(Photo by Another Believer/ Wikimedia Commons)

Sullivan & Cromwell, which rarely takes on lateral partners, has hired Renata Hesse, a former top official in the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division as a new partner. Hesse, who until Jan. 20 served as acting assistant attorney general in charge of antitrust at the DOJ, joins the firm in Washington, D.C.

During her time in government, Hesse twice served as acting head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, and also spent about four years as a deputy assistant AG for criminal and civil operations.

“Renata brings to Sullivan & Cromwell deep and highly relevant government experience, further strengthening our world-class antitrust practice,” firm chairman Joseph Shenker said in a statement. “She will be a tremendous colleague, and her global stature and impressive track record in the competition area will enhance the value we continuously bring to our clients worldwide.”

Renata Hesse.

While in her leadership roles at the Justice Department’s antitrust division, Hesse had a hand in the agency’s review of a now-scuttled proposal by Comcast to buy rival Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45 billion. She was also involved in the agency’s look into a now-completed merger between US Airways Group Inc. and American Airlines parent AMR Corp.

Previously, she was a career trial lawyer in the DOJ antitrust division between 1997 and 2006, spending her final four years in that position as chief of the division’s networks and technology section. She also spent part of her earlier career as a senior counsel to former Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski, where she oversaw the FCC’s review— and eventual criticism—of AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile in 2011. Hesse was also once a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

“I’m delighted to add my experience and relationships to the Sullivan & Cromwell team, to help further develop the firm’s antitrust and merger clearance capabilities and add value to its clients,” Hesse said in a statement.

Hesse joins a select group of lawyers that Sullivan & Cromwell has brought on as lateral hires over the years. In September, former longtime Federal Reserve Bank of New York general counsel Thomas Baxter Jr. joined the firm in an of counsel position. Baxter was joined by two other former New York Fed lawyers in making the move to Sullivan & Cromwell.

There still has been no word of where Hesse’s former boss at the DOJ, Bill Baer, is headed. Baer was the last U.S. Senate-confirmed assistant AG in charge of antitrust at the Justice Department. He was elevated last April to the post of acting associate AG—the DOJ’s third-highest ranking position. But with the change in presidential administrations, he no longer holds public office.

Prior to his stint in government, Baer served as an antitrust partner at Arnold & Porter. Asked if Baer would be returning to his former private practice, Richard Alexander, chairman of the newly formed Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, said in an interview last week that “Mr. Baer will have to speak for himself.”

­—Additional reporting by Katelyn Polantz.

Contact Scott Flaherty at sflaherty@alm.com. On Twitter: @sflaherty18.