Kevin Arquit, Kasowitz Benson Torres. (Courtesy photo)

Kasowitz Benson Torres has landed a top antitrust lawyer in Kevin Arquit, a former Federal Trade Commission official who joins the firm as a partner from Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where he was a co-leader of the global antitrust practice.

For New York-based Arquit, who previously served as the FTC’s general counsel and director of its bureau of competition, the new role at Kasowitz comes after a prior lateral move at the start of 2017. That year, he joined Weil as antitrust co-head from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where he had spent some 14 years and also headed the antitrust practice. Kasowitz announced the hire in a statement Wednesday, although Arquit’s move had previously been reported in The New York Times and noted in a briefing.

“We are delighted that Kevin is joining our firm,” said a statement by Marc Kasowitz, founder and managing partner of Kasowitz Benson Torres. “Kevin’s unparalleled antitrust experience and expertise advising clients both on the enforcement side as well as in complex litigation matters will be invaluable to our clients.”

A Weil representative said the firm appreciates “the contributions Kevin made during his two years at Weil and wish[es] him well in his new endeavors.”

Outside of his time at the FTC, where he served from 1986 to 1992, Arquit has worked on a slew of major antitrust matters during his time in private practice. Among those, he served as antitrust counsel to Lorillard Inc. on the cigarette maker’s $27.4 billion sale in 2014 to Reynolds American Inc.

Arquit also advised DirecTV in 2014 on antitrust matters related to the satellite television operator’s $48.5 billion sale to AT&T Inc. The following year, Dutch retailer Royal Ahold NV tapped Arquit as antitrust counsel on a $29 billion merger with the Brussels-based grocery retailer Delhaize Group. He’s also had a hand in large-scale antitrust litigation, including the defense of poultry producer Pilgrim’s Pride in a price-fixing class action.

Discussing his move to Kasowitz in an interview Wednesday, Arquit cited the firm’s litigation team, which he said includes several top-flight trial lawyers and which he expects will complement his extensive background in regulatory enforcement issues.

“I think the sum will be greater than the parts,” Arquit said of his new firm’s antitrust capabilities.

He also noted a personal connection with firm founder Kasowitz. The two have known each other since law school, where they were a year apart, and have maintained a close friendship as their legal careers progressed.

“We would oftentimes get together and muse about how much fun it would be to work together,” he said.

Beyond those factors, Arquit added that he’s looking forward to helping shape and expand Kasowitz’s antitrust group. He also said he’s excited about the range of cases the firm handles in the antitrust realm, which includes litigation on both the plaintiffs and defense side and representing clients across a wide array of different industries.

“The word ‘cutting-edge’ keeps coming to mind,” Arquit said. “Kasowitz is known for that and is bringing that to antitrust at a time when antitrust priorities may shift at the agencies.”