Beth Wilkinson Named “Litigator of the Week” for Leading Microsoft’s Defense of Activision Deal

On July 14, the American Lawyer named Beth Wilkinson its “Litigator of the Week,” and described Wilkinson Stekloff as “the legal equivalent of an elite special ops unit,” for leading Microsoft’s successful defense of its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This intensely competitive recognition highlights the entire Wilkinson Stekloff team — including, in addition to Beth, Rakesh Kilaru, Kieran Gostin, Grace Hill, Anastasia Pastan, and Sarah Neuman — for its representation of Microsoft in a five-day evidentiary hearing in late June related to the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to block Microsoft’s largest-ever acquisition. On July 10, U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of the Northern District of California denied the FTC’s bid for an injunction to block the deal, finding the agency hadn’t proven that Microsoft was likely to pull the game “Call of Duty” from Sony’s PlayStation “or that its ownership of Activision content will substantially lessen competition in the video …

Wilkinson Stekloff Secures Denial of FTC Motion to Block Microsoft-Activision Blizzard Deal

Wilkinson Stekloff, led by Beth Wilkinson and Rakesh Kilaru, secured a groundbreaking victory for Microsoft, winning the second-biggest merger trial in American history.   On June 12, 2023, the FTC filed a federal lawsuit to enjoin Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Just four weeks later, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley denied the FTC’s motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that the Federal Trade Commission failed to make its case that the acquisition would substantially lessen competition in the gaming industry.   Wilkinson Stekloff has served as litigation counsel for Microsoft since the day after the acquisition was announced, in January 2022. Over the following 18 months, the WS team led all aspects of litigation strategy, including developing the factual record and handling more than 40 depositions of company witnesses and experts.   Just weeks before the transaction’s outside closing date of July 18, 2023, the FTC filed suit in the Northern District of California to enjoin the merger. Beth …

Wilkinson Stekloff Ranked Among 2023 Trial Elite

In recognition of Wilkinson Stekloff’s work on some of the most consequential trials across the antitrust, product liability, and sports landscape, legal industry research outlets Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500 have ranked the firm among the trial elite in their recently released 2023 editions. Chambers has maintained Wilkinson Stekloff’s position as one of the country’s most highly sought litigation boutiques, ranking it for General Commercial Litigation (DC) — The Elite (Band 3) and Product Liability & Mass Torts (USA-Nationwide) – The Elite (Band 4). Chambers also recognized Partners Beth Wilkinson (Star Individual in Trial Lawyers USA-Nationwide, Product Liability & Mass Torts Nationwide, General Commercial, DC, and Sports Law Nationwide, Band 4) and Brian Stekloff (Product Liability & Mass Torts Nationwide, Band 5). Wilkinson Stekloff is also newly noted as a “Firm to Watch” in Antitrust — Civil Litigation/Class Action Defense by The Legal 500, and is newly ranked …

Nine Wilkinson Stekloff Partners Recognized in 2022 Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America

Lawdragon has honored nine Wilkinson Stekloff partners in its inaugural 500 Leading Litigators in America guide dedicated to those attorneys who excel representing principally corporations and other organizations in litigating claims. Honorees were selected from a record number of submissions and independent research focused on recent cases and defense verdicts or settlements, as well as attorneys whose sustained excellence in trials is nothing short of remarkable.  The Wilkinson Stekloff partners recognized include: Beth Wilkinson Brian Stekloff Jeremy Barber Kieran Gostin Rakesh Kilaru Moira Penza Ralia Polechronis James Rosenthal Kosta Stojilkovic

Benchmark Litigation Selects Wilkinson Stekloff as Top 20 Trial Law Firm, and Honors Six Partners

Wilkinson Stekloff has been named a Top 20 Trial Law Firm in the highly anticipated 2023 Benchmark Litigation guide. Along with this prestigious recognition, the firm is also ranked as Tier 1 for General Commercial Litigation and recognized as a Top Boutique and Highly Recommended firm. Benchmark Litigation is considered the definitive guide to the world’s leading litigation firms and lawyers. The rankings are determined through six months of research, which includes extensive interviews with clients. In addition to top-tier firm rankings, Wilkinson Stekloff founding partner Beth Wilkinson was named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer. This elite group consists of partners who have been selected by peers and clients as the best of the best in the practice of trial law, with the representative work to exemplify this status. This recognition comes on the heels of Beth being named a Top 10 Female Litigator by Benchmark Litigation for the second …

