Bingham McCutchen is adding two attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to the firm’s Washington office.
Darren Tucker, a former senior competition advisor at the FTC, and Michael Whitlock, a DOJ Antitrust Division prosecutor, join the firm as partners in the antitrust, competition and trade regulation group.
At the FTC, Tucker was the top advisor to Commissioner Joshua Wright. Tucker was also the primary drafter of the In the Matter of North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners decision. The FTC in 2011 ruled the board violated the agency's rule on deceptive trade practice when it sought to block non-dentists from providing teeth whitening services.
During his tenure at DOJ, Whitlock investigated price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation by auto-part companies. Whitlock participated in the antitrust price-fixing prosecutions of freight services companies Horizon Lines LLC and Sea Star Lines LLC.
Leiv Blad Jr., co-chair of Bingham’s antitrust, competition and trade regulation practice, said in an interview that the firm has sought partners with experience in federal agencies.
"We're building and have built an agency practice focused on government action primarily by the FTC and the DOJ," Blad said. "I think an increasing percentage of antitrust cases arise out of government action."
Tucker said that his decision to join the firm was influenced in part by the commitment to building a strong antitrust practice, not only in the U.S., but abroad as well.
"Clients today in the antitrust sector want you to be able to do more than represent them in the U.S. or Europe," Tucker said. "Investigations these days are increasingly global. You really need antitrust boots on the ground around the globe."
In private practice, Tucker said that he would like to focus his antitrust work on mergers, healthcare and technology. Tucker said that healthcare issues—in particular, mergers—have been robust at the FTC and he expects that will continue in the future. Other areas of high activity in the antitrust realm, he said, include technology and financial services.