It is unfortunate how many times I hear the same sad story from a new client who has decided to fire his or her prior lawyer, and has decided to hire a 'real' customs and international trade attorney. Customs and International Trade attorneys have specialized knowledge and experience for matters involving the import and export of merchandise generally, and particularly in interpreting the customs regulations in Title 19 of the United States Code (USC), Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), and interacting with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Here are 10 Questions you can ask your lawyer to know if he or she is a 'real' customs lawyer, a pretender, or just someone who dabbles in this area of the law.
A real customs lawyer should know the answers to all these questions without hesitation. If the lawyer you are interviewing passes this test, you can bet he or she is a 'real' customs lawyer.
1. What does the acronym C.I.T. mean?
2. What is the allowed maximum number of days after the liquidation of an entry for an importer to file a Protest with CBP?
3. What is the maximum number of days allowed by CBP's Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures Office to file a Petition after a seizure of merchandise by CBP without having to request an extension?
4. Can someone appeal the denial of a Global Entry application?
5. What does the acronym CROSS mean?
6. What are at least 5 free trade agreements with the United States?
7. What is required in a prior disclosure to CBP?
8. Are buying or selling commissions dutiable?
9. How many days does an importer have to destroy or export merchandise refused entry into the United States by the FDA in order to avoid being assessed a liquidated damages claim by CBP?
10. What does the acronym C-TPAT mean?
Other indications that someone is a 'real' customs lawyer are membership in the Customs Law Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Customs and International Trade Bar Association (CITBA), plus selection and recognition in legal directories such as the International Trade: Customs section of Chambers USA. Many real customs lawyers previously worked for the U.S. Customs Service or CBP in the Office of Chief Counsel of in the Office of Regulations and Rulings earlier in their careers before joining law firms.
There is no single test, but the above questions should certainly help anyone looking to find a 'real' customs lawyer.
Post a comment below or contact me directly at:
Peter Quinter, Chair
Customs and International Trade Law Group
1221 Brickell Ave.
Miami, FL 33131
office (305) 416-6960
mobile (954) 270-1864