Areas of Practice
- International Trade & Investment
- International Trade Litigation
- International Trade Policy & Negotiations
- WTO Dispute Settlement
- Government Affairs & Public Policy
- University of Michigan Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1977, Administrative Editor, Editorial Board, Michigan Law Review
- Wellesley College, B.A., with honors, 1974, Wellesley College Scholar
- Hon. Judge Oliver Gasch, US District Court for the District of Columbia, 1977-1978
Bar & Court Admissions
- District of Columbia
Susan G. Esserman
Washington DC 20036
TEL: +1 202 429 6753
FAX: +1 202 429 3902
Susan G. Esserman is a partner in the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where she is Chair of the firm’s International Department. Ms. Esserman provides legal and strategic advice to domestic and foreign clients on expanding access to global markets and represents clients in international trade litigation and dispute resolution matters. She has special experience concerning World Trade Organization (WTO) issues and the US trade laws, based on her previous high-level government positions as a US trade negotiator as well as the decision maker in antidumping and countervailing duty cases. A significant focus of Ms. Esserman's practice involves US-India and US-China matters.
Ms. Esserman previously served as Deputy US Trade Representative, the second ranking official at USTR, with the standing of Ambassador, and she held three additional senior posts at USTR and the Department of Commerce. As Deputy USTR, Ambassador Esserman was responsible for US trade policy and negotiations in the WTO and with Europe, India, Russia, the former Soviet Union, Africa, and the Middle East. As USTR General Counsel, she played a lead role in devising US litigation strategy in the critical early years of WTO dispute resolution.
Ms. Esserman also served as the decision maker in literally hundreds of antidumping and countervailing duty cases as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration. During her tenure, she played a lead role in developing comprehensive US antidumping and countervailing duty trade legislation and regulations implementing the WTO Uruguay Round Agreement, which govern US trade cases today. She was also the administrator of the Foreign Trade Zones program. As Acting General Counsel of Commerce, she counseled the Secretary of Commerce and senior Department heads on a wide range of issues, including trade laws, regulatory reform, litigation strategy, ethics, Freedom of Information, congressional reviews and oversight, intellectual property, and procurement issues.
Ms. Esserman is a frequent speaker and writer on trade law and policy, and the WTO and India issues. She is also active on nonprofit boards with an international focus.
She serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the US-India Business Council, and on the boards of the International Association for Women Judges, Population Action International, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Ms. Esserman is a member of the US Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, the India-US Track II Dialogue on Climate Change and Energy (Aspen Institute), the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Wellesley Business Leadership Council. She is also on the Advisory Board of Michigan Law School’s Directors’ College for Global Business and Law and on the Visiting Committee of the University of Miami Law School.
Prior to her government service, Ms. Esserman was a partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP where she focused on international trade litigation and policy.
- Received a #1 Ranking in Chambers Asia 2009-2013, International Trade: Asia-Pacific Region
- Ranked, Chambers USA 2006-2013, International Trade: Trade Remedies & Trade Policy (Nationwide)
- Ranked, Chambers Global 2006-2013, International Trade: Trade Remedies & Trade Policy (US)
- Recommended, Legal 500 US 2013; Litigation: International Trade
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America 2013-2014, International Trade and Finance Law
- Listed, Who's Who Legal; Trade & Customs
- Listed in Washington, DC Super Lawyers 2007-2011
- Euromoney's Expert Guide to the Leading Practitioners: China (International Trade) (2011)
- Euromoney's Expert Guide to the World's Leading International Trade Lawyers (2007, 2008, 2010)
- Euromoney's Expert Guide to the Best of the Best USA (2008, 2010)
- Euromoney's Expert Guide to Women in Business Law (2010)
Select News & Events
- Washingtonian Names Steptoe Partners to ‘Best Lawyers’ List
- Susan Esserman Receives American Jewish Committee Judge Learned Hand Award
- Expert Guides Recognize Steptoe Lawyers as Leading Women in Business Law
- Steptoe Receives 80 Individual Mentions in Best Lawyers 2014
- Steptoe Receives 18 Practice, 65 Individual Mentions in Legal 500 US 2013
- Steptoe Receives 19 Practice, 56 Individual Mentions in Chambers USA 2013
- Trade Challenges and Opportunities, 28th IHS World Petrochemical Conference, March 20, 2013
- Steptoe's Brazilian Initiative Expansion, July 19, 2012, (A Steptoe-Sponsored Event)
- Roundtable Discussion with Chairman of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), March 28, 2012
- US-India Relations Briefing for Senate India Caucus, Council on Foreign Relations, October 17, 2011
- Deepening US-India Economic Engagement, NBR Interview, September 27, 2011
- "The Appellate Body, the WTO Dispute Settlement System, and the Politics of Multilateralism," The WTO at Ten: The Contribution of the Dispute Settlement System, issued by the WTO, 2006