What price a competition lawyer… $3bn?

Competition lawyers are worth their weight in gold.

Cartel cases are often huge international instructions where the clients have a lot to lose and need innovative, expert advice. Needless to say, the firms have a lot to gain as these cases plod on to the UK Supreme Court or European Commission.

Eversheds gets a large slice of the global antitrust action, but was missing the final piece in the pie without a specialised heavyweight in follow-on damages cases.

With such cases on the rise (see story), Eversheds headhunted SJ Berwin’s competition partner Lesley Farrell to complete its offering (see story). Recruiting externally for such a senior role is rare for Eversheds, which just goes to show how highly the firm values Farrell.

But it is not just the top firms that are on the significant competition judgments. Today’s Court of Appeal verdict in favour of Human Genome Sciences’ lupus treatment patent highlights the benefit of a boutique firm. Powell Gilbert founder and partner Penny Gilbert and her team used their degrees in molecular and cellular biology to provide expert advise.

It paves the way for the further development of the first new lupus treatment in 50 years (see story). The value of the patent validation is infinite, but it could be priced at around $3bn.

That is how much drug company GlaxoSmithKline paid to buy out HGS this summer to give it control of the treatment for the immune system disorder.