Blank Rome adds international trade team in Washington DC from McDermott Will & Emery

Partners Joanne Osendarp and Eric Parnes join alongside seven more lawyers and trade advisors to bolster free trade agreements and trade disputes offering

Joanne Osendarp and Eric Parnes Images courtesy of Blank Rome

Am Law 100 firm Blank Rome has added a seven-strong team from McDermott Will & Emery to its international trade practice group in Washington DC. 

Led by partners Joanne Osendarp and Eric Parnes, the group includes senior counsel Alan Kashdan and Lynn Kamarck; of counsel Conor Gilligan; associates Tyler Kimberly and Brendan Saslow; and trade economic advisor Jorge Miranda and international trade manager Deborah Flinn.

“I am thrilled to welcome Joanne, Eric and their team,” said Grant Palmer, Blank Rome’s chair and managing partner. “Their experience in navigating trade remedies, negotiating free trade agreements and handling international trade disputes complements our international trade group’s work in the sanctions and export controls space, bolstering our reputation as a leading resource for clients and their full range of international trade needs.” 

Osendarp and Parnes have made the move after just shy of three years at McDermott, which they joined from the partnership of Hughes Hubbard & Reed. Osendarp will serve as co-chair of Blank Rome’s international trade group alongside Washington DC-based partner Anthony Rapa, who himself joined the firm last year from Kirkland & Ellis. 

Osendarp’s practice includes representing governments in trade remedies litigation, investment arbitrations, state-to-state arbitrations and international trade negotiations. She has also served as the Canadian government's principal US-based lawyer in its long-running softwood lumber dispute against the United States, which has resulted in more than 30 proceedings in the past two decades. 

Meantime, Parnes is a litigator who focuses on advocating for and advising clients in international trade disputes and other high-stakes government-facing matters, including internal and government investigations and False Claims Act litigation. He represents clients in complex disputes – in court as well as before administrative agencies and arbitral tribunals – and by conducting internal investigations and advising clients on corporate compliance matters. 

“Blank Rome has a longstanding history of strong international trade work, and we are excited to help grow the team and expand our client services on such a solid platform,” said Osendarp and Parnes in a joint statement. 

“The current geopolitical and economic environment have made trade – and international business – more difficult for governments and corporations. As we enhance our international trade capabilities, we will also work to identify opportunities for cross-collaboration with other firm practices and industry teams, which was a key factor in our decision to join Blank Rome.”

The group’s hire by Blank Rome represents a major expansion of the firm’s international trade team, which prior to its arrival had 16 mostly Washington DC-based lawyers, according to its website. Including Osendarp and Parnes, the firm has added 11 partners in the city over the past two years from rivals including Baker Hostetler, Sidley Austin and Kirkland & Ellis. 

A McDermott spokesperson commented on the departures: “We thank Joanne and her team for their contributions to McDermott and wish them the best in this new chapter. McDermott’s International Trade Group, under the continued leadership of Carolyn Gleason, serves client needs across all dimensions of international trade.”

Following the group’s exit, McDermott’s international trade group houses eight lawyers across Washington DC, London, Dusseldorf and Paris, according to its website. 

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