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20 Covington & Burling

In its latest promotion round, Covington & Burling elected nine of its lawyers to partnership from the litigation, corporate, regulatory and white collar investigations practices. Chair of the firm’s management committee Timothy Hester, commented that the partnership class reflects the firm’s focus on its core practice strengths. Hester has led the partnership since 2008, and is now in his third term. During his time at the helm, the firm has expanded into Asia and increased its headcount in California tenfold, and had a strong focus on the life sciences industry, financial services, communications and media.

The firm is committed to improving independently, eschewing the merger strategy many of its peers have opted for, and is currently focused on understanding the needs of its clients, and thinking creatively about alternative pricing structures. 

Total Listings 104
No. Partners 260
Firm Size 860
Home Jurisdiction US
Established 1919
No. Offices 10
  • Life Sciences - Regulatory


 Life sciences is a core focus of the firm and its practice is considered “market-leading”. The firm’s team of more than 100 lawyers advise throughout a product’s life cycle and clients benefit from their deep industry expertise and “ability to foresee potential issues and plan accordingly”. The firm is particularly strong on the regulatory front earning the title of Firm of the Year. Many of the lawyers have served with industry regulatory bodies providing them with a “deep insight” into the key issues.

The firm is home to Brussels-based Peter Bogaert, our life sciences (regulatory) lawyer of the year. Bogaert covers pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, special foods and feed, cosmetics and other consumer products. He is a “stellar practitioner” whose advice is “well-reasoned and practical”. In London, Grant Castle is a “font of knowledge” on pharmaceutical and medical device regulation while Peter Safir is Washington, DC is co-chairman of the food and drug practice group and has “unrivalled expertise” in US food and drug regulatory law. At the same office, Peter Barton Hutt is a “seasoned practitioner” who is considered a “reference for the industry”. Richard Kingham is best known for his regulatory advice and work representing pharmaceutical manufacturers in administrative investigations, criminal prosecutions, and congressional hearings. Co-chair of the firm’s product liability and mass tort practice Michael Imbroscio is a “talented litigator” and “great strategist”. Paul Schmidt also focuses on product liability matters and is well known for his “impressive track record in pharmaceutical litigation”. As for patent litigation, the firm has George Pappas who has experience in the pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology industries. Despite his experience in the life sciences industries, he is also active in the electronics, TMT and financial services industries.  

The firm’s competition practice has significant strength in litigation and investigations, having represented Samsung in consolidated antitrust price-fixing and deceptive practice class actions involving liquid crystal displays. The firm succeeded in dismissing claims valued at more than $3.5 billion, brought by Motorola Mobility against Samsung Electronics and several other manufacturers, shortly before trials.

Washington, DC-based Thomas Barnett co-chairs the antitrust and competition law practice group working on criminal antitrust enforcement and investigative matters. He is a “legendary figure” in the sector, having headed the Justice Department’s antitrust division from 2005 to 2008. Fellow co-chair Deborah Garza is “sensational” across all areas of competition law including merger control, litigation, investigations and distribution practices. She is a former acting assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division. The “dynamic” Johan Ysewyn is particularly well known for his work on global and European cartel investigations. 

The global insurance recovery practice is co-chaired by Mitchell Dolin, who clients describe as being a “great operator” and “pleasure to work with”. His work has seen him represent corporate policyholders pursuing coverage for underlying liabilities, and he’s also served as an advocate and arbitrator in arbitrations. William Skinner’s experience covers a broad range of insurance types, and he is a “top choice” for coverage disputes. David Goodwin is a “seasoned litigator” who is “great on strategy” and a “real details man”. John Buchanan III also comes highly recommended for his “vast industry expertise”.


The focus for the firm’s pro bono practice is in “meeting local needs, serving economically disadvantaged individuals and families” in its surrounding communities, as well as serving vulnerable clients and important causes throughout the US and the world. Some examples include advocating for safe and humane prisons, ending child labour and promoting international peace and rule of law. 


Covington’s commitment to diversity is evident in its efforts to recruit, retain, develop and promote lawyers of all backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences. Early in 2016, the firm launched a Veterans Affinity Group as a recruitment resource to encourage candidates with prior military experience into the firm, and as a forum for veterans to discuss professional development.

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Law Business Research Ltd

87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK