Michael D. Hausfeld
Michael Hausfeld, widely recognized for his leadership on competition matters and his groundbreaking cases in human rights law, is the Chair of Hausfeld. Michael’s distinguished career has included some of the largest and most successful class actions in the fields of human rights, discrimination and antitrust law.
Michael has an abiding interest in social reform, and has been a part of some of the most groundbreaking cases in that arena both in the U.S. and around the world. Michael was among the first lawyers in the U.S. to assert that sexual harassment was a form of discrimination prohibited by Title VII, and he successfully tried the first case establishing that principle. He has represented Native Alaskans whose lives were affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and later negotiated a then-historic $176 million settlement from Texaco, Inc. in a racial-bias discrimination case. In Friedman v. Union Bank of Switzerland, Michael represented a class of Holocaust victims whose assets were wrongfully retained by private Swiss banks during and after World War II. The case raised novel issues of international banking law and international human rights law. In a separate case, he also successfully represented the Republic of Poland, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Ukraine and the Russian Federation on issues of slave and forced labor for both Jewish and non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. He has represented individuals and NGOs in litigation alleging liability for aiding and abetting the South African system of apartheid.
Michael has a long record of successful litigation in the antitrust field, on behalf of individuals and classes, in cases involving monopolization, tie-ins, exclusive dealing and price fixing. In the landmark O’Bannon v. NCAA litigation, Michael represented a class of current and former Division I men's basketball and FBS football players against the NCAA and its member institutions, based on rules foreclosing athletes from receiving compensation for the use of their names, images, and likenesses. At the conclusion of a three-week bench trial, the Court determined that the NCAA had violated the antitrust laws and issued a permanent injunction as requested by the plaintiffs. He was a member of the ABA Antitrust Section’s Transition Taskforce, which advised the incoming Obama Administration, and has chaired the ABA’s Civil Redress Committee. Michael has been co-lead counsel in antitrust cases against manufacturers of genetically engineered foods, managed healthcare companies, bulk vitamin manufacturers, technology companies, and the world’s largest banking institutions. He is involved in ongoing investigations of antitrust cases abroad and pioneering efforts to enforce competition laws globally. He was the only private lawyer permitted to attend and represent the interests of consumers worldwide in the 2003 closed hearings by the EU Commission in the Microsoft case.
What Others Say
- Benchmark Litigation named Michael a "National Practice Area Star" and a "Local Litigation Star" (2021)
- For over a decade, Best Lawyers has named Michael as a top Washington, D.C. lawyer in the category of Antitrust (2006-Present)
- Naming Michael Hausfeld “Lawyer of the Year” in 2019, the Global Competition Review stated that the firm “is clearly recognized as one of the best plaintiffs’ firms in the country.” The magazine has reported that Michael “consistently brings in the biggest judgments in the history of law” and that he is “a Washington lawyer determined to change the world – and succeeding.”
- Michael is ranked in Band 1 by Chambers & Partners for Antitrust: Plaintiff - Nationwide year-after-year. In 2020, Chambers noted, "“Michael Hausfeld is a key player in the antitrust space, skillfully handling prominent class actions, often concerning anticompetitive behavior and price manipulation. Sources report: ‘What sets him apart is his creativity and strategic sense of how to resolve a dispute to satisfy all sides.’” In 2019, the publication recognized that Michael has been “lauded by market sources as an ‘amazing lawyer.’” Chambers also named him a “Recognized Practitioner” in Sports Law – Nationwide (2019).
- Who’s Who Legal named Michael a (2019-Present) “Thought Leader” stating that he is “one of the titans of the competition plaintiff space, and is a perennial selection as a Global Elite Thought Leader. He attracts numerous recommendations from peers across North America and Europe for his standout practice, which encompasses antitrust litigation on the part of both individuals and classes.” In 2020, the publication added that Michael is "one of North America's foremost plaintiff specialists in the antitrust space, dubbed a 'legend in the field.'"
