Howrey once again boasts the world's largest antitrust practice, a title it reclaimed from Freshfields last year. The US firm weighs in with over 300 competition specialists this year – almost double the size of the world's fourth-largest practice. Within that group is a 115-strong partnership (62 of them equity partners) that grew this year thanks to two promotions in Brussels and a raft of recruits on both sides of the Atlantic.
|Global head: Sean Boland, Alan Wiseman and Trevor Soames|
|Home jurisdiction: USA|
|Total size of firm: 646|
|No. of competition lawyers: 301|
|% of firm specialised: 47|
|Who's Who nominees: 14|
|Equity partners: 62|
|Non-equity partners: 53|
|Senior associates: 25|
|No. of lateral partner hires: 6|
|No. of partner departures: 4|
|No. of internal promotions: 2|
In Europe, Howrey poached Michael SchÜtte from Freshfields, Thomas McQuail from Lovells and Maarten Meulenbelt from Dutch firm NautaDutihl. It also promoted two rising stars: Damien Geradin and Stephen Mavroghenis were made partner in Brussels. (There was significant news in September 2007 – after the GCR 100 review period – when Howrey announced that it would merge with Spanish boutique Martinez Lage.)
In the US, meanwhile, Howrey added three partners: Scott Hataway joined in Washington, DC from the DoJ's antitrust division; Ethan Litwin joined in New York from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; and David Stewart joined in San Francisco from RealNetworks.
Yet Howrey lost partners in the US and Europe too. In Brussels, Bruno Lebrun and Howard Rosenblatt moved to Latham & Watkins; in Chicago, Joel Chefitz joined McDermott Will & Emery; and in Washington, DC, Charles Engel III joined King & Spalding.
Even so, Howrey is third in the GCR 20, thanks to the decent number of votes it received from rival practices and corporate counsel, and the headline-making work it did this year in Europe and the US. For example, Howrey is representing Qualcomm, the world's leading developer of wireless communication technology, against six coordinated complaints before the European Commission. It also gives Qualcomm antitrust support in worldwide patent litigation.
Another regular competition client is Samsung Electronics. Howrey is repesenting it in the pending article-81 DRAM investigation. It is also advising the International Air Transport Association in relation to the multidistrict class action litigation alleging price fixing in the global air-cargo industry, as well as providing general counselling on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the US, meanwhile, Howrey is representing Schering-Plough in direct and indirect class actions filed in federal and state courts alleging violations of the Sherman Act and state antitrust laws arising out of the settlement of patent litigation with generic drug manufacturers. It is also representing two classes of dairy farmers in relation to a price-fixing allegation.
On the merger front, Howrey represented Schering-Plough before US and European competition authorities in relation to its e11 billion purchase of Organon BioSciences, the human and animal healthcare business, from Dutch pharmaceutical manufacturer Akzo Nobel; Monsanto on its multi-billion dollar acquisition of Delta & Pine Land Company; and Lone Star Technologies when it was acquired by US Steel. Howrey won antitrust clearance in the US, in addition to notifying the deal in Germany and Austria.
In Europe, it advised SCA on the acquisition of Procter & Gamble's entire European tissue operations by SCA. DG Comp's approval was conditional on divestment by SCA of a tissue brand in Austria and Germany.
Howrey's other key competition clients include the Chicago Board Options Exchange, ICI, Bertelsmann, Linde and Nestlé. Howrey advised Nestlé on its US$5.5 billion acquisition of the Gerber baby-food business from Novartis, and on DG Comp's investigation of its joint venture with Lactalis in the chilled-dairy sector.
Howrey's global antitrust practice also boasts 14 Who's Who nominees – the fourth-highest total. Like many of its rivals, Howrey's most highly rated lawyers are split between the key markets of Brussels and Washington, DC. The stars of its DC office include practice co-leader Alan Wiseman, Roxann Henry, John Taladay and James Rill. Described by one source as the "dean of deans" , Rill is widely respected for his private practice work and his background as former chairman of the American Bar Association's antitrust section. Also highly rated are partners Mark Schechter and John DeQ Briggs, who is known as a "great courtroom lawyer".
Trevor Soames and Julian Joshua are among Howrey's stars in Brussels. Soames, who co-leads the practice, is "a real Brussels insider" and "excellent", sources say; Joshua is "a leader in the field of cartels work". Götz Drauz, Martina Maier, Paris Anestis, Marc Reysen and Michael Schütte are highly rated too.