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The companies know each other well. So do many of the lawyers. With Microsoft’s move to acquire Yahoo and Google’s interest in preventing that from happening, the companies turned to a select group of legal talent. And they didn’t have to go very far. Most of the lawyers involved have relationships stretching back years, many with D.C. connections. Many of the connections trace back to Covington & Burling and its antitrust practice, where several of the lawyers once worked. Charles Rule is the best example. The antitrust chairman at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has Covington ties to Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith, DOJ Antitrust Division head Thomas Barnett, and David Meyer, the division’s deputy assistant attorney general for civil enforcement. On the other side are the Google links, especially with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. They stretch back to the days when the company was being run out of a garage. Wilson Sonsini antitrust lawyer Susan Creighton already helped deal a blow to Microsoft earlier this decade by outlining an argument against the software company’s dominance. And after returning from a stint at the Federal Trade Commission, she’s looming over Bill Gates’ shoulder once more. MICROSOFT

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