Melissa J. Schwartz represents clients in joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, financings and corporate governance matters. With deep experience in emerging markets, she is skilled at advising clients and negotiating cross-border transactions involving complex international trade and policy issues.
From 1997 through 2005, Melissa was a partner with Akin Gump, resident in the firm’s New York, Moscow and Washington, D.C., offices. She was head of our Moscow office from 1998 to 2000, and, upon her return to Washington, D.C., she served on the firm’s management committee. During her initial tenure at the firm, Melissa represented Russian and foreign investors on a wide variety of matters in Russia and internationally.
Before rejoining the firm in 2014, Melissa served as an independent consultant, advising companies, high-net-worth individuals and foundations on corporate governance matters, acquisitions and dispositions, and financings in the United States, Russia, Sweden and internationally.
- Significant experience advising clients on managing sanctions risk relating to their business and transactions.
- More than 25 years of experience representing international and domestic clients in a range of corporate matters in emerging markets involving complex international trade and policy issues.
- Advised several multinational companies with global footprints on U.S. sanctions compliance issues, particularly in light of Russian counter-measures to sanctions.
- Advised an investment fund following the sanctions designation of a significant minority limited partner.
- Advised an investment fund on the blocking of its holdings in a debt security of a newly sanctioned entity.
- Advised numerous investment funds on compliance with U.S. sanctions regarding Venezuelan sovereign and PdVSA bonds.
- Advised numerous borrowers on sanctions and anticorruption provisions in financings both at the time of negotiation of the provisions and upon findings of potential violations.
- Designed and implemented an anti-money laundering program for a pooled investment vehicle, and provided training to the senior leadership team.
- Represented Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center on its negotiation of the first U.S.-Cuban joint venture in the history of bilateral relations between the two countries and the first time that a Cuban technology has successfully been tested in a clinical trial on U.S. soil.
- Advised SEC-registered issuer on its voluntary self-disclosure to the Office of Foreign Assets Control regarding sanctions violations, including advising on its public disclosure and negotiations with lenders.
- Board of Trustees, Washington Hebrew Congregation, 2016 to present.
- Board of Trustees, Washington International School, 2018 to present.
- Founding Board Member and Secretary, Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center, 2013-2016.
- Board member and secretary of the board, The Global Fund for Children, February 2016 to present.
- Member, leadership team, Washington Hunger Project, September 2012 to present.
- J.D., Harvard Law School, cum laude, 1991
- B.A., Cornell University, with distinction, 1988
- District of Columbia
- New York
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