Stephen D. Gardner

Chief Counsel

Stephen D. Gardner photo

Steve Gardner is Chief Counsel for the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) of the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of the General Counsel. CLDP improves the legal environment for business worldwide by providing training and consultative services to countries in economic transition. CLDP assistance supports transformational diplomacy by helping countries revise and update their laws, regulations and business practices in a manner that encourages market-driven trade and investment.

Mr. Gardner began his service at CLDP in May of 1997, when he assumed responsibility for CLDP's programs in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Over the following years, he launched CLDP's activities throughout Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.  He currently directs all of CLDP's programs worldwide. He has played a key role in both designing and managing technical assistance strategies on the full range of issues that CLDP addresses, including implementing WTO and FTA commitments, protecting intellectual property rights, building judicial capacity, updating procurement systems, promoting government ethics, and developing product standards.

Mr. Gardner's professional background includes clerking for a District of Columbia Superior Court judge, managing a Central Asia joint venture investment project for Agricultural Cooperative Development International, working for Debevoise & Plimpton in Budapest, Hungary, on project finance and privatization projects and assisting Gordon & Glickson with legal issues regarding information technology and telecommunications.

Prior to joining CLDP, Mr. Gardner earned his LL.M. (with distinction) in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown University Law Center in May of 1997. Mr. Gardner received his law degree in 1991 from Washington College of Law of The American University, where he was a Notes & Comments Editor for The American University Law Review. He also holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Finance, Investment and Banking, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and is a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Upcoming Programs

August 7, 2017 - September 29, 2017
September 18, 2017 - September 26, 2017

CLDP in Action

September 14, 2017 - September 19, 2017

CLDP hosted standards experts from the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan for U.S.-based consultations to assist in developing trade-related harmonized standards in Central Asia and benefit domestic and international businesses alike through increased market access, transparent system, and fair regulations.

Read More about CLDP Hosts Consultations for Central Asia-Afghanistan Expert Level Working Group on Standards in Washington D.C.