David Mortlock is Chair of Willkie’s Global Trade & Investment Practice Group and Managing Partner of the Washington office. He advises clients on international trade and government regulation of cross-border transactions, particularly the intersection of economic regulation and national security. Chambers USA (2022) ranks David among the leading individuals nationally practicing in the area of International Trade: Export Controls & Export Sanctions, which highlights his breadth of experience when acting for clients on trade sanctions and controls matters. Clients have described David as “a fantastic, creative problem solver" who is “incredibly knowledgeable in his subject” and “very practical and efficient in his advice.”
David is formerly the Director for International Economic Affairs at the White House National Security Council, in which capacity he advised the President and his National Security Advisor on sanctions, corruption and other international finance and trade issues. He helped lead the interagency process to develop and implement sanctions on Russia and Venezuela as well as changes of sanctions for Iran, Cuba, Syria and Burma. He also developed and coordinated implementation of the U.S. international anticorruption strategy.
David also worked at the U.S. Department of State, where he focused on sanctions policy as Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy; Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment; and Attorney-Advisor for Sanctions and Terror Finance. In these roles, he oversaw the creation and implementation of sanctions for Iran, Burma, North Korea and Syria; oversaw economic policy for the Middle East and North Africa; and provided legal guidance for the terrorism finance program.
Prior to his tenure at the State Department, David was an attorney at a large international law firm.
David clerked for the Honorable Martha Craig Daughtrey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
David has been widely quoted regarding his expertise on foreign policy and national security regulation of commercial transactions, including in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, Politico, NBC News, and Reuters, and has appeared on BBC News to discuss regulations involving Cuba, Iran, and Russia.
Selected speaking engagements include:
- Sanctions Discussion with Former Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, Atlantic Council (February 2019)
- How Iran Will Cope with US Sanctions, Atlantic Council (November 2018)
- Deterring Russia; Proposed Sanctions Legislation, Atlantic Council (July 2018)
- “Sanctions Compliance Roundtable: How to Assess the Effectiveness of Your Sanctions Compliance Program,” ACI’s 11th Annual Advanced Forum on Economic Sanctions Enforcement and Compliance, Washington, DC (April 2018)
- 7th Annual New York Forum on Economic Sanctions, American Conference Institute (December 2016)
- “The Future of Russia Sanctions,” A World of Sanctions conference, sponsored by the Center for Near Abroad Strategic Studies (April 2016)
- “OFAC Sanctions and Compliance,” 2016 Spring International Trade Export Licensing & Compliance Conference, sponsored by the Society for International Law (April 2016)
David's arrival at the firm was reported in Law360 here, in Global Investigations Review here, in Main Justice here, and in Bloomberg Law here. (January 2016)