Most Highly Regarded Firms: Texas 2008 – Competition
We identify 28 individuals from 14 firms in recognition of their antitrust practices in dealings with the regulators and before the courts.
Haynes and Boone LLP once again puts in a strong performance with four entries in the chapter. The firm's antitrust practice group has been active for more than 25 years, representing Fortune 500 companies in the US and abroad on a wide variety of matters falling under the umbrella of competition law. Barry McNeil once again leads the quartet in terms of nominations, with one source labelling him "the go-to lawyer in Dallas for serious government investigations, particularly if they are criminal". McNeil is a member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers and "an excellent trial attorney with a great amount of experience in antitrust law". Ron Breaux also comes highly rated for criminal antitrust matters, an area in which he works closely with McNeil. Breaux is currently the firm's chair for specialised litigation and was said to be in the "top tier for cartel work". Both clients and peers praised Alison Smith as "first rate" and "fantastic". Smith has a background in the antitrust division at the Department of Justice and she comes recommended for her work on the defence of private class-action litigation, representing companies and individuals in criminal and regulatory cases as well as in the antitrust aspects of major mergers and acquisitions. Robin Hartmann once again puts in a good performance, thus completing what one rival described as "an exceptionally strong and talented group". Hartmann is first and foremost "an outstanding trial lawyer" whose varied practice encompasses the antitrust arena. Highlights include representing the largest hospital bed manufacturer in the defence of federal monopolisation claims.
Layne Kruse co-chairs Fulbright & Jaworski LLP's nationwide antitrust, marketing and trade regulation practice group and emerges as one of the leaders in our research. Kruse works extensively on class actions in the antitrust arena and representative matters include serving as lead counsel for an offshore petroleum drilling company where the plaintiffs had alleged that the defending corporations had conspired to suppress the wages paid to workers. Richard Carrell is a former chair of the antitrust and trade regulation section of the State Bar of Texas and like Kruse has a great deal of experience in class actions and complex antitrust litigation. Among other matters he served as lead counsel for the defendants in In re Lease Oil Antitrust Litigation. William Pakalka builds on a strong performance in the previous edition and his services to the state bar were noted on a number of occasions. Pakalka completes the trio from Fulbright and comes praised as a "very strong litigator".
Lee Godfrey at Susman Godfrey LLP joins three further partners who all put in strong performances in this and the previous edition. Godfrey comes recommended as "very smart and intellectual" and his work on behalf of plaintiffs was noted on more than one occasion. Stephen Susman is rated as "one of the best trial lawyers in the country" by one prominent source while another noted, "he is an extremely influential lawyer". Susman divides his time between the firm's Houston and New York offices, representing plaintiffs and defendants. Representative clients include Clear Channel, Little Caesar's, Medtronic, Ericsson, Northrop and Hughes Electronics. Barry Barnett "does a fantastic job for his clients", according to sources and in the antitrust arena he has worked on cases relating to price fixing, monopolisation, price discrimination, tying and territorial and customer allocation. Terrell Oxford continues the trend for quality at Susman Godfrey: respondents to our survey label him a "serious antitrust player". Oxford's litigation expertise, like that of many of his partners, extends to other areas but on the antitrust front he has worked on high profile matters such as serving as lead lawyer for Loews Corporation defending a movie market allocation case.
Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP's Randy Gordon chairs the antitrust and business litigation section of the State Bar of Texas and litigates and counsels on a wide variety of matters. A "first-rate lawyer", Gordon currently represents clients such as Barry Callebaut and L-3 Communications Integrated Systems. His RICO practice was also noted and he is representing an international defence contractor in an aftermarket monopolisation case against another contractor. Curtis Frisbie is "a senior member of the Dallas antitrust bar" and one of the most nominated lawyers in the chapter. Frisbie has over 30 years' trial experience and spends the majority of his time on antitrust related cases. His work on behalf of clients from the insurance industry was noted in particular and he has served as national counsel for various AIG companies defending antitrust, RICO and a number of state law class actions pending in several states. Other significant clients include Southwestern Bell Telephone, Flowers Industries and WPP Group. Mark Bayer acts for a number of clients from the insurance industry and his practice comprises a large proportion of litigation on both state and national levels. Highlights include his defence of two leading insurers in class action suits brought by the purchasers of workers compensation in 17 states.
