Charles (Rick) Rule, the head of the firm’s Antitrust Group, Chair of the firm’s Litigation Department, Managing Partner of the Washington office, and a member of the firm’s Management Committee, focuses his practice on providing U.S. and international antitrust advice to major corporations in connection with “bet your company” matters, particularly high-profile mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures. He also represents corporate clients in connection with civil and grand jury investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the European Commission and in private and governmental litigation both at the trial and appellate levels.
Among his clients are Microsoft Corporation; ExxonMobil; US Airways Inc.; Celanese Corporation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Morgan Stanley; Dexia; the National Basketball Association; the National Football League; TradeWeb, Inc.; Bacardi & Company Ltd.; Eli Lilly & Company, and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.
Acknowledged as one of the world’s leading antitrust lawyers, Rick is regularly listed in recognized legal rankings, including:
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
- Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers For Business
- The Legal 500 US
- The Best Lawyers in America
- Global Competition Review
- Benchmark Litigation
- Financial Times US Innovative Lawyers Report, where he was named a top legal innovator for his work on behalf of Microsoft Corporation
- The Legal Times
- Law Dragon 500
- Who’s Who in America; Who’s Who in the East; Who’s Who in American Law; and Who’s Who in Competition Law
- The Washingtonian
- Super Lawyers
Rick has played a lead role in the antitrust clearance of some of the highest-profile mergers in recent years. For example, he represented US Airways in its merger with America West in 2006 and American Airlines in 2013; he advised AB InBev in connection with its acquisition of Modelo; Microsoft in its acquisition of Nokia’s handset business and of Skype; Pfizer in its acquisition of Wyeth; MGM-Mirage in its acquisition of Mandalay Bay; and Exxon in its acquisition of Mobil.
Rick was also a key member of the team that negotiated on behalf of Microsoft a conclusion to the historic antitrust lawsuit that the Justice Department and a number of states pursued against the company.
Rick has represented numerous corporations and individuals in connection with civil and criminal grand jury investigations by the Department of Justice and other enforcement agencies involving allegations of price-fixing, market allocation, bid-rigging, and other criminal conduct on a national or global scale. Based on his former government experience and his ongoing professional interactions with senior government officials at the antitrust agencies, Rick advises clients in effective strategies in protecting their interests throughout the investigation process. In several cases, he has been hired to replace original counsel and helped the company/individual avoid indictment and, in many cases, avoid the need for even a plea agreement or amnesty application. Rick has also been retained as an expert witness concerning the government’s criminal antitrust enforcement and its leniency program.
He has also handled major civil and criminal litigation and argued numerous times in court on behalf of clients such as Microsoft, US Airways, a television network and its affiliates, and the Pasha Group, Kentucky Speedway, Dexia, Morgan Stanley, and Fair Isaac Corporation. While in government, he argued on behalf of the United States in several appeals and before the U.S. Supreme Court in Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986).
Rick is at the forefront of antitrust and is uniquely capable of advising clients on the antitrust regulatory environment affecting the way they do business globally. As agencies and rules evolve, he assists clients in understanding the new legal framework, assessing the legal risk and rewards associated with a range of competitive strategies, and working with government bodies to take advantage of, and insure appropriate compliance with, the regulations governing the client’s chosen strategy. He has unique experience in counseling on antitrust and competition matters for multinational clients operating in China and guiding companies in complying with China’s foreign antitrust laws as they expand into Asia.
He began his career as William Baxter’s special assistant in the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department. He served as acting head of the Division for part of 1985 and was permanently appointed to the position in late 1986, becoming the youngest person ever to be confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division. In 1988, in recognition of his exemplary performance, he received the Edmund J. Randolph Award from the Justice Department. Following his departure from the Justice Department in 1989, Rick was a partner and head of the antitrust practice at a leading Washington, D.C. law firm, and subsequently became the head of the global antitrust practice of another major New York firm.
Rick is a frequent author and lecturer on antitrust and regulatory topics, and he has participated in numerous conferences, workshops, and programs on issues of merger enforcement and trade regulation. Recently, he has published articles in the application of antitrust rules to Google in, for example, the Wall Street Journal and U.S. News & World Report. Rick also has served as a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Law at American University’s Washington College of Law. He was the inaugural chair of the Corporations, Securities and Antitrust Practice Group of the Federalist Society and served as Chair of the Economics Committee of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section. He is an emeritus member of the advisory board of BNA’s Antitrust & Trade Regulation Report, the Washington Legal Foundation, and the Landmark Legal Foundation. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Law Center and previously has served on the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Law School.
Rick received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and his B.A., summa cum laude, from Vanderbilt University. Following law school, he served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Daniel M. Friedman of the former U.S. Court of Claims (now the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit). He is admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia.