We help clients on supply chain and distribution contracting, compliance and disputes across the globe. We work with clients to execute their strategies, navigate regulatory environments and protect financial and reputational interests in supply and distribution relationships for goods, services, data and technology.
Our legal services allow our clients to advance these goals:
Strengthen Supplier and Distributor Relationships
We help clients to negotiate contracts with critical suppliers and distributors and to develop tools and templates for supply chain and distribution contracts more generally. In doing so, we secure enforceable commitments for appropriate levels of delivery, performance and payment and allocations of risk that fit the parties and align incentives. Our contracts focus on supporting flexible, innovative, collaborative relationships that drive business value. In addition, we recognize the importance of the working relationships and help clients to govern those relationships in ways that support superior performance.
Mitigate the Risk of Financially Challenged Suppliers and Distributors
We work with clients to provide financial support to their suppliers and distributors through supply chain finance and distribution finance arrangements. In these deals, we help our large-company clients to arrange programs that improve cash flow for their suppliers and distributors while complying with applicable regulations and supporting a favorable accounting treatment. In addition, we advise on a variety of restructuring, bankruptcy, and insolvency (RBI) laws in multiple jurisdictions and how to achieve successful resolution wherever the issue or problem has arisen.
Address Potential and Actual Disputes
We help clients address disputes with supply chain and distribution partners, such as disputes over contractual performance obligations, product supply disruption, warranty claims, product recalls, indemnification and misappropriation of intellectual property rights. We represent manufacturers in disputes with distributors or franchisees related to unfair competition, tortious interference with business relations, and gray market goods claims. We help clients review how performance can be monitored and measured to identify emerging disputes at an early stage, when there is a better prospect of achieving a commercial resolution and avoiding costly litigation. Where necessary, we have the experience and expertise to aggressively pursue disputes with supply chain and distribution partners through final resolution, including arbitration or trial.
Prepare for Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) Needs
We help clients to secure contractual commitments for BC/DR preparation from suppliers and distributors, including commitments to provide specified BC/DR services under a plan approved by our client and test those plans at specified intervals. We also advise clients on developing and testing their own BC/DR plans, including considering the relevant contractual, regulatory and other legal perspectives, and help to address questions of whether force majeure and related excuses apply. We are particularly well known for our work on BC/DR for high-impact data security events, including table-top exercises for lawyers and executives.
Anticipate and Address Customs, Tariffs and Other Trade Regulations
We help clients integrate immediate and long-term perspectives on international trade compliance, as well as offer guidance on the interplay among laws that regulate international business. We also advise on border measures that are regulated by customs authorities and product regulatory bodies around the world, and we handle audits and assessments in a wide range of industries. We advise in connection with seizures, protests, classification rulings, customs valuation issues, rules of origin, marketing, labeling, and import and export clearance. We also monitor events taking place at the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization in order to advise clients on matters that may substantially impact their global operations.
Address Compliance Risks and Advance CSR/ESG Goals
We help clients to apply a holistic approach to compliance risk including proactive (“horizon scanning”) risk assessment and planning, preventative measures, and internal investigations and litigation defense in response to adverse events. For example, we help clients to reduce the risk of liability or reputational damage from noncompliance by suppliers or distributors with cybersecurity and privacy laws, health and safety laws, product and service standards, anti-bribery-and-corruption (ABC) laws, and anti-money-laundering (AML) laws. We also assist with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), including in sustainability and climate change, plastics and pollution, human rights, modern slavery, and ethics. We help clients achieve these goals efficiently and consistently across businesses and geographies with our Map, Align, Leverage, Simplify and Integrate approach.
Optimize Tax Efficiency
We help clients optimize the tax efficiencies in their global supply chain and distribution structures. We regularly design and implement principal and limited risk distribution models, we help clients optimize contract manufacturing solutions and we plan and implement structures for tax efficient ownership and exploitation of intellectual property. Our work includes drafting relevant agreements, analyzing and documenting the transfer pricing issues associated with the structure and managing the value added, goods and services and other indirect tax implications.
Protect Intellectual Property Rights
We help clients to identify, maintain, enhance and protect their intellectual property and brand assets in working with suppliers and distributors, including through licensing arrangements, restrictive covenants, non-competes and non-disclosure agreements. In the event of misappropriation or misuse, we help clients to act quickly and aggressively to limit any harm and reassert control over their IP assets, including data rights. We represent clients in claims arising from supply chain and distribution arrangements, including patent, trademark and copyright infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, trade secret misappropriation and IP-related antitrust violations.
