Executive Committee

Hon. James J. Blanchard, U.S. Co-Chair

Governor James Blanchard joined DLA Piper upon the conclusion of his duties as United States ambassador to Canada in April 1996. In recognition of his outstanding performance as ambassador, Secretary of State Warren Christopher presented Governor Blanchard with the Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service in a ceremony at the Department of State, making him one of only a handful of ambassadors to receive this prestigious award.

Mr. Blanchard was named ambassador to Canada in May 1993, after serving two terms as governor of Michigan (1983-1991) and four terms as a member of the United States Congress (1975-1983). In 1992, he chaired President Bill Clinton's successful campaign in Michigan. Governor Blanchard is also former chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and the National Democratic Platform Committee, as well as a former member of the National Governors Association's executive committee.

During his tenure as ambassador, Mr. Blanchard managed a broad range of trade, natural resources, environmental and national security issues between the United States and Canada, providing support critical to the passage of both NAFTA and the Open Skies Agreement. Commenting on Mr. Blanchard's role in the Open Skies Agreement, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chreacute;tien said, "Tomorrow, we will show the world that even the sky is not the limit for our relationship as we sign an open skies agreement. It will enhance what is already the largest bilateral air relationship in the world. Ambassador Blanchard has played a key role in these negotiations, and he has done a fantastic job here in Ottawa. I want to take this opportunity to salute him."

James S. Peterson, P.C., Canadian Co-Chair

Jim Peterson, a former federal Minister and Secretary of State, is Counsel at Fasken Martineau.

Jim has extensive knowledge and first-hand experience in government affairs, having served in the Government of Canada as Minister of International Trade, Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions), and Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.

As a former Minister of International Trade between 2003 and 2006, Jim has expertise in trade policy and experience in trade disputes. While Minister, he represented Canada at the World Trade Organization's Doha round of negotiations which focused on expanding trade and investment in leading emerging markets including Brazil, Russia, India and China, and dealt with complex issues related to trade with Canada's NAFTA partners, the European Union, the Middle East and the Americas.

As Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions) from 1997 to 2002, Jim was instrumental in piloting significant financial institution reforms through Parliament including legislation permitting foreign bank branching and aligning Canada with international standards in the fight against money laundering and terrorism. He handled the insurance industry demutualization file. Working with caucus and stakeholders, Jim approved major financial institution mergers including BNS-National Trust, Great West Life-London Life, Clarica-Met Life and TD-Canada Trust.

As Chair of the House of Commons Finance Committee between 1993 and 1997, he began the practice of public pre-budget hearings and completed a number of major studies including a review of Canada's value added tax (the GST).

Chios C. Carmody, Canadian National Director

Chi Carmody is Associate Professor and Canadian Director of the Canada-United States Law Institute at the University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law in London, Ontario.

Professor Carmody received his Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B.) from the University of Ottawa in 1992, his Master of Laws degree (LL.M.) from the University of Michigan in 1997, and his Doctorate of Laws degree (S.J.D.) from Georgetown University Law Center in 2001.

He currently teaches courses in Public International Law, International Organizations, International Trade Law and International Business Transactions. He has been Canadian National Director of the Canada-United States Law Institute since 2001.

Michael Scharf, U.S. National Director

Michael Scharf is the John Deaver Drinko - Baker and Hostetler Professor of Law and the Associate Dean for Global Legal Studies, with supervisory responsibility over the international law centers, institutes, and programs at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Scharf is also the host of "Talking Foreign Policy," a radio program broadcast on WCPN 90.3 FM (Cleveland's NPR station). In addition, he serves as President of the International Criminal Law Network and Managing Director of the Public International Law and Policy Group, a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated NGO. During a sabbatical in 2008, Scharf served as Special Assistant to the Prosecutor of the Cambodia Genocide Tribunal. During the elder Bush and Clinton Administrations, Scharf served in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State, where he held the positions of Attorney-Adviser for Law Enforcement and Intelligence, Attorney-Adviser for United Nations Affairs, and delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. A graduate of Duke University School of Law (Order of the Coif and High Honors), and judicial clerk to Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat on the Eleventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, Scharf is the author of over seventy scholarly articles and fourteen books, including "The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda" which was awarded the American Society of International Law's Certificate of Merit for outstanding book in 1999, and "Enemy of the State: The Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein," which won the International Association of Penal Law's book of the year award for 2009. His latest book is "Shaping Foreign Policy in Times of Crisis: The Role of International Law and the State Department Legal Adviser" (Cambridge University Press, 2010). A past recipient of the Case Western Reserve University School of Law Alumni Association's "Distinguished Teacher Award" and Ohio Magazine's "Excellence in Education Award," Scharf teaches International Law, International Criminal Law, the Law of International Organizations, and the War Crimes Research Lab.
Richard O. Cunningham
Richard Cunningham is senior international trade partner in the Washington office of Steptoe and Johnson LLP, where he is a member of the International Department. In addition to litigating cases under the US import relief laws, Mr. Cunningham is active in representing clients with respect to US Government trade policy issues, in negotiating private and governmental agreements to resolve market-access problems and other international trade issues, and in helping clients develop international strategies that take advantage of the trade laws and policies of the United States and foreign governments. Mr. Cunningham is supported in his international trade work by Steptoe's team of trade law attorneys-one of the largest of any US law firm-comprising 35 attorneys and other professionals. The group also draws as needed from the skills of attorneys inSteptoe's other practice areas.

