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International Transactions
Team Leaders

Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.’s International Transactions Team represents U.S.-based clients going abroad as well as international clients making investments and considering business in the United States. In addition to direct transactional services, WHD counsels clients on a wide range of other international matters such as intellectual property, customs and duties, immigration, litigation and arbitration, international taxation, finance, and compliance and enforcement matters. See International Transactions Team Book.

For companies expanding their international presence and activities, whether inbound to or outbound from the United States, WHD offers the expertise of attorneys who have represented U.S. and foreign companies and individuals in a variety of international transactions in Asia, Africa, Europe, Mexico, South America and elsewhere.

Outbound Transactional Services

WHD has extensive experience assisting U.S.-based clients in expanding their businesses to other countries. WHD has advised clients in international expansion ranging in scope from starting a small sales office in Canada to acquiring established international companies with shares of a NYSE company. Whatever the scope of a client’s business venture, WHD works with the client to ensure that the foreign venture is structured to meet the client’s objectives and provides an appropriate framework for further foreign expansion.

Over many years, WHD has worked to establish and maintain a network of worldwide relationships with attorneys and others in the international business community. Through these collaborative relationships in foreign markets, WHD is able to provide its clients with essential local advice needed to do business around the world.

Typical outbound services include:

  • Acquisitions of and investments in foreign enterprises by U.S. companies – structuring the form of investment and assisting in all phases of the transaction.
  • Working with local counsel to develop a structure to minimize overall global taxes.
  • International joint ventures – structuring and negotiating agreements.
  • International finance and letters of credit.
  • Business process outsourcing (BPO) arrangements – negotiating terms of global outsourcing contracts for U.S.-based clients.
  • International distributor relationships – negotiating terms of international distributor networks for U.S.-based clients.

Inbound Transactional Services

For non-U.S. clients making investments in the United States, WHD offers the full range of services in all practice areas. WHD has assisted international clients in U.S. transactions ranging in scope from importing products into the United States to acquiring U.S. companies valued anywhere from a few million dollars to several hundred million dollars.

Typical inbound services include:

  • Acquisitions of and investments in U.S. companies by foreign investors – selecting, forming and funding the appropriate U.S. business entity, and establishing and acquiring an appropriate physical location in the United States.
  • International taxation – structuring the overall transaction and determining capitalization, pricing, debt/equity issues, transfer pricing, and foreign tax credit maximization.
  • Domestic legal compliance – complying with U.S. federal, state and local laws including tax, employment, environmental and regulatory requirements.
  • International finance.

Additional International Services

Intellectual Property

WHD has a full-service intellectual property (IP) practice with extensive experience in patents, trademarks, copyrights, IP litigation and trade secrets. The team provides strategic counsel for U.S.-based companies expanding overseas as well as foreign companies entering the United States. The team’s work spans more than 60 countries, with annual patent/trademark filings numbering in the hundreds in both the United States and in foreign jurisdictions. Given the breadth of WHD’s global IP practice, the team is able to maneuver efficiently through the nuances of foreign IP practices.

The team’s inbound and outbound IP experience includes:

  • Patent/trademark procurement.
  • IP due diligence.
  • IP enforcement/licensing/litigation.
  • Management of complex global patent/trademark portfolios.

Customs and Duties

WHD’s Customs International Trade Law Team has successfully represented companies involved in a wide range of import and export matters including valuation, classification (HTSUS, ITAR and EAR), country of origin, antidumping and countervailing duty issues, customs fraud and penalties and forfeitures.

In addition to resolving contested issues relating to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Department of Commerce actions, the Customs International Trade Law Team assists companies establish in-house import and export compliance programs and conduct self-assessments in advance of anticipated focused assessment actions.

