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No sheep’s clothing for him. Alan Wolff is known for his vigorous efforts to help businesses solve their problems, whether through trade dispute resolution, diplomacy, or legislation. “Clients don’t call and say, �I have a problem that fits neatly into one particular statute,’” says Wolff. “We take an interdisciplinary approach.” The chairman of Dewey Ballantine’s 35-person trade group, Wolff, 65, has advocated for the domestic semiconductor, lumber, and steel industries for many years. “When you have a trade issue to deal with, Alan Wolff is the lawyer you go to,” says George Scalise, president of the U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association. “He has the experience, the understanding, and the ability to deal with any trade issue one could conceive of. He’s a phenomenal asset.” Wolff’s work on behalf of the semiconductor industry dates back to 1980, when Japan imposed a 10 percent ceiling on semiconductor imports. “It threatened to put the semiconductor industry in the U.S. out of business,” he recalls. On that occasion, diplomacy was the answer: The United States reached an agreement with Japan to open up the latter’s market. Wolff is now representing the semiconductor group in a push to remove all semiconductor tariffs worldwide through the Doha round of international trade talks. Wolff and members of the World Semiconductor Council met with Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organization, in May; they continue to work on the issue. But these days, much of Wolff’s focus is on China. “It’s the greatest area of interest for U.S. businesses,” he says. In 2003, he persuaded Dewey to open an office in Beijing, and he now travels there at least three or four times a year. When the firm’s merger with LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae is complete, the office will double in size to about 20 lawyers. Helping companies overcome market access barriers in China has been a significant part of the Beijing practice. For example, U.S. manufacturers found themselves at a competitive disadvantage in China’s multibillion-dollar semiconductor market: China had imposed a 17 percent value-added tax on all semiconductor sales but gave rebates to products produced domestically. Wolff and Dewey partners Kevin Dempsey and Thomas Howell argued that the practice violated WTO rules. The team worked with U.S. government lawyers to bring a WTO case against China in March 2004. A few months later, China resolved the case when it agreed to tax all semiconductors equally. Wolff says he also offers confidential advice to a number of Fortune 500 telecommunications, software, and other high-tech companies about issues such as Chinese intellectual property and antitrust standards. Over the past four years, Wolff and the Dewey team were active in providing comments on draft antitrust legislation to Chinese and U.S. government officials. The Chinese government, Wolff says, was “remarkably open” to their input. China passed a landmark antitrust law in late August. Another major client for Wolff and the firm is the U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports. Wolff and partner Harry Clark have represented domestic lumber companies in a series of massive disputes with Canada. Wolff’s primary role was to work with government negotiators in crafting the settlement that ended the latest case in 2006 (although it’s not quite over — already the parties are in arbitration in London over compliance with the terms of the settlement). Wolff notes that although Canadian companies received a $4 billion refund of their duty deposits held by the U.S. government, his clients received $500 million from the same fund. The 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement also provides for a Canadian export tax with rates that rise with the volume of exports. “I think he’s the greatest,” says Rusty Wood, CEO of Tolleson Lumber Co., who served for six years as chairman of the U.S. lumber coalition. “His intelligence and his ability and his brilliance were just key to leading our legal fight.” Wolff earned his degree from Columbia Law School in 1966 and joined the Treasury Department as an attorney-adviser in 1968. In 1973, he moved to the Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations, predecessor to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The following year he was named general counsel; much of his work concerned new bilateral agreements with Japan. From 1977 to 1979, he served as deputy special representative for trade negotiations. In 1979, Wolff left government and joined Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard and McPherson, where he remained until the move to Dewey in 1985. He is managing partner of Dewey’s D.C. office and a member of the firm’s management committee. Wolff says he takes great pride in the team of lawyers, in-house economists, and foreign country specialists he has assembled at Dewey. Other notable names include Andrew Kentz, Clark McFadden, and Bradford Ward. “No client could ask for a better team to provide the kinds of services they need in today’s world,” says Wolff.

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