legal communities in California. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Northern California World Trade Center. He also taught the Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association’s semi-annual course for ten years, preparing students to take the customs brokers licensing test. He previously served as chairman of the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles; president of the Global Legal Customs Association; and co-chair of the ABA Customs Law Committee.
“I am excited to join Crowell & Moring,” Stepp said. “The firm’s International Trade Group is well known and regarded, and I am pleased to help establish the group’s West Coast presence and help us open further avenues to support clients in the Asia-Pacific region. The firm’s full range of regulatory and litigation capabilities is a tremendous asset to my clients and my practice.”
Stepp received his J.D. from the University of Georgia and his A.B. from Duke University. He is a frequent author and speaker on global customs and international trade issues. He authored a guidebook on NAFTA procedures for a major U.S. electronics trade association and lectured in Asia, Europe, and the Americas on the scope and effect of many bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements