William F. Cavanaugh, Jr., Benchmark Litigation “Top 10” Antitrust Attorney, Featured in Global Competition Review

January 30, 2017

Patterson Belknap Co-Chair William F. Cavanaugh, Jr. has been named one of Benchmark Litigation's 2017 “Top 10 Practitioners” nationally for Antitrust.  He is noted for his service as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States for Civil Enforcement in the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division in a recent edition of Global Competition Review.

Benchmark's ranking reflects an assessment in which one peer referred to him as “a major player in the antitrust area. I view him as one of the best antitrust lawyers to be found anywhere.” A client stated that, “Bill has an amazing depth of experience and knowledge in antitrust. From a counselling perspective, he is able to give quick guidance and recommendations, which many attorneys are hesitant to do.”

Mr. Cavanaugh re-joined Patterson Belknap in 2010 following his government service.  He currently represents a broad array of clients in complex antitrust litigations in the life sciences, consumer products, food and beverage, and financial services industries.

Global Competition Review’s December 2016 article, “A New Dawn,” provides an overview of the accomplishments of the Antitrust Division during the Obama Administration. The below excerpt describes how Mr. Cavanaugh came to assume his role in 2009. To read the full article, click here.

“When [Christine] Varney took over as head of the division in the spring of 2009, she saw the challenge in front of her…[S]he would have to overhaul nearly everything about the division’s litiga­tion efforts – from its focus during investigations, to its treatment of potential witnesses, and the organisation of the division staff itself.

Every one of Varney’s deputies were chosen, observ­ers say, because of their ability to reshape the agency into one that would prepare for litigation as a matter of practice and have the ability to win once it got there.

Top of the list was Bill Cavanaugh. Varney sought the co-chair of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and head of its litigation practice after consulting with a number of practitioners about the right person to become the division’s first-ever deputy in charge of litigation…Varney made it clear to Cavanaugh that winning in court was her top priority, and she wanted the division to be ready and able to try a challenge to a merger if officials found no way to remedy its harm to consumers. Cavanaugh was just what Varney was looking for: a courtroom warrior who tried and won business cases of all varieties, from antitrust to tax, patents, contracts and more.

Cavanaugh says that his first thought when Varney asked him to join the government was ‘I’m too old’. He was 54, at the top of his law firm – not the typical candidate for first-time government service. But Cavanaugh heard he’d be working alongside Molly Boast, a seasoned antitrust litigator whose reputation preceded her, which convinced him of the seriousness of Varney’s intentions, he says. Plus, he felt compelled by public service. ‘I thought it was a challenge,’ Cavanaugh says.”