Attorney Profile

Customs Lawyer Jason P Wapiennik of Great Lakes Customs LawIf you or your business is facing challenges with U.S. Customs & Border Protection you need an experienced customs lawyer on your side. My name is Jason Wapiennik, and for more than 10 years, I have been providing valuable help to individuals and importers across the country who faced some challenge with U.S. Customs & Border Protection through my firm, Great Lakes Customs Law. My clients’ cases regularly make it into the national headlines and CBP news releases. I can be contacted directly as follows:

Customs law experience

I represent client’s before U.S. Customs & Border Protection and am able to help in nearly any area, whether it is a penalty, a seizure, prior disclosure, request for information, protests, internal advice requests, AD/CVD scope rulings, offers in compromise, drawback rulings, tariff classification, compliance advice, and other case types, including cases in the Federal District court system and the Court of International Trade.

I know the ins-and-outs of the Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures (FP&F) process at the ports around the country, and at any given point in time have around 100 matters pending before U.S. Customs & Border Protection. I have developed excellent working relationships with the FP&F officers, supervisors, and paralegals at many ports around the country, who respect me and my work, and the results I am able to obtain for my clients. In some ports, no law firm has more of a presence in matters being decided by FP&F.

Before making my own success, I trained as a clerk at the customs law firm of Edmund Maciorowski, P.C., in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan from 2007 until founding Great Lakes Customs Law in 2009.

Large law firms who need my expertise unsuccessfully try to recruit me approximately every 2 years. My references from past clients are available upon request.

National reach

I am a lawyer admitted to practice in Illinois and Michigan. As my firm name suggests, Great Lakes Customs Law has offices in Chicago and Detroit to serve our clients face-to-face. However, given the nature of modern business practices and everyone’s busy schedules (especially since Covid-19), I am remotely available everywhere.

We have a team of staff that expands with our caseload and the needs of our clients, including relationship’s with national customs brokerages and freight forwarders, when their assistance and practical experience is necessary.

Results you can see

You can see my results in penalty cases, which are tracked here and regularly updated: Penalty and Liquidated Damages Case Outcomes. You can see the results in the over 470 currency seizure cases, where Customs has seized money (because the cash was not reported, smuggled, or structured) here: Currency Seizure Case Outcomes. Some of the rulings letters that I have obtained for my importer clients are published on CBP’s CROSS System.

Less visibly, I have also argued before the United States Court of International Trade, negotiated a substantial reduction in $146,815 penalty for allegedly importing counterfeits in a virtually unprecedented case in Eastern District of Michigan, and have resolved numerous seizure and forfeiture matters with the U.S. attorney’s office or the attorneys at CBP’s Office of Chief Counsel, prior to matter ever going to court.

In addition to these public proceedings, I have advised clients and made many prior disclosures under § 592 for importers, obtained favorable prospective binding rulings, provided guidance to clients on tariff classification, country of origin, antidumping and countervailing duties, valuation issues, without the need to resort to the formal prospective ruling process. In some cases, I have saved companies millions of dollars with a few short hours of sound advice and attention to their needs.

Education experience

I attended Purdue University and later transferred to Loyola University Chicago, where I graduated with Bachelor of Arts in Political Science magna cum laude and with departmental honors. I am a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society. I attended Ave Maria School of Law, then located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and primarily reside in Michigan . I have lived in Chicago, Rome, Italy (attending the John Felice Rome Center), and Krakow Poland (Jagiellonian University for the International Business & Trade Summer Law Program) as part of my education. I am the recipient of a scholarship from the Kosciuszko Foundation in 2006.


I am married to Joanna Wapiennik. Together, we have three young children, Jacob, Victoria and Maximilian. All four light up my life, making me a very lucky and fulfilled man, personally and professionally. I love family life, music, religious expression, Polish (and other slavic cultures) culture, talking with (most) foreign-born Americans, history, reading to my children, time spent talking about life and current events with my friends, red wine, dark beer, and in the right setting, very cold vodka.