|Merger ranking:||-||Cartel ranking:||-||Litigation ranking:||10|
|Global head||Thomas Barnett, Anne Lee, Johan Ysewyn|
|No. of jurisdictions with a GCR-ranked competition team||4|
|Percentage of partners/counsel in Who's Who Legal||25%|
|Lateral partner hires||0|
|Former senior enforcers who are partners/counsel||14|
Covington & Burling climbs two spots in our Global Elite rankings to 19th following a successful year before the courts. The competition practice is chaired by partners Johan Ysewyn in Brussels and Thomas Barnett and Anne Lee in Washington, DC. Together, they lead an experienced team of 51 senior lawyers, 14 of whom are former enforcers, including Terrell McSweeny, an ex-Federal Trade Commission member, and Deborah Garza, formerly an assistant attorney general at the US Department of Justice’s antitrust division. In total, the competition group counts over a 100 attorneys, who work across multiple offices, four of which are GCR-ranked.
Buoyed by some major wins before the courts, Covington claims 10th spot in our rankings of the world’s best private litigation practices. In July 2020, the firm achieved a huge victory on behalf of JPMorgan in the Aluminum Warehousing antitrust litigation. The US District Court for the Southern District of New York denied class certification to a group of plaintiffs alleging a conspiracy to inflate prices in the primary aluminium market. On the West Coast, Covington is defending the National Football League and its member clubs, except the Raiders, in an antitrust suit brought by the City of Oakland over the NFL’s approval of the team’s relocation to Las Vegas. In the summer of 2020, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s amended complaint – a decision that the City of Oakland is now appealing against to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The firm is also active in litigation in the EU and UK, defending Samsung against follow-on claims by 41 English local authorities, which are seeking £5.3 million in damages from the company based on the European Commission’s Liquid Crystal Display cartel decision in 2010.
Much of the firm’s cartel and merger control work is confidential. Out of what can be disclosed, Covington represented Deutsche Börse on its proposed acquisition of Institutional Shareholder Services, submitting filings in Germany and Austria and voluntarily engaging with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. The firm also helped Belgian broadcasting company DPG Media in setting up a joint venture with Liberty Global/Telenet to launch a new streaming service in Belgium called Streamz. With offices in the US, the EU and China, Covington advised on multiple deals that were filed in all three jurisdictions, including acting as lead counsel to private equity company Kohlberg in a consortium acquisition of joint control of PCI Pharma Services.
The firm is busy with non-cartel conduct investigations in the US, the EU and China, although the firm’s notable matters are confidential.
Ranked among the top antitrust and competition firms in the world, Covington guides clients through the complex web of antitrust and competition laws to help them secure their most important business objectives.
Our Antitrust Litigation, Government Investigations, and Antitrust Transactions practices help clients secure their most important business objectives.
Built upon a foundation of unsurpassed regulatory and policy insight from more than 120 former government officials as well as extensive litigation and investigatory experience and corporate deal work, Covington is a one-stop shop for global antitrust and competition concerns.
Describing us as “an antitrust team rich in former senior enforcement officials,” Global Competition Review ranked Covington among the best in the world. With former regulators and enforcement officials among our ranks, we are powerfully equipped to help clients anticipate potential issues, navigate merger reviews efficiently, respond to investigations and enforcement actions effectively, and develop compliance programs to reduce risks proactively. Our team includes five former U.S. Justice Department Antitrust and Criminal Division heads; several former EU Parliament and EU Council officials and former ambassadors; several former U.S. Federal Trade Commission officials; and two former DG Competition Heads of Unit.
Smart, Tough Response to Litigation and Investigations
Citing our “superb trial lawyers and outstanding legal analysts,” Chambers and Partners ranks Covington among the best firms in the world for antitrust and general litigation, and The American Lawyer listed us among its litigation departments of the year. With more than 400 litigators—seven of whom are members of the American College of Trial Lawyers—Covington has decades of experience before U.S. courts, European courts, the EU Commission, and arbitral tribunals around the world.
We also represent clients through the full life cycle of civil and criminal cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, providing seamless management of parallel investigations in multiple jurisdictions and critical insight on agency goals.
Seamless Transaction Support
We assist clients of all sizes in obtaining timely transaction clearances, including complex transactions crossing jurisdictions and markets. Covington’s antitrust and competition team handles major cases for some of the biggest companies in the world.
Strategically located in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, our team collaborates closely to identify potential competition law issues, design and manage clearance strategies, and manage and supervise local counsel, to secure timely merger clearances around the world.
In addition to working closely with our corporate team, we frequently draw upon the expertise of our firm’s regulatory practices to anticipate issues and to develop strategies for achieving our clients’ business objectives. As a result of this extensive collaboration, we are well versed in the issues raised by the application of antitrust law in transactions in regulated sectors, including technology, pharmaceutical, financial services, health care, defense, airline, energy, electricity, telecommunications, cable, radio, alcoholic beverages, and IP-intensive industries.
Our antitrust transactional clients also benefit from a team that includes several former senior enforcement officials who were deeply involved in the development of merger policy and gained direct experience with how government authorities conduct merger reviews and reach enforcement decisions. Our experience and expertise enables us to “see around the corners” and provide incisive and practical advice that reduces the risk of surprise and helps our clients get their deals done.