Christine A. Varney is a partner in Cravath’s Litigation Department and serves as the Chair of the Firm’s Antitrust practice. Ms. Varney has been widely recognized as one of the leading antitrust lawyers in the United States in both private practice and in government service, and she is the only person to have served as both the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust and as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission. Ms. Varney formulates global antitrust strategy for clients in connection with joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions, dispositions and other business transactions, including advising on business conduct or potential investments to ensure compliance with antitrust laws, securing antitrust regulatory approvals, and handling internal or governmental investigations into anticompetitive behavior. Her clients span diverse industries, including cable, financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, retail, transportation, technology and telecommunications.
From 2009 until 2011, Ms. Varney served as Assistant Attorney General and headed the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. In that role she oversaw all aspects of the Division’s operations, including merger review, criminal and civil litigation and investigations and coordination with competition regulators outside the United States.
From 1994 through 1997, Ms. Varney served as a Commissioner of the FTC. While at the FTC, she played a leading role on a broad range of competition law issues, and she is widely credited with pioneering the application of innovation market theory analysis to information technology and biotechnology transactions.
Prior to becoming FTC Commissioner, Ms. Varney served as Assistant to the President and Secretary to the Cabinet in the Clinton Administration.
From 1997 when she left the FTC until her appointment as Assistant Attorney General in 2009, Ms. Varney was in private practice, representing major corporations before the DOJ and the FTC and advising her clients on a wide variety of legal and business issues.
Ms. Varney has been recognized as a leading lawyer by numerous professional publications. The National Law Journal selected her as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” and as one of 50 “Governance, Risk & Compliance Trailblazers & Pioneers.” She was also recognized by the publication as a Mergers & Acquisitions and Antitrust Trailblazer. Ms. Varney was named a “Competition MVP” by Law360 and “Lawyer of the Year” by Global Competition Review(GCR). She also was featured by GCR as one of the top “Women in Antitrust” worldwide and received Euromoney Legal Media Group’s Americas Women in Business Law Award for “Best in Antitrust/Competition.” Ms. Varney has been recognized as a leader in antitrust law by Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Lawdragon’s list of “500 Leading Lawyers in America,” Benchmark Litigation, The Best Lawyers in America, The Legal 500, PLC Which Lawyer?, Who’s Who Legal, Crain’s New York Business and the Ethisphere Institute. She is often asked to speak publicly on the topics of antitrust, international competition, mergers and government investigations.
Ms. Varney currently serves on the Boards of Trustees of the American Museum of Natural History and Third Way. She also serves on the Boards of Directors of the Brennan Center for Justice and The Legal Aid Society. Ms. Varney is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and serves as a member of the International Bar Association, the Council on Foreign Relations, The American Law Institute and The Economic Club of New York. She is a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, teaching the course “Antitrust in Action.”
Ms. Varney was born in Washington, D.C. She received a B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany in 1977, an M.P.A. from Syracuse University in 1982 and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1986.