- The Washington Times - Monday, April 21, 2003

Signing on with Collier Shannon Scott, a Washington law firm, has given Deane "Dee" Anne Johnson a chance to practice in an arena most lawyers avoid: international trade and customs laws.
Ms. Johnson, 55, has spent her career advising corporations on ever-changing import and export regulations.
"A lot of attorneys see trade laws as arcane and boring, but really it's a growing field that's anything but static," she says.
At Collier, she serves as counsel in the firm's international trade and customs practice, advising corporations on improving their customs strategies.
Her work focuses on making sure companies follow import rules for products such as chemical compounds and minerals.
"My main goal is to have companies implement a customs strategy that not only complies with regulations in an efficient manner, but manipulates those rules to help the company save money and manpower," she says.
The challenge in the industry is keeping up with the scope of regulations, especially major security modifications since the September 11 attacks.
"The regulations can be overwhelming," Ms. Johnson says. "Laws that have been on the books for a long time now are being enforced more so than in the past."
The move to the firm from a corporate position where she advised Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., an international pharmaceutical company, is a rare switch in the legal field, says Michael Sherman, Collier partner in the trade practice who pushed for Ms. Johnson's hiring.
Ms. Johnson started her career as a staff lawyer at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she later developed a customs and trade office for the company and its subsidiaries.
But after 25 years of in-house counseling, Ms. Johnson says, she wanted to diversify her clientele. "I was taking on a lot more responsibilities that kept me from focusing on customs law and I wanted to not be wed to one group."
For the past two years, Ms. Johnson has worked as an independent consultant in Princeton, N.J. But she missed working with a legal team and jumped at the chance to work at Collier.
"The firm has more resources and colleagues while still having a very midsize, personable feel to it," she says.
Mr. Sherman says Ms. Johnson's internal experience with corporate operations will help the firm market its trade practice to companies.
"Dee's in-house experience will really help clients on complying with rules they might not be aware of in addition to producing cost-effective measures," Mr. Sherman says.
Ms. Johnson is moving to Takoma Park.


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