Melissa L. Duffy


Melissa L. Duffy


Washington, D.C. | 1900 K Street, NW, Washington, DC, United States of America 20006-1110
+1 202 261 3388 | +1 202 261 3333


Melissa Duffy focuses her practice on a broad range of international trade matters, including export controls, OFAC sanctions, regulation of emerging technologies, digital trade controls, CFIUS, tariffs, trade remedies, and national security issues involving several U.S. agencies, both civil and criminal. Ms. Duffy advises multinational companies across a wide range of sectors, including technology, financial, manufacturing, consumer goods, and energy. She counsels clients on day-to-day compliance operations, and she advocates daily before the U.S. government, in coordinating meetings for clients with regulators, drafting requests for regulatory guidance, preparing export and sanctions license requests, advising on rulemakings, preparing commodity classification and jurisdiction requests, counseling on tariff strategies, advocacy in trade remedies proceedings involving antidumping and countervailing duty matters, and investigating and preparing complex voluntary disclosures.

Ms. Duffy has extensive knowledge of the high-technology sector, having built deep relationships with clients in the computer, telecom, satellite, semiconductor, network infrastructure, cybersecurity and encryption, software, autonomous vehicle, sensor, and artificial intelligence industries. She began her legal career in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of the General Counsel, where she discovered her enthusiasm for talking with engineers. Ms. Duffy presently is working on a major project to edit a comprehensive survey of global trade controls on information and communications technology, to be published by World Export Control Review (WorldECR). She also is scheduled to chair the American Conference Institute (ACI) 12th Annual Advanced Forum on International Technology Transfers in June 2020, and she is scheduled to speak at the ACI 10th Annual Advanced Forum on Global Encryption, Cloud, and Cyber Exports Controls in September 2020.

Ms. Duffy is highly regarded in her area of practice, presenting and publishing regularly on international trade and technology regulations. She has been consistently recognized by The Legal 500 and was appointed to Law360's International Trade Editorial Advisory Board. She has given presentations at numerous conferences and webinars held by the International Bar Association, the American Conference Institute, Bloomberg, the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), and a Silicon Valley private equity general counsel forum. Ms. Duffy has given live interviews for BBC World News and the Associated Press, and has been quoted several times in the Washington Post and other mainstream media outlets, provided commentary for Law360, and authored articles for WorldECR, Buttersworth Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, The Export Practitioner and International Government Contractor.

In recognition of her significant work on pro bono matters, Ms. Duffy has made the Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll numerous times, an initiative sponsored by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. She focuses her pro bono work on the representation of arts organizations and other nonprofit entities in Washington, D.C.

  • Counseling a major automotive manufacturer on trade controls applicable to its autonomous vehicle program, including its use of artificial intelligence, sensors, navigation technology, and advanced data analytics.
  • Advising a leading U.S. developer of advanced semiconductor technology, materials, and chips on all aspects of international trade compliance.
  • Advising a U.S.-based semiconductor services company on U.S. trade controls applicable to its overseas operations.
  • Advising a U.S.-based network security company that produces firewalls, other network appliances, and advanced security software, on all aspects of trade compliance, including encryption classification, reporting and licensing requirements, technology transfers, TAA compliance for federal procurement, and national security regulations.
  • Representing a network infrastructure company on encryption regulations, TAA compliance for federal procurement, strategies for mitigating the impact of Section 301 China tariffs, and sanctions compliance.
  • Counseling a global software development company on the build-out of an enhanced trade compliance program following a merger that doubled the company’s size.
  • Advising a major global services provider on its deployment of cloud-hosted software-as-a-service including advice on screening protocols, sanctions compliance, technology transfer rules, and export controls.
  • Perform complex encryption control assessments for a global computer manufacturer.
  • Seconded to work as in-house counsel for four months at an international satellite services company; drafted an export compliance manual and forms; provided in-house training; performed encryption analysis and export control classifications on products and components; and implemented new procedures.
  • Conducted a wide-scale internal investigation for a global distributor of high-tech products, covering sanctions compliance and export controls involving their China operations, leading to the preparation and submission of voluntary disclosures before the Commerce and Treasury Departments.
  • Conducted a year-long trade compliance investigation for a global consumer technology company, involving a Commerce Department subpoena and a federal criminal inquiry, concerning the company's Middle East distributors and sanctions compliance.
  • Advised a global manufacturer of advanced materials on the export control strategy for its entire U.S. product line, including preparation of commodity jurisdiction and classification requests, submission of public comments in response to rulemakings, leading meetings with senior government officials and company management, and successfully achieving decontrol of materials used in satellite solar panels.
  •  Advised a global video game developer on sanctions and export compliance issues relating to its distribution of cloud-hosted software applications.
  • Advised an EU-based gases and engineering company on its U.S. sanctions compliance strategy in connection with a merger with a U.S.-based company.
  • Counseled multinational companies with operations and investments in Russia on compliance with new sanctions laws and contingency planning for potential escalation in sanctions.
  • Participated in week-long trip to Cuba with a group of U.S. sanctions practitioners to meet with Cuban government officials and representatives from local industry regarding sanctions-compliant opportunities for U.S. persons in Cuba (February 2016).
  •  Developed global compliance manuals for a foreign bank relating to sanctions, anti-money laundering and diamond trafficking.
  •  Advised a U.S. bank on Russia sanctions compliance and due diligence into Russian affiliated investors relating to a major infrastructure finance project.
  • Counseled an EU-based bank on compliance with U.S. sanctions and anti-money laundering laws in relation to certain investment activities disclosed in the Panama Papers matter.
  • Advised a U.S. bank, for purposes of a financing agreement, on compliance with the “temporary sojourn” license exception applicable to U.S. origin aircraft.
  • Provided U.S. compliance analysis to a foreign bank regarding sanctions against North Korea, in the context of a trust established to collect defaulted syndicated loans.
  • Advised a major foreign oil and gas company on compliance with U.S. laws applicable to an ongoing project in Russia that became subject to sectoral sanctions.
  • Represented clients in parallel criminal and civil export control investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Commerce, including resolution of criminal cases through the sentencing phase.
  • Prepared a white paper for circulation within the White House and senior levels of administrative agencies on behalf of clients, relating to military electronics and export control reform; resulted in an overhaul of the relevant Commerce Department regulation.

