Brendan McGivern | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
Brendan McGivern
Brendan McGivern

Brendan McGivern

Partner, Geneva

“An ‘excellent practitioner across the board’” and “‘one of the go-to guys in Geneva’ due to his ‘immense WTO experience, highly articulate manner and superb communications skills.’” With his “unrivalled technical, strategic and intellectual skills,” McGivern is “the best of the best.”

Chambers Global / Who's Who Legal – Trade and Customs 2015


Brendan McGivern is the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) practice of the White & Case LLP. He is also the Executive Partner of the Firm's Geneva office.

He practices international trade law, particularly the law of the WTO. He also has an active practice in public international law, including the negotiation and implementation of environmental treaties.

Brendan advises companies, industry associations and sovereign governments on the full range of WTO disciplines. He represents WTO Member states in dispute settlement proceedings before panels and the Appellate Body. He counsels sovereign governments on the negotiation of bilateral and regional free trade agreements. He has extensive experience in international energy trade law issues.

Brendan served as a member of the WTO arbitration panel in the US – 1916 Anti-Dumping Act case, which adjudicated a request by the European Communities for retaliatory trade sanctions against the United States.

Prior to joining White & Case, Brendan was the senior legal adviser and the head of the Dispute Settlement section at the Canadian Mission to the WTO in Geneva. He frequently presented arguments to WTO dispute settlement panels and the Appellate Body.

He is a regular public commentator on WTO matters, and has been interviewed on CNBC Television, Bloomberg Television, China Central Television and Radio France about WTO issues. He has also been quoted on WTO dispute settlement issues by numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, CBS News, ABC News, CNBC, USA Today, Business Week, Forbes, the International Herald Tribune, Reuters, the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Agence France-Presse and National Public Radio.

Bars and Courts

  • Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario)


  • LLB, University of British Columbia
  • MA, International Affairs, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa
  • BA, International Relations, University of British Columbia


  • English
  • French


Speaking Engagements

"The WTO Appellate Body and the failure of "systemic integration": The Peru - Agricultural Products case", June 10, 2016: Presentation to the 16th Annual Conference on WTO Law, British Institute of International and Comparative Law,

"WTO Rules on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights: The Plain Packaging Dispute", May 19, 2016: Presentation to the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum,
St Petersburg, Russia

"Reflections on the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism", May 4, 2016: Distinguished Guest Lecture Series, Centre for International Trade and Economic Law, New Delhi

"Issues in WTO Jurisprudence: the SCM Agreement and the 'Public Body' Debate", May 2, 2016: Presentation to the Conference on WTO Dispute Settlement, Indian Centre for WTO Studies,
New Delhi

"The Revival of Export Controls and Trade Sanctions: The Russia-Ukraine Conflict and Beyond", May 7, 2015: Presentation to the 15th Annual British Institute of International and Comparative Law World Trade Organization Conference,

"New WTO Agreements: Opportunities and Challenges", October 15, 2014: Presentation to the Japan Machinery Center for Trade and Investment (JMC),

"New WTO Agreements: Why they matter to Korean companies" and "Technical barriers to trade: How Korean companies can use WTO rules to challenge discriminatory regulations in foreign markets", October 13, 2014: Presentation to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA),

"Data Management and Consumer Protection in a Globalized Economy: Opportunity or Threat?", October 2, 2014: WTO Public Forum,

"The 'Public Morals' Defense", June 23, 2014: Presentation to the Symposium on the EC – Seal Products Dispute, hosted by the Graduate Institute Centre for Trade and Economic Integration (CTEI), International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and WTI Advisors,

"WTO Regulatory Disciplines: Technical Regulations, Standards and Food Safety Rules", February 7, 2013: Presentation to the symposium on WTO Legal Mechanisms for Russian Business,

"Russian Compliance with WTO Obligations: A Fork in the Road?", Presentation to the US-Russia Business Council Annual Meeting,

"Minding the Gap: Trade Negotiations and the WTO Dispute Settlement System", September 25, 2012: WTO Public Forum,
, Discussion Facilitator

"The Appellate Body Ruling in US – Clove Cigarettes", May 17, 2012: Presentation to the Twelfth Annual WTO Conference, British Institute of International and Comparative Law,

"Effective Compliance and Legal Remedies", November 17, 2011: World Trade Organization,
, Speaker at symposium

"Recent Case Law and Hot Topics in WTO Jurisprudence", July 20, 2011: Presentation to the symposium on International Trade Law Practice under the WTO, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies,


  • European seal ruling reveals broader tensions over animal rights, The Globe and Mail, May 26, 2014
  • The WTO Seal Products Panel – The 'Public Morals' Defense, Global Trade and Customs Journal, February 2014
  • Export Subsidies: Interview on LexisNexis, March 14, 2013
  • The TBT Agreement Meets the GATT: The Appellate Body decision in US – Tuna II (Mexico), Global Trade and Customs Journal, September 2012
  • Expert Analysis: WTO's Stance on US Zeroing in Vietnam Shrimp Scrap, Law 360: International Trade, July 27, 2011
  • Aircraft Subsidies and WTO Rules: The Airbus Decision, 35 Air and Space Law pp. 305–315, 2010
  • Dispute Settlement under the GATS: The Gambling and Telecoms cases, The World Trade Organization and Trade in Services, Martinus Nijhof/Brill Publishers, 2008
  • WTO Dispute Settlement After Doha: A 'Risk of Imbalance'?, Bridges (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development), August 2006
  • Retaliation Revisited: Compliance and Implementation Issues in WTO Dispute Settlement, Reform and Development of the WTO Dispute Settlement System, Cameron, May 2006
  • Implementation of Panel and Appellate Body Rulings, Key Issues in WTO Dispute Settlement: The First Ten Years, Cambridge University Press, 2005
  • WTO Governance, Decision Making in the Global Market Trade, Standards and the Consumer, Consumers International, 2005

Awards & Recognition

Most Highly Regarded Individual, Who's Who Legal 2014

Trade & Customs - Geneva

Who's Who Legal 2014

"In Geneva, the remarkable Brendan McGivern heads the firm’s WTO practice and is widely acclaimed for the strength of his practice. Clients praise his 'approachability, flexibility and business nous,' and 'would not hesitate to recommend him.'"