TODD J. FRIEDBACHER helps clients manage the risk of doing business across borders by leveraging the powerful market access and enforcement tools provided by the World Trade Organization (WTO) treaty and the hundreds of other bilateral and regional trade agreements in place worldwide. Putting these tools to work, Todd has helped clients successfully address critical trade and regulatory barriers impacting their ability to move, sell and protect goods, services and intellectual property across borders.
Todd co-founded the firm’s Geneva office in 2000, and serves both as the Managing Partner of the office and as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He is a recognized leader in international trade and WTO law, having represented clients in more than 55 WTO disputes, involving 90 distinct WTO dispute settlement proceedings in his nearly 25 years of practice. In that role, he has represented commercial stakeholders and governments, complainants, respondents and third parties in all phases of WTO dispute settlement, including pre-dispute consultations and formulation of litigation strategies, original and compliance proceedings before WTO panels and the Appellate Body, and retaliation proceedings before WTO arbitrators. His experience spans disputes under virtually all of the WTO agreements, concerning cross-border trade in goods and services, tax and regulatory measures, intellectual property, government procurement, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, agriculture, customs valuation, anti-dumping and subsidies.
In addition to representing clients in dispute settlement, Todd has also assisted governments and commercial stakeholders in high-stakes negotiations on changes to international trade and investment rules. He provides advice and support to stakeholders in WTO accession negotiations, as well as in the negotiation of bilateral and regional trade agreements. Todd assists clients in identifying and addressing strategic goals in the ongoing TPP and TTIP negotiations, as well as the WTO’s Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations.
Before joining Sidley, Todd worked in Brussels for the European Commission, Directorate-General for Competition, on international antitrust matters. He also completed a clerkship with the Court of Justice of the European Communities (now the General Court) in Luxembourg.
Todd’s leadership and experience in the WTO and international trade arena is widely recognized. He has been named a 2019 Trade Law “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in Switzerland, and is recognized again in the 2020 edition. Todd was also named a “Global Elite Thought Leader” in the 2018 and 2020 editions of Who’s Who Legal, as well as a “Thought Leader” and a “Most Highly Regarded Individual” in the 2018 and 2019 editions of Who’s Who Legal Switzerland. Todd is ranked in Band 1 by Chambers Global 2020 and Chambers Europe-wide 2020 for International Trade, and features prominently in the international trade and WTO rankings of The Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal, where he consistently receives the highest client praise. For example:
- “Todd Friedbacher ‘encapsulates exactly what is really special about Sidley Austin's international trade practice,’ according to one client, who adds: ‘I have never seen anyone mould strategy with legal excellence the way he does.’” (Chambers Europe 2018)
- “He is intellectually brilliant and always a pleasure to work with.” (Who’s Who Legal 2018: Trade and Customs)
- A “leading WTO lawyer.” (Chambers Europe 2016)
- “Clients laud Todd Friedbacher’s skills in determining case strategy and his awareness of broader WTO proceedings, asserting that ‘there isn’t a case he doesn’t know, and there isn’t an angle he hasn’t considered.’” (Chambers Global 2013 – Switzerland, International Trade/WTO)
- “The ‘cerebral and thorough’ Todd Friedbacher is valued for ‘thinking in depth about how to achieve the best result.’” (Chambers Global 2012 – Switzerland, International Trade/WTO)
- “Todd Friedbacher is ‘the brains of [the] operation’ and ‘super with clients.’” (The Legal 500 EMEA 2012 – Switzerland, EU Competition and WTO)
Admissions & Certifications
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
- District of Columbia
- Katholieke Universiteit-Leuven, LL.M., 1995
- Harvard Law School, J.D., 1994
- University of Wisconsin, B.A., 1990