Clifford Chance

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Antitrust challenges are growing across the world. Over 130 jurisdictions now have antitrust laws, and that number continues to grow. The range of business practices giving rise to antitrust enforcement is likewise expanding, and fines for antitrust infringements are rising. We have the expertise and global network to help our clients address these antitrust risks.

Our global network of over 140 antitrust lawyers covers all the key hubs of Europe, Asia-Pacific and the US, enabling us to support our clients on their most complex and important antitrust matters across the world.  Our antitrust teams work together to solve multinational antitrust issues, taking into account the interplay between different practices and rules, and always mindful of the practical implications antitrust issues may have on our clients' business.

We advise on market-leading mandates in contentious and non-contentious matters.  Our global team obtains clearances for our clients in the world's most challenging merger control proceedings, acts on the most significant dominance cases, and represents clients on complex multi-jurisdictional cartels. We also help our clients to avoid antitrust issues by developing and implementing sophisticated compliance programs, and we are at the forefront of state aid cases in Europe. 

We invest in learning about our clients and their industry sectors.  We also invest in our credibility with antitrust regulators, developing a reputation for straightforwardness and honesty, combined with an unflinching representation of our clients' best interests. 

In light of the breadth and depth of our network, our legal, political and industry expertise, our commitment to our clients, our collegiality among ourselves, and our reputation among regulators for tenacious and honest advocacy, we doubt any other antitrust practice can better help businesses to avoid antitrust challenges and to solve them when they arise.

Compliance and Training

Bespoke antitrust compliance advice and training.

The range of business practices which can give rise to antitrust law violations is not fixed.  Over time, antitrust law has become more nuanced, with significant increases in both the number of business practices regarded as being potentially problematic, and the complexity of assessing compliance of those practices.

Regulatory compliance is high on the agenda of most companies as the financial and reputational risks for breaching antitrust law rules are greater than ever. Many companies come to us to help their employees understand the ever-changing regulatory environment and how best to comply with antitrust laws around the world.

We work with clients to develop and implement antitrust compliance guidelines that are tailored specifically to their business and to monitor business agreements and practices, as well as organise in-house "mock dawn raids" and conduct internal risk assessments.  We regularly advise clients on abuse of dominance, licensing agreements, research and development agreements, production agreements, distribution, marketing and sales agreements, trade association activities, due diligence, information exchange, joint ventures and other collaborative activities with competitors.

Clifford Chance and Thomson Reuters compliance eLearning - a unified approach to elearning on compliance issues

Together with Thomson Reuters we offer a suite of eLearning courses covering competition, anti-corruption and anti-bribery.  The competition eLearning course focuses on helping businesses adapt an approach to generating awareness and familiarity of what comprises anti-competitive behaviour.

The joint initiative helps businesses to reduce the cost and time associated with training staff members, and to mitigate the risk of the substantial penalties when regulators expose gaps in compliance strategies.

Dawn Raids

A 24-hour dawn raid hotline and a network of experienced antitrust lawyers at our client's fingertips.

A surprise dawn raid is one of the most intrusive and disruptive experiences that a company can face. Often it involves the search and seizure of thousands of electronic and paper documents. Yet, companies must act swiftly and assess the available evidence and their strategic options, as time is of the essence.

We offer a 24-hour legal service across the globe to clients facing such investigations. No matter where, no matter when, we provide an immediate and structured dawn raid response saving our clients time and money.

We gather evidence and documents, interview employees and prepare detailed risk assessments, so that our clients have the best possible information advantage when deciding whether to apply for immunity or leniency, and the best possible chance of being "first in" to the enforcement agency with any such application.

We also work with clients to ensure that they are fully prepared for a dawn raid, by conducting "mock" dawn raids on notice at clients' premises and providing comprehensive and tailored guidelines to ensure all staff understand their respective roles, rights and obligations during a dawn raid.

Market Investigations and Sector Inquiries

A highly experienced international team at navigating throughout all key stages of antitrust investigations, including Article 101 and 102 investigations, and major market/sector inquiries.

We have firsthand experience of the different strategies (and their merits) employed by companies in the context of market investigations.

Antitrust authorities often carry out investigations into a particular sector, which can be burdensome, time consuming and can have a considerable impact on companies and their share price.

We advise clients on major sector enquiries and market studies/investigations by antitrust and other regulatory authorities and have significant experience in many jurisdictions and sectors including technology, financial services and pharmaceuticals.

We advise our clients throughout all key stages of the process, including: assisting in the evidence gathering process; analysing evidence, including company data / internal documents; responding to information requests; preparing for meetings with the authorities; and communicating with interested third parties (i.e. consumer groups). We also have experience in preparing witnesses for Select Committee and Parliamentary Hearings.

Merger Control

Unrivalled expertise in helping clients overcome major merger clearance hurdles and foreign investment control obstacles.

With the ever changing regulatory landscape and numerous deals hitting the headlines for running into objections from antitrust authorities in recent months, navigating merger control regimes is critical for success on a transaction.

We deliver a global service in relation to merger clearances and have helped clients overcome major merger clearance hurdles in Europe, Asia Pacific and the US. We have longstanding experience of handling Phase 1 and 2 investigations and regularly act as global antitrust counsel to co-ordinate multi-jurisdictional merger filings on mergers that require filings in a large number of jurisdictions.

Our lawyers continually strive to preserve each deal in its intended form and with universal remedies. We apply novel commitments and seek innovative solutions to protect our clients' strategic interests. Our strong relationships with antitrust authorities enable us to find satisfactory solutions for our clients when divestitures and undertakings are required.

State Aid

Market leading experience in advising on EU State aid matters, including a number of the current European Commission investigations.

We have experience across all major sectors and advise clients from the public and private sectors including the providers and beneficiaries of state funding, financial guarantees and also third parties who challenge the recipients of State aid.  We represent clients before the European Commission and national courts in relation to the defence of and possible recovery of State aid and also on state aid issues in relation to investments and divestments.

The global financial crisis resulted in a sharp expansion of government subsidies in the EU. We have advised numerous banks across the continent in relation to the subsequent rescue and restructuring aid granted by government entities. 

Our extensive experience of advising clients on legally complex and often political State aid cases allows us to help clients on their most challenging cases.

Public Procurement

A specialist team advising on all aspects of European and national public procurement law.

In addition to advising clients on the application of public procurement laws, we also have considerable experience of representing clients in disputes over the awarding of public contracts before the relevant courts and with the European Commission and other national agencies, including the seeking of injunctive relief. We also advise on the procurement structuring of transactions.

Litigation

A worldwide team of antitrust litigation lawyers who deal with a variety of complex and high profile antitrust litigation cases.

We have a leading antitrust litigation practice which advises on antitrust investigations and represents both claimant and defendant companies in high profile cases before national and European courts. We are experienced in managing multi-jurisdictional investigations and litigation. The team includes experts on collective/class actions, fraud, white collar crime and cross-border regulatory investigations and represents clients across a wide range of industries. We have acted on many of the leading cartel investigations and cartel damages claims in the UK and across Europe.

 

CNN International talks with Thomas Vinje

Thomas Vinje, Partner and Chairman of our Global Antitrust Group, is interviewed on CNN about the significance of the record fine and the Commission's requirement for Google to change its search business practices.