Freshfields law firm adds ex-antitrust regulator in latest DC hire

A nameplate of the Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP office is pictured in Frankfurt, Germany. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

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(Reuters) – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on Monday said it has hired a Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner and former antitrust regulator who led the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s review of the $48.5 billion merger of wireless carrier AT&T Inc and satellite TV service provider DirecTV.

Jamillia Ferris joined Freshfields’ Washington, D.C., office, where the London-founded global firm has been strengthening its antitrust practice. Since 2017, Freshfields said it has lured six partners and three counsel from other D.C. firms, nearly all in antitrust.

Although not a practice chair, the firm said Ferris will be a member of its global antitrust leadership team.

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Ferris joined the FCC in 2014 from Hunton & Williams — now Hunton Andrews Kurth — to lead the agency’s review of the AT&T-DirecTV merger. After the FCC approved the deal in 2015, Ferris left government service for Wilson Sonsini.

At Wilson Sonsini, Ferris advised on Intuit Inc’s $7 billion acquisition of financial technology portal Credit Karma Inc, as well as Sony Interactive Entertainment’s $3.6 billion acquisition of Bungie Inc, the creators of the “Halo” and “Destiny” video game series.

Ferris is the second Wilson Sonsini partner Freshfields has added in the last two months. In August, Freshfields expanded its presence in Silicon Valley by hiring Brandon Gantus, who represented software company CA Technologies in its $18.9 billion acquisition by Broadcom Inc in 2018.

The firm said it has hired more than 200 lawyers in the United States in the last three years, in New York, Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley. Last month, it expanded the size of its New York office.

Ferris said U.S. officials have been expanding antitrust scrutiny, so companies “need to prepare for that.” The United States is also pushing antitrust regulators in other countries to boost their enforcement to better align with the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission, said Bruce McCulloch, the U.S. head of Freshfields’ antitrust practice.

“We continue to get to the high-water mark of antitrust enforcement, and we do not see it abating,” Ferris said.

Ferris also previously served as the chief of staff for the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

A Wilson Sonsini spokesperson said the firm wished her well.

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Freshfields inks deal for larger N.Y. office as firms reassess space needs

Freshfields hires another Wilson Sonsini partner as firm grows in Silicon Valley

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TurboTax maker Intuit nears agreement to buy Credit Karma for $7 billion: WSJ

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David Thomas

Thomson Reuters

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 and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.

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