Antitrust and IP shop Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider has hired another partner from a larger law firm’s counsel ranks. Peter Herrick, previously counsel at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, joined Axinn this week as a partner in its antitrust group in New York.
Earlier this year, Axinn, a 76-attorney firm, hired Tiffany Rider as an antitrust partner in its Washington, D.C., office. She was previously counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. (Axinn was founded in 1997 by a trio of former Skadden lawyers in New York and Connecticut.)
John Harkrider, a founding partner at Axinn, sees hiring opportunities as a result of the “broken” law firm economic system, he said. It’s more and more difficult for lawyers to make partner at some firms, Harkrider noted, and one of Axinn’s lateral hiring strategies is finding lawyers from firms where “the economics of the law firms are making it difficult to promote people to partner, notwithstanding they’re great partners.”
“Our interest is not in acquiring books of business,” he said. “We don’t care so much what year you are, we’re not interested in the hierarchy. We’re interested in people coming up with great ideas.”
At Axinn, Herrick will focus on antitrust and competition, including antitrust litigation, government merger and conduct investigations, and counseling on competition issues. Herrick, who spent four years at Simpson Thacher, previously served in the Federal Trade Commission. At the agency, he was a lead staff attorney in the division overseeing health care provider mergers and then became senior trial counsel in the bureau of competition.
Herrick had previously worked across the table from Axinn on a few matters in private practice, he said. He said he was impressed by the sophistication of the firm’s work and excited for the opportunity to work at “one of the premier antitrust practices in the world.”
Harkrider, who co-leads the antitrust group, said it’s uncommon to find antitrust attorneys such as Herrick who have experience in both deals and litigation and experience inside government. “It’s a small group of people,” he said.
Harkrider said the firm, which just opened a San Francisco office, is seeing more demand for antitrust work, both due to challenges from the government and increasing attention from clients.
“The Trump administration is very tough on antitrust and I think that’s a little unexpected,” he said.
Meanwhile, Harkrider said, Axinn is getting retained to work on more difficult deals, working alongside the corporate departments of large law firms.