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Latham is recognized for its "highly regarded lawyers" that "advise on abuse of dominance or cartel investigations, with experience in standout cases” defending clients in “parallel investigations in multiple jurisdictions.”

– Chambers Global 2020

Cartel Investigation & Litigation

Companies operating in the global marketplace face increasing exposure to price-fixing accusations by both private plaintiffs and governments, and they look to Latham & Watkins for assistance with investigations, litigation and compliance.

Billions: that is what is often at stake for companies accused of price-fixing, with criminal and administrative fine exposure around the world and follow-on enterprise-threatening private damage litigation from direct and indirect customers. With so many markets and businesses that are global in scope, cartel exposure risk is compounded by its reach across jurisdictions and by increased cartel enforcement worldwide, including the use of widely adopted leniency programs that limit a whistleblower’s exposure.

In this environment, a global approach is the only approach that works; exposure is so rarely confined to one jurisdiction. Moreover, companies need speed and sophistication to identify and assess potential exposure in time to determine reliable lines of defense or, if appropriate, seek leniency. Latham’s cartel defense practice is designed to meet these challenges.

A Swift and Global Approach

Latham antitrust lawyers defend clients in cartel matters that stretch across four continents, working in integrated teams that ensure rapid investigation, a consistent understanding of the facts across the entire team, and an integrated assessment of risks and opportunities across every jurisdiction. Latham rapidly mobilizes its business-savvy antitrust practitioners, some of whom are experienced former prosecutors and cartel enforcers, to any corner of the world to conduct intensive internal investigations, find the facts and assess them.The firm is best known in this field for its ability to uncover conspiracy conduct fast enough to make a difference and protect its clients, with minimal disruption to the client’s business.

Latham has leading-edge experience with every major cartel enforcement agency. The regulators know and listen to Latham’s antitrust lawyers, many of whom are former prosecutors with the US Department of Justice. The team’s success may be best measured by the number of recent investigations in which the firm defended targets and regulators chose not to prosecute (five) and successful amnesty applications (four), or the millions in fine reductions obtained for our clients. Latham’s experience and credibility with cartel enforcers enable its lawyers to deliver optimal results in the most active and menacing area of antitrust risk today.

Latham’s cartel defense team has a successful track record defending multinationals and their executives in some of the largest cartel investigations ever prosecuted, including:

  • Air Cargo
  • Automobile Parts
  • DRAM and SRAM
  • Graphic Processing Units
  • Optical Disk Drives
  • Pre-stressing Steel
  • Smart Card Chips
  • Videotapes
  • Wire Harnesses

The disclosure of a criminal cartel investigation inevitably leads to civil price-fixing class actions. Latham’s ability to obtain dismissals on the pleadings, defeat class certification or obtain favorable summary judgment for clients in the most challenging antitrust cases distinguishes the firm as one of the preeminent antitrust defense practices in the world.

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