Law360 Features Beth Wilkinson and Rakesh Kilaru on the Firm’s Competition Practice Group of the Year Award

Law360 recently featured Founding Partner Beth Wilkinson and Partner Rakesh Kilaru in an article chronicling the groundbreaking trial victories that led to the firm’s Competition Practice Group of the Year recognition. In 2023 alone, Wilkinson Stekloff solidified its standing as the go-to firm for clients who want to litigate cases with an eye toward trial rather than settlement, serving as lead counsel in numerous bet-the-company cases for major clients including Microsoft, Altria, NCAA, NFL, and Cargill.

When asked about what has driven their success, Beth and Rakesh said the answer goes well beyond just having expertise in competition law. The firm has been, and continues to be, focused on trial work. “And one thing that I think has become clear over the last two years in particular is that antitrust is where a lot of the trials are,” Rakesh noted.

“It has to do with trial work, getting down to the essence of the case — whether it’s the experts or the business — and tell the narrative that’s consistent and compelling through the people who run the business,” Beth said of the firm’s fresh and pragmatic approach to complex antitrust litigation.

Most recently, Wilkinson Stekloff served as lead trial counsel for Microsoft in the FTC’s challenge to Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision — the second-largest merger trial in American history and the biggest involving a technology company. Beth and Rakesh’s team directed all aspects of litigation strategy from the time the acquisition was announced in January 2022.

The firm positioned the case for a federal court victory on an unprecedented timetable, defeating the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop the transaction after a five-day trial that began less than two weeks after the FTC filed its federal court complaint. The deal closed on October 13, 2023. The FTC’s appeal in the Ninth Circuit is pending. Oral argument occurred on December 6, 2023, at which Rakesh argued on behalf of Microsoft.

Wilkinson Stekloff also currently serves as lead trial counsel for the NFL in a national antitrust MDL lawsuit brought by putative class members challenging the League’s broadcast arrangement for its Sunday Ticket package. The case is scheduled for trial in June of 2024.