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Google Taps Veterans From Major Antitrust Cases for DOJ Fight

Mark Bergen and David McLaughlin
·2 mins read

(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google has selected two prominent law firms with experience fighting antitrust cases as it girds for an upcoming showdown with the U.S. government.

The Department of Justice is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit in the coming days against Google. People familiar with the case have said it will target Google deals to make its search engine the default option on smartphones and web browsers, which help maintain the company’s wide lead in the market.

Read more: Google’s Search Business Targeted in U.S. Antitrust Case

Once the case arrives, Google’s defense will include John Schmidtlein, co-chair of the antitrust practice group at Williams & Connolly LLP. About five years ago, Schmidtlein’s law firm successfully beat back a case in California that alleged Google violated competition law with its Android mobile operating system.

Additionally, the company’s longtime law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC and partner Susan Creighton will work on the case. Creighton has defended the search giant in multiple antitrust cases, and she has been representing the company during the Justice Department’s investigation, which began last year. Google confirmed the appointments but declined to comment further.

Both lawyers have experience from the Justice Department’s antitrust battle against Microsoft Corp. two decades ago. Creighton wrote a paper that spurred the government to crack down on Microsoft’s treatment of competing web browsers. Schmidtlein represented the U.S. states in their case against the software maker. The lawyers did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Kent Walker, Google’s global affairs chief and influential counsel, is set to lead internal work on the case along with a handful of the company’s lawyers experienced in antitrust, litigation and other areas, including Rosie Lipscomb, Halimah DeLaine Prado, Catherine Lacavera and Matthew Bye.

Earlier: Google Appoints DeLaine Prado as New General Counsel

Another key player: Markham Erickson, a veteran Washington litigator who Google quietly hired last year as a vice president of government affairs. Rob Shilkin, a vice president in global communications & public affairs who used to be an antitrust attorney, is also working on the case.

As in prior antitrust spats, the company will likely argue that it operates in a competitive internet market. Both critics and a recent blockbuster House antitrust report have argued the opposite.

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