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02 March 2021

Latham & Watkins lands US trade commission's former competition bureau director

Ian Conner will join as a partner in the firm's litigation and trial department in Washington

By Ben Edwards

By DCStockPhotography

Latham & Watkins has hired former director of the US Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition Ian Conner as a partner in the firm’s litigation and trial department in Washington DC. 

Conner – who will also be a member of Latham’s antitrust and competition practice – is an expert in merger control and civil litigation across a range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, technology, oil and gas, healthcare and others.

Amanda Reeves, global chair of the firm’s antitrust and competition practice, said: “The last few years have seen a notable uptick in activity among competition agencies around the world, and Latham is armed with a highly experienced team to navigate this new antitrust era.”

She added: “Bringing Ian onboard further enhances our elite team and enables us to apply up-to-date enforcement thinking gained directly in the field to the complex global challenges our clients face today, as well as to help companies see around corners.”

Conner joined the FTC’s Bureau of Competition in 2017 as deputy director, before rising to head the bureau in 2019, overseeing a team of almost 300 lawyers. Prior to his stint at the FTC he spent a decade in private practice, including more than six years as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis and almost four years as an associate at Hunton & Williams. He was also previously a trial attorney in the Department of Justice’s antitrust division.

Daniel Lennon, managing partner of the firm’s Washington office, said: “[Conner’s] experience working at the FTC and the DOJ will enrich the multidimensional legal roadmaps we create for our clients, particularly as the US regulatory environment continues to evolve rapidly.”

Conner is the latest recruit at Latham with enforcement agency experience. Reeves herself previously served at the FTC, as did antitrust and competition partner Alan Devin, who was acting deputy director of the agency’s Bureau of Competition before he joined Latham. 

Conner said: “Antitrust issues are typically make-or-break issues for companies, and in an increasingly regulatory-focused environment, Latham has all the ingredients to develop and sustain a successful partnership between client and counsel – a broad and seamless platform, renowned antitrust practitioners and a global footprint.”

Last month, Wall Street firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has unveiled plans to open an office in Brussels later this year as it adjusts to the impact of Brexit on its ability to advise clients on EU law.

Other recent high profile hires secured by Latham include that of Travers Smith's London co-head of corporate, Paul Dolman in December.

Last month, Wall Street firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett unveiled plans to open an office in Brussels as it adjusts to the impact of Brexit on its ability to advise clients on EU law.

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