Robert B. Silverman is a founding member and heads the Firm’s litigation group. He has been counsel in over 125 decisions issued by the U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and a number of U.S. District Courts. These court actions have involved a wide array of customs issues including tariff classification, customs valuation, country of origin determinations, exclusions based on claims of forced labor, recordkeeping penalty cases, and section 1592 civil penalty cases. In addition to these court decisions, Mr. Silverman has stipulated or negotiated a large number of cases with the U.S. Department of Justice thereby avoiding judicial involvement. Mr. Silverman was lead counsel in the landmark case Trimil SA vs. United States (2017) which overturned Customs’ position on the dutiability of related party royalties.
Mr. Silverman is also regarded as one of the foremost footwear classification experts in the United States and has been involved in all major footwear controversies affecting imports for over 30 years. These issues have included development of the foxing guidelines, unisex footwear standards, and standards for classifying plastic coated leather upper footwear, and footwear where outer soles use textile components.
Mr. Silverman routinely assists clients across a wide variety of industries in structuring import transactions to minimize customs duties, ensure regulatory compliance and eliminate penalty exposure. He represents companies during audits involving classification, valuation and eligibility under Free Trade Agreements such as USMCA, CAFTA, AGOA, GSP, etc. He also advises clients in connection with Customs investigations, Qui Tam claims, seizures, exclusions, penalty and liquidated damages assessments.
Prior to entering into private practice, Mr. Silverman served as a trial attorney in the Customs Section of the Civil Division of the US Department of Justice where he represented U.S. Customs in proceedings before the U.S. Customs Court, Federal District Courts, and the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals.
Mr. Silverman’s experience includes serving as a Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Customs Section from 1972 to 1976. He is the author of “Double Jeopardy Provisions of New York Criminal Procedure Law-Variations on a Federal Theme,” Brooklyn Law Review (1972), “Impeachment of Credibility by Previous Convictions – U.S. v. Follette,” Copyright Brooklyn Law Review (1972), “An Analysis of the Customs Regulations Regarding Custom Brokers,” Copyright (1987) and various articles on customs issues in a variety of trade periodicals.
Compliance Assessments and Customs Audits
Country of Origin and Marking
Cultural Property Laws
Customs Broker Regulation
Due Diligence and Acquisitions
Legislation and Trade Policy Decisions
Penalties, Seizures and Investigations
Quotas and Import Restrictions
Special Duty Programs
Supply Chain Security
United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)