Thomas Barnett

Thomas O. Barnett

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Covington & Burling LLP
One CityCenter
850 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-4956
Tel: +1 202 662 5407



  • Harvard Law School, J.D., 1989
    • magna cum laude
  • London School of Economics, M.Sc., 1986
    • Fulbright Scholar
  • Yale University, B.A., 1985
    • summa cum laude

Judicial Clerkship

  • Hon. Harrison L. Winter, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 1989-1990

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Thomas Barnett is a partner in the Washington, DC office and co-chair of the firm's Antitrust & Competition Law Practice Group.  He specializes in global antitrust and competition law practice and works closely with the firm’s white collar practice on criminal antitrust enforcement and investigative matters.

Mr. Barnett served as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  He headed the Antitrust Division from 2005 to 2008, having previously served in the Division as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Enforcement from 2004 to 2005. During his tenure, Mr. Barnett was involved in some of the largest and most complicated criminal matters in the Division’s history, including investigations and prosecutions that involved coordination with multiple competition authorities in other jurisdictions.  In the merger area, Mr. Barnett oversaw the review of all mergers investigated by the Division and supervised more than 30 cases filed in federal district court.  He also oversaw an active competition advocacy program that included numerous amicus briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on antitrust issues and comments to a wide range of federal and state agencies.  He argued before the U.S. Supreme Court as amicus on behalf of the United States in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and testified several times before Congressional committees.

While at the Antitrust Division, Mr. Barnett worked with international antitrust authorities throughout the world and served in leadership positions in key international competition organizations, such as chairing the Working Party on International Cooperation and Enforcement of the OECD Competition Committee and serving on the Steering Committee of the International Competition Network.

Mr. Barnett received the Edmund Randolph Award, the U.S. Department of Justice’s highest honor, for his service in the Division.

Prior to 2004, Mr. Barnett was a leader in the firm’s Antitrust & Consumer Law Practice Group.  He counseled Fortune 500 companies on all aspects of antitrust law and was involved in mergers and acquisitions, government antitrust investigations, and antitrust litigation involving a wide range of industries.  He served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching a course on antitrust and intellectual property issues in sports in 2001 and 2003, and as a co-teacher of an advanced antitrust seminar at the University of Virginia Law School multiple times between 1991 and 2004.

Representative Matters

  • Representation of Merck in obtaining clearance from Federal Trade Commission for its $41 billion merger with Schering-Plough.
  • Representation of Facebook in obtaining merger review clearance for acquisition of Instagram.
  • Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Eli Lilly and Company (Southern District of California) - Counsel for Lilly in defeating motion for preliminary injunction and in affirmance on appeal.
  • In re: On-Line Travel Company (OTC)/Hotel Booking Antitrust Litig., (multidistrict litigation) - Counsel for Expedia.
  • Representation of Expedia in connection with Google/ITA transaction and in
  • Vandenberg v. ARAMARK Educational Services, Inc. et al. (Jefferson County Circuit Court, AL) - Counsel for ARAMARK in successful motion to dismiss all claims.

Honors and Rankings

  • Chambers USA, Antitrust (2011-2015)
  • Chambers Global, Competition/Antitrust (2014-2015)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Antitrust (2013-2014)
  • The International Who's Who of Competition Lawyers & Economists (2014)
  • Legal 500 US, Recognized for Antitrust (2010-2015)
  • Euromoney's Benchmark Litigation, National Star - Antitrust and State Star for DC (2013-2014)
  • Washington DC Super Lawyers, Mergers & Acquisitions (2014-2015)
  • Washingtonian, Antitrust "Top Lawyer" (2013)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law

Publications and Speeches

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