 Laura Dawson

Laura Dawson, PhD is the President of Dawson Strategic and provides advice to business on cross-border trade, market access and regulatory issues. Previously, she served as senior advisor on US-Canada economic affairs at the US Embassy in Ottawa

Laura has more than fifteen years’ experience providing advice to government officials on trade and economic issues in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Russia and CIS, and China.

Diane Francis

Diane Francis was born in Chicago, USA and attended school in Skokie, Illinois. She married one year after finishing high school then, at age 19, immigrated with her husband to Toronto Canada. She is a dual citizen and lives/works in both countries.

They launched a commercial art studio, invested in other businesses and real estate then had two children. Diane stayed at home for six years and became a political activist in her community of Mississauga Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. She decided, after helping two friends’ win local elections, that the most effective means of bringing about needed change in society belonged to the media, not to the political office holders. So she took a part-time course at a community college on feature writing. Weeks later, her professor obtained an internship for her at a small daily newspaper, the Brampton Daily Times, and she was immediately offered a full-time job.

From there, she became a freelance newspaper and magazine writer for many publications. She became Contributing Editor of Canadian Business Magazine and a columnist with Quest Magazine. In 1981, she joined The Toronto Star as a business writer, became a white collar crime specialist then columnist. This led to regular commentaries on CBC and CFRB. In 1987, she joined Maclean’s, the Toronto Sun chain and the Financial Post as a columnist and in 1988 she became a Director of the Financial Post then in 1991 its Editor until it was sold in 1998 (and became the National Post).

Diane’s first book was published in 1986 and she has written nine more. But has been a regular radio and television commentator for years on CBC, CTV, local radio stations and various U.S. broadcast outlets. She has appeared in several documentaries, mostly about white collar crime, for ABC’s 20-20, CBC, Global TV and various independent producers, most recently the Halcyon documentary about Bernie Madoff. She has also, for many years, been one of Canada’s busiest and most highly paid speakers, addressing hundreds of groups and individuals about trends, business, geopolitics, politics, trade, immigration and markets.

Diane was the first female to become editor of a national daily newspaper in Canada, founded the Canadian Women Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and in 2007 became the first working journalist to sit on a public company board of directors.

She has also become involved on various charitable, educational, scientific, healthcare and corporate boards. She was the Executive in Residence at Queen’s University School of Business in 2002 and has been Visiting Professor at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management since 2008. Her other directorships include the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce since 1989, Aurizon Mines Ltd. since 2007 (taken over in 2013), Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 2008, the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences from 2010 to 2013, Ryerson University Cabinet since 2011, George Brown College Foundation, from 1997 to 2004, Care Canada from 1997 to 2006, York University East-West Exchange from 1992 to 2004 and the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry from 1987 to 1994.

She has received many writing awards: the Western Ontario Newspaper Award for environmental writing in 1976, and the National Journalism Award for energy writing in 1984, 1985 and 1987. She received the National Newspaper Award for business writing in 1982. She won the Edward Dunlop Award of Excellence in 1990 and was awarded the Journalist of the Year by the Ukrainian-Canadian Congress in 1994. She was also named Chatelaine Magazine’s Woman of the Year in 1992; won the National Citizens Coalition Freedom Award in 1995 and Woman of Achievement, Canadian Hadassah-Wizo in 1996. She has received honorary doctorates from St. Mary’s University, Niagara University, Sheridan College, and in 2013, Ryerson University.

She now divides her time between Toronto and Manhattan.

Lawrence L. Herman

Lawrence (Larry) Hermanis a graduate of the University of Toronto Law Faculty (1969).

