A partner at a law firm that represented AT&T in its blockbuster merger case has been nominated by President Obama to head the Justice Department office that moved to block the merger.
William Baer, a partner at Arnold & Porter, has been nominated to replace Sharis Pozen as an assistant attorney general over the DOJ's antitrust division, the White House officially announced on Monday. Last week Obama indicated he planned to nominate Baer.
Baer currently heads the antitrust office at Arnold & Porter, whose lawyers staffed top positions in AT&T's failed bid to buy T-Mobile last year. According to a confidentiality statement filed in May with the Federal Communications Commission, which also reviewed the merger, AT&T hired at least 32 lawyers from Arnold & Porter. Baer was not listed.
Pozen's antitrust division at DOJ spearheaded a court battle that ultimately led to AT&T's decision to abandon the deal. Pozen was serving as acting head of the division after Christine Varney left in August.
According to a profile on the Arnold & Porter website, Baer has represented clients like General Electric, Intel, Cisco, and Visa. He previously worked at the Federal Trade Commission when it blocked a1997 merger between Staples and Office Depot.