Michael Fanelli

Michael J. Fanelli


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

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Michael Fanelli is a partner in Covington's Antitrust, Litigation, and White Collar Defense & Investigations practice groups. 

Mr. Fanelli has nearly twenty years of experience with competition matters, and represents U.S. and international clients before the U.S. antitrust enforcement agencies, foreign competition authorities, and courts.  He represents companies and individuals in U.S. and international cartel investigations, defends class action and other antitrust litigation matters, and advises clients on joint ventures and antitrust compliance issues.  His practice has focused particularly on international cartel enforcement matters on behalf of multinational businesses and individuals located in Asia, Europe, and the United States.  Mr. Fanelli has helped to successfully navigate many of the firm's corporate and individual clients through criminal and civil antitrust investigations in which no adverse governmental actions have been taken. 

Recent litigation victories in which Mr. Fanelli has played a leading role have included helping to achieve 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 with respect to corruption-related issues, financial transactions, NGOs, corporate governance, and compliance.

Mr. Fanelli previously served in the Federal Trade Commission’s Policy Planning Office, where he contributed to the drafting of the DOJ & FTC Competitor Collaboration Guidelines, advised on the antitrust treatment of joint ventures, and was involved in policy and investigatory matters.

Mr. Fanelli is currently a Co-Chair of the ABA Antitrust Section’s Joint Conduct Committee, which focuses on U.S. and international joint venture, cartel, and distribution issues.  He was the Editorial Chair of the two-volume ABA Antitrust Section treatise Competition Laws Outside the United States (2011), and has been one of the leaders of the Section's International Committee and Cartel and Criminal Practice Committee.  He also is a former member of the ABA’s International Cartel Task Force.

Mr. Fanelli's industry experience includes air transportation, automotive products and distribution, financial products and services, industrial chemicals and gasses, ocean shipping, logistics, electronics, petrochemical engineering, power systems, minerals, software, telecommunications, industrial products, agricultural products, consumer products, and electronic commerce.

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 U.S. 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 U.S., 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

  • Legal 500 US, Antitrust - Cartel (2015) 
  • 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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