• LL.B.
    New York University School of Law
  • B.A.
    Hobart College
    cum laude

Richard Abbey has long been one of the leading customs lawyers in the country.  His practice involves the many U.S. laws that regulate the import and export of goods, most of which are administered and enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Mr. Abbey’s qualifications are unique.  Before entering the private practice of law 24 years ago, he had a 19-year legal career with Customs, the last six as Chief Counsel of the agency, during which time he was responsible for advising Customs management and the General Counsel of the Treasury Department on diverse legal issues and litigation involving technical classification, valuation, and country of origin; customs criminal and civil fraud cases; drug interdiction and money laundering; and internal administrative matters.

Since 9/11, Mr. Abbey has focused his practice on representing clients that are the subject of Customs’ criminal and civil enforcement actions, including intellectual property and export enforcement; supply chain security, participation in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), and 10+2 requirements; regulatory audits and the importer self-assessment program; and classification, valuation, rules of origin, and country of origin marking.  He also provides counsel to clients on customs compliance, tariff avoidance techniques, particularly the application for and use of foreign trade zones, and general customs planning, a reflection of the duty-savings opportunities and pitfalls resulting from the many new free trade agreements into which the U.S. has entered during the last 15 years.

His practice involves laws administered by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of State, the International Trade Commission (ITC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

  • Chief Counsel, U.S. Customs Service, 1979 - 1985
  • Deputy Chief Counsel, U.S. Customs Service, 1977 - 1978
  • Assistant Chief Counsel, U.S. Customs Service, 1972 - 1976
  • Who's Who Legal:  Trade and Customs
  • The Guide to World's Best International Trade Lawyers
  • Co-Chair, Import Programs and Informed Compliance Committee, Joint Industry Group
  • Former Chair, Program Committee, Court of International Trade Judicial Conference
Bar Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • New York
Court Admissions
  • United States Court of International Trade
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Speaking Engagement

American Conference Institute’s inaugural U.S. Customs Compliance Boot Camp is a practical, two-day course that will take attendees through the ins and outs of complex U.S.

Washington, DC