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Susan Kohn Ross

Partner, through her Professional Corporation - los angeles


Wind blowing . . . . sun shining . . . . the distinctive heavy purr of a Harley Davidson engine ringing in the air. This is not a painted image of a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive through the Appalachians. It’s a snapshot of Su Ross heading home from an American Bar Association or other conference . . . . through the Appalachians. Harley Davidson enthusiasts come from all walks of life and Su loves the reaction she gets when people discover she’s one of them.

Su lives by the creed embodied in the famous quote from the legendary motorcycle company, “When writing the story of your life, don’t let someone else hold the pen”. She and her husband, with whom she enjoys these road trip adventures, have clocked thousands of miles traversing the country doing just that. Su regularly speaks at legal and trade association conferences throughout the United States, and enjoys adding spice to the journey by flying to the selected location and returning home on the back of their HOG.

Whether discussing the latest developments on the Yates memo regarding culpability of high-level executives or the difficulties facing import-export companies over the implementation of the Automated Commercial Environment by Homeland Security, you’ll find the appropriate leather gear tucked away in her luggage for the ride home!


Legal Expertise

Su’s practice focuses on compliance whether dealing with Cybersecurity/Privacy or International Trade. She deals with regulatory, civil and criminal issues. Her clients come to her for assistance to solve current challenges, but also to identify and manage risk.


A recent survey of in-house General Counsel surfaced the top 3 issues keeping them up at night . . . cybersecurity, cybersecurity, cybersecurity - to no one’s surprise. With an increasingly threatened business atmosphere, companies must contend with challenges ranging from threats to breaches to communication of attacks to liability exposure, all the while making sure the company keeps operating its primary business functions as profitably as possible. While we finally have federal legislation on this critical topic and it is too early to tell what impact that law will have, the greatest movement continues to come at the state level and in the courts. Understanding the myriad implications to your organization is mind boggling. Having come to cybersecurity issues as early as 2002 when supply chain security programs were being rolled out in earnest, Su has been tracking the developing landscape since its infancy and regularly speaks at conferences and writes articles, making her among the foremost professionals on the topic. We have rapidly seen the barriers to threats dissipate. No one and no company remains safe. The scale, sophistication, and frequency of cyberattacks is outpacing the ability of companies to respond. Data security, notice to consumers, shareholder and class action lawsuits, insurance coverage, disclosure requirements to the SEC for public companies, government agency enforcement, cross-over issues to other regulatory matters, employment law considerations . . . the issues requiring attention are extensive and complicated, and Su works regularly with clients as they respond to the daily threats facing their organizations. The nature of this representation includes adding to the defense team any desired information technology and public relations experts, with the goal of the team to assist in assessing, minimizing and reacting to cybersecurity intrusions, including dealing with how best to interface with government investigators and disgruntled employees. 

international trade

Represent domestic and foreign companies and entities, in both the administrative and commercial setting, regarding the importation and exportation of goods before U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Departments of Justice, Treasury, Commerce and State, Federal Maritime Commission, U.S. Trade Representative and International Trade Commission, as well as the Court of International Trade and various other federal and state courts and agencies which regulate the flow of goods, addressing issues such as corporate compliance programs (creation and maintenance); classification, valuation and admissibility of goods; export licensing determinations and compliance; voluntary disclosures; corporate governance and compliance, including internal investigations and crisis management; cargo security/C-TPAT/AEO; FDA compliance, qualification and labeling/advertising of goods; free trade agreements (e.g., TPP, NAFTA, CAFTA-DR, Chile -US FTA, AGOA, GSP, et al.); regulatory audits; cargo claims (ocean, air, land and truck; misdeliveries; lien rights); intellectual property rights (trademarks, copyrights and patents; ITC exclusion orders); penalties, seizures and liquidated damages cases; antidumping and countervailing duties and related issues; country of origin marking; regulatory investigations (criminal and civil); international contracts; international litigation and alternative dispute resolution; Buy America/Buy American; Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance and other anti-corruption/anti-bribery regimes.

Representative Matters


  • Assisted national client on system hacking where personal information about its employees and customers (located in multiple states) had been posted online, helping to address the breach and its consequences, including remedial activity.

