Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is welcoming back Andrew Finch as co-chair of the firm’s antitrust practice group after his tenure as one of the top lawyers in the Department of Justice’s antitrust division.

Finch served as principal deputy assistant attorney general for the antitrust division for two years before his departure on Aug. 23.

Bernard “Barry” Nigro, the former chair of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson’s antitrust practice and current deputy assistant attorney general, has since taken over Finch’s role at the DOJ.

Finch has moved between Paul Weiss and the DOJ before. He first joined the firm in 2005, after a two-year stint as counsel to the assistant attorney general of the antitrust division.

In April 2017 he left Paul Weiss to serve as acting assistant attorney general of the antitrust division, where he oversaw all the division’s activities. In September of that year he transitioned to become the division’s No. 2 attorney upon the confirmation of former Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck partner Makan Delrahim as assistant attorney general.

Finch said he originally planned to stay at the DOJ for two years but decided to delay his departure because of a major merger review that was underway. He declined to name the merger.

“I’d hoped always to return to Paul Weiss, and it was the first call I made when I was ready to return to private practice,” said Finch, who joins the firm in its New York office.

During his two-year tenure at the antitrust division, Finch oversaw dozens of merger reviews, supervised multiple investigations and litigation matters, and negotiated civil and criminal settlements.

He also had a central role in developing and implementing the division’s policies and priorities including the consideration of effective antitrust compliance programs in criminal enforcement decisions.

“Andrew is the highest-ranking lawyer from the current Antitrust Division to return to private practice and his experience shaping the DOJ’s current antitrust policies and priorities will be invaluable to our clients,” said Brad Karp, chair of Paul Weiss, in an email.

Looking Ahead

Finch said that at Paul Weiss he anticipates using his experience to help clients understand the DOJ’s antitrust policies. He also plans on working with clients on merger reviews, litigation, criminal enforcement, and criminal and antitrust investigations.

Law firms stand to gain a lot of work in antitrust as the DOJ continues to make notable enforcement decisions in this area and launch high-profile investigations, including into Big Tech.

The awareness and attention that is paid to merger reviews and the issues involving the economy and consolidation are at the forefront of people’s minds in ways that they haven’t been before, Finch said.

He said law firms and clients can expect to see enforcement from the antitrust division that is innovative and utilizes new ways of thinking and approaching problems.

He also expects to see merger enforcement continue and a reforming and streamlining of merger reviews, in addition to the enhancement of the criminal enforcement program which includes pursuing entities under the Clayton Act.

Finch will co-chair the antitrust practice at Paul Weiss with another antitrust division alum, former division head Charles “Rick” Rule, who joined Paul Weiss in 2016 from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. Jonathan Kanter, who also made the jump from Cadwalader with Rule, and Aidan Synnott serve as the practice’s co-chairs as well.

Finch joins several other former DOJ officials who have moved to Paul Weiss in recent months.

The firm added former U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch as a partner in its litigation department. Former WilmerHale partner and federal prosecutor Jeannie Rhee joined the firm as litigation partner after two years on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Another recent step for the firm was the launch of its Supreme Court and appellate practice with the addition of Kannon Shanmugam, who came from Williams & Connolly earlier this year.

“It’s a tremendous law firm and remarkably successful,” Finch said of Paul Weiss. “Under Brad Karp’s leadership, it keeps getting stronger and stronger.”