He served in the Canadian Foreign Service in the 1970's in a variety of posts, at the United Nations in Geneva and in Ottawa, representing Canada in numerous international conferences and meetings, including the GATT, OECD and the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea. Prior leaving the External Affairs Department in 1980, Larry was the head of the Department's Economic and Treaty Law Section in the Legal Bureau.

In private law practice, Larry appeared on behalf of Canada in the International Court of Justice in theGulf of Maineboundary case in 1984.

Larry concentrates oninternational tradeandinternational businesstransactions. He has acted for private sector clients, governments and international agencies, dealing particularly with the GATT/WTO, FTA and NAFTA and appears as counsel before dispute-resolution bodies under the NAFTA, as well as before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, the courts and Parliamentary committees. He was a member of the Market Access Advisory Group (MAAG) of the Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade Department, advising on business issues in WTO trade negotiations.


Ross Hornby

  Mr. Hornby is responsible for GE Canada's engagement on public policy issues with governments and seeks to promote growth of the company's business in Canada and around the world.

Ross joined GE in mid-2011 after a distinguished career in the Public Service of Canada. From 2006-2011 he served as Canada's Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels. One of his achievements was the launching of free trade negotiations with the European Union. Prior to that, he was Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy, at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, where played the leading role in the International Policy Review. Previously, he was Assistant Secretary, Treasury Board Secretariat, and Senior General Counsel with the Department of Justice.

Ross has a BA (Hons) from the University of British Columbia, a MA from the University of Toronto, and a LL.B from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. He is a Member of the Ontario Bar.
R. Richard Newcomb

R. Richard Newcombis a partner based in Washington DC where he is chair of the International Trade practice group. He comes to DLA Piper from Baker Donelson, where he chaired the International group.

Mr. Newcomb has had considerable international experience dealing with target governments, front-line states, like-minded allies, multilateral organizations (the United Nations, the European Union and others), financial and business communities worldwide and others who are responsible for compliance with asset controls and economic sanctions and embargo programs. He is adept at handling regulatory procedures relating to international transactions, including navigating the requirements of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the Bank Secrecy Act (and anti-money laundering laws), Export Administration Act, Anti-Boycott compliance, US Customs law and the relevant portions of the Patriot Act.

From 1987 to 2004, Mr. Newcomb served as director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Treasury Department. Throughout his tenure, Mr. Newcomb oversaw the administration and enforcement of 39 economic sanctions programs in furtherance of US foreign policy and national security goals. His leadership guided the agency through many of the major foreign policy challenges the nation has experienced in the past two decades, from the advent of multilateral sanctions against Iraq in 1990 - coupled with a protective blocking of approximately $50 billion in Kuwaiti assets - to the transformation of the agency after the attacks of September 11, 2001, to track and disrupt terrorist organizations and their financing networks.

Stephen Petras, Jr.
Stephen J. Petras Jr. is an international business lawyer with extensive experience counseling clients on domestic as well as foreign legal issues related to international business transactions. He is the head of BakerHostetler's International Industry Team.

Mr. Petras practices in the business and corporate areas with special emphasis on international business transactions. Mr. Petras began his career in international law in 1978 when he worked in the legal department of a large multinational corporation at its headquarters in Helsinki, Finland, concentrating on European community law relating to contracts, technology licensing and competition policies.

Mr. Petras has acted as counsel in numerous significant transactions, including international/global structuring of business operations for manufacturing, high-tech and services companies, mergers, acquisitions and international securities transactions. The deal size of any transaction varies and includes those exceeding $1 billion (U.S.). His practice also includes representation regarding international regulatory compliance issues and commercial agreements for joint ventures, product distribution and development, agency and distributorships, technology licensing, and sales transactions.

Mr. Petras is a past president of the Cleveland World Trade Association and was instrumental in the consolidation of this organization with the World Trade Center Cleveland, on whose Advisory Board he serves. Mr. Petras is the past president of the Greater Cleveland International Lawyers Group and has long been active in efforts to increase international business throughout the region. He also serves the United States Department of Commerce as a member of the Northern Ohio District Export Council.

Davis Robinson
Davis Robinson is senior counsel in the International Dispute Resolution group in Crowell and Moring's Washington, D.C. office and collaborates closely with the firm's International Trade, Middle East and North Africa Group, and other groups.As a career foreign service officer through the 1960s and the legal adviser to the United States Department of State from 1981-1985, he augments the firm's global perspective.With five decades of foreign affairs public service and private practice (including as long-time senior partner at a global law firm), Davis offers a diverse array of experience.