John Schmidtlein has represented clients in complex civil and criminal matters for nearly 30 years, including numerous trials.

Mr. Schmidtlein is Co-Chair of Williams & Connolly’s Antitrust practice group and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He focuses his practice on civil and criminal antitrust litigation and government investigations. Mr. Schmidtlein has represented clients in antitrust investigations brought by the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and numerous State Attorneys General. He has represented clients (both as plaintiffs and defendants) in a variety of civil antitrust suits, and also corporations and individual executives in criminal grand jury investigations. He has been lead counsel in numerous antitrust class actions in federal and state courts throughout the United States.

Mr. Schmidtlein is currently lead trial counsel for Google in ongoing litigations brought by the Department of Justice and various State Attorneys General regarding alleged monopolization of online search and search advertising markets.  He represented Archer Daniels Midland Company in the criminal and civil proceedings that were the subject of the motion picture The Informant, and a group of States in the remedy proceedings in the landmark antitrust litigation against Microsoft Corporation. He has represented AstraZeneca in various litigations, including the In re: Nexium Antitrust Litigation, which resulted in a jury verdict for AstraZeneca in the first “pay for delay” case tried after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in FTC v. Actavis. 

Mr. Schmidtlein has received recognition from both The American Lawyer and Global Competition Review, including for his successful representation of Google in the FTC’s investigation into online search and search advertising.  He also has been recognized by a number of other legal publications, including Chambers Global, Chambers USA, and The Legal 500, for his antitrust litigation work, and he is a frequent speaker at antitrust conferences. Mr. Schmidtlein is a past Vice Chair of the ABA Antitrust Section’s Civil Practice and Procedure Committee and has taught as an adjunct law professor at Georgetown University Law Center and George Washington University Law School.

Mr. Schmidtlein is a native of Washington, D.C. He received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated magna cum laude and was a member of the Georgetown Law Review.  After law school, he clerked for the Honorable J. Frederick Motz of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. He joined Williams & Connolly in 1993 and was elected partner in December 2000. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Rhonda and their two daughters.

Representative Experience

  • Represents global technology company in multiple litigations alleging monopolization and restraints of trade
  • Represents online retailer in antitrust litigation brought by state attorney general alleging price-fixing and unfair competition
  • Represents online retailer in class action alleging antitrust claims regarding the distribution and sale of eBooks and print books
  • Represents multiple pharmaceutical companies in antitrust litigations concerning the pricing of generic medicines and allegedly anticompetitive patent settlements
  • Represents newspaper in alleged conspiracy to boycott brought by alleged rival publishers
  • Represents multi-national bank and financial services company in class action alleging violations of federal antitrust law and the Commodity Exchange Act
  • Represented pharmaceutical company in putative class action alleging so-called “REMS abuse”
  • Represented pharmaceutical manufacturer in first class action antitrust trial involving claims for pay-for-delay after Supreme Court’s decision in FTC v. Actavis
  • Represented nationwide telecommunications company in class action involving price fixing claims in text messaging industry
  • Represented auto parts manufacturer in criminal and civil class action involving price fixing and bid rigging claims
  • Represented agricultural food processor in criminal and civil class action involving price fixing claims
  • Represented software manufacturer in antitrust trial involving claims of monopolization
  • Represented pharmaceutical manufacturer in multi-state proceedings regarding Average Wholesale Price (AWP), including trial involving claims brought by Kentucky State Attorney General
  • Represented dairy cooperative in antitrust class action involving various claims regarding raw milk pricing
  • Represented multi-national corporations as opt-out plaintiffs in price fixing cases involving bulk vitamins
  • Represented major motion picture studios in antitrust litigation and government investigations regarding motion picture distribution practices
  • Represented pharmaceutical benefits manager in class action involving claims for price fixing and unreasonable restraints of trade
  • Represented individual executives in numerous federal criminal antitrust investigations, including investigations by the Department of Justice of the auto parts, vehicle carrier, refrigerant compressors, DRAM, air cargo, rubber chemicals, government contracts, and graphite electrodes industries




Antitrust: Cartel, Chambers Global, 2023-2024

Antitrust: Cartel (Nationwide), Chambers USA, 2021-2024

Antitrust: Litigation Specialists (D.C.), Chambers USA, 2019-2024

Recognized as a "Leading Lawyer" for Antitrust: Civil Litigation/Class Actions Defense, The Legal 500, 2023

“500 Leading Litigators in America,” Lawdragon, 2023-2024

Recognized among Washingtonian’s “500 Most Influential People,” Antitrust, 2022-2024

Recognized among Washingtonian’s “250 Most Influential People,” Antitrust, 2021


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