Tahlia Townsend


Tahlia Townsend
offices New Haven
Washington, DC
phone 203-498-4339
view LinkedIn profile


Co-chair of the International Trade Compliance Practice Group, Tahlia is trusted by Fortune 50 multinationals, leading universities, international law firms, emerging companies, and small businesses to provide prompt, practical, effective guidance and thought leadership on trade sanctions administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) and on U. S. export controls under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and to develop tailored, risk-based programs for compliance with, obtain licenses for international activities regulated under, and conduct directed and voluntary investigations into potential violations of these trade control regulations.

Lauded by her clients for responsiveness, practicality, and a level of care and service that is "terrifyingly good," and valued for the additional skills she brings to bear from her training in physics, chemistry, computer science, and litigation, Tahlia has assisted clients in sectors such as aerospace, defense, insurance, logistics, venture capital, legal services, electronics, optics, communications, and education with a wide variety of trade compliance issues, large and small. A sample of those matters includes

  • Developed and drove implementation of a global program for OFAC compliance for a Fortune 200 company with operations all over the world.

  • Conducted hundreds of investigations into potential violations of U. S. trade sanctions and export controls and prepared scores of thorough and clearly written disclosures to the Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance (DTCC), the Office of Export Enforcement (OEE), and OFAC, almost all of which were resolved without penalties.

  • Advised on the use of OFAC general licenses or prepared applications for specific licenses to authorize a wide range of exports and re-exports, including of oil-industry-related engineering services, medical devices, food additives, contact lenses, legal services, and activities conducted by U. S.-owned foreign companies under General License H.

  • Advised on and developed procedures for complying with General License H, OFAC's "facilitation" prohibition as applied to U. S. ex-patriot board members; legal representation of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs); reinsurance of projects involving Cuba Restricted List entities; and payment of fees by foreign students from, hiring of foreign academics from, and attending conferences or collaborating on research with universities and academics in embargoed regions.

  • Prepared self-classification memoranda, Commodity Jurisdiction (CJ) requests, and Commodity Classification Automated Tracking System (CCATS) requests for a wide range of products, including infrared lenses, laser-driven light sources, data cables, unmanned aerial vehicles, aircraft components, metal alloys used in aerospace applications, and fabric used in the manufacture of aerostats, and prepared applications for ITAR Technical Assistance Agreements (TAA), Manufacturing License Agreements (MLA), ITAR temporary and permanent export licenses, and BIS export licenses for a wide range of products and programs.

Tahlia is a popular speaker at public conferences and in-house events from Tel Aviv to London to San Francisco, teaches international trade compliance at the University of Connecticut School of Law, and is often asked to train U. S. and international business leaders and legal and compliance personnel on export and trade sanctions controls and compliance procedures.

In addition to her trade controls practice, Tahlia is an accomplished federal civil litigator who has been recognized for her accomplishments by Benchmark Litigation and Super Lawyers. Her litigation matters have included a successful defense of a former foreign president against claims that he violated international law; representation of a museum in a dispute over Incan artifacts claimed by a Latin American nation; successful pro bono representation of prisoners in civil rights matters involving religious liberty and freedom from involuntary medication; suits against government officials for authorizing torture and unconstitutional military detention without charge; successful defense of title to one of Van Gogh's most famous paintings against a claim that Russia unlawfully expropriated it; and defense of a foreign sovereign nation in a dispute over title to medieval artifacts.

Tahlia earned her J.D. from the Yale Law School and served as law clerk to Judge Robert N. Chatigny and Judge Mark R. Kravitz, both of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Tahlia obtained a bachelor's degree in physics and chemistry, taught English at the Lauder Javne community school in Budapest, performed research in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, and studied French, German, and Hungarian.


