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Chevron Corp. has tapped Hunton & Williams‘ global competition group head to serve as its general counsel. R. Hewitt Pate, based in Washington, D.C., assumes the vice president and general counsel position from Charles James, a former Jones Day antitrust leader who was promoted to executive vice president of the oil giant earlier this year. Both men served as head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division. Pate served in the position from 2003-2005, after a two-year stint as the division’s chief deputy. James was antitrust chief during the Clinton years. Pate has something else in common with James. They both come from outside Chevron’s traditional firm of choice for general counsel, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Until James became GC in 2003, Pillsbury reigned as the company’s primary outside lawyers and for decades, Pillsbury partners served as Chevron’s general counsel. Chevron’s decision to select James came just after Robert Mittelstaedt, a former Pillsbury lawyer who was one of the key relationship partners with Chevron, lateraled to Jones Day. Despite the increased competition for Chevron’s affections, a spokeswoman for Pillsbury described the firm’s relationship with the company as “strong.” Pate’s appointment is almost certainly good news for Hunton & Williams. Managing Partner Wally Martinez in a press release touted Pate’s talent for leading the firm’s antitrust group, saying that the Chevron appointment was “well-deserved recognition of an exceptional lawyer and leader.” The firm has named D. Bruce Hoffman, a former deputy director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition, as the new head of the global competition practice group Pate, 47, is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Lewis F. Powell Jr. and Anthony M. Kennedy and for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Pate, who was not immediately available for comment, will start Aug. 3. Chevron, based in San Ramon, Calif., is ranked third on the latest Fortune 500, with revenues of more than $263 billion. It currently is battling a $27 billion dollar lawsuit pertaining to waste dumping in Ecuador.

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