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Practice area:

Competition/antitrust


Christine A. Varney is the chair of Cravath’s Antitrust practice. Widely recognized as one of the leading antitrust lawyers in the United States in both private practice and in government service, she is the only person to have served as both the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust and as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission. Ms. Varney formulates global antitrust strategy for clients in connection with joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions, dispositions and other business transactions, including advising on business conduct or potential investments to ensure compliance with antitrust laws, securing antitrust regulatory approvals, and handling internal or governmental investigations into anticompetitive behavior. Her clients span diverse industries, including cable, financial services, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals, among others. 


From 2009 until 2011, Ms. Varney served as Assistant Attorney General and headed the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. She oversaw all aspects of the Division’s operations, including merger review, criminal and civil litigation and investigations, and coordination with competition regulators outside the United States. 


From 1994 through 1997, Ms. Varney served as a Commissioner of the FTC. While at the FTC, she played a leading role on a broad range of competition law issues, and she is widely credited with pioneering the application of innovation market theory analysis to information technology and biotechnology transactions. Prior to becoming an FTC Commissioner, she served as Assistant to the President and Secretary to the Cabinet in the Clinton Administration. 


From 1997, when she left the FTC, until her appointment as Assistant Attorney General in 2009, Ms. Varney was in private practice, representing major corporations before the DOJ and the FTC and advising her clients on a wide variety of legal and business issues. 


Among other accolades, Ms. Varney was selected by The National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” and as an “M&A and Antitrust Trailblazer.” She was named a “Competition MVP” by Law360 and “Lawyer of the Year” by Global Competition Review. 


Ms. Varney received a B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany in 1977, an M.P.A. from Syracuse University in 1982 and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1986. 


Updated July 2021