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Melissa Burgess, a Senior Associate in the International department, advises clients on economic sanctions, export controls, and Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reviews. She has significant experience addressing related national security, government contracts, and foreign ownership and control compliance matters. 

Ms. Burgess has counseled a wide array of clients, including major defense contractors and financial technology (fintech) startups, supporting endeavors ranging from manufacturing weapons systems to providing cloud services. Her experience encompasses the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and firearms and explosives import, export, and manufacturing regulations, as well as nuclear/atomic energy export controls. Ms. Burgess also advises on sanctions, compliance with national security restrictions on telecommunications and video surveillance equipment and services, and on anti-corruption and anti-forced labor laws. She helps clients create, overhaul, and implement compliance programs, provides strategic assistance troubleshooting interconnected supply chain, sales, and compliance efforts, and conducts due diligence and obtains regulatory approvals required for investments and acquisitions.

Ms. Burgess advocates before many regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Department of State's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry Security (BIS), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). She has helped clients obtain authorizations for arms brokering, cross-border manufacturing, and imports/exports involving high risk and embargoed countries, respond to regulatory inquiries, inspections, and investigations, and resolve voluntary and directed disclosures.

Ms. Burgess received her J.D. from the George Mason University School of Law where she focused on homeland and national security law.

Representative Engagements
  • Advised U.S. aerospace manufacturer on potential import, export, and ATF compliance risks related to a foreign military transaction 
  • Successfully obtained retransfer consent and related licenses for a Department of Defense (DoD) security contractor to reimport its inventory into the U.S. from an embargoed country
  • Supported internal investigation of potential violations of North Korea sanctions and disclosure process for non-profit U.S. scientific organization with worldwide operations
  • Represented an ad hoc coalition of major defense contractors in negotiations involving conflicting ATF regulatory and DoD contract fulfillment requirements 
  • Provided strategic CFIUS guidance to company entering a multi-billion-dollar joint venture (JV) with foreign partners
  • Led response to a DOJ inspection under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for the U.S. subsidiary of a multi-national publishing company
  • Guided U.S. weapons system manufacturer and separate U.S. training company through permanent imports to Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) and ongoing FTZ compliance matters
Rankings and Recognition
  • Best Lawyers in America®: Banking and Finance Law (Ones to Watch), 2024 
  • Best Lawyers in America®: Communications Law (Ones to Watch), 2023 - 2024
  • DC Bar Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2022
  • Volunteer, United Service Organizations (USO) Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, 2013 - 2021
  • Member, Association of Women in International Trade
State Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
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