Welcome to the 2017 edition of the GCR 100, our comprehensive listing of the world’s top competition practices. Once again, the GCR 100 provides a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the law firms and economic consultancies doing the most important antitrust work around the world.
Compiled by the staff of Global Competition Review, this publication covers more than 300 firms from every inhabited continent, and spotlights the top 25 global competition practices. It also includes the Economics 21, which offers a picture of the world’s leading consultancies for antitrust economics advice.
This year we feature firms in 50 jurisdictions, ranging from a pair of elite practices in Indonesia to the scores of firms in the competition law capitals of Brussels and Washington, DC. The entries here are founded on our periodic country surveys, when GCR’s reporters visit jurisdictions around the world to meet their leading antitrust practitioners and top enforcement officials. In the past year, we carried out surveys in Kenya, Brussels, Japan, New York, Romania, Malaysia, Belgium, New Zealand, Austria, Mexico, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, Korea, Poland and China. The information gathered during these visits is coupled with an understanding of different competition law markets gained from nearly 20 years of reporting.
Firms are ranked into three categories: “elite”, “highly recommended” and “recommended” in most of these surveys. The exceptions are for Brussels and Washington, DC, where we added a fourth “outstanding” category between elite and highly recommended, to better accommodate the two largest antitrust bars. Within each category, the firms are listed alphabetically.
For this publication, we have contacted each of the firms included in our periodic surveys and asked them to provide an overview of their competition team. Our data covers the period from 31 July 2015 to 30 June 2016, although we make every effort to include significant developments after that to ensure the publication is as relevant as possible. We do not attempt to include every firm with a competition law practice in the listed jurisdictions; we instead use our research to provide a picture of the leading practices.
In addition to the country surveys that appear in our monthly magazine, we use knowledge garnered from writing daily stories on antitrust news to inform our GCR 100 analysis. Each day, GCR reporters in the UK and the US talk with competition lawyers, economists, academics and enforcement officials around the world, in conversations that show us the landscape of developments as they unfold. This information is vital to the GCR 100, as it provides a clear understanding of which firms are fastest to react to major changes in a jurisdiction.
For firms featured in the GCR 100, we list the practice head, the number of specialists (broken down by partner, counsel/consultants, and associates), the names of nominees to our sister publication Who’s Who Legal: Competition, and the firm’s major clients. In the rare instances where firms did not take part in the research, we do not include a write-up but we do mention them in the accompanying table.
The Global Elite
While our country chapters recognise the best firms in each individual jurisdiction, the Global Elite reflects how practices perform on a bigger stage. Our assessment of the top 25 competition practices in the world calls on firms to supply us with detailed information about the work they have done over the past year, as well as quantitative information about the size and composition of their group. We continue to refine our focus on only the most difficult, contentious antitrust work – the sticky deals, hard-fought lawsuits, misconduct accusations and more – that best captures the quality of a competition practice. We have used this information to update and revise the Global Elite, along with our three rankings specific to the kinds of work on which antitrust practices centre: mergers, cartels and litigation. We believe our research results in the definitive list of the world’s best antitrust practices, based on their ability and real-time performance.
We also consider the reputations of individual lawyers within each practice with the help of our sister publication, Who’s Who Legal: Competition. This list of the top antitrust lawyers is updated each year by researchers who canvass the views of hundreds of lawyers and clients on the very best individuals in the field. The number of individuals from a given firm featured in Who’s Who Legal: Competition tells us a great deal about the view of the market on that firm’s quality.
Finally, we consider the stability and attractiveness of a firm’s antitrust practice, weighing new hires and promotions over the past year, as well as departures. Successful firms are able to recruit – and maintain – the very best practitioners, including those who have held senior roles at competition authorities. As always, some practice groups contracted due to partner retirements and departures, while others added major names from government enforcement agencies and rival firms.
We hope that the GCR 100 continues to act a practical resource for in-house counsel or law firms looking to refer work or build contacts, but also inspires thought about what really makes an antitrust practice shine.