Sovereign Government Representation
Sovereign governments often find themselves needing representation on a wide array of issues relating to international law. Sovereign representation is an area of legal practice that is tailored to the specific needs of sovereign clients. Described below are some examples of representative matters that our team's attorneys and public policy experts have handled for sovereign clients and foreign officials.
Government Relations: Our Firm is efficient and experienced in State Department advocacy. Our team's services have included lobbying to get travel advisories lifted and countries removed from State Department "watch lists". Although U.S. foreign policy is ultimately determined and implemented by the Executive Branch through the Department of State, other federal agencies and departments regularly affect foreign policy. For instance, Congress actively influences foreign policy through its appropriations powers. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee impact policy with their oversight authority as well. Our team is experienced in finding Congressional champions for our sovereign clients, and we have organized numerous Congressional and staff delegations on behalf of client countries.
Legal Claims Against Foreign Governments or Officials: Plaintiffs are now routinely using the U.S. court system to pursue legal remedies under our country's laws against sovereign states or foreign government officials for actions that occur in non-U.S. territories. For example, plaintiffs have successfully pursued claims against foreign principals under the Alien Tort Statute, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, and the Torture Victim Protections Act. In this growing field of legal practice, Nelson Mullins attorneys have secured immunity on behalf of foreign officials. Our attorneys have also used other defenses through the U.S. Department of State and other U.S. government agencies such as the Department of Justice. Our Firm has also obtained immigration waivers for senior international executives, coordinated the non-implementation of an international INTERPOL warrant, and lobbied on behalf of foreign sovereigns facing sanctions.
Maritime, Boundary, and Territorial Disputes: Boundary disputes between nations are often contentious and may continue for decades. Sovereign governments may seek resolution through the International Court of Justice or other international tribunals, but these matters often entail multifaceted diplomatic negotiations as well. The Firm's lawyers and lobbyists support diplomatic and political negotiations and help identify third parties that may strengthen a government's position.
International Investment, Trade, and U.S. Assistance: Sovereign representatives assist with a wide array of international trade and investment issues. For example, members of our team have assisted foreign governments in crafting and securing free-trade agreements with the United States. Additionally, lobbyists and lawyers have counseled sovereigns on how to best seek assistance from the U.S. government and its agencies including, but not limited to, USAID and Congressional appropriations. Our attorneys also advise foreign sovereigns on how to best structure their laws to attract foreign investment. Additionally, our attorneys have organized trade delegations to client countries and have organized participation by business executives in business delegations hosted by our sovereign clients.
Robert B. Crowe is a member of the Firm's Sovereign Representation practice. Mr. Crowe served as co-chairman for Finance for John Kerry for President and co-chairman for Finance of the Democratic National Committee during the 2004 Presidential campaign. He is also a member of the Finance Committees of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
He is joined on the team by Christopher T. Cushing and Vinoda Basnayake. Chris Cushing has more than 20 years of experience in the nation's capital and represents clients in transactions and investments in involving interaction among political, business, regulatory, and legal environments. For six years, Vinoda Basnayake worked as a foreign agent and a sovereign representative at Patton Boggs (now Squire Patton Boggs). He has represented foreign principals in some capacity in each of the matters listed above.
Additional members of the team include former Congressman Ron Klink, who understands the committee process after serving eight years as a Congressman from Pennsylvania; former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley (1993-2001), who is recognized as among South Carolina's most popular governors from his service from 1979-87; Philip Lader, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James who also has served as Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and is a former White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President; and former U.S. Ambassador to Canada David H. Wilkins, who offers experience on a wide range of bilateral issues and also chairs the firm's Public Policy and International Law Practice Group.