Firm History

An Icon Makes His Mark

Eugene L. Stewart, a legendary figure in the field of international trade and an exemplary gentleman, opened a predecessor firm in 1958 and contributed greatly to the development of international trade law. His high professional standards, powerful sense of decency and fairness, and commitment to civic duties remain deeply engrained in the firm to this day.

Born in Kansas City in 1920, he graduated from high school at 16. He was involved with just-in-time delivery for an auto assembly plant in the Midwest before enlisting in the Army-Air Force in World War II, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After the war, he pursued his education at Georgetown University and Georgetown Law School, clerking by day for the U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals. Eugene Stewart was active for many years as a Georgetown alumnus, serving as president of the National Alumni Association, as national chairman of the annual giving fund drive, and in other high-profile capacities.

In 1951, he joined the firm of Steptoe and Johnson and soon distinguished himself with his creative approach to the law and his insights on the impact of trade policy on companies and workers. He served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School. Within seven years, he struck out on his own with colleague David Hume, establishing in 1958 the forerunner of the firm that bears his name.

In the early 1960s, Eugene Stewart’s efforts on behalf of clients led him to an active role in shaping trade policy in the United States. He studied the impact imports had on sectors with concentrations of unskilled workers and urged Congress to consider trade’s impact on actual people when designing trade policy. In 1965, for the Trade Relations Council, he spearheaded a landmark project of preparing a compilation of trade data and domestic industry information to permit a studied review of the trade prowess and sensitivity of American manufacturing and agriculture. The compilation occurred at a time of no harmonization between import and export classifications or between trade classifications and domestic industry data. The first study and subsequent reports were used with Administrations and Congressional members and staff to improve the understanding of the trading system and its impact on different sectors of the American economy.

More pioneering work followed in the decades to come as Eugene Stewart’s efforts on behalf of a wide range of industries helped develop the practice and case law for various trade remedies. A series of countervailing duty cases on flat glass in the 1970s and resulting civil litigation resulted in significant modifications to the availability of judicial review in trade remedy cases in the Trade Agreements Act of 1979. Eugene Stewart helped domestic steel producers in the 1970s and 1980s in a series of cases that redefined U.S. countervailing duty law practice and that resulted in voluntary restraint agreements following a successful safeguard action in 1984. As mentioned by more than one government official at conferences in the 1980s, the history of U.S. trade remedies in the 1960s-1980s would prominently feature Eugene L. Stewart representing domestic producers and their workers. Indeed, the largest set of antidumping cases ever initiated involved automobiles from around the world. Stewart represented the United Autoworkers during those cases and would file the safeguard action for them in 1980. That action resulted in Japan implementing voluntary export restraints that helped American auto companies survive the OPEC oil shock of that time.

Eugene Stewart’s practice spanned work before many federal agencies, appellate advocacy at various federal circuit courts, extensive and broad-ranging activities for clients with Congress, and a wide variety of general practice matters for clients, including work with government agencies in the District of Columbia. He was a devout Catholic and an extraordinarily charitable man, giving back to his college and law school, to his church, and the D.C. community. He was involved for more than twenty years in the design, implementation and upkeep of a housing project in the District of Columbia, Sursum Corda (see Guiding Principles).

A Tradition of Excellence Becomes a Partnership

In 1970, Eugene Stewart’s second son, Terence, graduated magna cum laude from the College of the Holy Cross, went on to an MBA from Harvard Business School, and had stints in marketing for J.C. Penney and in product management for a furniture manufacturer in Illinois. However, the law and his personal regard for his father had an enormous pull on him. In 1976, he entered Georgetown Law School and began working with his father. Terry graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown in 1979, became a name partner in 1983, and acquired the firm from his father in 1986. Eugene Stewart remained active in the firm until his death in August 1998.

Under Terry Stewart’s leadership, the firm has continued its tradition of professional excellence, innovation, and contribution to the community. The firm has continued its active involvement in trade remedy cases; indeed, roughly 25% of judicial decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on trade remedies between 1982 and 2007 were in matters where the Stewart firm was counsel of record for one of the parties. The firm has also developed great depth of expertise in international trade agreements, with particular focus on the World Trade Organization, helping clients develop negotiating positions that secure their rights and advance their interests, advising clients on dispute settlement proceedings, monitoring negotiations, and assisting the accessions of new members. Terry Stewart has pursued trade policy issues for clients with the Administration and Congress for more than thirty years. With the growing importance of the trade relationship with China, Terry Stewart has led the firm through a series of studies of the Chinese market, compliance with WTO obligations assumed at accession by China, export opportunities for U.S. companies, and intellectual property challenges presented by the Chinese market, amongst others.

Terry Stewart also demonstrated his commitment to expanding the fair flow of goods and services by providing technical advice to countries from Ukraine to Pakistan. He enhanced the firm’s international profile by establishing correspondent offices in Belgium in the early 1980s and Russia in the 1990s. In the U.S., the firm has expanded or continued its reach in many additional areas including government relations, export controls and sanctions work, and transactional issues.

Surveys of top lawyers consistently rank him among the top of his profession and clients have praised him for his integrity and high standards, describing him as “wickedly smart,” as well as “meticulous, astute, and resourceful.”

As part of his effort to give back to the community, Terry Stewart was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center for nearly 20 years teaching a graduate course on the WTO. He has served as the President of the Customs and International Trade Bar Association, is the current President of the Federal Circuit Bar Association, and served on advisory committees for both the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He also is on the board of both the Historical Society of the U.S. Court of International Trade and the Federal Circuit Historical Society.

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