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GCR 100 2020, Global Elite: When Not Making The Rankings Can Be A Good Thing…

Related Practice Areas: Antitrust / Competition, Antitrust Counseling and Compliance, Competition Counseling and Compliance, Competition Disputes

Fresh from the press, the 20th edition of the GCR 100 ranks the best competition lawyers and economists worldwide, and names the Global Elite – the top 25 antitrust practices with competition teams recognised by GCR on more than one continent. GCR limits its Global Elite to firms that practise multiple aspects of competition law, and therefore excludes firms (like Hausfeld) that focus solely on litigation. Hausfeld’s deep expertise, bright minds, innovation, tenacity and practical approach has been challenging the status quo for over 10 years. And that did not go unnoticed.

We quote GCR:

“Because only firms that practise multiple aspects of competition law are invited to participate in the Global Elite, this section of the GCR 100 does not include firms that focus solely on litigation. But those firms have been highly influential on competition practice, perhaps none more so than Hausfeld.

Speaking at the firm’s 10th anniversary celebration in London, a day before US Independence Day, Michael Hausfeld reminisced about the scepticism he met when bringing litigation, American-style, to Europe. “The prevailing consensus at the time was that if the disruptors obtained a beachhead or a foothold on the continent, the forecast was doom, either for the endeavour, the British legal system, or the entire empire. But time has proven otherwise,” he said.

Today the firm has teams in Germany, Brussels, London, Paris and Stockholm, in addition to its five offices in the US. What its eponymous founder described as “a new path” that has “consistently widened to accommodate the increased traffic” for those seeking compensation for antitrust injuries has also brought increased traffic through the doors of firms defending against those claims.

Though they may not thank Hausfeld and its fellow plaintiffs’ firms for it, many of the competition practices in the Global Elite owe much of their litigation work to the surge of follow-on damages claims in the EU.

End-consumer class actions have not fully taken off in European countries, but plenty of companies that were direct purchasers of products ranging from car glass and smart chips to graphite, elevators and trucks want to be paid back for alleged overcharges.

Still, defence against consumer actions is a big part of Global Elite firms’ work if they have any litigators in the US. Though all the US firms in our survey necessarily have a significant presence outside their home country, this is often devoted to representing companies before enforcement agencies and has not yet extended to spending much time in court. For example, Arnold & Porter’s antitrust litigation practice, though bolstered by a merger with the firm Kaye Scholer at the beginning of 2018, remains US-centric.

With many more decisions by European competition authorities than by US enforcers finding illegal monopolisation, claims of harm from abuse of dominance in the EU may soon outstrip those in the US. Nor are the firms in this list always acting as defence counsel in such cases. […]

“We will not be worried about how history will judge us” at his firm’s [10]th anniversary, Hausfeld said in July 2019. “We know history will be kind to us, for we intend to write it.”