The Legal 500

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United States: Antitrust

Cartel
Cartel - ranked: tier 5

Williams & Connolly LLP

Williams & Connolly LLPattracts great associates, so the partners are able to put together strong antitrust teams’. The focus is typically on high-profile lawsuits, but the department also represents clients before the DOJ, most recently in investigations related to alleged manipulation of LIBOR and the autoparts industry. The firm also served as co-counsel to Google in connection with the FTC’s investigation into allegations that the client unfairly billed consumers for unauthorized purchases by children using mobile apps. David Zinn heads the practice with John Schmidtlein.

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Civil litigation/class actions
Civil litigation/class actions - ranked: tier 5

Williams & Connolly LLP

Washington DC-based litigation firm Williams & Connolly LLP has acted as defense counsel in several of the recent headline antitrust-related class actions, including Animation Workers Antitrust Litigation, Edwards v National Milk Producers Federation, et al (a consumer class action alleging that the nation’s leading dairy cooperatives conspired to suppress output and increase prices for milk produced by dairy farmers) and Marshall, et al v ESPN, Inc., et al. Another key client is Google, and practice co-head John Schmidtlein is representing the tech giant in a lawsuit brought by a putative nationwide class of individual purchasers of Android devices; the case alleges that Google violated federal and California antitrust statutes by entering into contracts with certain phone and tablet manufacturers in which the manufacturer agreed to make Google the default, but not exclusive, search provider on devices in exchange for the right to preinstall certain Google applications on those devices. Jonathan Pitt, who jointly heads the practice with Schmidtlein, is another key contact.

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United States: Dispute resolution

Appellate
Appellate: Supreme Court (federal and state) - ranked: tier 2

Williams & Connolly LLP

Appellate: courts of appeals - ranked: tier 2

Williams & Connolly LLP

Williams & Connolly LLP’s ‘expert team’ provides ‘reasoned advice’, according to sources. Kannon Shanmugam, who is ‘incredibly talented’ and an ‘eloquent writer and oral advocate’, heads the appellate team and focuses on the US Supreme Court. Shanmugam handled three oral arguments in the 2014/15 term: firstly, representing Omnicare alongside co-counsel Winston & Strawn LLP in a closely watched case regarding the scope of liability under the ’33 Act for false statements of opinion; secondly, acting for appellant Warger in a case questioning the admissibility of testimony about jury deliberations; and finally, in Coleman v Tollefson, in a case regarding criminal justice the Prison Litigation Reform Act’s ‘three strikes’ provision. In the Second Circuit, the group is defending Bank of America against alleged breaches of contractual warranties relating to mortgages sold in the wake of the mortgage crisis, worth over $1.2bn; oral arguments were held in December 2015.

Leading lawyers

Kannon Shanmugam - Williams & Connolly LLP

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Financial services: litigation
Financial services: litigation - ranked: tier 5

Williams & Connolly LLP

Led solely from its Washington DC office by the ‘vastly experienced’ John Villa and Dane Butswinkas, the team at Williams & Connolly LLP provides a ‘responsive and efficient’ service to financial institutions and high-ranking executives across a range of litigation and enforcement actions. Known for its trial-ready approach, the firm handles high-stakes commercial litigation for clients from a range of industry sectors, including financial services. An uptick in mandates from banks have included work for UBS, which the firm represents in numerous matters including a recently settled case brought by Pursuit Partners and Pursuit Investment Management alleging UBS made misrepresentations in the sale of CDOs. In addition, the firm continues to handle a number of cases for Bank of America, including appealing a $1.27bn judgment delivered against the bank for claims under FIRREA. The firm also benefits from an ‘appellate group that is as good as it gets’. Other recommended partners include Enu Mainigi and Brendan Sullivan, whose ‘national reputation as a leading trial lawyer is well deserved’.

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General commercial disputes
General commercial disputes - ranked: tier 1

Williams & Connolly LLP

Washington-DC based litigation firm Williams & Connolly LLP is highly rated by peers and clients. Dane Butswinkas secured numerous victories for his blue-chip client base, including obtaining a favorable verdict for AstraZeneca in a federal jury trial in a case concerning antitrust, patent, and food and drug law. Elsewhere, Butswinkas and First Amendment expert Kevin Baine successfully defended HBO in a defamation case brought by Mitre Sports International. Robert Van Kirk is representing the Carlyle Group in litigation brought by investors and liquidators of Carlyle Capital Corporation. Other recent successes for the team came in Colorado, Nevada and California, where John Villa and a team have been representing directors and officers of failed banks in receivership lawsuits. Ryan Scarborough is also recommended.

