Tefft Smith is a lifelong Kirkland & Ellis LLP partner, now Of Counsel to its Litigation and Antitrust Law Practice Groups. Kirkland has been consistently recognized as the leading “Go to” law firm for major litigation and antitrust matters, having been named "USA Litigation Law Firm of the Year" by Chambers & Partners and “The Litigation Department of the Year” by the American Lawyer.
Tefft is the Senior Litigation Counsel to Kirkland's Antitrust and Competition Law Practice Group, having been for many years the Partner-in-Charge, coordinating an integrated team of more than 200 Antitrust lawyers in Washington, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Houston, London, Munich, Shanghai. Beijing and Hong Kong. Kirkland’s Antitrust Practice Group was named by Law360 as one of the 5 top Competition Law Firms, for its many litigation achievements and major merger deal clearances.
Tefft is a trial lawyer, with over 35 cases tried to verdict in civil and criminal antitrust, merger and commercial litigation matters. Tefft tried and argued cases before judges and juries throughout the United States, including in the United States Supreme Court, and handled evidentiary proceedings before the European Competition Commission.
Tefft's antitrust trial successes were featured in the American Lawyer and the Legal Times. He was identified as a global leader in the Antitrust & Competition field. Tefft was profiled in the Legal Times as one of the Top Twelve "Leading Antitrust Lawyers," focusing on Tefft's trial experience and quoting one client's observations that, "He's exceptionally strategic, very aggressive, and highly organized. . . . He puts together a hell of a team."
Chambers America's Leading Lawyers for Business described Kirkland's antitrust practice as the "'first choice for a large piece of complex and difficult litigation,' this 'outstanding collection' of trial lawyers is able to draw on antitrust expertise throughout its network of offices in the USA and beyond," noting Kirkland's "strong team concept" and its "active and well organized practice." "It is the Firm's 'uniform level of competence' that keeps Kirkland ahead of the competition" and "confirm[s] its status as the place to go for heavyweight representation."
Chambers said that Tefft "is widely lauded for his excellent negotiation skills - he knows how to strike a balance between aggression and a softer approach in order to secure results." Chambers has also noted that Tefft "spends time absorbing the facts of the case and deploying them to devastating effect." He is "respected for his 'rigorous analytical' style which is often parlayed in sensitive merger clearances, criminal investigations and class action price-fixing cases." Tefft has been described "as an extremely savvy advocate and a top pick for tough negotiations, as 'he knows how to secure results.'" Chambers also noted that Tefft "has a phenomenal amount of experience in [antitrust litigation]" and "few come as highly recommended."
Benchmark Litigation ranked Tefft as a "Litigation Star," nationally for Antitrust and generally for Litigation in D.C. and New York. The BTI Consulting Group's survey of general counsel designated Tefft a "Client Service All-Star," for the superior quality of his responsiveness and dedication to cost-effectively achieving his clients' business objectives. He is recognized as a "Super Lawyer" in both Washington and Illinois.
Tefft was the lead trial lawyer in numerous DOJ government antitrust criminal and private class action cases (including the ADM-related citric acid, the DRAM, Rubber Chemicals, Plastic Additives, Banana and Car Parts cases, many of which also involved proceedings before the European Competition Commission). He was the lead trial lawyer in civil antitrust and commercial litigation cases for Bayer AG, Beech-Nut, BellSouth, BP-Amoco, Chiquita, Kraft, Dow Chemicals, Henkel, Infineon, KME Europa, Office Depot, Sara Lee, Terra, Weyerhaeuser, Whirlpool, a leading property and casualty insurance company, and other major U.S. and non-U.S.-based companies.
Tefft expedited the clearance of many multinational transactions requiring coordination of European Union member state and other national filings and presentations to their various antitrust enforcement agencies for BP-Amoco, Chiquita, Kraft, Office Depot, Sara Lee, Terra, Weyerhaeuser, Whirlpool, Dean Foods, General Motors, Johnson Wax, FMC, Southwire and Alpharma. Tefft has actively counseled these and many other companies on litigation, corporate governance, pricing, distribution and other strategic business matters.
Tefft was a member of the Advisory Board for the BNA Antitrust and Trade Regulation Reporter, was an officer of the American Bar Association (ABA) Antitrust Law and Litigation Sections and their Sherman Act, Mergers and Acquisition, Antitrust Litigation and Corporate Counsel Subcommittees, and regularly was asked to speak at ABA, International Bar Association (IBA) and other programs on competition and antitrust law and trial practice related matters.
Tefft was the only private antitrust practitioner invited to testify before the U.S. Antitrust Modernization Commission (AMC) on “Criminal Antitrust Remedies." Tefft authored the IBA's Comments on Exclusionary Conduct: Bundling to the AMC and its report on "The Extraterritorial Effects of Private Damage Remedies and Cartel Enforcement" of the U.S. and other countries; and comments on the Canadian Cartel Enforcement Leniency Guidelines.
