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Law Firms Beef Up Their Antitrust Practices; Ex-Regulators in Big Demand

Posted Jul 20, 2011 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Corrected: Several law firms are bolstering their antitrust practices with lateral hires and the acquisition of onetime government lawyers.

The most high-profile recent hire is that of Justice Department antitrust chief Christine Varney, who will join Cravath, Swaine & Moore this September, the Washington Post reports. Varney started the DOJ job in 2009 and tossed Bush administration monopoly guidelines she viewed as too lax. Now firms anticipating tougher enforcement are in a hiring mode.

The Post reports on these hires:

• Former Federal Trade Commission chairman Tim Muris and his former chief of staff, Christine Wilson, recently moved from O’Melveny & Myers to Kirkland & Ellis.

• Jeffrey Brennan, former associate director at the FTC, moved from Dechert to McDermott Will & Emery last week. McDermott has hired four antitrust associates in the last year and plans to hire up to three more.

• Baker Botts hired 45 antitrust lawyers from the dissolving Howrey law firm in March. The firm also plans to open a Brussels office with 10 antitrust and competition lawyers.

• Alison Smith, a former prosecutor in the Justice Department’s antitrust division, moved from Haynes & Boone to McDermott last fall, the Am Law Daily reported at the time. She once worked at Vinson & Elkins, which she left in 2004.

Corrected on July 20 to indicate that Alison Smith left Vinson & Elkins in 2004.

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