Antitrust - Texas
THE FIRM Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher offers impressive bench strength and is highly rated by its peers for the quality of its antitrust practice. The nationwide firm is recognized for the investment it has made in its team in Texas, and for its strength in IP-related work, litigation and government investigations. It acts for a plethora of big-name clients, and recently represented Estée Lauder in an antitrust suit brought by Duty Free Americas. The firm also acted for 3M on a case brought by Avery Dennison involving claims of false advertising and unfair competition concerning reflective materials on road signs.
Sources say: "One of the best antitrust litigation practices in the country."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sean Royall is an "exceptionally good lawyer" who is "very savvy and experienced," according to sources. An extremely skilled attorney with vast experience across the antitrust spectrum, he is praised for his "ability to distil complex information into easily digestible pieces." He recently represented Sanofi in two cases concerning the drug Lovenox, and advised The Williams Companies on its unsolicited – eventually unsuccessful – ttempt to acquire Southern Union.
Brian Robison has been involved in a number of high-profile government investigations and class action cases, and recently obtained a dismissal with prejudice in a price-fixing class action on behalf of the United Potato Growers of Canada. Sources praise his "very strong intellect and organizational skills."
The "excellent" Robert Walters is seen by peers as one of the leading commercial litigators in the state, with experience in antitrust, securities and tort cases. He was lead counsel for the firm in the Estée Lauder suit.
Veronica Lewis has a broad commercial practice encompassing IP and securities in addition to antitrust law. She represented Aetna in a complaint brought against Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan concerning its use of most-favored-nation contracts at hospitals.
THE FIRM This firm benefits from tremendous resources in antitrust law, and remains one of Texas's strongest groups in this field. It focuses primarily on litigation, and has also had notable success outside the courtroom. In highlights, the team advised international freight forwarder CEVA Logistics on a DOJ investigation into the freight forwarding industry, which involved coordinating responses to competition authorities in Brazil, New Zealand, Japan and across the EU. The firm also represented the Sacramento Kings in its dispute with the NBA, and acted for AT&T on the antitrust matters relating to its proposed $39 billion acquisition – subsequently abandoned – of T-Mobile USA.
Sources say: "They have real strength in Texas." "They do an excellent job."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "phenomenally talented" Barry McNeil is recognized by peers as one of the leading antitrust attorneys in Texas. A former DOJ lawyer, he continues to work extensively on criminal antitrust cases and related civil and class actions. Sources say he is "very strategic, organized and experienced."
Described as "very knowledgeable in the antitrust field," Ronald Breaux heads the firm's litigation section, which includes the antitrust practice group. He also undertakes a wide array of complex commercial litigation.
Kathleen Beasley is a "professional, friendly and responsive" antitrust practitioner whom one source calls a "straight shooter." She played an active part in advising CEVA Logistics on the DOJ investigation.
THE FIRM This group's reputation as a preeminent antitrust practice in Texas is complemented by its outstanding expertise in the energy and healthcare sectors. Sources are quick to note the firm's strong track record in antitrust litigation, and its additional experience in mergers, strategic alliances, class actions and government investigations. Recent highlights include representing CHRISTUS Health in a nationwide class action brought by nurses in four cities concerning an alleged wage-fixing conspiracy. The firm also defended GCC Alliance Concrete against claims of price-fixing brought by purchasers of ready-mix concrete.
Sources say: "An extremely talented group across the board – they are very knowledgeable about antitrust law and its nuances."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Star individual Layne Kruse is described as "very sharp and very practical," and praised for his abilities in the courtroom. He has more than 30 years' experience in antitrust and securities litigation, and commentators say they "would trust him with anything."
William Pakalka is a litigator who "knows how to handle himself in front of judges" and is seen to be "right up there at the top" by peers. An antitrust and broad civil practitioner, he recently defended Memorial Hermann Healthcare System against claims of an alleged boycott of a failed startup hospital by major managed care companies.
Anne Rodgers has a strong reputation as a general commercial litigator, with substantial experience in antitrust matters, including work on a recent case alleging anticompetitive conduct in the steel production market.