Typical services include:

  • Defending clients in criminal investigations relating to the classification of imported products.
  • Representing importers during focused assessments.
  • Creating customs compliance plans for specific business operations.Contesting U.S. Customs classification of goods.
  • Mitigating penalties relating to antidumping rules.
  • Reviewing transactions to ensure compliance with export administrative regulations.
  • Resolving bond issues on behalf of importers.
  • Addressing outstanding duties owed by importers to U.S. Customs.


WHD has extensive experience assisting companies with the hiring and retention of foreign-based talent from around the world. WHD has counseled clients regarding the sponsorship of foreign nationals currently working abroad, as well as the sponsorship of foreign nationals temporarily studying or employed in the United States. WHD offers guidance to companies regarding the complex areas of work authorization and immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services, while keeping clients’ domestic and international business objectives in mind. WHD works with its clients to make sure both the foreign national and employer comply with the requirements of each visa category, including H-1B specialty occupation matters, intracompany transfers, and other types of nonimmigrant and permanent residence strategies.

WHD maintains relationships with business immigration lawyers throughout the world and can provide full global immigration services including comprehensive advice on the international aspects of cross-border personnel transfers.

Typical services include:

  • Securing work authorization for professional employees, including engineers, programmers/analysis, and physicians (H-1B visas).
  • Facilitating the intracompany transfer of employees working for a related entity abroad (L-1 visas).
  • Counseling on the appropriateness of a temporary business visitor visa (B-1 visas).
  • Handling the employer-based permanent residency process for professionals and skilled workers (EB-2 and EB-3).
  • Securing permanent residency for individuals of extraordinary ability, outstanding researchers, and company executives (EB-1).
  • Advising on Form I-9 completion and retention requirements, as well as nondiscrimination and document abuse compliance.

Litigation and Arbitration

WHD has extensive experience in disputes with an international dimension. WHD has successfully represented clients in arbitrations against foreign parties under the rules of the American Arbitration Association’s International Center for Dispute Resolution and the International Chamber of Commerce, among others. With its vast international network, WHD has also enforced domestic U.S. judgments and arbitral awards abroad and litigated cases pertaining to international transactions and involving foreign legal issues. WHD handles diverse international litigation and arbitration matters, including collaborating with foreign counsel, working with witnesses located abroad, and working with foreign experts.

International Taxation

WHD regularly advises U.S. clients on international tax matters as well as foreign persons on the tax implications of doing business and making investments into the United States. WHD counsels clients on the tax effects of virtually all types of cross-border activity, including inbound and outbound acquisitions, joint ventures, compensation matters (for both companies and individuals), licensing, transfer pricing, obtaining and maximizing IC Disc benefits treaty issues, as well as transfer pricing disputes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


WHD’s finance lawyers provide advice and assistance to clients who will make loans or extend trade credit in international transactions. WHD’s services include due diligence, lien perfection, documentation and management of credit risk.

Typical services include:

  • Documenting loan facilities involving foreign obligors and foreign collateral.
  • Representing lenders in documenting credit facilities providing for borrowings in foreign currencies.
  • Assisting clients with letters of credit and credit insurance to protect against credit risk in international transactions.
  • Representing parties in matters involving export financing to facilitate export transactions.
  • Assisting lenders in protecting their security interests in inventory in transit from foreign vendors.

Compliance and Enforcement

WHD’s Corporate Compliance & White Collar Defense Team represents clients in both domestic and foreign government investigations, enforcement actions, internal investigations, and white collar criminal investigations and litigation. The team handles investigations and proceedings brought by regulatory bodies such as the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, FINRA, the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, IRS, Commodities Futures Trading Commission, federal banking regulators and state attorneys general.

The team also assists clients dealing with investigative agencies around the world, including the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom, the European Commission in Brussels, and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. WHD has represented companies and executives in significant investigations and enforcement proceedings in the anti-corruption field, including investigations spanning multiple locations, countries and regulators.

