Bruce Thelen has a wide ranging practice in international trade and commerce extending to all regions of the world.
He provides advice to clients on customs and trade issues addressing regulatory compliance, fines, penalties, seizures and investigations, custom audits, advance rulings and challenge of US Customs and Border Protection decisions, US MCA and other preferential trade agreements, antidumping and countervailing duties, forced labor compliance and product sourcing and supply chain planning to reduce duties. He was recognized by Best Lawyers in America, as Detroit’s 2017, 2019 and 2021 "Lawyer of the Year" for International Trade and as Michigan’s International Trade Lawyer of the Year for 2021 by The Lawyer Network.
Bruce often acts as "international general counsel" for domestic and foreign clients throughout the world in cross border acquisitions and direct investments, joint ventures and strategic alliances, establishment of subsidiaries, branch offices and other facilities, distribution, marketing and licensing arrangements, cross border debt financing and trade finance, interest rate and currency swaps and derivatives, supply chain compliance and risk management, export controls and international regulatory compliance.
Although his practice covers many industries, he has extensive background in the automotive sector, including representation of global vehicle and parts manufacturers and suppliers in manufacturing and distribution in all regions of the world, as well as specialty automotive projects involving amphibious vehicles, Formula 1 racing programs, start-up electric vehicle manufacturers and the manufacturer of the classic London black taxi. For two years, while remaining a member of Dickinson Wright, he served as in-house international counsel for Chrysler Corporation.
Bruce chairs the firm’s international practice team composed of lawyers from all of its substantive practice groups. His career began as a corporate finance lawyer with Dewey Ballantine Bushby Palmer and Wood in New York. He is admitted to practice in New York, Michigan and the U.S. Court of International Trade.
Michigan State UniversityB.A.
- High Honor
University of Michigan Law SchoolJ.D.
- cum laude
- New York
- Best Lawyers in America®
- International Trade and Finance Law, 2011-2021, 2023
- "Lawyer of the Year," International Trade and Finance Law, 2017, 2019, 2021
- The Lawyer Network
- "Lawyer of the Year," International Trade, 2021
- Michigan Super Lawyers®
- International, Corporate and Banking, 2008, 2010-2014
- Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating
- Marquis Who’s Who in American Law
- DBusiness Magazine
- "Top Lawyer," Corporate, International Trade and Finance Law
- Leading Lawyers
- International Trade
- President of Federal Republic of Germany
- Order of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz), 2000
- University of Michigan Law School, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Advisory Committee Member, International Transaction Clinic
- International Bar Association (London, England) - Governing Council Member; Officer, North American Regional Forum; Chair, International Sales Committee; Chair, Subcommittee on Financial Aspects of International Sales
- Chairman, International Law Section, State Bar of Michigan
- Appointed to serve on Michigan District Export Council by U.S. Secretary of Commerce
- Founder, Chairman and Director, German American Chamber of Commerce of Michigan; Board of Directors, German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Chicago
- Member, French American Chamber of Commerce
- Board of Directors, British American Business Council
- Advisory Council, Center for International Business Education, University of Michigan Ross School of Business
- External Advisory Committee, International Legal Studies Program, Wayne State University Law School
- Board of Directors, Living Business Models, a nonprofit corporation developing business models for self-supporting health care in emerging markets
- Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce - Business Attraction Steering Committee; Detroit Regional Economic Partnership Advisory Board; Executive Committee, World Trade Club and International Business Council; Chairman, European Mission Committee; Leadership Detroit Program
- Advisory Board, International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit
- Board of Visitors, Office of the International Programs, Wayne State University
- United Way Community Services, Southeast Michigan - Community Leaders Council; Strategic Planning Committee; Chairman, Research and Information Services Committee; Fund Allocation Panel
- Member, Detroit Economic Club
- Member, Detroit Athletic Club
- U.S. Court of International Trade
Interviewed by El Financiero (Mexico City) for “Armadoras Operan Con La Version Mexicana” (Assemblers Operate with the Mexican Version) regarding Mexico-US dispute over automotive rules of origin, September 8, 2021
Co-Presenter, Preparing for USMCA Day: Episode II – USMCA Customs Compliance and Automotive Rules of Origin, Dickinson Wright Webinar, May 2020
Co-Author, “The United States Issues 90 Day Customs Duties Deferral for Companies Experiencing Significant Financial Hardship Due to COVID-19”, Dickinson Wright News Alert, April 2020
Webinar Presentation, “Untying the Trying Times of Tariffs - The Product Exclusion Process,” September 24, 2018
Author, "New Section 301 Tariffs Proposed for $200 Billion of Chinese Goods," July 2018
Author, "Section 301 Tariffs on Chinese Goods -- What to Do Now," June 2018
Webinar Presentation, “A Time for Tariffs: Steel and Aluminum (and maybe more?),” March 28, 2018
- Interviewed by Crain’s Detroit Business for “A chance encounter with Jack Ma, young and hustling,” June 20, 2017
- Interviewed by South China Morning Post for “The US Lawyer and his Chinese ‘tour guide’: how meeting Jack Ma inspired a footloose American 37 years ago,” June 23, 2017
- Interviewed by China People’s Daily for “Jack Ma meets old friend in Detroit after 4 decades apart,” June 22, 2017
- Author, “Canada Relaxes Iran Sanctions - Making It Easier to do Business with Iran,” February 2016
- Author, “Some Sanctions Relief for Iran, But Mostly Status Quo for the U.S. Auto Industry,” January 2016
- Co-Chair and Moderator, Full Day Program, “The State of the Global Automotive Industry: How Restructuring, Regulation and Innovation will Affect the Industry’s Future,” Annual Conference of the International Bar Association (IBA), Vancouver, British Columbia