Tefft has written many articles and presentations, including International Cartel Prosecutions: Practical Realities of Multi-National Prosecution/Defense Coordination Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht - International Forum on EC Competition Law, Patent Settlements in the Pharma Sector --Procompetitive Resolutions or Market Allocations?, IBA Madrid, "An Iconoclastic Attack on the Antitrust Community: A Review of Edwin S. Rockefeller's The Antitrust Religion," New York University Journal of Law and Liberty, "In TR We Trust (Bust), Do We Need a New 'Big Stick' in Antitrust Enforcement?," Theodore Roosevelt Association, Chicago Bull Moose Chapter, "International Comity in Dominance Cases: Global Chaos or Evolution?," IBA Singapore Antitrust Committee, "Is Jail Necessary for Deterrence?," IBA 12th Annual Fiesole Competition Conference, "U.S. Supreme Court Slams the Door Shut on Price Squeeze Plaintiffs BNA Antitrust & Trade Regulation Report," "U.S. Antitrust Class Actions: Lessons for Europe," IBA, "How to Limit LePage's Effect," Legal Times; "Harder to Prosecute?: A recent Supreme Court decision could nullify enhanced antitrust penalties," Legal Times; "Finding the Right Price," Legal Times; an "Analysis of U.S. Antitrust Law and Enforcement Regarding Foreign Cartel Activity"; "Dealings with Competitors: The Traps and How to Avoid Them"; "Challenging Competitors' Mergers: A Real Strategic Option," 65 Antitrust Law Journal 57; "Seller Beware!!: Alerting the Seller to the Risks of an Antitrust Sensitive Deal," MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS; "Competition/Antitrust Law Fundamentals for Transactional Lawyers"; "The Use and Misuse of Economic Experts"; "Convergence: A Call to Arms," Euromoney.
Tefft was selected as a civilian participant for the "capstone" National Security Seminar week of the Army War College's year long program for future military leaders. He was invited to participate in the Naval War College's similar program. Tefft has long been a nationally ranked squash player, having won 5 National Age Group Championships, currently ranked #1 in his age bracket. He has a Sports Car Club of America car racing license.
Tefft has been and is active on many Pro Bono matters. He authored a book for the Due Process of Law Foundation, which promotes enhancing the rule of law in South America and elsewhere, entitled Selecting the Best, the Selection of High Level Judges in the United State, Europe and Asia. Tefft helped form and is counsel to the Alliance to Rescue the Victims of Sex trafficking.
Every year since 1997, The National Law Journal's survey of "Who Represents Corporate America" has ranked Kirkland & Ellis LLP among the top five most frequently used firms. Corporate Counsel Survey of General Counsel has identified Kirkland as the Number 1 "Go to Firm" for litigation each of the past five years. Chambers' has named Kirkland the "USA Law Firm of the Year" and the American Lawyer has designated Kirkland as the "Litigation Department of the Year."
For now over 100 years, Kirkland has been delivering cost-effective results. Kirkland stresses – and its clients rightfully expect – pre-eminent, 24/7 instantly responsive service -- and results. To that end, Kirkland blends hard fact work with innovative, and pragmatic counseling, pretrial, and trial strategies, in close coordination with company counsel, focused on achieving the company's business and, where necessary, litigation objectives. Kirkland and Tefft strive to be partners in excellence with their clients, recognizing that the client's success is always the number one priority.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has over 2,900 lawyers, with offices in Chicago, Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Houston, Boston, Dallas, London, Munich, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, offering a full spectrum of legal services to global clients in complex restructuring, corporate, tax, litigation, dispute resolution, arbitration, intellectual property and technology and antitrust matters. Lawyers in all of Kirkland's offices are available in technologically-integrated, multi-disciplinary teams to meet client needs for transactional, litigation and antitrust counseling services, whenever and wherever in the world, on a 24/7 basis.
Married to Nancy Smith since 1967
Children: Lara Smith and Tefft Smith II
Grandchildren: Alexandria Grace, Tefft Smith III and Zoe Fedelia
Nationally Ranked Squash Player – National Age Group Champion (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, currently ranked #1)
President Watergate South, D.C. Board of Directors (2008–2013)
Theodore Roosevelt Association Board of Trustees
President Lincoln's Cottage, Washington, D.C. Board of Directors
Member D.C. Bar Association Lawyers Assistance Committee
Recent Publications & Speeches
CIVIL/CRIMINAL LITIGATION ANTITRUST ISSUES
International Cartel Prosecutions: Practical Realities of Multi-National Prosecution/Defense Coordination, Studienvereingung Kartellrecht - International Forum on EC Competition Law (March 2009)
International Comity in Dominance Cases: Global Chaos or Evolution?, IBA Singapore Antitrust Committee (2007)
Is Jail Necessary for Deterrence?, IBA 12th Annual Fiesole Competition Conference (2008)
U.S. Supreme Court Slams the Door Shut on Price Squeeze Plaintiffs BNA Antitrust & Trade Regulation Report (co-authored with Colin Kass) (February 2009)
Competition Is Good Again, Legal Times (March 19, 2007)
The Anti-Monopolization Haze: Courts must take care that only bundling that is harmful to consumers is condemned. (N.J.L.J. June 2006)
How to Limit LePage's Effect, Legal Times (March 20, 2006)
Comments for the Antitrust Modernization Commission Hearing on Criminal Antitrust Remedies (November 3, 2005)
Comments for the Antitrust Modernization Commission for submission to the IBA on Exclusionary Conduct (October 2005)
Harder to Prosecute?, Legal Times (July 12, 2004)
Finding the Right Price, Legal Times (December 15, 2003)
Stranger Than Fiction - Antitrust And the ADM Story: Can It Happen Again? (2002 ed.)
