Chambers & Partners has compiled their independent and objective list of America's Leading Lawyers for Business based on comments gathered from thousands of interviews with clients and lawyers from Maine to Hawaii. This guide -- which is designed to reflect market opinion -- contains a view of the firms and attorneys who are considered leaders in their field.
In Chambers' 2007 review of national legal talent in the area of "Antitrust," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.
Illinois Ranking: 1
The Firm: Feeding off its reputation as one of the finest litigation firms in the USA, Kirkland & Ellis' antitrust practice continues to lead the field, providing a significant amount of counseling to its impressive client roster. With substantial antitrust practices on the West and East Coasts, 151 attorneys enhance the national potential of this historically Chicago-powered outfit, but according to sources it is the firm's "uniform level of competence" that keeps Kirkland ahead of the competition. The bench is extremely strong, and the practice can draw on some of the firm's lead litigators, in particular Richard Godfrey, to aid in its endeavors. Among a raft of high-importance cases of late, the team represented GM in a class action antitrust conspiracy lawsuit alleging the conspiring of vehicle manufacturers to preclude the sale of cheaper Canadian vehicles to the American market. The class encompasses anyone who has bought a car in the past six years and therefore the stakes are huge for the named defendants.
The Lawyers: "Aggressive and smart with a great presence in court," Andy Langan draws consistent praise from both peers and clients. He has been focusing primarily on A-list client BP, successfully arguing a motion to dismiss a claim alleging a conspiracy relating to natural gas pipeline markets in Alaska, and representing it in state and federal investigations into gasoline pricing in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, most of which have been closed without action. Jim Mutchnik is credited by peers with "keeping up with developments and always looking at the bigger picture." He recently defended Weyerhaeuser in price-fixing allegations brought against it and other defendants in a class action filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. With a strong background in economics and a "willingness to get his hands dirty with the details," Daniel Laytin is a great person to have on your side. In addition to providing staunch support for Richard Godfrey in matters for GM and Aon, he recently successfully dismissed a Robinson-Patman Act case brought against ExxonMobil.
Clients/Work Highlights: The group achieved a very favorable jury verdict for ExxonMobil in an alleged fraud case revolving around the purchase of company assets, in which the jury awarded less than 3% of claimed damages. Other clients of the firm include Abbott Laboratories; Dow AgroSciences; Sara Lee and Aon.
National Ranking: 3
The Firm: Litigation has historically been this firm's gateway into the antitrust world, but a stellar profile in the private equity and venture capital spheres has boosted its transactional experience and it now operates "a substantial antitrust practice for significant clients." Recent work has included merger advice to Concord EFS, SC Johnson and United Airlines, and monopolization litigation for AOL and Netscape. Nationwide cartel cases are the team's forte, and it often combines its civil, criminal and appellate expertise for a seamless performance in complex situations. The "open communication" between lawyers and clients is another draw, as is the firm's geographical reach. The well-integrated group - which includes Tefft Smith - numbers around 100 lawyers in Chicago, Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with international support from London and Munich.
District of Columbia Ranking: 3
The Firm: As Kirkland & Ellis's roots in Washington, DC deepen its reputation grows; clients praise the firm's "absolutely superb performance" in antitrust litigation while peers acknowledge its omnipresence in national matters. As befits an "obviously good" group of attorneys, many with trial experience, the team has played a central role in a variety of highly visible cases. It is defending Dow Chemical against a 13-year-long Sherman Act price-fixing class action and achieved a very favorable settlement on behalf of Infineon Technologies in a global dispute with Rambus. This underscores the current importance of the antitrust/IP overlap and signals the firm's commitment to remaining abreast of the latest developments. Elsewhere, it continues to fend off cartel allegations and undertakes work of global proportions. Members are, for example, representing Chiquita Brands International in investigations and follow-up civil class action litigation originating in the company's disclosure of information exchanges taking place in Europe relating to the sale of bananas.
The Lawyers: Epitomizing the ethos behind his firm, Tefft Smith is a "brilliant negotiator and strong leader," unafraid to take on the agencies when it is in the best interests of his extensive client base. Mark Kovner has lived up to his reputation as a "core antitrust guy" of late by representing Honeywell in a significant monopolization case and playing a pivotal role defending class actions arising from a major merger in the pharmaceutical arena. "Very hands-on," he is "smart, fast and thorough" in all he undertakes.
Clients/Work Highlights: In the busy pharmaceutical sector, the team is providing counsel to Barr Pharmaceuticals in a series of state and federal lawsuits challenging a Hatch-Waxman patent settlement connected with the antibiotic Cipro. Additional clients include Briggs & Stratton; BP; SEMCO Energy Ventures/Pipeline Company; Discover Financial Services; Accel-KKR and United Airlines.
Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2007 - www.chambersandpartners.com.