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US Department Of Justice Antitrust Division On Hiring Spree

 |  September 12, 2022

The Justice Department’s antitrust division is ramping up hiring of trial attorneys from Big Law firms as the Biden administration heightens its focus on competition amid a surge in mergers.

The division, led by Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, has brought on at least five partners from large firms—including Andrew Forman, now deputy assistant attorney general—since Kanter was nominated in July 2021, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis and data provided by the law firm and attorney analytics company Firm Prospects. At least a dozen lower-ranking attorneys from such firms were also hired during the period. 

The recent arrivals were hired from Big Law mainstays such as Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Davis Polk & Wardwell, and Winston & Strawn, along with plaintiffs firms Hausfeld and Robins Kaplan. Four attorneys—three former associates and one partner, Forman—came from Kanter’s longtime firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. 

The hiring push reflects Kanter’s focus on going to trial on tough cases rather than settling or accepting plea deals. The approach aligns with the department’s ongoing lawsuits against Big Tech companies, such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and Biden’s order to federal agencies to redouble enforcement of competition law. 

“It’s unprecedented for the division to hire so many senior-level litigators from outside, and the hiring surge may corroborate the rumors that DOJ is ramping up to file major new cases,” said Andre Geverola, a partner at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer and a former director of criminal litigation for the division, in an email.

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