Of counsel Richard Carrell is seen as a "go-to litigator on the defense side." He recently acted for a petroleum company in a case concerning an alleged breach of the Sherman Act by OPEC.
THE FIRM This litigation boutique earns its place at the top of the list of antitrust firms in Texas, and is widely acclaimed for its unrivalled plaintiff-side practice. It also handles some defense work, and has developed a strong presence nationwide. With no fewer than 100 attorneys across its five offices, it is well placed to advise on claims involving a wide range of industries, including medical devices, airlines, dairy, steel and telecommunications.
Sources say: "The strongest plaintiff firm in the state, and one of the top in the country."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Stephen Susman has long been regarded as a preeminent plaintiff lawyer in the state of Texas and nationwide, and sources commend his "incredible energy." He divides his time between Houston and New York.
Lee Godfrey is a highly experienced and adept trial lawyer, with a strong general commercial practice which includes antitrust work. "He is a magician in the courtroom," sources say.
Barry Barnett is also well regarded for his trial expertise, which covers a wide range of areas including antitrust, business fraud and class actions.
Harry Susman operates a broad commercial litigation practice, and represents both plaintiffs and defendants in antitrust suits.
THE FIRM Andrews Kurth has a strong reputation for its broad antitrust practice, with notable expertise in merger clearance work, Hart-Scott-Rodino filings and government investigations. Recent highlights saw the firm represent Cheniere Energy Partners in respect of a $2 billion equity investment by Blackstone Partners, and act for Air New Zealand on a DOJ investigation concerning the price of fuel surcharges on flights coming into the USA.
Sources say: "They are very responsive and professional."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jerry Beane is seen as "one of the top antitrust lawyers" in Texas and is highlighted for his ability to provide "practical, business-savvy advice." He is a specialist defense attorney with an antitrust practice encompassing litigation and counseling. In recent work, he acted for National Dairy as a defendant in the Southeastern Milk antitrust litigation.
Kay Lynn Brumbaugh is acclaimed as a "smart, creative and plain-spoken" antitrust lawyer with "great subject matter knowledge." She has extensive experience in litigation, and has recently been heavily engaged in a high volume of Hart-Scott-Rodino filing and merger work. Notably, she represented Provident Energy in its $3.1 billion merger with Pembina Pipeline.
THE FIRM Thompson & Knight has a strong reputation for antitrust litigation, and is a regular feature on class actions and cases before the FTC. In recent work, it defended chemicals manufacturer Voltaix against various allegations of monopolization. Other recent clients include Gruma and Star Pipe Products.
Sources say: "They are able to look at things from your point of view, rather than just offering a pure opinion."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "One of the leading antitrust lawyers in the state," Gregory Huffman is described as a "savvy, smart and knowledgeable attorney who focuses on the client's needs." He is a seasoned litigator with substantial experience across the board in antitrust and complex commercial litigation.
William Katz is a hard-working and "very knowledgeable" attorney whose "legal writing is excellent." He was heavily involved in the Voltaix case, and also advises on international arbitration and energy issues.
James Berglund is a litigator with a wide array of antitrust expertise covering civil and criminal cases, as well as complex commercial litigation and healthcare fraud.
THE FIRM This firm has long experience advising on antitrust litigation at both the state and federal level, and continues to grow its practice in this field. Within Texas, its strength in energy matters is evidenced by its work for such clients as ConocoPhillips, Halliburton and Marathon Oil. Other notable highlights include successfully defending Actelion Pharmaceuticals against conspiracy claims under California's Cartwright Act.
Sources say: "We've been impressed with their responsiveness and the depth and insight that they bring."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Dallas-based Van Beckwith is a key contact.
THE FIRM This San Antonio-based firm is a leading name for antitrust in south Texas. It has seen a high volume of work related to healthcare M&A, and also has substantial expertise in energy-related antitrust. In other notable work, the team continues to represent Pedernales Electric Cooperative in an independent investigation into its operations. The firm also advises clients on competition and antitrust law in Canada, Latin America and the EU.
