2019 Vault Rankings
- Pro Bono#15
“Commitment to pro bono”
“Intelligent and friendly colleagues”
“The work is amazing and exciting”
“A little isolating at times”
“The uncertainty surrounding prospects for partnership”
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 focus on issues involving FDA, the IRS, the FAA, the FCC and any number of other multi-lettered agencies. With this Washington-focused practice, its no wonder firm alumni go 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 and both have since returned to the firm. 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. Recently Andrew Smith has been named as the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Retired Republican Senator Jon Kyl and Democratic Representative Howard Berman are also at Covington.
Covington didn’t expand beyond the beltway until 1988, when it opened its doors in London and two years later, a branch in Brussels. The firm grew its domestic presence in 1999 with the addition of offices in San Francisco and New York and has since moved into Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. In Asia, Covington has created a presence in Beijing, Shanghai, and Seoul over the last decade. The firm has more recently opened offices in Dubai, Frankfurt, and Johannesburg. These days the firm’s clients include JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Samsung, Uber, Merck, Eli Lilly & Company, AstraZeneca, ExxonMobil, Amazon, GlaxoSmithKline, Procter & Gamble, Abbott Laboratories, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, to name just a few.
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.
IN THE NEWS
Covington has significantly expanded its Technology Transactions practice with the arrival of a number of new hires, including Suzanne Bell, Catharina Min, and Tom Kuhn. The global team has a deep understanding of what drives technology companies and possesses the creativity required to lead the world’s most challenging deals. Recent matters include Elbit’s $120 million acquisition of Universal Avionics and BenevolentAI’s acquisition of Proximagen Limited, a UK-based drug discovery and development company.
January 2018 and Ongoing
Covington represented the University of California in its challenge to the federal government’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since 2012, the DACA program has protected nearly 800,000 immigrants, who were brought to the U.S. as children, from deportation. Although the litigation is ongoing, the Covington team achieved a milestone victory when U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted a nationwide injunction barring the government from proceeding with the rescission.
Covington advised Bacardi Limited in its definitive agreement to acquire Patrón Spirits International AG and its PATRÓN® brand, the world’s top-selling ultra-premium tequila, from John Paul DeJoria, a founder of Patrón. The transaction reflects an enterprise value for Patrón of $5.1 billion.
On Microsoft’s behalf, Covington challenged the federal statute invoked by law enforcement to impose gag orders on technology companies. Under Covington’s direction, Microsoft contended that DOJ’s practice, which effectively barred email providers from telling customers that their data had been taken by the government, violated the Fourth Amendment rights of Microsoft's customers and Microsoft's First Amendment rights to notify its customers. As a result of Microsoft's suit, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein issued a binding policy memo making clear that gag orders must “have an appropriate factual basis and…extend only as long as necessary to satisfy the government’s interest” in secrecy.
Covington’s Eric Holder led a thorough investigation into Uber’s workplace environment following allegations of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and the ineffectiveness of Uber’s policies and procedures. In just three months, Covington conducted more than 200 interviews, searched over 3 million documents, and retained an outside consultant to conduct anonymous online focus groups with over 400 employees. Covington submitted a 100+ page report to Uber’s Board outlining the findings and providing recommendations, all of which were adopted.
On behalf of the NFL, Covington shut the door on two cases before Judge William Alsup in the Northern District of California—a highly-publicized putative class action by former players regarding prescription drug abuse and an antitrust claim regarding NFL cheerleader wages.
850 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 662-6000
Employer Type: Private
Chair, Management and Executive Committees: Timothy C. Hester
Hiring Attorneys: Benjamin Block, Anne Lee (DC); Dan Shallman (LA); Jack Bodner, David L. Kornblau, Loretta Shaw-Lorello, Chris Yeung (NY); Ingrid Rechtin, Donald Brown (SF); Kurt Calia (Silicon Valley) | Simon Amies, Daniel Cooper (London); Peter Bogaert (Brussels); William Park (Seoul); Weishi Li (Shanghai); Timothy Stratford (Beijing)
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 1,133
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
Summer associate: $3,654/week
124 out of 124 (2Ls) (2018)
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Silicon Valley, CA
Advertising & Consumer Law
Aerospace, Defense & National Security
Antitrust & Competition Law
Appellate and Supreme Court
Communications & Media
Copyright & Trademark
Election & Political Law
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
Finance, Private Funds & Investment
Food, Drug & Device
Insurance Coverage - Policyholders
ITC Section 337
Patent Office Patent Litigation
Project Development & Finance
Privacy & Cybersecurity
Restructuring & Bankruptcy
Securities & Capital Markets
Securities/Derivatives Litigation & Enforcement
Venture Capital & Emerging Companies
White Collar Defense & Investigations