Three Wilkinson Stekloff Partners Recognized in the National Law Journal Legal Awards 2022

The National Law Journal has recognized three Wilkinson Stekloff partners in its 2022 Legal Awards. The prestigious annual series highlights the top litigation and appellate work of law firms and attorneys from the previous year.  Wilkinson Stekloff had more individuals distinguished than any other firm. Partners Cali Cope-Kasten and Rakesh Kilaru were both named Rising Stars, while Founding Partner Brian Stekloff is a finalist in the “Winning Litigators” category. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on October 20.   Cali made partner in early 2022, fresh off acting as trial counsel to help secure the first win for Monsanto in the Roundup mass tort litigation. She has played a critical role in six jury trials, three of which were federal multi-district litigation bellwether cases, and two bench trials. She has argued numerous motions in state and federal courts at the trial and appellate level and is serving as trial counsel for Monsanto in …

Wilkinson Stekloff Partners Named to Benchmark Litigation 40 & Under List

Wilkinson Stekloff Partners Kieran Gostin, Rakesh Kilaru, and Moira Penza were named to the 2022 Benchmark Litigation 40 & Under List, the guide to the nation’s most notable up-and-coming litigation attorneys. This is the second consecutive year that all three partners have been recognized by Benchmark, with Kieran making a third appearance and Rakesh securing a spot each year since 2018. Kieran has made his career representing the government and private clients in high-profile matters. Recently, he has represented clients in several major class actions, including obtaining a complete defense verdict in a rare trial of a major consumer class action. Over the past five years, he has also gone to trial in five product-liability trials, securing defense judgments in each case.  Rakesh specializes in delivering favorable results to clients at every stage of litigation, tackling everything from arguing dispositive motions to crossing expert witnesses at trial to arguing precedent-setting appeals. He …

Five Wilkinson Stekloff Partners Included in 2022 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America

Lawdragon has named five Wilkinson Stekloff partners to its 2022 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America. The 500 honorees were selected through submissions, journalistic research, and input from editorial advisors. The annual distinction covers the best of the best in all practice areas.   The Wilkinson Stekloff 2022 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers are Beth Wilkinson, Brian Stekloff, Rakesh Kilaru, James Rosenthal, and Kosta Stojilkovic.

Rakesh Kilaru Appears on CNN’s The Lead to Discuss the Vetting Process of Potential Supreme Court Nominees

Partner Rakesh Kilaru appeared on CNN’s The Lead to discuss how White House lawyers are likely approaching the vetting process underway for President Biden’s potential Supreme Court nominees. “A president always wants to be ready for a Supreme Court nomination, and so I’m sure lawyers in the White House have taken a close look at a lot of potential candidates,” Rakesh said. “What I imagine is happening now is a lot of fast-moving action to try to figure out who the right person is from a political and from a legal perspective. In particular, by making sure there are no red flags in the background.”   Prior to joining Wilkinson Stekloff, Rakesh clerked for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and served as Special Assistant to the President and Associate Counsel in the Office of White House Counsel. During his time at the White House, Rakesh played a lead role in the selection process for President …

2021 Year In Review

WASHINGTON — In 2021, despite ongoing pandemic-related delays and challenges, the Wilkinson Stekloff team continued to litigate with the intensity and success that has cemented our reputation as the leading trial boutique in the country. In a year where trials remained scarce, WS tried two high-profile cases in 2021:  WS served as lead trial counsel for Altria Group, Inc. in an adversarial administrative proceeding before the FTC. The FTC alleged that Altria and JLI violated antitrust laws through Altria’s purchase of a minority interest in JLI. At trial, Founding Partner Beth Wilkinson handled opening statements and examined multiple high-profile witnesses, including Altria’s current and former CEO, Altria’s general counsel, and both sides’ economic experts. WS Partner Moira Penza examined Altria’s scientists, and WS Partner James Rosenthal played a central role in strategy and legal briefing. After a single day of deliberation in October 2021, a jury delivered the first-ever verdict for Monsanto in litigation over whether the herbicide Roundup causes …