Sources say: "They have been fantastic, responsive and cost-effective."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Ferrill is a strong presence in south Texas, and "knows compliance law as well as anyone in the country," say sources. A seasoned antitrust, securities and compliance expert, he is a regular feature on many of the firm's larger recent cases.
THE FIRM This group has a long-standing reputation in Texas and is proficient in both civil and criminal antitrust matters. It specializes in work relating to the insurance industry and has a particular niche in cases involving the civil RICO statute. It recently defended Chartis, a subsidiary of AIG, against a claim brought by one of its clients concerning the overpayment of insurance rates.
Sources say: "They were efficient and responsive, and they had an obvious command of the subject."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Curtis Frisbie has 41 years' experience as a trial lawyer in antitrust and commercial litigation, and is well regarded for his ability to "boil down information into layman's terms." He recently achieved a settlement on behalf of Jordan Reses Supply against claims of alleged conspiracy.
Commentators describe Mark Bayer as an insightful attorney who is "thorough, comprehensive and decisive." In highlights, he helped to obtain dismissal on behalf of National Union Fire Insurance and AIG in a class action relating to accidental death benefit insurance.
Randy Gordon is highly regarded for the quality of his written briefs and his client-friendly approach. He recently brought his expertise in RICO claims to bear in the National Union Fire Insurance case alongside Bayer.
THE FIRM Jones Day has a substantial antitrust merger clearance practice and has worked on a range of notable deals, including Texas Instruments' acquisition of National Semiconductor. It undertakes a broad array of antitrust matters, and owing to its international standing counts high-profile names such as Dell and Chevron among its clients.
Sources say: "They have a deep and talented group of antitrust lawyers with significant global reach and broad subject matter expertise."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Bruce McDonald has "exceptional judgment and substantive knowledge," and is praised by sources for his outstanding preparation. He has a broad antitrust practice, with notable expertise in the energy and telecom sectors. In highlights, he represented Level 3 Communications in its $3 billion acquisition of Global Crossing.
Thomas Jackson is an experienced general commercial litigator with a strong antitrust aspect to his practice. He provided antitrust counseling to Texas Instruments regarding resale price maintenance.
THE FIRM This compact group was boosted by the addition of Allan Van Fleet from Greenberg Traurig in May 2012. It undertakes work across the criminal and civil antitrust litigation spectrum, with particular experience in IP and energy matters. Highlights include advising Anadarko Petroleum on a breach of contract lawsuit relating to a drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Allan Van Fleet is a "first-rate lawyer" for antitrust in Texas. With substantial experience in litigation, he has an excellent reputation for intellectual property-related antitrust law.
Alison Smith has anchored the McDermott antitrust practice since 2010. Sources call her an "extremely smart, hardworking and indefatigable" lawyer, and note her client-handling skills and the quality of her advice.
THE FIRM Vinson & Elkins handles antitrust matters across the board, including in such areas as energy and healthcare. It has substantial experience in monopolization and price-fixing cases, and represented Huntsman International in antitrust suits concerning polyurethane and titanium dioxide. Other big-name clients include Shell and United Airlines.
Sources say: "We were impressed by the way they worked."
KEY INDIVIDUALS James Reeder co-heads the antitrust department and has an active and varied antitrust practice across a number of industries, including healthcare and aviation. Commentators say he has "lots of experience and good judgment."
Sources hold Harry Reasoner "in very high regard" for the depth and breadth of his trial experience, which spans some 50 years and encompasses antitrust and other complex commercial litigation, both at first instance and on appeal.
Michael Warnecke joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP from Haynes & Boone in 2012, and wins plaudits for his responsiveness and practicality. One source enthused: "I know with him that I'm going to get good advice."
James Nelson of DLA Piper LLP "knows his area, is levelheaded and works extremely hard," according to sources. He is seen as being "as tough as nails," and recently represented Reddy Ice Holdings in the packaged ice antitrust litigation as well as in a Hart-Scott-Rodino merger approval filing.
A new addition to the rankings, Bruce Blefeld recently joined K&L Gates from Jackson Walker LLP. Blefeld is a "thoughtful and practical" antitrust lawyer who has 20 years' experience in a range of antitrust and complex commercial litigation.