Finalist, Antitrust Litigation Department of the Year: Gibson Dunn

A steady stream of wins in multijurisdictional price-fixing cases burnishes Gibson Dunn's reputation.

, The American Lawyer


Gibson Dunn Anti-Trust Litigation Department
From left: Gibson Dunn's M. Sean Royall, Daniel Swanson, Gary Spratling, Cynthia Richman and Peter Sullivan

With nearly 200 attorneys, finalist Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's antitrust practice makes up 18 percent of the firm's head count. That kind of muscle lets it juggle an array of work for such big names as 3M Company, Apple Inc., Comcast Corporation, Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation and UBS AG.

The firm prides itself on its roles in bet-the-company cases. It aims to be the go-to firm for multijurisdictional cartel defense and claims roles on nearly every major international cartel case in recent years. Continuing that tradition, the firm's recent work includes representing UBS in the LIBOR rate-fixing scandal and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. in global LCD cartel investigations.

SIGNIFICANT CASES: In one of the largest, most complex antitrust investigations in history—LIBOR—Gibson Dunn represented UBS after another firm turned down the assignment because of client conflicts. The case required the firm to respond to requests from 20 different government regulators on five continents. Antitrust cochair Gary Spratling led a team of more than 80 lawyers on the matter, which saw the firm conduct more than 150 interviews in 10 countries while sifting through 250 million pages of documents for first-level review. Though UBS ended up paying $1.5 billion in its settlement with various regulators, UBS' parent company avoided criminal charges by employing a strategy of early cooperation with authorities that gave the bank conditional immunity. (UBS' Japanese unit pleaded guilty to criminal fraud, while some former UBS traders were charged with conspiracy.)

In another major case, appellate cochair Miguel Estrada led a Gibson Dunn team that convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to decertify a class action filed against Comcast. In a decision that delivered a blow to all large potential class actions, the court decertified a class of roughly 2 million existing and former Comcast subscribers—who claimed the company held a monopoly in the Philadelphia cable television market—on the grounds that a lower court had not sufficiently analyzed the plaintiffs' method for determining damages on a classwide basis.

WHAT CLIENTS SAY: Comcast senior deputy general counsel Thomas Nathan praises the firm for its strategic thinking and the quality of its written arguments. They "gave us the best shot that we possibly had toward getting [our] case accepted and ... arguing a case that was persuasive," he says.

NEW MATTERS: The firm is looking to score a turnaround on behalf of Apple. Last summer, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Apple conspired with five major publishers to fix e-book prices, handing Gibson Dunn its biggest loss in recent years. Apple vowed to fight on, adding Gibson Dunn's star appellate litigator, Theodore Boutrous Jr., to its defense team for an appeal filed in October that could focus on issues such as witness credibility and evidence excluded from the initial trial.

Practice Group Size and Revenue

Partners: 75 Associates: 116 Other: 5

Practice Group as Percent of Firm: 18%

Percent of Firm Revenue 2012: N/A

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