08.22.2018Recent Rule Reduces Export License Requirements for India
08.03.2018U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security Updates Entity List with 44 Entities in China
06.28.2018OFAC Implements JCPOA Withdrawal Revoking General Licenses and Prepares to Reimpose Sanctions on Delisted Parties
05.21.2018U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security Updates Unverified List
05.08.2018Trump Withdraws From Iran Nuclear Deal – U.S. To Reimpose Sanctions
04.09.2018From Oligarch to SDN: New Designations Deepen Risks of Business with Russia
12.01.2017Russia Sanctions Under CAATSA: A Quick Reference Guide
11.15.2017Cuba Sanctions Changes - Trump Administration Restricts Travel and Transactions Involving Cuban Government, Modestly Expands Goods Exportable to Cuban Private Sector
10.09.2017New Executive Order Extends Reach of North Korea Sanctions to Foreign Businesses
09.05.2017New Sanctions Targeting Venezuelan Government and State-Owned Entities
01.24.2017Recent OFAC Amendments - Sudan & Iran
02.09.2016OFAC Fines Foreign Bank for Violating 50 Percent Rule
02.05.2016OFAC Finds "Facilitation" Violation Against Health Product Giant
01.20.2016U.S. Lifts Some Iran Sanctions, But Robust Restrictions Remain
12.17.2014U.S. Regulators Face European Competition on UAV
12.17.2014UAVs and ITAR: Why Range Matters
08.13.2014Border Search Contributes To Conviction In IEEPA Prosecution
06.18.2014Export Basics For The UAV Industry
03.17.2014Commerce Department Hints at Broadening Export Enforcement

Published Works

05.03.2018Are You an Exporter? You Might Be. The Often Overlooked Controls on Software with Encryption CapacityThe National Law Review
02.08.2018U.S. Economic Sanctions Update: Key Changes in 2017 & What They Mean for U.S. and Non-U.S. BusinessesTerraLex Connections Newsletter, 2018, Edition 1


07.25.2018Wiggin and Dana Trade Compliance Team "Highly Commended" in WorldECR Awards 2018 (USA)
05.02.2018Wiggin and Dana to Publish an Article Series titled "Legal Issues for High-Growth Technology Companies"
11.20.2017Super Lawyers Recognize 37 Wiggin and Dana Attorneys
10.24.2017Benchmark Litigation 2018 Ranks Eight Wiggin and Dana Partners "Litigation Stars" and Five Partners as "Future Stars"
10.28.2016Super Lawyers Recognizes 40 Wiggin and Dana Attorneys
03.28.2016ABC News Reports on Wiggin and Dana Win on Van Gogh Case in U.S. Supreme Court
02.12.2016Benchmark Litigation Names Wiggin and Dana's Litigation Department as The 2016 Connecticut Litigation Department of the Year
11.02.2015Leading German Newspaper Mentions Wiggin and Dana Efforts in Guelph Treasure Case
10.27.2015Benchmark Litigation 2016 Highly Recommends Wiggin and Dana
10.20.2015Super Lawyers Recognizes 38 Wiggin and Dana Attorneys
10.20.2015Wiggin and Dana Partner Jonathan Freiman Wins Second Circuit Appeal in Battle Over Van Gogh Painting
05.28.2015Wiggin and Dana Receives Litigation Department of the Year Award for White Collar and Government Compliance Practice
10.29.2014Super Lawyers Recognizes Wiggin and Dana Lawyers
10.13.2014Jonathan Freiman Quoted in ABC News Regarding Victory for Former President of Mexico
05.02.2014Wiggin and Dana Awarded Litigation Department of the Year for Government Investigations and Corporate Compliance
02.18.2014Second Circuit Victory for Former President of Mexico
07.18.2013Victory in Defense of Former Mexican President
02.14.2013Wiggin and Dana Announces Leadership Appointments
01.02.2013Wiggin and Dana Announces Attorney Promotions
04.19.2012Wiggin and Dana Announces 2011 Pro Bono Achievement Award Recipients
04.29.2011Wiggin and Dana Lawyers Travel to United Kingdom for Trade Mission
10.13.2008Subway Affiliate Wins Franchising Case

offices New Haven
Washington, DC
phone 203-498-4339
view LinkedIn profile



  • Yale Law School, J.D.


  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia


  • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • US District Court (District of Connecticut)

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