Williams & Connolly

District of Columbia

Review

Dispute resolution

Williams & Connolly, long considered the “crown jewel” among DC firms, continues its hold on its status as a top-tier litigation shop. The firm is revered by peers and clients alike, and its case work has regularly found its practitioners in some of the nation’s highest courts, as well as in the media. Its array of services encompasses securities, antitrust, white-collar crime and investigations, product liability, intellectual property, commercial litigation. Despite being domiciled in DC and a dominant force in the District’s legal community, the reputation of the firm as well as that of its individual partners extend to national and even international levels, particularly in the case of its burgeoning international arbitration practice. It’s also worth noting that the firm holds a pride of place for the depth of actual trial lawyers on its bench; indeed the firm has enjoyed four consecutive years as one of Benchmark’s Top 20 Trial Firms, a status that remains secure in this edition. 
     The firm’s status as a trial powerhouse is embellished further by its appellate capacity, spearheaded by Lisa Blatt, a no-nonsense appeals specialist who brings a fearless verve to the practice that is more commonly attributed to trial lawyers. Blatt is no stranger to the Supreme Court, and she recently triumphed in this venue (albeit remotely due to the pandemic) on behalf of Booking.com in a case addressing the question of whether the addition by an online business of a generic top-level domain (in this case, “.com”) to an otherwise generic term can create a protectable trademark. Blatt presented oral argument in May 2020, and the court ruled in her client’s favor in June of that year. Mainstay trial luminary Dane Butswinkas scored a win for AstraZeneca in a case in which former shareholders of an entity acquired by the client sought $275 million in milestone payments they alleged were owed from the 2013 merger of the two companies. As lead counsel, Butswinkas secured a complete trial victory after a February 2020 bench trial before the Delaware Court of Chancery. The firm also triumphed for this client in the intellectual property capacity, concerning a patent on the client’s asthma inhaler product. Patent specialist David Berl, one of the leaders of the team responsible for this victory, chalked up a favorable ruling on claim construction in late 2020 before appearing in a bench trial held virtually in October 2020. In March 2021, the District of West Virginia issued a ruling that granted AstraZeneca a complete victory. Adding to the firm’s bulging list of high-level appointments in the pharmaceutical industry, Enu Mainigi continues to serve as lead and national counsel for Cardinal in all claims related to opioids, including civil litigation, Attorney General litigation and investigations, Congressional investigations, and other matters relating to the client’s distribution of opioid medications. Mainigi is scheduled to serve as lead counsel for Cardinal in a bellwether MDL trial in West Virginia as well as additional trials expected to be held in 2021-2022. Mainigi also represents Omnicare and CVS Health in a False Claims Act investigation and subsequent litigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York regarding the company’s practices with respect to refilling prescriptions for individuals residing in long-term care facilities. In yet another score in the drug industry, a team led by Heidi Hubbard and including Ana Reyes successfully represented Pfizer-subsidiary Hospira in a antitrust-tinged commercial dispute brought by Apotex over a supply agreement in the Southern District of New York, in which Apotex sought over $300 million in damages. In January 2020, the trial court granted Hospira’s motion to dismiss Apotex’s antitrust claims. Beyond the pharmaceutical realm, Robert Van Kirk, fresh off an earlier triumph for The Carlyle Group in which he successfully closed the door on a long-running series of cross-border matters, was retained by this client again in breach of contract action in Montana state court. The matter concerns a simmering dispute between the client and the City of Missoula concerning a privately held water system.