WHD frequently conducts internal investigations for corporate clients of both domestic and international authority. WHD also advises corporate clients in the establishment, implementation and review of business compliance and ethics programs and regularly counsels clients with regard to specific compliance concerns, including those arising from the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related international laws, including the U.K. Bribery Act and laws implementing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and U.N. Convention Against Corruption. The team is qualified to train boards, senior executives and employees on anti-bribery and other compliance issues, and regularly assists clients with due diligence on anti-corruption issues in corporate transactions.

WHD Global Strategic Alliances

ALFA International

WHD is the only Wisconsin member of ALFA International, the global legal network. With 145 member firms in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa, ALFA International is the premier global network of independent law firms. ALFA International’s success is driven by its members’ broad, deep, local relationships both in the United States and throughout the world. ALFA International’s mission is to provide clients with high-quality, cost-efficient legal services worldwide. The ALFA International model enables WHD to use local expertise to deliver effective legal solutions. More information is available at www.alfainternational.com.

International Business Law Consortium (IBLC)

WHD is the only Wisconsin member of the IBLC. The IBLC is an international alliance of select law firms and business professionals. The IBLC multiplies its members’ legal expertise and professional skills, and together, members leverage these to serve businesses efficiently and effectively. More information is available at www.iblc.com.


Representative Engagements

Outbound Transactional Experience

  • Assisted numerous U.S.-based clients in setting up business operations in China, including joint ventures with Chinese partners, WOFEs and representative offices.
  • Represented a group of U.S. investors in the acquisition of a hotel chain based in Nicaragua, which operates throughout Latin America.
  • Assisted numerous U.S.-based clients in establishing European sales offices, including determining the appropriate tax structures and coordinating with local WHD-affiliated counsel.
  • Assisted a U.S.-based client in acquiring an existing distributor in India.
  • Represented a U.S.-based manufacturer in a joint venture with a competitor in China to establish a manufacturing facility in China.
  • Acted as lead counsel for a publicly traded U.S. company in acquiring an Australian company. Worked with local Australian counsel in issuing U.S. publicly traded shares in the acquisition.
  • Represented the U.S. owners of two U.K.-based manufacturing companies in the sale of the U.K. companies to a South African acquirer.
  • Represented a U.S.-based client in analyzing the purchase and restructuring of several German entities.
  • Promptly resolved a lengthy seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection of equipment and product being shipped to Hong Kong.
  • Represented a U.S. manufacturer of anaerobic digester systems in establishing an international licensing and distribution network for its patented systems for construction of digester systems in Europe and South America.
  • Represented a U.S. manufacturer with global operations in the business process outsourcing of its accounting and human resources functions to four separate international BPO vendors covering the client’s regional operations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.
  • Represented a U.S. manufacturer with global operations in the information technology outsourcing of its IT help desk and data centers to two information technology outsourcing vendors based in India and the relocation of its help desk and data centers to regional locations in North America, Mexico and Europe.
  • Represented a highly regulated U.S. insurance and financial services company in the information technology outsourcing of its software development function to two ITO vendors based in India.
  • Represented a U.S. manufacturer in the negotiation of a joint development, licensing and manufacturing agreement with an Israeli company. 

 Inbound Transactional Experience

  • Acted as lead counsel for a multinational Spain-based company acquiring a Wisconsin water park business.
  • Represented a large British Columbia-based limestone mining company in a competitive auction and the successful acquisition of a U.S. company.
  • Represented a large manufacturer of packaged boilers and its Canadian, Mexican and Hong Kong subsidiaries in the complex sale of the business, high-yield debt offering, and asset-based borrowing.
  • Represented a subsidiary of a France-based chemical company in strategic chemical industry transactions.
  • Represented a large France-based company in the purchase of America’s largest OEM supplier of industrial ovens.
  • Represented a private medical device company in multinational investment deals with a Japan-based company.


Patrick S. Coffey
Milwaukee Chicago
Melinda S. Giftos
Office Managing Shareholder
Jennifer H. Jin
James R. Lowe
Ann M. Maher
Daniel J. Miske
Milwaukee Madison