Kathleen Murphy counsels clients on the ever-changing world of international trade and provides cost-conscious legal advice on a wide variety of regulatory, policy and compliance matters. She assists U.S. and foreign companies with developing strategies for growing revenue, protecting investment and ensuring success by maximizing trade benefits, minimizing duties, making informed global supply chain decisions and achieving seamless cross-border transactions.

In addition, Kathi chairs the firm’s Consumer Products & Retail Industry Group and serves on the firm’s Steering Committee of the International Team, a cross-disciplinary group of attorneys and consultants who advise clients on international legal and regulatory issues.

Customs and International Trade

With today’s increased trade restrictions and import barriers, Kathi advises clients on mitigation strategies, including exclusion opportunities under Sections 232 and 301 investigations, tariff classification and tariff engineering review, country of origin determination, valuation scenarios, and evaluation of alternative supply chain opportunities involving free-trade agreements, duty preference programs and customs options for neutralizing or reducing tariff exposure. She also conducts sophisticated transfer pricing reviews and advises on global valuation strategies for multinationals and smaller companies.

Trade Compliance

Since the 2016 presidential election, there has been a great emphasis and empowerment of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to enforce existing and new trade regulations and restrictions. Kathi has hands-on experience conducting compliance reviews and training on minimizing risk and maximizing compliance. She represents clients in obtaining binding rulings, responding to entry inquiries, assisting with formal audits conducted by CBP, and defending clients from liquidated damages, penalties, and civil and criminal investigations. She also works closely with clients in complying with stringent responsibilities imposed by CBP regarding regulatory and security requirements, as well as the laws of federal agencies that regulate specific commodities imported into the U.S.

Trade Policy

The firm’s international trade practice is well-versed on the Biden administration’s approach to trade policy. In conjunction with the firm’s Government Affairs Group, Kathi and her colleagues provide legal and public policy counsel, as well as political insights, to protect and advance clients’ business interests. Kathi has represented clients in proceedings before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and meetings with officials in the Department of Commerce. She also has worked with clients to conduct outreach to Congress for support with legislation that impacts their business operations and investments.

Representative Experience

  • “Go to” external trade counsel for a long-standing, iconic multinational client. Our team regularly advises this client on numerous strategic issues involving cross-border trade and provides opinions on high profile trade compliance matters involving complex tariff classifications, FTA and preferential duty qualification analyses, transfer pricing reviews, changed circumstances review before the International Trade Commission, and antidumping and countervailing proceedings before the Department of Commerce. We have also supported the client’s active acquisition strategy by vetting and integrating critical trade compliance issues across the enterprise and testing transactions on a periodic basis to identify potential risks and recommend corrective actions, when necessary.
  • A global animal health company, with operations in over 150 countries and a producer of a wide range of pharmaceutical products and vaccines, sought our assistance with a comprehensive internal import compliance review, aimed at preparing them for participation in a CBP “trusted trader” program, known as the Importer-Self Assessment Program (“ISA”). Participation in ISA affords importers various benefits, including expedited processing of entries, removal from U.S. Customs annual audit pool, increased protection of intellectual property rights, and access to information regarding counterfeit/substandard pharmaceutical and health imports, among other items.
  • A major global retailer retained us to assist with an extensive review of its tariff classifications, as well as to advise on other areas of trade compliance and litigation. Through these efforts, we have assisted the client with significant duty recovery initiatives. Likewise, they have engaged us to analyze the application of the First Sale Rule to multi-tiered sales transactions for the purpose of lowering their duty bills and taking advantage of U.S. tax savings.


Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

U.S. Court of International Trade
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois


Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Loyola University Chicago

Saint Xavier University
B.A. with honors

Insights & Events

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • American Association of Exporters and Importers Long Range Planning Committee, 2019-Present; Board of Governors, 2002-15; Membership Committee, Co-Chair, 2005-09
  • American Bar Association — Customs and U.S. Trade Law Committee, Vice-Chair, 1998-99
  • Customs and International Trade Bar Association
  • International Compliance Professionals Association, International Planning Committee, 2014-Present
  • Midwest Global Trade Association — Professional Development Program Committee, 2014-Present
  • National Association of Foreign Trade Zones (NAFTZ)
  • Women in International Trade — Chicago Chapter, President and Director, 1992-93
  • Chicago Bar Association — International and Foreign Law Committee, Chair, 1996-97

Firm Leadership

  • Co-Leader, Retail Industry Group 
  • Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP — Co-Chair, International Group, 2017-20; Co-Chair, Retail Industry Group, 2018-20
  • World Law Group, International Trade Law Group, Co-Chair, 2017-present


  • AAEI — Trade Champion, 2022
  • Chambers USA — Nationwide, International Trade: Customs, 2012-23
  • Chambers Global International Trade: Customs, USA, 2012-15, 2017-20, 2023
  • Lexology’s Client Choice Award, International Trade, 2016
  • AAEI — Leadership Award, June 2008
  • Illinois Super Lawyers — 2007
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