Biography Photo for Bruce C Thelen

Bruce C. Thelen

Consulting Member

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.

Education & Credentials


Michigan State University

  • High Honor

University of Michigan Law School

  • cum laude

Bar Admission

  • Michigan
  • New York


  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • International Trade and Finance Law, 2011-2021, 2023-2024
    • "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

Professional Involvement

  • 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

Community Involvement

  • 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

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of International Trade


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