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Leading international trade law and policy practitioners Hal S. Shapiro, Greg J. Mastel and Stephen S. Kho have joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, the firm announced today.

Joel Jankowsky, chair of Akin Gump’s policy practice, stated, “Few practitioners have the range of experience developing and implementing international trade and economic policy positions at the highest levels of government. Hal, Greg and Steve are three who do know and understand firsthand the major players and dynamic relationships that are critical to clients’ interests in Washington. They will complement our policy group’s strengths in this area, providing our clients with an invaluable resource.”

Val Slater, chair of the firm’s international trade practice, added, "We are very excited to add Hal, Greg and Steve to our international trade policy team. These are three talented individuals who bring a wealth of experience and expertise and who will round out our ability to serve our clients in all aspects of international trade regulatory and policy matters. They are a terrific fit for our firm."

Mr. Shapiro joins the firm as a partner. He advises multinational companies, U.S. trade associations and foreign governments on international trade policy and international trade agreements, litigation of disputes before the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international dispute-resolution bodies, import and export matters, customs matters and federal civil litigation. He previously was a partner at Miller & Chevalier.

In 2000 Mr. Shapiro served as senior advisor for international economic affairs and senior counselor to the director of the National Economic Council at the White House, where he oversaw the development of administration international trade and economic policy positions with respect to international agreements, international trade disputes, pending legislation, executive orders, summit meetings between the president and foreign heads of state, and meetings of international economic bodies. He was the National Economic Council’s representative on the Trade Policy Staff Committee and the Section 301 Committee, the interagency bodies responsible for U.S. trade disputes and trade sanctions. He also specialized in U.S.-EU relations and in trade disputes. From 1996 to 1998 he served as associate general counsel in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, where he represented the United States in WTO dispute settlement proceedings; oversaw U.S. litigation involving the trade representative; and was an advisor to the trade representative, the deputy trade representative and other senior administration officials in the formulation and implementation of U.S. trade policy.

Mr. Shapiro received his B.A. summa cum laude in 1988 from Columbia College and his J.D. in 1991 from Columbia Law School.

Mr. Mastel joins the firm as a senior advisor. His practice focuses on the formulation and implementation of international trade policy by the U.S. Congress and the executive branch. He advises and represents clients regarding trade and tax legislation and related regulatory developments, such as the ongoing World Trade Organization negotiations, free trade agreement negotiations, trade remedies and disputes, and other factors that may affect market access for goods and services in the United States and abroad. He also advises and lobbies for clients on a range of other legislative issues, particularly international taxation issues. He joins Akin Gump from Miller & Chevalier, where he was a principal in the International Department and chair of the Government Affairs Department.

From 2000 to 2003 Mr. Mastel served as the chief economist and chief international trade adviser to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, where he was responsible for developing all major international trade legislation that went before the Committee. Earlier in his career, he spent six years in various positions in the U.S. Senate, including chief of staff to Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), the current chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. During Mr. Mastel’s tenure, he played key roles in numerous matters before the Senate, including passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, extension of MFN trading status to China, and various tax and agricultural issues.

Mr. Mastel received his M.B.A. from the Edinburgh Business School in 1993 and is completing his D.B.A.

Mr. Kho joins the firm as senior counsel. He previously served for nine years in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, most recently as acting chief counsel on China enforcement. As the principal attorney on all China matters, he was responsible for developing disputes and advocacy positions related to China’s obligations in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Earlier, as associate general counsel, Mr. Kho was the lead USTR attorney on intellectual property and government procurement matters, leading the U.S. delegation in all related WTO and NAFTA dispute resolution proceedings. From 2002 to 2005 he was legal advisor at the U.S. Mission to the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, where he managed the WTO dispute settlement portfolio for the U.S. government.

Mr. Kho received his B.A. with honors from the University of Virginia in 1991, his J.D. with honors from the University of Maryland in 1995 and his LL.M. with distinction from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1998.

“I see Akin Gump as a rare combination of truly outstanding international trade, tax and government affairs capabilities,” said Mr. Mastel. “The firm provides us with the unique opportunity to improve and expand the services we provide our clients.”

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 900 lawyers with offices in Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Taipei and Washington. The firm has a diversified practice and represents regional, national and international clients in a wide range of areas, including antitrust; appellate; banking and finance; capital markets; communications and information technology; corporate and securities; corporate governance; employee benefits; energy; entertainment and media; environmental; estate planning, wealth transfer and probate; financial restructuring; global security; government contracts; health; insurance; intellectual property; international trade; investment funds; labor and employment; land use; litigation; mergers and acquisitions; private equity; privatization; project development and finance; public law and policy; real estate development and finance; Russia/CIS; tax; and technology. 

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