Most Highly Regarded Firms: California 2009 – Competition

Our research identifies 33 attorneys from 24 firms who are considered the state leaders for competition work.

California is home to 52 Fortune 500 companies, including leading names in the oil and gas, high-tech and entertainment industries, for whom several of the attorneys in this chapter have undertaken antitrust work. We also feature the leading names in the plaintiff's Bar, many of whose reputations for complex anti-monopoly class-action litigation are known throughout the country.

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP emerges as the strongest firm in the state for antitrust work, with four of its lawyers featuring on our list. Foremost among these is co-chair of the firm's antitrust and trade regulation practice Gary Spratling. Spratling spent 28 years as a prosecutor for the US Department of Justice (DoJ) before entering private practice, since when he has focused on international anti-cartel enforcement, working with numerous foreign competition authorities on policy and regulation issues. Also in San Francisco Joel Sanders's trial work has included civil and criminal antitrust and class-action cases for telecoms, high-tech, retail, chemical and manufacturing companies. Topping the list in the Los Angeles office is Robert Cooper. A practitioner with the firm since 1964, Cooper has litigated in competition matters on behalf of American Airlines, Hewlett-Packard and Honeywell. Also from Los Angeles Daniel Swanson, who also acts as co-chair to the firm's antitrust group, specialises in international and domestic counselling, internal investigations, and civil and criminal litigation.

The "first-rate" Daniel Wall is the most highly nominated lawyer at Latham & Watkins LLP, which provides three nominees for this chapter. Wall is involved in antitrust litigation, government conduct investigations, merger reviews and counselling, and recently served as the defendant's lead trial counsel in United States v Oracle as well as acting for Genentech, Sempra Energy and Movielink. Karen Silverman is another prominent name at the firm, who boasts particular expertise in complex transactions and counselling in the high-biotechnology, consumer products and industrial inputs sectors, and in cartel defence. Charles Crompton, who was recommended for his intellectual property litigation expertise, also recently represented Oracle in its successful defence against DoJ challenges arising from its acquisition of PeopleSoft.

Three new arrivals from Heller Ehrman represent Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in this section. Stephen Bomse has represented Visa USA, Sony, 3M and Pacific Gas & Electric in antitrust litigation cases, and is the most nominated of the firm's lawyers in this area. Another "outstanding" name at the firm is Robert Rosenfeld, who has represented Microsoft, and has counselled numerous Silicon Valley-based companies regarding mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures. Laurence Popofsky also features, earning praise for his international antitrust litigation work.

A "dean of the Bar", Maxwell Blecher of Blecher & Collins received several nominations. Blecher, who founded the firm in 1971, has litigated before state and federal courts, including the California and US Supreme Courts and has represented Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Handgards. The "very prominent" William Bernstein of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP was highly nominated in our research and was described as "one of the best" in the state on the plaintiff side. Joseph Alioto Veronese of the Law Offices of Mayor Joseph L Alioto and Angela Alioto was a popular name in out research, also earning praise for his work for plaintiffs.

Two nominees confirm Davis Polk & Wardwell's "great reputation" in this area. The "fantastic" Christopher Hockett has counselled companies including AT&T, Hewlett-Packard and T-Mobile in competition disputes, class actions and antitrust aspects of M&A. Also well thought of is Arthur Burke, whose recent engagements include litigating on behalf of Oracle and Quality Systems, and M&A-related antitrust representation for Comcast in DoJ and FTC second request investigations.

At Fenwick & West LLP the "terrific" Tyler Baker has provided antitrust advice to clients on a wide variety of issues, including joint ventures, merger notification, and substantive reviews by the federal competition agencies, and he ranks highly in our research. Co-chair of the firm's antitrust and unfair competition group, Mark Ostrau also comes highly recommended. Based in the firm's Silicon Valley office, Ostrau has represented numerous technology companies in antitrust-related intellectual property, marketing and misuse matters.
Ron Redcay heads the antitrust practice in the Los Angles office of Arnold & Porter LLP, and is the firm's sole representative in this chapter. Considered "a leader" in the state, Redcay has represented several companies in antitrust litigation and counselling before state and federal courts, including the US Supreme Court. At Jones Day Jeffrey LeVee coordinates the antitrust and competition law practice and is considered "first rate" by sources. LeVee specialises in complex business and class-action litigation and antitrust counselling, and has recently represented Albertsons, BP and Ernst & Young. The "very smart" Aton Arbisser chairs the litigation department in Kaye Scholer LLP's Los Angeles office, and features prominently in our research. Arbisser has won trial and appellate cases before federal and state courts, including California v Texaco, in which he successfully argued that the state's competition laws did not apply to a multibillion-dollar merger.

At Morrison & Foerster LLP Penelope Preovolos specialises in acting for companies in antitrust, false advertising/unfair trade practice, and consumer class-action litigation, and received several nominations. Preovolos's recent engagements include Wershba v Apple Computer and Hurkes Harris Design Associates v Fujitsu Computer Products of America, and she was described as "outstanding" by sources.

Craig Waldman is chairman of the antitrust and trade regulation practice group at Cooley Godward Kronish LLP and was praised as "top tier" by the lawyers we surveyed. A former attorney with the FTC, Waldman is an expert in domestic and cross-border competition matters and has acted in mergers, vertical distribution issues, price discrimination and criminal antitrust matters for Websense, Adobe Systems and Siebel Systems. Anita Stork from Covington & Burling LLP is "very highly thought of". Stork's practice combines complex antitrust litigation with acting for clients during business crime investigations, with particular focus on the financial services and health-care sectors.

Jesse Markham co-chairs the antitrust and competition group of Holme Roberts & Owen LLP. A "mainstay" in California, Markham focuses on antitrust litigation and counselling with particular emphasis on class-action defence, agency practice and M&A transactions. Robert Taylor manages the Palo Alto office of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC and is recommended for his IP and antitrust work in relation to the high-tech industry, including microprocessors, liquid chromatography devices, DNA arrays, gene sequences and semiconductor manufacturing. Townsend and Townsend and Crew LLP boasts the inclusion of the "excellent" Gene Crew, whose recent cases include acting as lead counsel for plaintiffs in a class-action instituted against Microsoft under California's antitrust statutes and representing Mt Hood in its antitrust trial against Greyhound.

Charles Compton of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati specialises in merger regulatory and IP issues and leads the firm's antitrust practice. He was instrumental in the success of Hewlett Packard's $18.7 billion acquisition of Compaq Computer in 2002, which went unchallenged by US and foreign antitrust agencies. Carlton Varner of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP is considered "one of the leading lights" in antitrust counselling and litigation in the enforcement of intellectual property rights, price fixing, monopolisation, joint venture and price discrimination matters. The "phenomenal" Michael Tubach is managing partner of the San Francisco office of O'Melveny & Myers LLP, where he focuses on antitrust litigation and white-collar defence, and boasts an impressive portfolio including eBay, Hertz and Hyinx Semiconductor.

"Power player" Bruce Simon of Pearson Simon Soter Warshaw & Penny LLP specialises in complex antitrust consumer fraud and securities cases. Immediate past chair of the California State Bar antitrust and unfair competition section, Simon is involved in numerous multi-district high-tech litigation cases. Reginald Steer at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has defended numerous multimillion-dollar cases involving antitrust violations, fraudulent business practices and breach of contract, and was described as "exceptional". Robert Pringle recently joined Winston & Strawn LLP from Thelen LLP, where he was head of the firm's competition practice, focusing on complex business litigation relating to antitrust, trade secrets and other intellectual property issues.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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