Arnold & Porter has one of the world’s 20 largest competition practices yet appears seventh in the GCR 20. Why? Because it boasts eight Who’s Who nominees, handled a string of high-profile antitrust work this year, and received the fourth-highest number of votes from rivals. Indeed, A&P was the second-highest ranked US firm in that respect, after Cleary Gottlieb.
|Arnold & Porter LLP|| |
|Global head: William Baer|
|Home jurisdiction: US|
|Total size of firm: 605|
|No. of competition lawyers: 118|
|% of firm specialised: 20|
|Who’s Who nominees: 8|
|Equity partners: 35|
|Senior associates: 9|
|No. of lateral partner hires: 1|
|No. of partner departures: 0|
|No. of internal promotions: 1|
The US firm’s highest-rated individuals are William Baer and Robert Pitofsky. These “twin pillars of antitrust law” work in Washington, DC alongside Michael Sohn, Deborah Feinstein, Donna Patterson and Richard Rosen. The Brussels office is home to highly rated partners Marleen van Kerckhove and Luc Gyselen.
In addition, the firm’s antitrust group remained stable this year: no partners joined, none left and two lawyers were promoted in Washington, DC. Wilson Mudge became partner in January 2007, while Amy Ralph Mudge became counsel. (In October 2007 – after our review period – Axel Gutermuth joined in Brussels as of counsel from WilmerHale.)
A&P worked on three headline-making deals this year. It was co-counsel to AT&T in its US$67 billion acquisition of BellSouth, handling both the US and international filings. In Europe, it advised budget airline Ryanair on its proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus (the deal was blocked by the European Commission); and it advised Kraft International on its proposed acquisition of Danone’s biscuit business.
On the litigation front, A&P successfully represented private-equity firm Texas Pacific Group and its affiliate Tarrant Partners in a purported federal class action alleging anti-competitive conduct by private equity firms relating to the practice of ‘club bidding’ (the case was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs, without prejudice). The firm also obtained dismissal of a purported class action by all gasoline dealiers in California alleging that gasoline prices were fixed.
Visa USA is another key client that A&P represented in several federal and state antitrust actions this year. For example, it defended Visa in litigation filed by American Express and Discover, as well as about 30 class actions filed by merchants that accept Visa cards. Also in the US, A&P advised French pharmaceutical manufacturer Fournier (since acquired by Solvay) in antitrust litigation.
On the criminal/cartel front, A&P represented Micron in relation to the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) criminal investigation of digital random access memory (DRAM) pricing: the firm helped Micron to obtain amnesty from federal criminal prosecution in exchange for cooperation. It also represented the company in defending related civil antitrust suits.
Meanwhile, A&P advised several clients “under the radar”, including General Electric in its acquisition of Vetco Gray; NBC Universal on the creation of a joint venture with News Corp/Fox; Monsanto in relation to multi-state monopolisation and price-fixing claims; and BP in relation to various antitrust issues – including a monopolisation case.
It also won a significant victory in the Sixth Circuit for pharmaceutical company Wyeth. The court dismissed monopolisation claims seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and threatened a basic business model of the pharmaceutical industry.