Antitrust, Class Action Vet Joins Up With Joseph Saveri

(The Recorder)  Veteran antitrust and class action lawyer Steven Williams has left Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy for Joseph Saveri’s San Francisco-based litigation boutique, which he has joined as a partner.

Williams left Cotchett in December after nearly 20 years at the Bay Area-based litigation firm. He said it was about time for him to transition to a new chapter in his career.

“It was a very good time at the end of the year to make a change, [and] at about the time that I made it, Joe reached out and we started some conversation,” Williams said.

Following a few months of discussion with Saveri, whose family name has a long history in San Francisco’s legal community, Williams decided to make the move. His first official day is April 2.

“Joe has a long history as one of the foremost antitrust lawyers, and his father was very influential and worked with some landmark decisions from the Supreme Court in the antitrust field,” Williams said. “In the few years since [Joe started his own firm], he has had great success. He has built it into not only a well-functioning machine, but a very diverse firm.”

Williams is the first partner Saveri’s firm has hired since its namesake started the shop in 2012 after leaving Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein. The Joseph Saveri Law firm specializes in complex civil litigation and antitrust suits representing plaintiffs. The firm, which started out with just Saveri as a solo practitioner, now has roughly a dozen lawyers with a similar number of legal support staff.

“If you look at the important antitrust cases in the [Northern District of California] going back 10 to 15 years, Steve and I have held leadership positions in most of them,” Saveri said. “With the two of us, we have two of the most experienced, successful, committed, and passionate antitrust lawyers in San Francisco.”

After working at small firms in New York for a few years, Williams moved to San Francisco when he was hired as an associate at Cotchett in 1997. He was promoted to partner at the firm in 2004. Throughout his 25-year legal career, Williams has focused on litigation and trial work, including counseling clients in more than a dozen antitrust class action cases.

On Williams’ current docket is a class action alleging that Nestlé Waters North America has misled customers for years by falsely claiming that its “Poland Spring” bottled water brand is natural spring water, as well as another case accusing pharmaceutical giants Mylan NV and Pfizer Inc. of stifling competition in an effort to drive up prices for a potentially life-saving allergy treatment.

“We share a commitment to antitrust law, to developing that law, doing important cases and to making sure that our clients get justice in the civil litigation system,” Saveri said. “Certainly, Steve and I share the same belief that antitrust law has always been really important to the U.S., to its economy and to our democracy.”

With Williams aboard, Saveri said he looks forward to expanding his firm’s ability to take on financial fraud cases and commercial litigation matters beyond class action suits. Saveri added that his firm is likely to continue to expand its size and scope throughout the country.

“This is going to be a time when antitrust and competition law become increasingly important,” Saveri said. “There is an increased concern about antitrust issues.”

(Reporting by Xiumei Dong)