  • Assisted multinational client in massive data breach determining the scope of information which had been compromised, including whether personally identifiable information or attorney-client or work product privileged communications and documents had been exposed.

  • Represented owner of a retail website that discovered its IT director had failed to encrypt individual and credit card payment data on the company’s website, advising on the notice requirements in multiple jurisdictions and how to otherwise minimize exposure.

  • Assisted client in breach of payroll and personnel services provider, advising on issues related to the protection of employee data and counseled the company regarding how to comply with the relevant notice requirements.

  • Advised client when it was discovered that their Twitter account had been hacked and a defamatory post published.

  • Advised a prominent food company on a system breach, supporting the company’s efforts to track down the source of the intrusion, stop the improper communications, determine whether any confidential or personally identifiable information had been made public, and shore up its systems and internal controls.

international trade

  • Represented a non-US manufacturer of a product on which antidumping duty as high as 234.51% was imposed if made in China. The domestic industry sought to convince both the International Trade Commission and the International Trade Administration that China was the origin of the goods. By way of production records and extensive additional documentation, we were able to convince both the ITC and the ITA that the origin of the goods was not China and so millions of dollars in antidumping duty was avoided. 

  • Represented a client whose food product was accused of causing death to a consumer. Our representation included a crisis management team member who dealt with the press, and private investigators. We coordinated these efforts and dealt with the regulators, retail buyers and other supply chain partners (foreign and domestic), the FDA recall/notice process and other potentially serious challenges in this “bet the company” situation, which ultimately led to no recall and no civil or criminal action against the client. 

  • Advised a foreign food producer whose product was accused of causing significant illness to American consumers. Our representation included advice regarding potential regulatory and civil issues/risk. 

  • A client was presented with a collection of assets valued at nearly $100 million which were to be brought to the U.S. on short notice and added to the inventory publicized for sale at a prominent annual auction. Through our assistance, the valuation of the individual pieces in the collection was promptly accepted at importation and the collection was imported timely, without incident and made it to the sale, all in less than 45 days.

  • Counseled exporters and freight forwarders in the Secret Service/Dept. of Justice auto export investigation, including negotiating for the release of all of our clients’ seized vehicles. 

  • Represented a performing rights organization (“PRO”) to successfully obtain a license from the relevant U.S. trade sanctions agencies which authorized dealing with a PRO in the corresponding sanctioned country to allow the recovery of American royalties of performances in country. 

  • Assisted client whose funds were seized by the Dept. of Justice based on claims of money laundering to develop and implement a due diligence program designed to avoid similar future claims. 

  • Aided private label company to resist claims from Central American workers seeking payment for payroll and benefits claimed to be due when the factory at which they were working closed, leaving the workers owed compensation from the factory owners.

  • Represented a client with operations in China and the U.S. against claims of corporate espionage and defamation. Coordinated the investigation and enforcement actions including working with Chinese investigators and counsel to find the source of the misdeeds and formulate the means to make it cease.

  • Represented the largest integrated shrimp operation in the world and several of its American buyers against claims by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that the imported goods were transshipped and so subject to antidumping duties, and successfully resolved the matter before the agency in a matter of months without the need for litigation; coordinated the political, diplomatic and commercial efforts brought to bear on the situation.

  • Represented clients against claims by Chinese officials that cultural property - dinosaur eggs and other dinosaur geological artifacts - had been stolen, including both civil and criminal charges and allegations – all resolved without government trial or other enforcement action. 

  • Represented an arm of the military of an Asian country in a dispute with its U.S. freight forwarder who was holding arms and materiel needed to protect the country in a border war. The arms and materiel were released within a few days and without the need for litigation or any other form of court action.

  • Represented a foreign-based client who was launching a product in the U.S. on a deadline when the FDA made claims about the impropriety of its product packaging and labeling. The matter was successfully resolved in two weeks and the product launch party was held as originally planned.

  • Regularly represents clients throughout the world regarding international issues through her own relationships and through MSK's international law firm alliances on such topics as logistics/shipping contract negotiations, free trade agreement qualification/compliance, duty reduction analyses and transfer pricing.

  • Represented multiple clients faced with claims by Customs and Border Protection that their goods were transshipped and so purportedly made in China and subject to significant antidumping duty assessments; in each case, the matter was resolved in the clients' favor; in many cases there were shipments arriving at multiple ports, each making different bond demands; every case included the organizing and presentation of factory production records, often from multiple sources, and negotiations at CBP Headquarters and the Ports of Entry. 

