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Timothy Hester

For more than 30 years, Tim Hester has led complex litigation including high-profile civil and criminal antitrust matters involving conspiracy claims and monopolization theories across a range of industries as well as antitrust suits raising claims of unlawful patent settlements, sham litigation, and wrongful patent acquisitions. He has an active antitrust counseling practice that focuses on patent litigation settlements and other matters at the intersection of antitrust and patent law.

In recent years, Tim has served as a lead trial lawyer in two lengthy trials asserting public nuisance claims related to the distribution of opioids. He also is serving as lead counsel in pending class action antitrust litigation in New Jersey.

Tim has also represented clients in merger reviews and investigatory matters before both the Justice Department and FTC and has also handled litigation and merger matters before regulatory agencies, including the Surface Transportation Board, the Department of Transportation, and the Copyright Office.

Tim was elected to the firm's Management Committee in 1998 and served as Chair of the Management Committee from 2008-2019. As Chair, he was responsible for the overall direction of Covington’s strategy and operations. During his tenure as Chair, the firm more than doubled in size, developed new offices and capabilities to meet evolving client needs, strengthened its corporate, litigation and investigations practices, and maintained market-leading regulatory practices and a deeply collaborative culture.

One of the hallmarks of Tim’s tenure as Chair included his dedication to building durable client relationships. He now serves as Chair Emeritus, a role focused on supporting the firm’s client relationships and international practice.

On July 19, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (collectively, “the Agencies”) issued a new set of merger guidelines in draft form for public comment (the “Draft Guidelines”).  The Draft Guidelines, if adopted, will replace the Horizontal Merger Guidelines issued in 2010 and the Vertical Merger Guidelines issued in 2020 (the latter of which the FTC withdrew in September 2021).  The updates make significant changes to the guidelines, such as:

  • Lowering the thresholds for when the Agencies are likely to presume that horizontal mergers are illegal;
  • Including—for the first time—a presumption of illegality for certain vertical mergers;
  • Adding guidelines focused on serial acquisitions and acquisitions of potential competitors;
  • Introducing concepts related specifically to multi-sided “platforms”; and
  • Explicitly addressing the effects of transactions on labor markets for the first time.

Continue Reading U.S. Antitrust Agencies Propose Major Changes to Merger Guidelines