People: William N. Berkowitz, Partner

Photo of William N. Berkowitz, Partner

William N. Berkowitz

Partner

Boston
Direct: (617) 946-4851
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William Berkowitz is a partner in the Litigation Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. His practice focuses on antitrust, franchise, distribution, mergers and acquisitions, and other commercial litigation. Mr. Berkowitz has tried cases in state and federal courts and administrative agencies in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. He has argued appeals in the New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Delaware courts of appeal and before the United States Courts of Appeal for the First Circuit (three times), Third Circuit, Fourth Circuit and Eleventh Circuit. He has also represented clients before the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Reserve Board and a number of state agencies.

Mr. Berkowitz is recognized by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer in antitrust. He is also ranked by Best Lawyers as leading lawyer in franchise law and by Benchmark Litigation as a Massachusetts litigation “star.”

Beyond litigation, Mr. Berkowitz routinely consults with clients on mergers and acquisitions regarding compliance with federal and state antitrust laws, state franchise laws, the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, and foreign premerger notification laws.

William Berkowitz is a partner in the Litigation Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. His practice focuses on antitrust, franchise, distribution, mergers and acquisitions, and other commercial litigation. Mr. Berkowitz has tried cases in state and federal courts and administrative agencies in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. He has argued appeals in the New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Delaware courts of appeal and before the United States Courts of Appeal for the First Circuit (three times), Third Circuit, Fourth Circuit and Eleventh Circuit. He has also represented clients before the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Reserve Board and a number of state agencies.

Mr. Berkowitz is recognized by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer in antitrust. He is also ranked by Best Lawyers as leading lawyer in franchise law and by Benchmark Litigation as a Massachusetts litigation “star.”

Beyond litigation, Mr. Berkowitz routinely consults with clients on mergers and acquisitions regarding compliance with federal and state antitrust laws, state franchise laws, the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, and foreign premerger notification laws.

Education

  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School (1984)
  • B.S., Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, cum laude (1981)

Admissions

  • Massachusetts

Courts

  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Eighth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts

Affiliations

  • American Bar Association (Litigation Section, Antitrust Section, and Forum on Franchising)
  • Boston Bar Association
  • Massachusetts Bar Association

