Highly regarded antitrust lawyers Hill Wellford and Darren Tucker have joined Vinson & Elkins as partners, bringing to the firm a combined four decades of government and private practice experience, with a focus on the technology, media, telecom, standard-setting, energy and pharmaceutical sectors.
Wellford and Tucker join V&E from Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, where they both held leadership positions in that firm’s antitrust practice group, and are based in V&E’s Washington, D.C. office. Both have held senior positions at the federal antitrust agencies – Wellford at the U.S. Department of Justice and Tucker at the Federal Trade Commission – and advise clients in complex U.S. and cross-border merger and non-merger investigations.
“V&E is dedicated to maintaining a premier antitrust practice and the addition of Hill and Darren reflects our commitment to that goal,” said V&E Managing Partner Scott Wulfe. “They bring immediate value to our nationally recognized antitrust group and we are thrilled to have them as colleagues.”
Wellford served as the Washington, D.C. office leader for Morgan Lewis’ antitrust practice, and as the national leader of the firm’s government-facing antitrust work. He advises clients on antitrust matters, especially where DOJ, FTC and foreign agency enforcement intersects with telecom, media, technology, standard-setting, pharmaceuticals or patents.
His practice includes matters in the Americas, Asia and Europe, and his experience includes mergers and acquisitions, criminal investigations, civil conduct challenges and jury, bench and administrative trials.
From 2004 to 2009, Wellford held several positions at the DOJ, including as Chief of Staff at the DOJ’s Antitrust Division in Washington, D.C., where he oversaw cartel, merger, civil conduct and international work by the Antitrust Division’s 400-plus lawyers and economists. Before becoming chief of staff, he served as counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, as a trial lawyer, and as counsel in the Antitrust Division’s Legal Policy Section.
Wellford worked extensively with other components of the broader DOJ—including the DOJ Intellectual Property Task Force—and the FTC, Federal Communications Commission, Department of Transportation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Office of the United States Trade Representative and other U.S. and foreign agencies.
“V&E’s reputation for excellence, its depth of experience in regulated industries, and its top-tier corporate and M&A position were among the many factors that prompted my decision to join the firm,” said Wellford. “I am excited to be a part of the firm’s growing antitrust practice and look forward to contributing to its success.”
Wellford is a recognized authority on the interplay between antitrust and the intellectual property, media and technology laws, and litigated media, patent and other IP cases earlier in his career. He is a longtime leader in the ABA’s Section of Antitrust, where he serves as co-chair of the Dominance Divergence Task Force, after just concluding a three-year term on the section’s governing council.
He is recognized for antitrust by Chambers USA (2017) and recommended by The Legal 500 US in the following categories: Antitrust-Cartel, Antitrust-Civil Litigation/Class Actions and Antitrust-Merger Control (2017). He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College.
Tucker, who served as deputy leader of Morgan Lewis’ global antitrust practice group, represents clients before the FTC, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and foreign competition agencies in complex merger and non-merger antitrust investigations, with an emphasis on the technology, energy and pharmaceutical sectors.
He has played key roles in many of the most prominent antitrust cases over the past 20 years, including two litigated merger cases against the FTC (FTC v. Arch Coal Inc. and FTC v. CCC Holdings Inc.), and the settlement of a leading gun jumping case, US v. Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. Over the course of his career, Tucker has advised on more than 100 mergers and acquisitions and defended clients in more than a dozen non-merger investigations.
Tucker also has extensive experience on competition matters outside the United States, having counseled clients on merger and non-merger antitrust matters in Europe, Canada and Asia, including Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Russia and Australia.
From 2009 to 2013, Tucker served as an attorney advisor to Commissioners Joshua D. Wright and J. Thomas Rosch at the FTC. In that role, Darren advised on all aspects of the FTC’s competition mission, including staff enforcement recommendations on high-profile merger and non-merger investigations, litigation strategy and policy matters.
In 2017, Global Competition Review recognized Tucker as one of the leading antitrust lawyers under the age of 45. The Legal 500 US also recommends Tucker in the following categories: Antitrust - Cartel, Antitrust - Civil Litigation/Class Actions and Antitrust - Merger Control (2016, 2017). He has been part of the leadership of the American Bar Association’s Section of Antitrust Law for over a decade, where he currently serves on the section’s governing council. He served as the editorial chair for the most recent edition of Antitrust Law Developments, the leading two-volume antitrust treatise, and has taught an advanced antitrust seminar as an adjunct professor at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.
“V&E offers a collegial culture that I found particularly attractive and an exceptional platform that will benefit my clients,” said Tucker. “I am pleased to be a part of the V&E team and ready to hit the ground running.”
Tucker earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and holds a bachelor’s degree from The College of William & Mary.
“Hill and Darren are incredibly talented antitrust lawyers who are among the leaders of our field,” said Craig Seebald, who leads V&E’s Antitrust Practice Group and serves as Managing Partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. “They are a perfect fit for V&E and we are pleased to welcome them to the firm.”
V&E’s Antitrust practice is among the best in the United States, receiving national recognition in Chambers USA (2017), Legal 500 U.S. (2017) and as a member of the Global Competition Review 100 (2017).