8. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Global heads: Robert E Cooper, Gary R Spratling, Peter Sullivan, Daniel G Swanson, M Sean Royall
Home jurisdiction: United States
Total size of firm: 1,055
No. of competition specialists: 201
Percentage of competition specialists: 19
Who’s Who Legal nominees: 11
Partners: 75
Percentage of partners in Who’s Who Legal: 15
Senior associates: 42
Associates: 74
Counsel and consultants: 5
Other: 5
No. of lateral partner hires: 2
No. of partner departures: 6
No. of internal promotions: 4

The group as a whole has grown from 185 lawyers to 201 over the past 12 months, and added more than a dozen lawyers to its associate and senior associate groups. At the partner level, the team added bench depth on both coasts. In San Francisco, the firm hired former Ropes & Gray securities and white-collar crime litigators Thad Davis and Michael Wong, who have some antitrust experience, and it brought in long-time DoJ prosecutor Joshua Soven to add considerable government expertise to the Washington, DC, office. Gibson Dunn climbed the most of any firm in this year’s rankings, based primarily on the firm’s high-ranking partners in the US and Brussels, significant geographic spread and its growing global practice.

The firm has built its reputation on helping companies with cartel exposure secure leniency in jurisdictions around the world. That reputation remained strong this year as the firm helped guide global banking powerhouse UBS to conditional leniency in the US and elsewhere in relation to the Libor price-fixing investigation being coordinated in the US, the UK, Canada and elsewhere. The Gibson team is also defending the company against related charges brought by a prospective class of plaintiffs that many observers say will be the largest antitrust class action of all time in terms of the amount of damages sought.

The team’s long history of courtroom successes continued in 2012 too, as it led client Cox Communication to victory in a California-based class action alleging a conspiracy between cable companies and major programming networks to bundle packages of channels, rather than offering them à la carte.

The Gibson group also continued its impressive work for high-tech clients. It is lead counsel to Apple in the government’s e-books antitrust case – an aggressive litigation that appears destined for trial. It also helped key client Intel “eviscerate” – the firm’s word, not ours – a lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General’s Office alleging a microprocessor monopoly, winning motions that reduced potential damages from over US$250 million to around US$5 million.