GCR 100 - 17th Edition

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

10 January 2017

In the past year, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati grew its reputation as a powerful antitrust shop in both the US and Europe, and perhaps the best firm anywhere for advising clients saddled with issues at the intersections of antitrust and dynamic, high-tech industries. Led by the deeply respected team of Susan Creighton and Jonathan Jacobson, the firm’s roster includes nine Who’s Who Legal nominees strategically positioned in New York, Brussels and Washington, DC. Last year, it added to its already considerable firepower by bringing in former senior enforcers Jamillia Ferris, an alumnus of both the DOJ’s antitrust division and the Federal Communications Commission, and former FTC commissioner Joshua Wright, who joined as counsel – among the best hires of any antitrust group in 2016.

Merger ranking - Litigation ranking - Cartel ranking -
Global heads Jonathan Jacobson, Susan Creighton
Number of jurisdictions with a competition team 4
Practice size 49
Partners 14
Counsel and consultants 11
Percentage of partners/counsel in Who's Who Legal 36
Associates 24
Lateral partner hires 1
Partner departures 0
Former enforcers 16

The Wilson Sonsini team continue to advise some of the most prominent and cutting-edge tech companies in the world, in both deals and conduct cases. The team acted for the seller Altera in its takeover by Intel. Seven jurisdictions, including the US, Europe, Japan and Korea, reviewed the merger in depth. Several other deals the firm guided to closing earned heavy scrutiny in multiple countries, including Dell in its US$67 billion purchase of ECM, and Microchip in its nearly US$4 billion buyout of Amtel. No merger on which Wilson Sonsini advised required divestitures; that speaks partially to the nature of the deals, and to the considerable skill of the firm’s lawyers, who worked hard to talk enforcers down from any competition concerns.

The firm’s work on behavioural matters shines. Their cartel team has grown considerably over the past few years, with DOJ veteran Mark Rosman being joined by fellow former officials Stuart Chemtob in 2013 and Karen Sharp in March 2016. Rosman and others on the team have been locked in negotiations with enforcers for companies and individuals targeted in the auto parts, capacitors, financial services, air freight and rail cargo investigations, among others. The work is almost wholly international in scope, and includes enforcers in China – a first for the young Chinese regime. That work spills over into private litigation, with which the firm remains busy. It is acting for Hitachi Chemical in the capacitors class action litigation, Transitions Optical in the photochromic lens case, and Mylan Pharmaceuticals in a number of antitrust matters, including generic drug price-fixing litigation. Other litigation clients include Live Nation, Arista Networks and InterDigital.

Wilson Sonsini made its name advising on the most complex single-firm conduct cases anywhere in the world, and that work continued apace in 2016. Google and its parent company Alphabet have been the flagship client of the Wilson Sonsini antitrust group for years, and the firm remains part of the company’s global antitrust support network as it navigates complex and potentially damaging investigations around the world. But Google is only part of the firm’s enviable conduct work. Spotify has emerged as a major client involved in investigations on both sides of the Atlantic. InterDigital, HDMI, Cypress and Woodward have all turned to Wilson Sonsini for advice in conduct matters, including cases in relatively unexplored antitrust waters before Chinese enforcers.

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