Paul T. Denis


Paul T. Denis


Washington, D.C. | 1900 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006-1110
+1 202 261 3430 | +1 202 261 3333

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Paul T. Denis focuses his practice on mergers and other business combinations under antitrust scrutiny. He is widely recognized as one of the leading antitrust lawyers in the United States and has been hailed as a "master strategist," a "spectacular litigator," and “the gold standard for antitrust counsel.” He is a member of the firm’s policy committee, and formerly served as deputy chair of the firm’s global litigation practice group and co-chair of the firm’s antitrust practice.

Financial Times named Mr. Denis as one of the ten most innovative individuals in the North American legal sector and has recognized engagements he led for innovation in corporate, litigation, and the business of law. Chambers Global, Chambers USA, Benchmark Litigation, and Legal 500 (U.S.) have ranked him in their top tier of antitrust/merger control lawyers in the United States. He was named to the National Law Journal’s inaugural list of M&A and Antitrust Trailblazers, and Law360 twice named Mr. Denis as one of the Competition Law MVPs in the United States. Recently, Who’s Who Legal recognized him as a “prominent and highly regarded figure in the antitrust community and a first port of call for many leading clients in the retail, transportation and food and beverages sectors,” and named him a “thought leader” in competition.

Combining unique insights from his government tenure in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice with diverse private sector experience, Mr. Denis advises on the antitrust implications of business practices, structures transactions to obviate competition law and Hart-Scott-Rodino issues, quietly resolves the most sensitive and complex government investigations, and forcefully litigates to achieve the results needed by his clients.

Among the numerous high-profile transactions Mr. Denis has guided to unconditional clearance or for which he crafted effective settlements to secure closing and preserve the efficiency benefits of the deal are Danone/WhiteWave, Alberstons/Safeway, US Airways/American Airlines, OfficeMax/Office Depot, Express Scripts/Medco, Dean Foods/Foremost Farms, Monster/Hot Jobs, Kellogg/Wholesome & Hearty, Whole Foods/Wild Oats, Travelport/Worldspan, Harrah’s/Horseshoe, Suiza Foods/Dean Foods, and CSX/Norfolk Southern/Conrail.

In litigation, Mr. Denis has defended high-profile transactions from government and private attack including in United States v. AB Electrolux and General Electric Company (D.D.C.), United States v. National CineMedia (S.D.N.Y.), United States v. US Airways Inc. (D.D.C.), Polypore International, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission (11th Cir. and Sup. Ct.), United States and Plaintiff States v. Dean Foods Company (E.D. WI), Kottaras v. Whole Foods Market (D.D.C. and D.C. Cir.), and Federal Trade Commission v. Whole Foods Market (D.D.C. and D.C. Cir.).

While serving in the Antitrust Division, Mr. Denis was the principal draftsman of the United States Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission 1992 Horizontal Merger Guidelines (noted as “one of the most cited documents of modern antitrust”), which is the foundation for merger guidelines around the world including the current U.S. merger guidelines.

As part of his merger counseling practice, Mr. Denis developed the Dechert Antitrust Merger Enforcement Timing Tracker (DAMITT) which follows changes in the duration of significant U.S. enforcement agency merger investigations. Data from DAMITT have been widely reported in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Time, and other leading publications. 

Mr. Denis is also a frequent author and speaker and regularly acts as a media spokesperson on antitrust and merger clearance topics.

  • Villanova University, B.A., 1980, summa cum laude
  • University of Michigan, M.A., Economics, 1983
  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1984, cum laude
  • District of Columbia
  • New York
  • United States District Court for the District of Columbia
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

Member, International Bar Association and American Bar Association, Section on Antitrust. For the Antitrust Section, he has served as a member of the 2016 Presidential Transition Task Force, Chair of the International Antitrust Committee, Editorial Vice Chair of the Annual Review of Antitrust Law Developments, and a member of the editorial board of the Premerger Notification Practice Manual.