- Michael has been consistently named to the prestigious Lawdragon list of the 500 “Leading Lawyers in America” (2013-Present), as has been named to the publication's list of "Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers" (2019-Present), and "Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers" (2019-Present)
- In naming Michael one of the “Top 10 Leading Lawyers” in the U.S. representing plaintiffs in antitrust and cartel matters, The Legal 500 termed Michael a “mastermind of strategy” and “smart strategic thinker,” stating that the “‘incredibly impressive... Michael Hausfeld and Brian Ratner are highly skilled negotiators and litigators, and real fighters with an outstanding strategic sense,’” and “the outstanding Mike Hausfeld is a titan of the antitrust bar.”
- Michael was added to "The Legal 500 Hall of Fame," which highlights individuals who have received constant praise from their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession (2020)
- Michael has been described by one of the country's leading civil rights columnists as an “extremely penetrating lawyer” and by a colleague (in a Washington Post article) as a lawyer who “has a very inventive mind when it comes to litigation. He thinks of things most lawyers don't because they have originality pounded out of them in law school.”
- For over a decade, Michael has been named a Washington, DC Super Lawyer (2007-Present)
- Michael was honored with the award for “Outstanding Antitrust Litigation Achievement in Private Law Practice (In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation) by the American Antitrust Institute (2018)
- Michael was just one of fifty attorneys in the country named as a “Litigation Trailblazer & Pioneer” by the National Law Journal (2014)
- Michael was just one of six attorneys named as a “Competition MVP” by Law360 (2014)
- Michael and his co-authors were named the winner of the Concurrences Antitrust Writing Award in the category of ‘Academic, Private Enforcement’ for his article titled, “Antitrust Class Proceedings – Then and Now” (2015)
- Michael was awarded the Torch of Learning Award by the American Friends of Hebrew University (2012)
- The Ethisphere Institute named Michael in a short list of “Attorneys Who Matter” in the field of corporate compliance (2009)
- Michael was named to SmartCEO Magazine’s “Legal Elite” list (2009)
- Michael was cited by Chambers USA, in the Products Liability category (2009)
- Legal Times named Michael among the top 30 “Visionaries” in the Washington legal community (2008)
- Michael was cited by GQ magazine as one of the “50 Most Powerful People in DC” (2007)
- The Lawyer named Michael to its “International World-shakers” list of 40 international lawyers “making waves” in the UK (2007)
- The Legal Times honored Michael with the Fierce Sister Award, for work on the Japanese Comfort Women case (2007)
- The National Law Journal named Michael to its list of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers” (2006)
- The New York Times referred to Michael as one of the nation's “most prominent antitrust lawyers,” and the Washingtonian named him one of thirty “Stars of the Bar.”
- Michael was honored with the B’Nai Brith Humanitarian of the Year Award (2002)
- Michael was one of thirty negotiators profiled in Done Deal: Insights from Interviews with the World's Best Negotiators, by Michael Benoliel, Ed.D.
- Michael has been the recipient of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Award for Distinguished Service
- Michael received the U.S. Department of Energy Human Spirit Award, presented “in tribute to a person who understands the obligation to seek truth and act on it is not the burden of some, but of all; it is universal.”
- Immediately following the NCAA v O’Bannon decision, Michael was named AmLaw Litigation Daily’s “Litigator of the Week,” citing the “consensus among courtroom observers [was] that Michael Hausfeld…got the best of a parade of NCAA witnesses at trial.” Law360 dubbed the trial team led by Michael as “Legal Lions,” citing the firm’s historic victory over the NCAA.
National Law Center George Washington University, J.D., with honors, 1969; Member, Order of the Coif
Brooklyn College, B.A. cum laude,1966
District of Columbia
Affiliations & Memberships
Co-Chair, ABA Civil Redress Committee, 2012-2013
Co-Chair, ABA Civil Redress Task Force, 2011-2012
Member, Editorial Board - Global Competition Litigation Review, 2011
Member, ABA International Cartel Task Force, 2010
Plaintiffs Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
Adjunct Professor, George Washington University Law School, 1996-1998
Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, 1980-1987
Member, Board of Editors, George Washington Law Review (1968-1969)
News & Press
“Lawyer Limelight: Michael Hausfeld,” Lawdragon, May 2019
The Toughest Lawyer in America Is On Your Side, Neal Gabler, Playboy Magazine, February 2015.
