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. CLDP improves the legal environment for business worldwide by helping countries revise and update their laws, regulations and business practices in a manner that encourages market-driven trade and investment and levels the playing field for US companies overseas.

Mr. Gardner began his service at CLDP in 1997 by working with countries in Eastern Europe. Today he directs CLDP programs that span the globe. He has played a key role in designing, managing and evaluating technical assistance strategies on the full range of issues that CLDP addresses, including WTO commitments, project finance, intellectual property rights, judicial capacity, infrastructure, procurement systems, ethics, alternative dispute resolution, standards, anti-corruption, energy, and telecommunications.

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 Hungary on privatization projects and assisting Gordon & Glickson with legal issues regarding information technology and telecommunications.

Prior to joining CLDP, Mr. Gardner earned his LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center and his J.D. from American University, where he served an editor for the Law Review. He also holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration 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 1, 2020 - April 30, 2021

Throughout the quarter, CLDP engaged with numerous experts to prepare and record eight separate sessions on trade topics, specifically designed for Afghanistan’s approximately 25 Commercial Attachés posted throughout the world. In May 2018, CLDP spent one week training the same group of Attachés in a comprehensive course designed for them prior to their departure. This updated training course is intended to provide more advanced training on relevant topics now that the Attachés have been serving in their posts for more than two years.  The topics for these presentations were identified based on consultations with the Attachés and relevant stakeholders in the last quarter. Topics include drafting international contracts, attracting foreign direct investment, negotiation strategies, and two sessions on working trade shows. The series of pre-recorded virtual presentations, including translated copies of the presentations, will be delivered on a rolling basis to the Attachés. In addition, future topics will be recorded and shared with the participants. These virtual recordings will be saved in an online repository, which will be available for any interested party to view, including the private sector. 

March 15, 2021 - May 24, 2021

CLDP in close collaboration with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) trained Bahrain Innovation and Technology Center (BITC) staff regarding filing patents in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).  This program was part of a CLDP/USPTO collaboration to conduct over 40 hours of intellectual property training for the BITC.  The program included training on how to obtain patents and copyrights in the US as well as other jurisdictions.  

CLDP in Action

February 24, 2021 - February 25, 2021

On February 24-25, CLDP conducted a workshop on FIDIC contracts for a delegation of Sri Lankan officials from the Attorney General’s office.

Read More about Sri Lanka: FIDIC Contracts Workshop