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Covington Nabs Former Linklaters Antitrust Chief

 |  May 1, 2022

Christian Ahlborn, former global head of antitrust at Linklaters, is leaving this summer to join Covington & Burling’s Brussels office as a partner, as large law firms gear up to advise clients on new EU rules governing competitive digital markets.

London-based Ahlborn had co-led Linklaters’ technology sector team, and has worked at the firm for nearly 30 years. He has helped to guide Linklaters clients including Microsoft Corp, Unilever Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc.

Last month, EU countries and lawmakers reached a deal on landmark rules that could curb the power of major technology companies. The Digital Markets Act’s digital “gatekeeper” rules are designed to prohibit companies from favoring their own services over those of rivals.

EU antitrust leaders are also preparing to consider new ways to streamline existing competition rules that have imposed billions of euros in fines against technology companies.

Johan Ysewyn, co-chair of Covington’s global antitrust practice, said there’s a demand now for antitrust and competition lawyers. He attributed some of the hiring to a growing need for compliance advice, more investigations in the digital sector and increasingly labor-intensive legal work.

“The merger and competition investigations have become more data-intensive and document-driven, which of course requires larger teams,” he said.

Another former Linklaters antitrust leader, Jonas Koponen, jumped in March to Cooley’s office in Brussels, where the EU’s competition office is headquartered. In March, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton added former Linklaters antitrust partner Isabel Rooms in Brussels.

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