Comply with Antitrust & Competition Laws
We help clients comply with antitrust and competition laws that govern distribution restrictions, price discrimination, resale price maintenance and franchising. We assist clients to develop and implement antitrust compliance programs, including drafting policies and conducting training programs that help educate client employees regarding business conduct that conforms to the law in our clients' many geographic locations. We also help our clients in antitrust and competition litigation in Asian, European and North American national courts and regulatory agencies.
Leverage AI, Platforms and Other Technology to Innovate and Adapt
We help clients in the digital transformation of supply chain and distribution. This work includes representing clients in negotiation with technology companies for AI, robotics, smart devices, autonomous vehicles, ERP and other core systems modernization, SaaS procurement and distribution platforms, and predictive analytics. We also guide clients around legal and regulatory pitfalls in areas such as AI bias, model risk management, and data rights.
Mayer Brown delivers extremely high and uncompromising standards of quality across a variety of transactional and adversarial disciplines most relevant to supply-chain participants, and our lawyers have been repeatedly recognized as leaders in their respective areas of practice by publications such as Chambers & Partners, National Law Journal, Law360 and Legal 500.
Law360 Firm of the Year
No other law firm has earned this recognition for four straight years (2016-2019). The firm earned this honor by prevailing in eight categories in the publication’s “Practice Groups of the Year” series: Appellate, Banking, Benefits, Consumer Protection, Environmental, Project Finance, Securitizations and Tax.
Law360 “Global 20”
9th consecutive year recognized as a top 20 global law firm “trusted by clients to handle their most challenging cross-border matters, from multibillion-dollar mergers to bet-the-company litigation.
FT Innovative Lawyers Asia Pacific
Most Innovative Dispute Resolution Firm and among top 10 “Most Innovative Law Firms (2019).”
10th consecutive year ranked among the most innovative North American law firms in its 2019 report.
Antitrust & Competition
Global Competition Review
GCR 100 Rankings as a “Global Elite” Antitrust practice (2020)
Band 1 Illinois – Antitrust
US News/Best Lawyers
Tier 1 Antitrust practice in National, Chicago and Washington, DC rankings
Band 1 Capital Markets: Securitization Nationwide (2008-2019).
Legal 500 USA
Tier 1 Structured Finance (2011-2018).
Legal 500 UK
Tier 1 Asset-based lending (2015-2020)
Ranked as one of the top 9 International Trade firms globally (2020).
Ranked as one of the top 20 International Trade firms in the United States in International Trade: Trade Remedies & Trade Policy.
Legal 500 USA
Ranked Tier 2 in the International Trade category
Legal 500 EMEA
Ranked Tier 1 in Belgium > Customs, Trade, WTO and Anti-Dumping category
World Trademark Review 1000
Recognized as a leading international firm (2020).
Intellectual Property Group of the Year (2017).
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
The BTI Consulting Group
“Litigation Powerhouse and Standout” firm in its “BTI Litigation Outlook 2020” report.
“Litigation Department of the Year” finalist, based on the strength of two years of headline making victories in a variety of venues, besting over 60 prominent firms in the process.
The National Law Journal
Over the last five years, 16 Mayer Brown lawyers have been recognized as litigation “Trailblazers”
Global Arbitration Review (GAR)
Recognized for the 5th consecutive year as a leading International Arbitration practice in Global Arbitration Review’s GAR 100 (2015-2019).
Named 2019 Tax Group of the Year by Law360.
Legal 500 USA
Tier 1 in the four major categories for Tax including: Contentious, Non-Contentious, Financial Products and International Tax (20120).
Consistently ranked for Tax by Chambers USA including in Band 1 for Tax Controversy for 13 consecutive years.
International Tax Review
“North America Tax Disputes Firm of the Year”, “US Tax Court Firm of the Year” and “US Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year” in 2019. This marks the second consecutive year that the firm has won the “North America Tax Disputes Firm of the Year” award.
International Association of Outsourcing Professionals “Global Outsourcing 100”
10th consecutive year ranked as one of the top law firms on The World's Best Outsourcing Advisors list (2009-2019).
Asian Legal Business Hong Kong Law Awards
TMT Law Firm of the Year (Hong Kong, 2018-2019).
Band 1 in IT/Outsourcing Nationwide for 16 consecutive years (2004-2019).
The Legal 500 US
Tier 1 Ranking in Outsourcing/Information Technology (2008-2018).
China Law & Practice Awards
TMT Law Firm of the Year (International) (2019)