James Mendenhall

Mendenhall, James


Washington, D.C. +1 202 736 8141

1501 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
+1 202 736 8141

jmendenhall@sidley.com jmendenhall@sidley.com

Admissions & Certifications

James Mendenhall


JAMES MENDENHALL is a partner in the International Trade and Dispute Resolution group in the law firm of Sidley in Washington, D.C., concentrating on international arbitration, international trade policy, trade litigation, and proceedings before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Mr. Mendenhall has served as counsel in numerous investor-state arbitration proceedings, including under ICSID and UNCITRAL arbitration rules. He has advised clients on international trade negotiations, market access issues, intellectual property policy, product standards, trade policy, national security regulations, and U.S. legislative matters. He has represented clients across many sectors, including e-commerce, high-tech, pharmaceuticals, financial services, telecommunications, and consumer goods. 

From 2005 to January 2007, Mr. Mendenhall served as the General Counsel of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). In that capacity, Mr. Mendenhall supervised U.S. participation in World Trade Organization and NAFTA disputes and handled all legal aspects of U.S. bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade negotiations. Mr. Mendenhall also served as the principal U.S. negotiator of the United States-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement and was the USTR representative on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Mendenhall served as the Assistant United States Trade Representative (AUSTR) for Services, Investment and Intellectual Property. While serving as AUSTR, he oversaw bilateral and regional trade agreement negotiations dealing with services (including financial services), investment and intellectual property, and World Trade Organization negotiations related to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and WTO agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Mr. Mendenhall was responsible for monitoring the adoption and enforcement of laws to protect the rights of U.S. owners of intellectual property in countries around the world.

From 2001–2003, Mr. Mendenhall served as USTR’s Deputy General Counsel. In that capacity, he handled numerous trade litigation, negotiation and legislative matters, including the development of the model investment chapter for U.S. free trade agreements that became the template for the 2004 U.S. model bilateral investment treaty.

Prior to joining the U.S. Government, Mr. Mendenhall spent nine years in private practice, concentrating in the areas of trade remedies litigation, international arbitration, trade policy and litigation before World Trade Organization panels.

Mr. Mendenhall has testified before Congress on multiple occasions related to free trade agreement negotiations, intellectual property protection in foreign markets, trade in services and financial services, and other matters.

  • Assessing Security Risks Posed by State-Owned Enterprises in the Context of International Investment Agreements, ICSID Review (Winter 2016)
  • Breach of Treaty Claims and Breach of Contract Claims:  Simplification of International Jurisprudence, published in Contemporary Issues in International Arbitration and Mediation:  The Fordham Papers 2014, co-authored with Stanimir Alexandrov (2015)
  • The Evolving U.S. Position on International Investment Protection and Its Impact on the U.S. Position in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations, Regionalization of Investment Treaty Arrangements, British Institute of International and Comparative Law (2014)
  • Essential Security Exceptions in U.S. Trade and Investment Agreements, Sovereign Investment: Concerns and Policy Reactions, Vale Columbia Center on International Sustainable Investment (2012)
  • WTO Panel Report on Consistency of Chinese Intellectual Property Standards, American Society of International Law Insight, April 3, 2009
  • Fair Treatment of Intellectual Property Rights Under Bilateral Investment Treaties, Transnational Dispute Management, August 2009
  • Is Globalization Paving the Way to Regulatory Convergence?, World Trade Law Magazine, October 2007
  • In Defence of FTAs, Managing Intellectual Property Iss. 142, September 2004
  • Recent Developments: U.S. Executive Authority to Divest Acquisitions Under the Exon-Florio Amendment - the MAMCO Divestiture, 32 Harv. J. Int’l L. 285 (1991)
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