  • Represented companies of all sizes, public and private, regarding trademark, copyright and patent infringement relative to the importation and exportation of apparel, luggage, shoes, cosmetics, toys and electronic products.

  • Coordinated debt work-out for creditor whose debtor-customer was proceeding via pre-bankruptcy debt resolution.

  • Assisted national brand manufacturer of children's clothing to establish its website and be compliant with U.S. export restrictions.

  • Assisted various companies of different sizes regarding first sale, buying agency and duty reduction/free trade agreement compliance.

  • Advised several beauty product companies regarding FDA issues, including approved color, ingredient and packaging (box, insert and website) challenges.

  • Worked with garment companies to implement Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act compliance, including revisions to commercial agreements and qualified testing programs.

  • Represented a seller of health supplements against a claim by the FDA that the packaging, labeling and website claims (of the company and a third party) were improper, and successfully resolved those claims in a matter of weeks.

  • Conducted an audit of a client’s export operations and ITAR compliance program, and negotiated the acceptance and approval of the results with the Dept. of State in the face of a disclosure of past violations.

  • Conducted internal audits for clients of their import operations and coordinated transfer pricing issues reconciliation between the relevant tax and Customs regimes.

  • Represent companies, public and private, regarding trademark, copyright and patent infringement issues and FDA and customs compliance relative to importations of apparel, footwear, beauty products, luggage, and other furnishings.

  • Frequently work with clients to determine when and how to qualify their sourcing to take advantage of free trade agreement and/or Buy America/Buy American opportunities for increased duty savings and/or lowered cost of goods.

  • Frequently work with clients who are under investigation by government agencies and are facing civil fines and/or criminal prosecution to coordinate the cases and reach favorable outcomes, often including misdemeanor pleas to threatened criminal charges.

  • Counseled companies regarding their international contracts and internal controls so as to ensure compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, UK Bribery Act and other anti-corruption/anti-bribery regimes.

Honors & Awards

  • "Leading International Trade Lawyers Nationwide," Chambers USA (2016)
  • “Who’s Who Legal: Trade & Customs 2015," Who’s Who Legal (2015)
  • "Leading International Trade Lawyers Nationwide," Chambers USA (2014)
  • "Outstanding Woman in International Trade of 2013," Women in International Trade-LA (WIT-LA)
  • "Leading International Trade Lawyers in California," Chambers USA (2012, 2013)
  • "The International Who's Who of Trade & Customs Lawyers," Who's Who Legal (2009-2011, 2013, 2014)
  • AV® Preeminent™ Rating, Martindale-Hubbell

Professional, Business and civic Affiliations

  • Vice Chair, National District Export Council (2016-2017)
  • Secretary/Treasurer, National District Export Council
  • Chair, District Export Council of Southern California (2014-2016)
  • Industry Leadership Council, American Associations of Exporters and Importers (AAEI)
  • Advisory Board Member, California Fashion Association
  • Advisory Board, International Trade Compliance Institute (ITCI)
  • Director-at-Large and Legislative Advisor, Foreign Trade Association of Southern California
  • American Bar Association, International Law Section, Steering Committees for Customs Law and Export Controls and Economic Sanctions Committees, former Co-Chair, National Security Committee, former Vice-Chair Customs Law Committee.
  • Women in International Trade, Los Angeles and Orange County Chapters
  • Past Chair and Past Vice Chair, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Customs Law Committee
  • Former member of Sub-Committee, Homeland Security’s Departmental Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of Customs & Border Protection dealing with the Container Security Initiative and C-TPAT
  • Former member, U.S. Treasury Department’s COAC Sub-Committee on Border Security
  • Former member, the NAFTA Advisory Committee on Private Commercial Disputes and Customs, and U.S. NAFTA Advisory Committee
  • Former member of Sub-Committee formed by Homeland Security’s Departmental Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of Customs & Border Protection addressing 10 + 2/Importer Security Filing issues



Client Alerts

Events & Speaking Engagements


  • California
  • U.S. Court of International Trade
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


Southwestern Law School, J.D., 1977

University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., 1967

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