Charles Rule co-leads the firm’s antitrust group and is recognised as an authority among peers when it comes to sophisticated merger proceedings.
A partner and co-chair of the antitrust group, Rick Rule focuses his practice on providing US and international antitrust advice to major corporations in connection with “bet-the-company” matters, particularly high-profile mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. Formerly head of the antitrust division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Rick currently represents corporate clients in connection with civil and grand jury investigations by the DOJ, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the European Commission and in private and governmental litigation both at the trial and appellate levels.
Rick has played a lead role in the antitrust clearance of some of the highest-profile mergers over the past quarter century. Among others, he has advised Cigna in its US$67 billion acquisition of Express Scripts and its proposed US$54 billion merger with Anthem; Microsoft Corporation in its US$26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn and its US$8.5 billion acquisition of Skype; Eli Lilly in its US$5.4 billion acquisition of Novartis Animal Health; US Airways in its US$11 billion merger with American Airlines and in its previous US$1.5 billion merger with America West; Monsanto in its US$68 billion merger with Bayer; Anheuser-Busch InBev in its US$20 billion acquisition of Modelo; Pfizer in its US$68 billion acquisition of Wyeth; MGM Mirage in its US$7.9 billion acquisition of Mandalay Resort Group; WorldCom in its attempted US$129 billion merger with Sprint; and Exxon in its US$73 billion merger with Mobil. Rick has also handled major civil and criminal litigations on behalf of clients such as Microsoft, Cigna, The Pasha Group, Kentucky Speedway, Dexia, Morgan Stanley, Fair Isaac Corporationand Nippon Chemi-Con. Additional recent clients include Sirius XM, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Nucor Corporation, Celanese Corporation and Bacardi Limited.
Acknowledged as one of the world’s leading antitrust lawyers, Rick has received numerous industry recognitions throughout his career. Rick is regularly listed in distinguished legal rankings, including as a top band attorney in the antitrust and competition categories by Chambers USA and Chambers Global; as a “leading lawyer” in the antitrust civil litigation category by The Legal 500 US; and as a “top 10 practitioner” in the antitrust category by Benchmark Litigation. In 2019, Rick was named Dealmaker of the Year by The American Lawyer for his work on behalf of Cigna in its acquisition of Express Scripts. In 2018, Rick and his team were awarded European Deal of the Year by The Deal at its inaugural European awards for their work on behalf of Monsanto in its acquisition by Bayer. In 2012, Rick’s work on behalf of Microsoft in its acquisition of Skype was awarded Merger Control Matter of the Year – Europe by Global Competition Review. Rick was also named a top legal innovator by the Financial Times in its annual “US innovative lawyers” report for his work on behalf of Microsoft. Additional publications consistently rank Rick as one of the leading antitrust lawyers in the world, including The Best Lawyers in America, The Legal Times, Lawdragon, The Washingtonian, Super Lawyers and multiple Who’s Who Legal publications.
A versatile practitioner, Rick provides US and international antitrust advice to clients facing challenges on the transactional, regulatory and litigation fronts. He regularly represents major corporations and private equity firms in contested multibillion-dollar transactions and advises clients on comprehensive strategies when their interests are implicated in another merger in their industry. Rick also represents clients in civil and criminal litigation and has argued on behalf of his clients in courts throughout the country. While in government, he argued on behalf of the United States in several appeals and before the US Supreme Court in Matsushita Elec Indus Co v Zenith Radio Corp, 475 US 574 (1986). Rick was also a key member of the team that negotiated on behalf of Microsoft, bringing a conclusion to the historic antitrust lawsuit that the DOJ and a number of states pursued against the company.
Rick represents major global corporations, financial institutions and individuals in connection with criminal grand jury investigations by the DOJ and other enforcement agencies involving allegations of price fixing, market allocation, bid rigging and other criminal conduct on a national or global scale. Based on his former government experience and his ongoing professional interactions with senior government officials, Rick advises clients in effective strategies for protecting their interests throughout the investigation process. In several cases, he has been hired to replace original counsel and helped the company or individual avoid indictment and, in many cases, avoid the need for a plea agreement or amnesty application. Rick has also been retained as an expert witness concerning the government’s criminal antitrust enforcement and its leniency programme.
Rick is at the forefront of antitrust law and is uniquely capable of advising clients on the antitrust regulatory environment affecting the way they do business globally. As agencies and rules evolve, he helps clients understand the new legal framework, assess the legal risk and rewards associated with a range of competitive strategies and work with government bodies to take advantage of, and ensure appropriate compliance with, the regulations governing the clients’ chosen strategy. He has unique experience counselling on antitrust and competition matters for multinational clients operating in China and guiding companies in complying with China’s foreign antitrust laws as they expand into Asia.
Rick began his career as William Baxter’s special assistant in the antitrust division of the DOJ, subsequently being appointed as first deputy assistant Attorney General and later principal deputy assistant Attorney General. He served as acting head of the division for part of 1985 and was permanently appointed to the position in late 1986, becoming the youngest person ever to be confirmed by the Senate as assistant Attorney General in charge of the antitrust division. In 1988, in recognition of his exemplary performance, he received the Edmund J Randolph Award from the DOJ. Following his departure from the DOJ in 1989, Rick has been a partner and head of the antitrust practice at several leading New York and Washington, DC law firms.
Rick is a frequent author and lecturer on antitrust and regulatory topics, and he has participated in numerous conferences, workshops and programmes on issues of merger enforcement and trade regulation. Rick has also served as a distinguished adjunct professor of law at American University’s Washington College of Law. He was the inaugural chair of the corporations, securities and antitrust practice group of the Federalist Society and served as chair of the economics committee of the American Bar Association’s antitrust section. He is an emeritus member of the advisory board of BNA’s antitrust & trade regulation report, the Washington Legal Foundation and the Landmark Legal Foundation. He is a member of the board of directors of the Children’s Law Centre and previously served on the visiting committee of the University of Chicago Law School.