Gregory Huffman at Thompson & Knight LLP is "one of the best around", according to sources. Huffman litigates and counsels on a variety of matters for clients in the health-care, offshore oil and gas, retail and crude oil sectors. Partner William Katz was variously described as "excellent", "first rate" and "outstanding" by respondents to our survey. Katz is also active in the healthcare arena and also comes recommended for his knowledge of retail and energy related antitrust. Recent highlights include representing an offshore drilling company in a class action lawsuit that alleged a conspiracy among drilling companies to fix the wages and benefits paid to their workers. Jackson Walker LLP also boasts two entries on the following pages - Robert Cohan and Kathleen LaValle. Cohan is said to be "very intellectual" and "exceptionally smart" and his stature within the antitrust community was borne out by the number of nominations he received. A well-known litigator, Cohan has acted for Bankers Trust, Allstate Insurance and Burger King. LaValle is a past chair of the Texas State Bar antitrust and business litigation section and sources noted her particular knowledge of competition issues in the telecoms sector.
Kay Lynn Brumbaugh brings Andrews Kurth LLP's contingent in this chapter up to two this year. Sources "hear good things" about Brumbaugh and her "strong litigation practice". She has particular expertise representing clients in the food and beverage, franchising and distribution, consumer products and health-care industries and recent highlights include Harmar v Coca-Cola Enterprises in the District Court of Morris County, Texas. Jerry Beane is "a wonderful courtroom lawyer who can translate antitrust into something a jury can understand". Boasting a "long list of excellent clients", Beane comes recommended for both antitrust litigation and counselling. Cox Smith Matthews Incorporated also doubles its contingent in this year's publication thanks to the strong showing of James Spivey - a former vice chair of the State Bar of Texas. He offers business litigation and antitrust advice to clients in industries such as health care, telecommunications, banking and hotels. Michael Ferrill is a member of the governing council of the State Bar of Texas's antitrust and business litigation section and has also held senior positions within the American Bar Association's section on business torts and unfair competition. Sources speak of "an outstanding litigator and excellent attorney".
A number of other firms provide high-profile practitioners for the following pages. Rufus Oliver, head of antitrust at Baker Botts LLP, focuses on antitrust and complex litigation. Sources praising him as "a star" who displays a "deep expertise on oil and gas and antitrust". Representative matters include advising a leading offshore drilling contractor on the defence of a class action alleging conspiracy to depress wages in the offshore drilling industry. Harry Reasoner at Vinson & Elkins LLP is considered one of the finest trial lawyers in the United States. Reasoner comes recommended by some of the industry's leading lights and his practice spans antitrust, insurance, oil and gas, RICO, securities, utility regulation and UCC issues. The "very experienced" Allan Van Fleet is a former partner of Reasoner's at V&E who now practises in Greenberg Traurig LLP's Houston office. Van Fleet counsels and litigates on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants and comes recommended as a "leading figure in the Texan antitrust community". His work relating to Mexico and Latin America was noted on a number of occasions and among other matters he obtained the dismissal of claims of conspiracy to monopolise by predatory pricing, levelled by an El Paso contractor against a Mexican cement supplier. Sean Royall is based in the Dallas and Washington, DC offices of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP and is one of the most nominated lawyers in the chapter. "A leading name on the national and international scene" Royall comes recommended for his work at the intersection between antitrust and IP, an area in which he served as lead trial counsel for Johnson & Johnson in nationwide federal court class action antitrust suits involving the pharmaceutical Ditropan XL. His reputation in the field led one rival to note, "he is a really smart guy with a very successful practice." Lin Hughes at McGinnis Lochridge & Kilgore LLP is once again the only Austin-based lawyer in the chapter. A "top-tier" practitioner, Hughes's antitrust litigation and counselling at both the state and federal levels is said to be "exceptional". Barry Bell is a partner in the business litigation group at Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal LLP and a new entry into the publication this year. His litigation practice has a strong antitrust flavour and respondents to our survey
were quick to point out that he is "as bright as can be" and that they "would love to have him on any case [they were] involved in".