Gangster Bankers - Too Big to Jail, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone Magazine, February 2013
UBS Mea Culpa May Give Libor Antitrust Plaintiffs Upper Hand, Max Stendahl, Law360, December 2012
DOJ Heralds 'Robust' UBS Deal; Gibson Dunn on Defense, Mike Scarcella, The AmLaw Litigation Daily, December 2012
Documents May Boost Civil Suits - Revelations That Rate-Rigging Succeeded Could Prove Expensive to Banks Facing Litigation, Dana Cimilluca and Jean Eaglesham, Wall Street Journal, December 2012
Banks Facing New Wave of Mortgage Lawsuits, Forrest Jones, Moneynews, December 2012
Where There's a Will, There's a Way, The American Lawyer, March 2012
The Great Gamble, Global Competition Review, March 2012
"Class Actions & Competition Law, An Overview Of EU and National Case Law," by Michael D. Hausfeld, Anthony Maton, David R. Wingfield, Concurrences e-Competition Bulletin - Special Issue on Class Actions (August 27, 2020)
"In Defense of Class Actions: A Response to Makan Delrahim’s Commentary on the UK Mastercard Case," by Michael D. Hausfeld, Irving Scher, and Laurence Sorkin, Competition Policy International (June 8, 2020)
"The Equitable Future of Intercollegiate Athletics," by Michael D. Hausfeld, Sathya S. Gosselin, Sarah D. LaFreniere, and Eduardo Carlo. Competition Policy International's Antitrust Chronicle, (April 28, 2020)
“Litigating Indirect Purchasers Claims: Lessons for the EU from the U.S. Experience,” by Michael D. Hausfeld, Irving Scher, and Laurence Sorkin. Antitrust Magazine, Fall 2017.
“Damage Class Actions After Comcast: A View from the Plaintiffs’ Side,” by Michael D. Hausfeld and Irving Scher. Antitrust Magazine, Spring 2016.
“Antitrust Class Proceedings – Then and Now,” by Michael D. Hausfeld, Gordon C. Rausser, Gareth J. Macartney, Michael P. Lehmann, Sathya S. Gosselin, Research in Law and Economics (Vol. 26, 2014) (Recipient of Concurrences’ 2015 Antitrust Writing Award for Private Enforcement (Academic) Category).
"The Business of American Courts in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum." by Michael Hausfeld and Kristen Ward. Jurist - Sidebar, October 2012.
"Prosecuting Class Actions and Group Litigation." by Michael Hausfeld and Brian Ratner, et al., World Class Actions, Ch. 26., September 2012.
"Private Enforcement of Antitrust Law in the United States, A Handbook - Chapter 4: Initiation of a Private Claim." by Michael Hausfeld and Brent Landau, et al., 2012.
"The Importance of Private Competition Enforcement in Europe." by Michael D. Hausfeld and Swathi Bojedla. Hackney Publications: Concussion Litigation Reporter, Vol. 1, No. 1, July 2012.
"CAT-astrophe: The Failure of "Follow-On" Actions." by Michael D. Hausfeld, Brent W. Landau, Sathya S. Gosselin. American Bar Association's International Cartel Workshop, February 2012.
"Private Enforcement in Competition Law: An Overview of Developments in Law and Practice in the US and Europe." by Michael D. Hausfeld and Ingrid Gubbay, Bergamo University, July 2011.
"The Contingency Phobia - Fear Without Foundation," Global Competition Litigation Review, Issue 1, January 2011.
“Competition Law Claims – A Developing Story.” The European Antitrust Review 2010.
"Initiation of a Private Claim," International Handbook on Private Enforcement, 2010.
“The United States Heightens Plaintiff’s Burden of Proof on Class Certification: A Response.” Global Competition Litigation Review, Volume 2 Issue 4/2009.
“Global Enforcement of Anticompetitive Conduct.” The Sedona Conference Journal, Fall 2009.
“Observations from the Field: ACPERA’s First Five Years.” The Sedona Conference Journal, Fall 2009.
“Twombly, Iqbal and the Prisoner’s Pleading Dilemma.” Law360, October 22, 2009.
“The Value of ACPERA.” Law360, June 2, 2009.
“Collective Redress for Competition Law Claimants.” The European Antitrust Review 2008.
“Managing Multi-district Litigation.” The Antitrust Review of the Americas 2008.
“A Victim’s Culture.” European Business Law Review, 2007.