Representative Engagements

  • Represented Wilson Sporting Goods in connection with acquisition of Louisville Slugger, including follow-on inquiry from FTC into potential competitive effects of acquisition
  • Represented MTY Food Group (TSX: MTY) in $310 million acquisition of Kahala Brands
  • Represented Tempur-Pedic in connection with FTC investigation of $1.3 billion acquisition of Sealy Corporation.  Responded to Second Request within 60 days and successfully persuaded FTC to close investigation with no changes to deal structure required
  • Representing leading automobile manufacturer in dealer litigation in state and federal courts in Minnesota and Pennsylvania
  • Representing global automobile distributor in four lawsuits brought by dealers in Southern California
  • Representing luxury franchisor in dealer termination case in New York
  • Successfully represented Tempur-Pedic in the FTC’s investigation (by Second Request) of Tempur-Pedic’s acquisition of Sealy Corporation
  • State of New York v. Tempur-Pedic.  Obtained dismissal of all vertical price fixing charges brought by New York Attorney General against Tempur-Pedic, upheld on appeal to the New York Appellate Division
  • Represented the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers in federal court challenges to the constitutionality of state dealer franchise statute in Connecticut
  • St. John Companies Acquisition by PDC, Inc. — Successfully defended acquisition in FTC investigation (2010)
  • Hassett Lincoln-Mercury, Inc. v. Isuzu Motors America (E.D.N.Y., 2009) — Obtained summary judgment on behalf of Isuzu on all claims by dealer in wrongful termination case
  • Jacobs v. Tempur-Pedic.  Obtained dismissal of antitrust class action against Tempur-Pedic.  Affirmed on appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals.
  • Represented Freeman Spogli in $600 million acquisition of Totes Isotoner Corp
  • Represented NetLogic Microsystems in multi-jurisdictional investigation into competitive impact of $3.7 billion acquisition of microprocessor manufacturer by Broadcom, including responses to inquiries from U.S. and Chinese antitrust authorities
  • Frank Martin, Inc. v. John Deere Construction and Forestry, 542 F.Supp.2d 101 (D. Me. 2008) — Lead defense counsel representing John Deere in federal court in Maine; defeated motion for preliminary injunction, followed by settlement of case
  • Boston Scientific Corp. v. Radius International, L.P. — Represented Boston Scientific in contract and fraud action in federal court in Boston; obtained partial summary judgment and defeated motion to amend pleadings followed by settlement of the case immediately prior to trial
  • IBM’s Acquisition of Cognos Incorporated — Represented Cognos in connection with IBM’s $5 billion acquisition of the company in 2008, and coordinated antitrust/competition filings in the United States, Europe, Canada, Brazil, South Africa and China
  • Represented VoiceSignal in connection with $300 million acquisition by Nuance.  Responded to “second request” from DOJ and obtained clearance of acquisition with no major conditions
  • Provided antitrust counsel to buyer in connection with sale of controlling interest in Miami Dolphins professional football team to real estate developer Steven Ross
  • Represented Supermercados Amigo, Inc., the largest supermarket chain in Puerto Rico, in connection with FTC investigation of potential anti-competitive effects of acquisition of the company by Walmart.  Deal cleared with minor divestiture of assets
  • Performance Mitsubishi L.P. v. Mitsubishi Motors North America (N.D. Tex. 2006) — Obtained summary judgment for Mitsubishi in RICO, fraud and breach of contract action
  • Micromuse, Inc. v. Micromuse, P.L.C., et. al., (D. Mass. 2004) — Defeated trademark infringement, tort and contract claims brought against leading, public software company by local developer; summary judgment obtained on all counts
  • Jenson Manufacturing v. Jones New York, (D. Mass. 2001) — Defended leading fashion and apparel company in federal court action brought by affiliated manufacturers claiming fraud, breach of contract and damages of $63 million; obtained summary judgment for Jones New York on all counts
  • EMC Corp. v. Kempel, et al., (Mass. Super. Ct. 2001) — Brought suit on behalf of EMC against departing executive for violation of non-competition agreement; obtained injunction requiring the executive to step down as chairman of rival software company, SanGate Systems, together with payment of attorneys’ fees
  • Marx, et al. v. The Boston Globe (Mass. Super. Ct. 2000) — Successfully defended the Boston Globe in class action brought by freelance writers and photographers challenging the paper's terms of use of freelance materials; defeated claim for preliminary injunctive relief and obtained summary judgment in Massachusetts Superior Court
  • Cooney Industrial Trucks v. Toyota Motor Sales, 168 F.3d 545 (1st Cir. 1999) — Obtained jury verdict in federal court in Boston on behalf of Toyota in action brought by terminated commercial equipment dealer; verdict upheld on appeal
  • Sevel Argentina v. General Motors Corp. (S.D.N.Y. 2000) — Obtained summary judgment on behalf of GM on $50 million claim brought by one of largest South American motor vehicle manufacturers arising from offshore production joint venture

Presentations

  • "An In-House Counsel’s Guide to Expert Testimony in Jury Trials," Webinar, presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP (April 18, 2017)
  • Panelist, Global Automakers Franchise Law Symposium (2012-14)
  • Speaker, “Dealer Laws in the U.S.,” Nissan Legal Summit (2013)
  • Panelist, Symposium on Global Distribution in the Motor Vehicle Industry, International Bar Association, Vancouver (2010)
  • Panelist, “Advanced Antitrust,” Boston Bar Association Continuing Legal Education (April 2010)

Publications

Accolades

  • Best Lawyers, Antitrust and Franchise Law (2010–2015)
  • Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star in Antitrust, Appellate and Commercial Litigation (Massachusetts) (2012–2015)
  • Chambers USA, Antitrust (Massachusetts) (2009–2015)
  • Super Lawyers, Massachusetts (Antitrust) (2004, 2009–2016)
  • Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition, Corporate Litigation (Antitrust) (2009–2010; publication discontinued after 2010)