Jenner taps DWT partners for antitrust practice co-leads

Signage is seen outside of the law firm Jenner & Block LLP in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
  • Law firms are beefing up antitrust ranks with FTC, DOJ alums
  • Jenner is representing Comcast, McKesson in antitrust litigation

(Reuters) - Jenner & Block announced on Monday it has brought aboard a pair of Davis Wright Tremaine partners as new co-leaders of its antitrust and competition law practice.

Chris Renner will co-lead the practice from Chicago while Doug Litvack will co-lead from Washington, D.C. They'll head the practice alongside a third partner, D.C.-based Lee Van Voorhis, who joined Jenner in 2016.

Both Renner and Litvack had prior roles in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's competition bureau. Prior to joining Davis Wright Tremaine in April 2020, Renner was a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner. Litvack had associate roles at Jones Day and McDermott Will & Emery prior to joining Davis Wright Tremaine in 2018.

Renner and Litvack described themselves as full-service antitrust litigators, with Renner mostly representing plaintiffs and Litvack representing defendants in antitrust actions.

Litvack and Renner were among the Davis Wright Tremaine attorneys defending Toledo, Ohio-based ProMedica Health Systems Inc in court over its ability to cancel contracts with Ohio-based hospital McLaren St. Luke's. St. Luke's this week asked the full 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a three-judge panel's ruling siding with ProMedica.

"We have this diversified, complementary focus," Renner said.

A representative for Davis Wright Tremaine did not respond to a request for comment.

Their move to Jenner comes as the Biden administration has been stepping up antitrust enforcement. Last month, the president signed a sweeping executive order that urged agencies to crack down on anti-competitive practices in sectors from agriculture to drugs and labor.

Meanwhile, the administration added more detail to its lawsuit against Facebook Inc, once again asking a judge to force the social media giant to sell Instagram and WhatsApp. A federal judge dismissed the FTC's first lawsuit against Facebook in June.

"I don’t think it’s any great shock to say we’re in an antitrust moment in our country unlike any I’ve seen in my 25-year career. Antitrust is in the spotlight like it hasn’t been in that timeline," said Van Voorhis.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Latham & Watkins, Mayer Brown, Shearman & Sterling, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati have all added Justice Department and FTC alumni in recent months.

Renner and Litvack said they expect most of their antitrust clients to come over with them. Jenner has its own slate of antitrust clients it is representing in litigation, including Comcast Corp, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, McKesson Corp, and Tegna Inc.

"We thought long and hard what opportunities there would be with potentially other law firms to grow our practice. Jenner was the perfect fit for us," Litvack said.

Read More:

Full 6th Circ. urged to rehear Ohio hospital's antitrust claims

FTC says Facebook 'bought and buried' rivals in renewed antitrust fight

Biden signs order to tackle corporate abuses across U.S. economy

Antitrust hiring spree continues as Mayer Brown taps FTC vet with Uber, Verizon ties

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David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at d.thomas@thomsonreuters.com and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.