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Wilson Sonsini Boosts Antitrust Team with Former FTC and DOJ Veterans

 |  January 7, 2024

In a strategic move to reinforce its prominent antitrust and competition practice, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati welcomed Maureen Ohlhausen and Taylor Owings to the firm as partners. Both legal veterans bring a wealth of experience, having held senior positions within regulatory agencies, and are expected to contribute significantly to the firm’s expertise in navigating complex antitrust and competition issues.

Maureen Ohlhausen, based in the Washington, D.C., office, joins Wilson Sonsini after a distinguished career that includes key roles at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and prominent private sector positions. Ohlhausen’s career trajectory is marked by her commitment to advancing competition and consumer protection issues. After clerking at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, she began her tenure at the FTC in 1997, serving in various capacities over the next 12 years.

During her time at the FTC, Ohlhausen acted as an attorney advisor for former FTC Commissioner Orson Swindle and later served as the Director of the Office of Policy Planning. Notably, she led the Internet Access Task Force, producing a groundbreaking report that analyzed legal issues in broadband and the internet. Her advocacy work in e-commerce played a pivotal role in shaping the legal landscape for digital markets and was relied upon by the Supreme Court in a significant Constitutional law decision.

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In 2012, Ohlhausen ascended to the position of Commissioner at the FTC, subsequently becoming Acting Chairman from January 2017 to May 2018. In this role, she directed all aspects of the agency’s antitrust work, overseeing merger review, conduct enforcement, and consumer protection enforcement, with a focus on privacy and technology issues. Under her leadership, the FTC achieved several influential merger challenges in court and reached key settlements in digital privacy cases. Ohlhausen’s extensive testimony before Congress and her scholarly contributions have earned her widespread recognition, including the prestigious Robert Pitofsky Lifetime Achievement Award.

Before joining Wilson Sonsini, Ohlhausen served as the Chair of the global antitrust and competition practice at Baker Botts, and she also led the FTC practice group at a leading telecommunications law firm. With her vast experience, Ohlhausen is renowned for providing trusted legal counsel in areas such as merger review, government investigations, antitrust counseling, privacy, cybersecurity, consumer protection investigations, and litigation.

Taylor Owings, initially based in the Washington, D.C., office, plans to transition to the firm’s New York office. His addition, along with Ohlhausen, underscores Wilson Sonsini’s commitment to assembling a formidable antitrust team capable of addressing the most intricate regulatory challenges faced by its clients. The move aligns with the current climate of heightened enforcement and oversight, reflecting the firm’s dedication to staying at the forefront of the evolving legal landscape.

Doug Clark, Managing Partner at Wilson Sonsini, expressed enthusiasm about the new additions, highlighting their unique blend of private-sector and regulatory experience. He emphasized the importance of having seasoned professionals like Ohlhausen and Owings to navigate the complex and impactful issues surrounding antitrust and competition law. The firm anticipates that their expertise will be invaluable in meeting the diverse needs of clients amid increasing regulatory scrutiny.

Source: WSGR