One of the biggest pluses of Internet information overload is the opportunity it affords to exploit this immense mass of data in devising legal job search strategies. Here’s a simple, easy-to-execute example of how such data mining can guide a legal job search:
The Ups and Downs of Trade Remedy Cases
The U.S. goes through alternating periods of international trade expansion and protection, cycling between the two like a bi-polar personality. When trade expansion is in play, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), https://usitc.gov the independent, quasi-judicial federal agency that hears and decides trade cases brought by allegedly aggrieved parties, finds that its docket thins. Conversely, when protectionism prevails, the USITC usually becomes a “happening” place. Monitoring both the volume and nature of trade case statistics—and identifying the law firms and practitioners representing the parties—can lead to job opportunities.
The USITC investigates, hears and adjudicates five types of trade remedy cases in which interested parties may appear and argue for relief:
Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Investigations
Both the USITC and the U.S. Department of Commerce https://commerce.gov conduct antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations under Title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930. https://enforcement.trade.gov/regs/title7.html Under this law, U.S. industries may petition the USITC and Commerce for relief from imports sold in the U.S. at less than fair value (i.e., when a foreign producer sells a product in the U.S. at a lower price than the sales price in its home market or at a price lower than its cost of production), or that benefit from subsidization (i.e., when a foreign government provides financial assistance to benefit the production, manufacture, or exportation of a good). Dumping and certain countervailing subsidizing are considered unfair trade practices.
Commerce determines whether the alleged dumping or subsidizing is happening, and if so, the margin of dumping or amount of subsidy. The USITC determines whether the U.S. industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of the imports under investigation. If both agencies reach affirmative final determinations, then Commerce issues an antidumping duty order or a countervailing duty order to offset the dumping to offset the subsidy. When an antidumping duty order or countervailing duty order to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection https://cbp.gov to assess duties on imports of the product into the U.S. to offset the unfair trade practice.
Commerce and the Commission conduct mandatory reviews no later than five years after an antidumping or countervailing duty order is issued to determine whether revoking the order would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping or subsidies (Commerce) and of material injury (Commission).
China Safeguard Investigations
Under Section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974, https://legcounsel.house.gov/Comps/93-618.pdf the Commission determines whether Chinese imports into the U.S. are in such increased quantities or under such conditions as to cause or threaten to cause market disruption to U.S. producers of like or directly competitive products. If the USITC makes an affirmative determination, it recommends a remedy to the President and the U.S. Trade Representative. The President makes the final remedy decision.
The USITC conducts its investigation upon receipt of a petition from a trade association, firm, certified or recognized union, or group of workers representative of a domestic industry, or upon receipt of a request from the President or a resolution of the House or Senate, or upon its own motion.
Section 337 Cases
These cases are brought by firms that allege that imports infringe on their intellectual property.
Using the USITC Docket to Implement a Job Search Strategy
The current USITC docket confirms that we are entering an era where trade protection appears to be on the rise, which is encouraging news for international trade practitioners. It means more cases and stepped-up recruiting.
If you are interested in an international trade position, you can use the USITC docket in two ways:
First, to determine if international trade practice is a lively arena worthy of your attention. A comparison between the current docket and prior years’ trade cases data reveals that it is becoming a hot practice area. For example, the number of Section 337 cases on the docket doubled in 2017 over its previous peak year. Intellectual property infringement complaints in 2018 are continuing to be filed at a high rate. Similarly, antidumping and countervailing duty petitions for relief are also up.
Second, by accessing the USITC’s Electronic Document Information System (EDIS), https://edis.usitc.gov/edis3-external/app you can research all documents filed in relation to an investigation. This will enable you to identify and target firms and practitioners involved in the action. You can register to use EDIS on the agency’s website.
Applying the Data Mining Strategy beyond the USITC
Data mining can be a valuable legal job-search planning device in many different contexts. For example:
- U.S. government departments and agencies maintain more than 100 dockets and information systems that contain valuable information about practice area trends, tendencies, and potential private sector employers similar to what you can find at the USITC.
- Parallel systems also exist at the state and local government (primarily in the larger municipalities) levels.
- A great deal of information exists about backlogs that quasi-judicial agencies experience. For example, the 1.2 million Social Security Disability Income hearings backlog afflicting the Social Security Administration, an unprecedented level of activity, tells you that this administrative litigation practice area is overheating and that, consequently, demand for practitioners is up.