Pro Bono Matters

  • Provided legal advice to nonprofit organizations on a range of topics, including revision of corporate bylaws, intellectual property issues, personnel matters, and reviewing or drafting of lease agreements and other contracts.
  • Represented an individual and his family in a political asylum immigration proceeding, resulting in green cards issued to the family.

Includes matters prior to joining Dechert.

  • Principia College, B.A., 2000, with Honors
  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 2004, cum laude, Managing Editor - Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Georgetown Barristers' Council Best Oral Advocate 2003-2004
  • District of Columbia
  • New York
  • United States Court of International Trade
External Articles
  • "Department of Justice Revises Policy on Voluntary Self-Disclosures of Sanctions and Export Violations," ABA Criminal Justice Section’s The State of Criminal Justice 2020 (July 2020).
  • "Compliance masterclass: Mapping your company’s export-controlled technology," World Export Compliance Manager 4 (2020).
  • "Beyond Brexit: navigating the US-UK trade partnership in uncertain times," World Export Compliance Review (WorldECR) Journal, 89 (2020).
Speaking Engagements
  • The Latest on Sanctions: Enforcement Actions and Emerging Trends — ACAMS 19th Annual AML & Anti-Financial Crime Conference (Oct.1, 2020)
  • CNAS Virtual Panel Discussion on Recent Additions to the Entity List and Their Imblications — Center for a New American Security (CNAS) (Septermber 29, 2020) 
  • 10th Advanced Forum on Global Encryption, Cloud & Cyber Export Controls — American Conference Institute, Webinar (Septermber 10-11, 2020) 
  • ACAMS Hong Kong/China Developments Virtual Roundtable — ACAMS, Webinar (August 14, 2020) 
  • From NAFTA to USMCA: A Discussion on Key Changes to Trade and Investment  Dechert LLP, Webinar (July 29, 2020) View the webinar here.
  • 12th Advanced Export Controls Forum on International Technology Transfers— American Conference Institute, Conference Chair (June 12, 2020) 
  • New U.S. Export Restrictions for Russia: Confronting the Intersection between Military and Civilian Customers — American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, Webinar (May 14, 2020)
  • European Forum on US Export Controls  C5, Brussles, Belgium (November 19, 2019)
  • Private Funds Nuts and Bolts Webinar- Update: Trade War with China and Emerging Technology Export Controls — Dechert LLP, Webinar (August 14, 2019) View the webinar here.
  • New Legislation: The ECRA of 2018 & the NDAA of 2019 - Global Implications for Export Controls Restrictions and New Compliance Expectations — 11th Industry Forum on International Technology Transfers, Cloud Computing & Deemed Export Compliance, Washington, D.C. (February 6, 2019)
  • Managing the Practical Impact of Re-Classification on Your Supply Chain—How to Identify and Resolve EAR Risks Posed by Third Party Relationships — ITAR and EAR Boot Camp, Chicago (June 5-6, 2018)
  • How Exporters are Managing De-Controlled Encryption Products, the Internet of Things, and the Interplay with Foreign Requirements — 8th Advanced Industry Forum on Global Encryption, Cloud & Cyber Export Controls, San Francisco (March 27, 2018)
  • Investing in Asia Conference — International Bar Association, New York (December 7, 2017)
  • Iran and Russia: Future Proofing Your Sanctions and Export Compliance Programs — Compliance Week, Washington, D.C. (November 7, 2017)
  • Cloud Computing and Your Business — 10th Industry Forum on International Technology Transfers, Cloud Computing & Deemed Export Compliance, Washington, D.C. (October 16, 2017)
  • Export Control Reform – Unfinished Business — The Knowledge Group, Washington, D.C. (September 19, 2017)