Analysis of U.S. Antitrust Law and Enforcement Regarding Foreign Cartel Activity (2004 ed.)
Dealings with Competitors: The Traps and How To Avoid Them (2004 ed.)
Aggressive Strategic Sourcing: The Antitrust Issues, A.T. Kearney Conference (1994)
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS ISSUES
Presentation to the Federal Trade Commission on "FTC Administrative Litigation" (June 2003)
Mergers, Acquisitions and Joint Ventures: An Antitrust Compliance Guide (2005 ed.)
Antitrust Guidelines For Transactions Involving Competitors (2005 ed.)
Convergence: A Call to Arms, Euromoney, (January 2003)
Is the "Efficiencies Defense" Dead After Heinz/Beech-Nut?, ABA Antitrust Section Annual Meeting (2001)
Merger and Acquisition Antitrust Fundamentals: A Practical Guide, Von Kalinowski, ANTITRUST COUNSELING AND LITIGATION TECHNIQUES Chap. 18 (1999 ed.)
Responding to the Second Request: Managing the Paper Flow, ABA Advanced Mergers & Acquisitions Program (November 9, 1995)
Challenging Competitors' Mergers: A Real Strategic Option, 65 Antitrust Law Journal 57 (1996)
Alerting the Seller to Antitrust Implications, Mergers & Acquisitions (January/February 1996)
Robinson-Patman Act Realities: The Risks vs. Benefits of Price Discrimination (2005)
Keeping Your Promotion Programs Legal: Making Sure You Pass Go! The Strategic Research Institute, New York City (July 1995)
Model Antitrust Compliance Policy and Manual
Model Antitrust Compliance Presentation Slides
A How-To Guide For An Effective FBI Search Warrant Response Program
Employee Advice of Rights for DOJ Interviews
An Iconoclastic Attack on the Antitrust Community: A Review of Edwin S. Rockefeller's The Antitrust Religion, New York University Journal of Law and Liberty (2010)
Patent Settlements in the Pharma Sector -- Procompetitive Resolutions for Market Allocations, IBA Madrid (October 2009)
In TR We Trust (Bust), Do We Need a New "Big Stick" in Antitrust Enforcement?, Theodore Roosevelt Association, Chicago Bull Moose Chapter (2009)
U.S. Antitrust Class Actions: Lessons for Europe, IBA (September 2006)
Remedies Forum Roundtable III, ABA Section of Antitrust Spring Meeting (April 2003)
"Exculpatory" Evidence: The Government's Duty to Disclose in Civil Cases, ABA Section of Litigation Committee on Government Litigation Program on Practical Considerations when Litigating Against the Government Washington, D.C. (February 2001)
Competition/Antitrust Law: Fundamentals for Transactional Lawyers Association of Corporate Counsel of America, Chicago (September 1997)
The Use and Misuse of Economic Experts: A Trial Demonstration Program ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting (April 1996)
Chambers & Partners' America's Leading Lawyers for Business: Antitrust
Chambers & Partners' The World's Leading Lawyers for Business: Competition/Antitrust
Benchmark Litigation: Litigation Star in Antitrust, Appellate, White Collar Criminal
The Washingtonian's Big Guns: Washington's Top 100 Lawyers
BTI's Client Service All-Stars
Super Lawyers Washington, D.C.
Super Lawyers Illinois
Legal Times' Leading Lawyers: Twelve of the D.C. Area's Top Antitrust Attorneys
Who's Who Legal: Competition
The International Who's Who of Competition Lawyers and Economist
Memberships & Affiliations
Member of the BNA Antitrust and Trade Regulation Reporter Advisory Board
Founder and Many Year Partner-in-Charge of Kirkland's Trial Training Program
Instructor at National Institute of Trial Advocacy National and Midwest Regional Programs
Lecturer at University of Chicago and Northwestern University Schools of Law
Member of Antitrust and Litigation Sections of the American Bar Association
Vice-Chair of ABA Clayton Act, Mergers and Acquisitions, Section 1, and Corporate Counsel Committees
Frequent speaker at ABA/PLI/ACCA/IBA and other Antitrust and Litigation Programs
Admissions & Qualifications
- 1971, Illinois (inactive)
- 1998, District of Columbia
- Supreme Court of the United States
- District of Columbia Court of Appeals
- United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- Supreme Court of Illinois
- Wisconsin Supreme Court
- University of Chicago Law SchoolJ.D.1971
- Brown UniversityB.A.cum laude1968