This "brain trust" law firm is known for quietly (and smartly)
going about its business-that business being antitrust, litigation,
white collar defense & investigations, corporate, IP, export
controls, data privacy and cybersecurity, and regulatory work, with
particular strengths in the sports, insurance, life science/pharma,
energy, tech, and media/entertainment industries.
Counsel of Record
Judge J. Harry Covington and Edward B. Burling founded their
firm in Washington, DC, in 1919, with a (then unique) concept of a
firm focused on regulatory issues. Since that founding, it would be
hard to find many members of the Fortune 200 that have not worked
with Covington. The firm played significant roles in many of the
leading legal matters that arose from the New Deal. Later, in the
1950s, Covington lawyers wrote the key briefs in the Steel Seizure
cases. As the federal government expanded, so did Covington, with a
particular emphasis on issues involving FDA, the IRS, the FAA, the
FCC and any number of other multi-lettered agencies.
This unique mix of work attracted an astonishingly talented
array of young lawyers to the firm, many of whom have gone on to
senior positions in the government. Both Eric Holder, former U.S.
Attorney General, and Lanny Breuer, former Assistant Attorney
General in charge of the Criminal Division, were Covington partners
before they worked for the Obama administration. Breuer returned to
the firm in 2013 and Eric Holder rejoined the firm in 2015. And
Covington's lawyers are bi-partisan. Mike Chertoff, the first head
of the Department of Homeland Security, joined Covington after
leaving the Bush Administration. John Dugan, who was the
Comptroller of the Currency during the financial meltdown of 2008,
was a partner before his service as Comptroller, and has since
returned to the firm. Retired Republican Senator Jon Kyl and
Democratic Representative Howard Berman are also at the firm.
The strong team of lawyers assembled by Covington continues to
attract some of the largest companies in the world as clients.
These days the firm's clients include JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft,
Samsung, Wells Fargo, Merck, Eli Lilly & Company, AstraZeneca,
ExxonMobil, GlaxoSmithKline, Procter & Gamble, Abbott
Laboratories, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, to name just a few. The
practice has moved far beyond government regulation, and the firm's
lawyers now focus broadly on litigation, white collar, corporate
transactions, intellectual property, antitrust, project development
and finance, international trade, and regulatory issues.
Formerly Local, Now Global
Early on, Covington eschewed typical BigLaw expansionist
tendencies, maintaining just one office in Washington, DC. In 1988,
the firm opened its doors in London-a strategic move followed two
years later by the establishment of a branch in Brussels to focus
on EU competition, regulatory, and litigation work. The firm grew
its domestic presence in 1999 with the addition of offices in San
Francisco and New York, and in 2008, Covington set up shop in
Beijing, San Diego, and Silicon Valley. Offices in Shanghai and
Seoul opened during 2012 and 2013. The firm opened an office in Los
Angeles in early 2015 and closed San Diego to reorient its focus in
Southern California. And the firm does work elsewhere around the
globe, including in Latin America, India, Africa, and the Middle
East. In 2017, Covington added a number of new lawyers to its
existing project development and finance practice, and with the
group's arrival, opened offices in Dubai and Johannesburg.
Worldwide White Collar
Covington's 115-lawyer white collar team boasts former top
government lawyers who handle high-profile matters world-wide,
including two former heads of the DOJ's Criminal Division, Lanny
Breuer and Mythili Raman. Arlo Devlin-Brown, former Chief of the
Public Corruption Unit in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the
S.D.N.Y. joined the firm in 2017. In 2015 Lanny Breuer,
successfully represented Hyperdynamics Corporation in an
investigation conducted by the Justice Department into potential
violations of the FCPA related to its business activities in the
Republic of Guinea. Covington recently helped AB InBev secure a
declination notice from the DOJ in an FCPA investigation regarding
the company's business partners in India and is currently handling
a highly publicized internal investigation at Uber.
Check the Scoreboard
With over 50 years of experience, Covington's sports law
department is an all-star team in and of itself. The group, which
includes former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, has represented
dozens of teams, leagues, and sponsors in transactions, litigation,
media rights, antitrust, contract, labor, and tax law matters. The
firm represented the NFL before the Supreme Court in the American
Needle case, and advised the NFL throughout the media tumult
provoked by Michael Vick's arrest and eventual suspension.
Covington knows its way around the baseball diamond too-the firm
counseled retired pitcher Roger Clemens as he dealt with
allegations of steroid use and a federal indictment for perjury and
represented Major League Baseball in the development of its
proprietary television channel. Not surprisingly, Covington alums
Jeff Pash and Rick Buchanan are currently general counsel to the
NFL and NBA, respectively. The firm has also counseled college
sports leagues on a variety of matters, and advised both the pros
and colleges on their broadcast contracts.
Covington opened new offices in Dubai and Johannesburg-and
expanded in London-with the addition of more than 20 project
finance, corporate, and dispute resolution lawyers, deepening the
firm's capabilities in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Covington
has long helped clients around the world navigate their most
difficult legal and business issues in foreign markets. The office
openings were a progression of the firm's strategy to build a
leading projects practice that leverages other important areas of
the firm, including global dispute resolution, government affairs
and public policy, anti-corruption, export controls, corporate,
international tax, and energy regulation.
Covington delivered "a rare courtroom defeat" for the SDNY U.S.
Attorney's Office in February. After a seven-day trial, a jury in
Manhattan delivered a complete verdict for its clients in a
high-profile civil forfeiture case that also earned Covington
coverage in the New York Times. Covington's product
liability team won its 14th straight appellate decision for Roche
and has successfully defended every trial victory on appeal, and
reversed every adverse verdict, worth more than $100 million in
judgments. Covington also won summary judgment for Bayer, wiping
out more than 1,200 suits alleging harm from one of its leading
Covington advised Turner Sports in the extension of its rights
to distribute the March Madness basketball tournament through 2032
via a partnership with CBS Network across a variety of platforms.
The firm also represented Riot Games in a first-of-its-kind
long-term commercialization partnership with BAMTech to deliver
professional League of Legends eSports content in regions around
A Round for the White Collar
Covington continued to represent clients in some of the most
complex, high-profile matters in white collar. Notably, the firm
helped AB InBev secure a declination notice from the U.S.
Department of Justice in an FCPA investigation regarding the
company's business partners in India. The firm also handled a
highly publicized internal investigation at Uber.
Protecting the Cyber
Covington formed a Cybersecurity Incident Response Team and
expanded its capabilities to manage legal investigations into
multiple concurrent cybersecurity incidents on an international
scale. Covington has investigated and handled the legal response to
many of the most complex and high-profile breach incidents to date,
ranging from the largest drawdown of ATMs in U.S. bank history and
large international financial crime breaches to dozens of advanced
persistent threat attacks covering personal, proprietary, and
government data to criminal breaches impacting the information of
more than 50 million users, among many others.
Clash of Clans
Covington advised Tencent Holdings, a leading provider of
internet service in China, in connection with its acquisition of a
majority stake in Supercell from SoftBank for $8.6 billion.
Supercell has brought four major games to market - Clash of Clans,
Clash Royale, Boom Beach and Hay Day. The deal provided Tencent
with an ever-stronger presence in mobile gaming and adds to its
already robust mobile portfolio, which includes the top smartphone
app in China.