Mark Botti, former co-head of Squire’s antitrust practice, and Anthony Swisher, a partner in the practice, previously moved together to Squire from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, where Botti was antitrust chair. While they considered their options before moving to Baker Botts as partners this month, both men said they did not have serious talks with any firm beyond Baker Botts.
“It wasn’t just moving to another firm to move to another firm,” Swisher said. “It was moving to this firm to join this group.”
Botti said that he was attracted by the “depth and sophistication” of the antitrust practice at Baker Botts, and he said he believed the duo could build upon their growth and success at Squire at their new firm. Swisher noted that Baker Botts’ team is a group that he has admired from afar for quite some time.
Baker Botts’ gross revenues dropped more than 13 percent last year and its net income fell more than 24 percent in 2017 following a year bolstered by big contingency fees. The firm has subsequently taken an aggressive approach in some respects, including looking to expand its corporate practice in California, the East Coast and across the Atlantic. The firm recently relocated the head of its corporate practice from Texas to New York.
Steve Weissman, co-chair of Baker Botts’ antitrust practice, said in a statement that Botti and Swisher’s additions represent “a strategic play for our group.” Botti and Swisher joined the firm on June 23.
“With clients looking to manage complex antitrust matters within the current administration’s polices and priorities, Mark and Anthony bring incredible experience, not only in health care antitrust, but in all facets of competition law that will add significant value for our clients,” said John Taladay, co-chair of Baker Botts’ antitrust practice, in a statement.
Botti touted Baker Botts’ history of “substantial representation of publicly traded companies handling major transactions” and Baker Botts’ technology and intellectual property lawyers’ work as something that would benefit existing clients and lure future ones his way. Botti previously represented UnitedHealth in the failed Anthem-Cigna merger, and has been involved in other regulatory and antitrust health care matters throughout his career.
Prior to his time at Akin Gump and Squire, Botti served as chief of the litigation Section for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division during President George W. Bush’s administration. Botti noted that he worked closely with Makan Delrahim, now the assistant attorney general for antitrust, and found him to be a “thoughtful, serious person.”
Both Botti and Swisher said they expect the level of activity from the Antitrust Division under President Donald Trump will remain roughly consistent with enforcement efforts under the Obama administration.
“I think we saw a relatively high level of activity under the prior administration,” Botti said. “We have to be on our game to properly advise our clients.”