Welcome to the 2016 edition of the GCR 100, our comprehensive listing of the world’s top antitrust and competition practices. As in past years, the GCR 100 offers a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis of top antitrust practices in jurisdictions around the world.
Compiled by the staff of Global Competition Review, this publication analyses more than 300 different competition law firms across the globe. Our sister survey, the Economics 21, offers a picture of the world’s leading economics consultancies for competition advice.
This year we feature firms in 50 jurisdictions – from tight-knit bars in smaller jurisdictions, to the sprawling antitrust communities in Brussels and Washington, DC. The entries here are based on the information we gather during our monthly country surveys, when our reporters visit jurisdictions around the world to meet with the country’s leading competition practitioners, as well as top enforcement officials and others ingrained in the antitrust community. In 2015, we carried out surveys in the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Singapore, Hungary, South Africa, the Netherlands, Turkey, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Australia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Portugal and Finland; our US surveys were carried out in California, Illinois and Washington, DC. The information gathered during these visits is coupled with an understanding of different jurisdictions gained from more than 17 years of reporting.
Firms are grouped into three categories: “elite”, “highly recommended” and “recommended” – except in Brussels and Washington, DC, in which we added a fourth category, “outstanding’’, to better accommodate two of the world’s largest antitrust bars. Within each division, the firms are listed in alphabetical order.
We have contacted each of the firms included in our monthly surveys and asked them to provide an overview of their competition team. Our data covers the period from 31 July 2014 to 1 August 2015, although we make every effort to include significant developments after that to make the publication as relevant as possible. We do not attempt to cover every firm with a competition law practice in the listed jurisdictions; instead we use our research to provide a picture of the leading practices.
In addition to the country surveys, we use knowledge garnered through our daily news reporting duties to inform our analysis. Each day, GCR reporters in the UK and the US talk to lawyers, economists and enforcement officials across the world, which gives us a broad picture 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.
Being the best firm in an individual jurisdiction does not necessarily reflect how one performs on a global stage. For that, we turn to the Global Elite, our assessment of the top 25 competition practices in the world. For the second year, we asked 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 of their practice group, the jurisdictions they appear in and so on. This year, we refined our questions to focus on only the most difficult, contentious antitrust work that we believe 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 antitrust practices focus on – mergers, cartels and, for the first time, antitrust 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 is the cumulative product of 18 years of research updated each year by researchers who speak to hundreds of lawyers and clients to canvass their views 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 that firm’s quality.
Finally, we consider the stability of a firm’s antitrust practice, weighing new hires and promotions over the past year, as well as looking at who is leaving the firm. Successful firms are able to recruit – and maintain – the very best practitioners. As always, some competition groups contracted due to partner retirements and departures, while others recruited major names from government enforcement agencies and rival firms. Those moves were taken into account when putting together this year’s Global Elite, along with casework and other factors.
We hope that the GCR 100 serves a dual purpose. First, to provide food for thought as to what really makes one antitrust practice better than the next. And second, to provide a practical resource for in-house counsel or for law firms looking to refer work or build more contacts.
For firms featured in the GCR 100, we list the practice head, the number of specialists (broken down by partner, counsel/consultants, and senior and junior associates), the names of Who’s Who Legal: Competition nominees in the practice, 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.