Michael J. Fanelli


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Covington & Burling LLP
1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004-2401
Tel: 202.662.5383




  • The George Washington University Law School, J.D., 1995
    • with highest honors
    • George Washington University Law Review, Member
  • State University of New York at Binghamton, B.A., 1992

Judicial Clerkship

  • Hon. Robert E. Payne, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, 1995-1996

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • New York

Michael Fanelli is a partner in Covington's Antitrust, Litigation, and White Collar Defense & Investigations practice groups.  His practice reflects the firm's deep commitments to the legal and business needs of our clients, to enhancing the firm's already strong credibility with courts and governments, and to the practice of law as a profession.

Mr. Fanelli has nearly twenty years of experience with antitrust matters, and represents US and international clients before the US antitrust enforcement agencies, foreign competition authorities, and courts.  He represents companies and individuals in US and international antitrust cartel investigations, defends complex class action and other litigation, and advises clients on antitrust and other legal compliance issues.

Mr. Fanelli has helped to successfully navigate scores of the firm's corporate and individual clients through criminal and civil investigations in which no adverse governmental actions have been taken.  As put best by our White Collar Defense Group: “The best headlines are the ones you never see.”

Recent litigation victories in which Mr. Fanelli has played a leading role have included achieving one of the first dismissals of a corporate defendant on jurisdictional grounds in the sprawling In re Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80337 (2013); and obtaining an early dismissal of novel resale price maintenance claims brought in federal court under New York's Donnelly Act.  Worldhomecenter.com, Inc. v. KWC America, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104496 (2011).

Mr. Fanelli has expertise in a range of white collar defense and internal and governmental investigatory matters, including corruption, financial transactions, and corporate governance. 

Mr. Fanelli was the Editorial Chair of the two-volume ABA Antitrust Section treatise Competition Laws Outside the United States published in 2011, and has been a leader of the Section's International, Cartel and Criminal Practice, and Joint Conduct Committees, and a member of its International Cartel Task Force.  He also has made numerous contributions over the past fifteen years to the Section’s premier US antitrust law treatise, Antitrust Law Developments

Mr. Fanelli's industry experience includes air transportation, automotive products, chemicals, shipping, logistics, electronics, software, telecom, industrial products, financial products and services, agriculture, consumer products, electronic commerce, and energy.

Representative Matters

  • Represent a major airline in a putative class action alleging price fixing of transpacific fares and surcharges.
  • Obtained a complete dismissal of claims against KWC America, a manufacturer of high-end bathroom and kitchen fixtures, with respect to allegations of resale price maintenance.
  • Represented executives in investigations of collusion in the air cargo industry.  No actions were taken against our clients.
  • Represented an international chemical manufacturer in grand jury investigations relating to various products.  No action was taken against our client.
  • Represented the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of InfoUSA in an investigation of alleged wrongdoing by the company’s CEO.
  • Represented an international non-governmental organization in an investigation of internal corruption.
  • Represented one of the largest providers of telecommunications services in Asia in an investigation of alleged collusion with respect to termination rates charged to US carriers.  The government ultimately closed the investigation and took no action against our client.
  • Represented a leading global producer of rubber chemicals in connection with US, European and Canadian price-fixing investigations and related litigation in over twenty state and federal courts.
  • Managed numerous internal investigations in a variety of industries in areas involving potential securities, antitrust, and foreign trade controls issues.

Previous Experience

  • Federal Trade Commission - Policy Planning, Attorney Advisor (1997-1998)

Honors and Rankings

  • Society for American Archaeology, Presidential Recognition Award (2002)

Pro Bono

  • Representation of the Society for American Archaeology in litigation before the Eastern District of Oregon and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals involving a dispute over the right to study the remains of the so-called “Kennewick Man,” a skeleton found in the Pacific Northwest believed to be as much as 9,500 years old.  Ultimately, the Ninth Circuit ruled that cultural affiliation could not be established between the remains and groups claiming them as their ancestor.  The decision opened the door for study of the remains.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • International Cartel Task Force, ABA Antitrust Section (2011-2012)
  • Cartel and Criminal Practice Committee, ABA Antitrust Section, Vice-Chair (2010)
  • Competition Laws Outside the United States, Editorial Chair, ABA Antitrust Section (2008-Present)
  • International Antitrust Committee, ABA Antitrust Section, Vice-Chair (2004-2010)
  • Competition Laws Outside the United States, Editorial Board (2005)

Publications and Speeches

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