Jones Day antitrust chief set for Skadden move as partner exits continue

David Wales, the leader of Jones Day’s global antitrust and competition practice, has left the firm and is poised to become a partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, according to sources familiar with the move.

Wales, who is based in Washington DC, has led Jones Day’s highly regarded antitrust practice of about 150 lawyers since January 2013. A cached version of Wales’ biography on Jones Day’s website says he worked with clients including The Carlyle Group, Deutsche Bank, General Electric, HeidelbergCement, Nasdaq, Newell Brands, Procter & Gamble and Sanofi.

Wales joined Jones Day in 2009, following three years at the Federal Trade Commission including acting director of the Bureau of Competition from 2008 to 2009. He was previously a partner at Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft and Shearman & Sterling.

From 2001 to 2003, he worked in the US Department of Justice’s antitrust division as counsel to the assistant attorney general. In that role, he oversaw its enforcement actions over industries including software, media, defense, steel, telecoms, energy, finance and transportation.

Both Jones Day and Skadden have top-ranked antitrust practices in the US. Skadden’s practice, led in North America by New York partner Clifford Aronson, touts about 85 lawyers spread across Brussels, Hong Kong, New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles, according to the firm’s website.

Aronson, one of the leading antitrust practitioners in the US, has represented Rockwell Collins, Mars, EMC, DuPont and and many more companies in large transactions involving antitrust issues.

Wales’ exit marks the latest in a run of partner departures for Jones Day, including three who have left the firm’s London office during the past month.

City corporate partner Dan Coppel is headed for Morrison & Foerster, while financial institutions regulatory partner John Ahern has left to join Katten Muchin Rosenman. Those moves followed Vinson & Elkins’ January hire of acquisition and leveraged finance partner Paul Simcock.

Skadden declined to comment on the move. Neither Wales nor Jones Day were immediately available to comment.