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International litigation
International litigation - ranked: tier 3

Williams & Connolly LLP

Litigation boutique Williams & Connolly LLP often defends foreign companies and individuals involved in US-filed lawsuits. The firm, which is run out of a single office in Washington DC, was lead counsel for News Corp regarding a DOJ investigation into alleged bribery of public officials and interception of voicemail by its subsidiary in the UK. Elsewhere, Ana Reyes represented a former president of a country in Latin America in a US civil case that involved principles of international law such as head-of-state immunity and proportionality of military response. Joseph Petrosinelli and counsel David Kendall are representing an individual in an FCPA investigation and Peter Kahn is representing a multinational corporation in US civil RICO litigation.

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Leading trial lawyers
Leading trial lawyers

Dane Butswinkas - Williams & Connolly LLP

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Product liability, mass tort and class action: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense
Product liability, mass tort and class action: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense - ranked: tier 1

Williams & Connolly LLP

Heidi Hubbard and Joseph Petrosinelli’s Washington DC-based team at Williams & Connolly LLP is highly experienced in representing pharmaceutical and medical device companies in federal MDLs, state coordinated proceedings and multi-plaintiff actions. Led by Hubbard, the firm is defending Pfizer as lead trial and strategy counsel in personal injury litigation regarding Pfizer products containing talc. Serving as lead national counsel, Douglas Marvin and Paul Boehm recently secured pre-emption victory for Merck & Co. in MDL and California state court proceedings regarding the client’s Type-2 diabetes treatment products Januvia and Janumet. Neelum Wadhwani and Ashley Hardin were promoted to partner.

Leading lawyers

Douglas Marvin - Williams & Connolly LLP

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Securities litigation - defense
Securities litigation - defense - ranked: tier 3

Williams & Connolly LLP

Litigation boutique Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington DC ‘has a reputation as a great trial firm’. It works extensively for large corporates and has a strong SEC enforcement practice. Robert Van Kirk, who is a regular adviser to The Carlyle Group, and Steven Farina lead the practice. Farina represented the New York Stock Exchange in two class actions relating to high-frequency trading. Kannon Shanmugam is leading the defense of Omnicare in a case that is defining whether a statement can be classed as misleading because it turns out to be wrong, and defended NASDAQ in a case alleging negligence following the IPO of Facebook. Veteran litigator Brendan Sullivan achieved a favorable settlement in Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System v Neustar, Inc., et al in a case concerning misleading statements. John Villa, Kevin Downey and Hackney Wiegmann are other names to note.

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White-collar criminal defense
White-collar criminal defense - ranked: tier 2

Williams & Connolly LLP

Williams & Connolly LLP is an ‘absolutely fantastic’ Washington DC litigation boutique that is ‘the gold standard in white-collar criminal defense’, according to sources. Key lawyers at the firm include Tobin Romero and Brendan Sullivan, who led the firm’s advice to News Corp in the four-year DOJ investigation into alleged voicemail interception and bribery of public officials in the UK. The ‘highly organized’ David Zinn defended Bumble Bee Foods against criminal charges of violating workplace safety rules. Kannon Shanmugam was successful in overturning the conviction for securities fraud of bond-trader Jesse Litvak. The practice is chaired by Zinn and Joe Petrosinelli. Emmet Flood, John Villa the ‘aggressive and creative’ Lance Wade and the ‘thorough and personable’ Robert Cary are recommended.

Leading lawyers

Brendan Sullivan - Williams & Connolly LLP

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United States: Government

Government contracts
Government contracts - ranked: tier 4

Williams & Connolly LLP

In 2015, litigation firm Williams & Connolly LLP acted in a high number of qui tam FCA suits as well as criminal and civil investigations. The 11-partner team also handles contract disputes and suspension and debarment cases. Bid protest work includes successfully defending Booz Allen Hamilton against two protests concerning an Army intelligence, security and information operations support contract with a potential value of over $5bn. It also filed a bid protest for SMS Data Products Group concerning the Army’s denial of information management communication services contracts, which resulted in a contract award after voluntary corrective action. Kevin Hodges and Edward Reddington are the names to note.

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Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
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