GCR 100 2023

17. Covington & Burling

17. Covington & Burling

Professional notice

Merger ranking:10Cartel ranking:-Private Litigation ranking:-
Global headThomas Barnett, Anne Lee and Johan Ysewyn
No. of jurisdictions with a GCR-ranked competition team4
Practice size101
Percentage of partners/counsel in Who's Who Legal9%
Lateral partner hires1
Partner departures2
Former senior enforcers who are partners/counsel14

For the second consecutive year, Covington & Burling climbs two spots in our Global Elite rankings, so it now sits in 17th place. Led by Johan Ysewyn in Brussels and Thomas Barnett and Anne Lee in Washington, DC, the competition practice counts 50 partners and counsel, 14 of whom are former enforcers. The latter group now includes Ryan Quillian, who joined in May 2022 after stepping down as a manager within the Technology Enforcement Division of the US Federal Trade Commission. That hire came two months after Deborah Garza – a former assistant attorney general at the US Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division – left to co-found the antitrust boutique, Rule Garza Howley.

Covington enters our ranking of the world’s top-10 merger shops after working on some of the world’s most closely watched deal reviews. A team in the EU advised Illumina on its €6.8 billion merger with GRAIL, which the companies closed in August 2021 despite an ongoing Phase II probe by the European Commission, which went on to eventually block the deal in September 2022 based purely on vertical concerns. The company is appealing against that decision, while also challenging separate gun-jumping allegations and the agency’s jurisdiction to review the deal as it fell below national and EU merger thresholds. In another pair of impressive mandates, Covington advised Discovery on its acquisition of WarnerMedia, and Salesforce on its acquisition of Slack. The firm also advised Rogers on its proposed acquisition of DuPont in the US, the EU and China, but that deal was called off in November 2022.

Covington also has a busy private litigation practice, advising Citi and JP Morgan on several follow-on damages matters before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York that stem from financial services cartel cases. On the West Coast, Covington defended 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 December 2021, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s amended complaint. In October 2022, the Supreme Court declined to take the case.

The firm’s confidential caseload is equally as impressive as its public work.

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 achieve their most important business objectives.

Our Antitrust Litigation, Government Civil and Criminal Investigations, and Antitrust Transactions practices help clients achieve 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.

Regulatory Insight

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 particularly well equipped to help clients anticipate potential issues, navigate merger reviews efficiently, respond to investigations and enforcement actions effectively, develop compliance programs, and provide practical advice in real time to reduce risks proactively. Our team includes former U.S. Justice Department Antitrust and Criminal Division heads; former EU Parliament and EU Council officials and former ambassadors; former U.S. Federal Trade Commission officials; and 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—several of whom are members of the American College of Trial Lawyers—Covington has decades of experience before U.S. courts, European courts, the European 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 and monopolization investigations, providing seamless management of parallel investigations in multiple jurisdictions and critical insight on agency process and analysis.

Seamless Global 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.

Website: www.cov.com/

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