Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Customs Lawyer

Every firm that deals with international trade matters needs exceptionally well customs lawyers, better known as customs brokers, to help smooth trade and transition of goods and services internationally.

One of the reasons why a good customs broker is essential for your company is that they take up a primary role in the sustained success of your firm. This is what makes it so crucial that you do not employ the wrong candidate and trust him with your company’s credentials.

Although it might seem like a relatively easy task, hiring a customs lawyer requires a lot of knowledge, good interviewing skills, and attention to detail. This is because each lawyer specializes in their unique niche and thus provides different services according to the varying needs of your firm.

With the questions mentioned below, you can never potentially go wrong in hiring the perfect customs lawyer candidate for your firm. If you still stand undecided about where to hire an experienced and well-reputed customs lawyer, head to Abady LawFirm and be a beneficiary of their legal services today!

The following article will introduce some of the questions and other hacks to hiring the perfect customs broker for your firm. But before we get into that, let us look at what a customs lawyer does?

The role of a customs lawyer for your firm

While you must already be aware of the importance that a good customs broker serves in your company, nonetheless, it is obligatory to go through a few musts and shoulds, and you might as well gain something novel out of it.

Essentially empowered and regulated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), customs brokers can be represented by individuals, organizations, corporate groups, or partnerships. These groups or individuals specialize in assisting the firm in the import and export federal requirements as listed and mandated by the government and help companies meet the necessary criteria for the same.

Brokers usually work as mediators between companies that undertake international trade and the CBP. in doing so, they remain in regular contact with their clients, which are large organizations, and charge them a nominal fee for the same.

A well-experienced broker has all the relevant knowledge about issues and aspects like admissibility requirements, classification, entry procedures, validation, duty rates, taxes as applicable depending on the nature of the goods, and fees mandatory for import and export activities.

Some of the must-knows about a customs broker are:
  • They are licensed and functional to serve as an official customs broker only after an exam that the government regulates.
  • They are believed to have expert knowledge about the documentation and processes undertaken in the customs process.
  • When the matter comes between those of the customs and those who are importing, the customs lawyers serve to be an essential liaison.

Regardless of the diversity, they specialize in, there are some common areas they handle and have expertise in. These include:

  • HTS
  • Trade agreements
  • Tariff treatments
  • Determination of the valuation of company goods along with their classification.
  • Assessing products
  • Determining duties
  • Miscellaneous record keeping activities
  • Shielding against and keeping a check on all the necessary anti-dumping and countervailing duties
  • Indicating the country of origin by marking goods that are imported and exported

Important questions to consider before hiring a customs lawyer

To get your firm a professional customs broker and make sure that you are investing your resources in the right manpower, here are a few questions that can adequately assist you in the journey:

  • What is your strategy regarding our company’s compliance with the customs regulations?
  • What is the status of your pending lawsuits or sanctioning by the customs?
  • How much are you going to charge?
  • How many days/hours will you be operating as a part of our company. Who shall be obliged to take up doubts outside this stipulated time?
  • Do you have any knowledge about the eligibility of our company’s goods as being regarded as duty-free?
  • What are your comments on our company’s current compliance policies? How do you suggest we modify them to ensure better productivity?
  • How will you assist us in gaining awareness about the new or additional duties imposed by the government? What would be your ideal time for updates on the same?
  • Do you specialize or have good knowledge about importing and exporting? Will you be able to assist our company in addressing the needs of these two issues?
  • Are you eligible to arrange for the appropriate transportation services of our company’s goods via all the transport mediums, including land, water, air, etc.?
  • What are your thoughts on reviewing customs entries before the existing goods?
  • How would you warn us in case of the slightest exposure to penalties, warnings, or fines?
  • Do you hold knowledge about duty drawbacks and corrections? If yes, how will you assist our firm through the process? Will you charge extra for the same, or are the services complimentary?
  • Where have you worked before? What is your success rate for the smooth transition of goods in the international medium?
  • What is your preferred mode of communication, and how are you planning to align with our firm’s culture? Do you prefer a one-to-one calling experience with your clients, or does the call get automated to a machine?
  • Give us an overview of the additional services you offer. Are online documentation capabilities and electronic data interchange, better known as EDIs, included in the same? If not, who will fulfil this criterion for you?
  • Do you have a personal assistant to schedule meetings and appointments with the clients, or do you prefer doing it on your own?


A good customs lawyer helps you apparent goods at the international border and makes sure that they are widely aware of the rules and regulations of different countries, thereby helping you maintain healthy relations with them.