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W. Ford Graham

W. Ford Graham is a partner in the Charleston office. Ford has over 12 years of experience working in the economic development sector where he has been one of the leading recruiters of international companies to the Southeastern United States. He has facilitated new industry and industrial expansion in over 105 projects, which has resulted in commitments of more than 9,000 new jobs and $3.3 billion in new investment. Ford's practice focuses on companies opening or expanding operations in the U.S. In addition to economic incentives, Ford assists companies with the full spectrum of legal needs that arise when companies enter new markets.

Prior to joining K&L Gates, Ford served as director of international strategy & trade for the South Carolina Department of Commerce. In that role, he directed all aspects of the agency’s international efforts including South Carolina’s four international offices in Delhi, Munich, Shanghai, and Tokyo, uncovering Foreign Direct Investment opportunities, and assisting South Carolina companies with exporting their products to the rest of the world. Before that, he worked as general counsel for a real estate development/investment firm and served as a law clerk in the 5th and 14th Judicial Circuits of South Carolina. Graham also served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala.

  • Recognized by Charleston Business Magazine as “Legal Elite of the Lowcountry” 2018, 2019
  • Received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, 2017
  • President of the Council of American States in Europe (CASE), 2012 - 2014, 2014-2015
  • Recognized by The State Newspaper as one of the “20 Under 40” emerging business leaders, 2011
  • Received South Carolina’s Rural Development Service Award, 2009
  • Folks Center for International Business, Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina, Board Member
  • WestEdge Foundation, Board Member
  • French American Chamber of Commerce of the Carolinas, Board Member
  • Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC), Member
  • Teach for America, Mentor
  • Council of American States in Europe (40-year old organization consisting of the 17 American states with representatives in Europe), past President
  • Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Carolina, past President, Vice President
  • Industrial Asset Management Council, Webinar: “How Onshoring Affects Site Selection: Tariffs Coupled with The Pandemic Have Impacted Supply Chains and Certain Goods Markets,” March 2021
  • 2021 SC Bar Convention, “2021 Timely Aspects and Updates on International Law Featuring Dispute Resolution, The Hague, Trade and Intellectual Property,” October 2020
  • Council of American States in Europe: USA Investment Roundtable, “Economic Development After COVID-19: What it Means for Existing & Prospective Companies,” June 2020
  • SelectUSA Canada Conference: Due Diligence & Site Selection, December 2019
  • U.S. Embassy in the Czech Republic: You Will Need a Lawyer: Best Practices for Doing Business in the U.S., September 2019
  • U.S. Embassy in Switzerland: How U.S. Tax Reform Impacts Doing Business and Investments Between the United States and Switzerland, March 2018
  • Charleston Regional Development Alliance Quarterly Briefing: Foreign Direct Investment in South Carolina, February 2017
  • Southern Forest Products Export Conference: Europe and Asia Market, Moderator, October 2016
  • Global South Metro Exchange Conference: Growing South Carolina's Globally Connected Economy, July 2016
  • Business Black Box Leader Series: How South Carolina is Protecting its Reputation as a Manufacturing and Export Capital, Panelist, May 2016
  • South Carolina Manufacturing Alliance Plant Management Annual Conference: South Carolina: A Global Player in a Competitive Game, April 2016
  • Comcast Chindia Summit: Globalization of Chindia Enterprises, March 2016
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