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Asim Bhansali Named One of California's 20 Under 40

Daily Journal

Asim Bhansali's recent accomplishments include settling an antitrust dispute for a major credit card networkÍž settling an antitrust dispute, during trial, for a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer that had brought claims against one of the nation's largest brand pharmaceutical companiesÍž and obtaining dismissal of a class action with RICO and fraud claims brought on behalf of individuals who had purchased time share rentals.

In October, Mr. Bhansali and name partner John Keker settled a $6 billion antitrust claim against client Visa U.S.A. in federal court in the Southern District of New York. In the dispute, Discover Card sued MasterCard and Visa over allegations that the defendants prohibited their member banks from offering cards that could be used on the Discover Card's network

Mr. Bhansali argued Visa's Daubert motion (the admissibility of expert witnesses' testimony) to exclude Discover's principal economics expert for allegedly failing to follow acceptable antitrust calculation methods. On the eve of trial, the case settled for $2.75 billion, more than six times less than the client's potential exposure following statutory trebling under antitrust rules.

Working with the firm's other name partner, Robert Van Nest, Mr. Bhansali represented plaintiff Impax Laboratories Inc. in an antitrust suit in the District of Delaware. Impax sued Abbott Laboratories and its French licensor for allegedly pulling old versions of a top-selling triglyceride lowering drug from the market to avoid generic competition. Abbott then allegedly introduced new drugs in their place that were in no way superior to the existing product, prolonging their drug's exclusivity period and blocking Impax's generic product.

Mr. Bhansali served as lead counsel during the antitrust discovery part of the case, which settled confidentially during trial. "Both cases demonstrated the value of really learning the case and the facts and working them up for trial," he said. "Getting into the trial or to the eve of trial drove that home. "These were the two biggest cases I've had. Seeing everything come together gave me a real appreciation of the importance of my firm's emphasis on pretrial work."

In his active pro bono practice, Mr. Bhansali has filed amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court, as lead counsel representing several sovereign nations supporting foreign prisoners in the United States who challenged violations of their rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The briefs protested the state governments' failure to notify foreign prisoners of their rights under the convention to speak with consular representatives from their home countries. Mr. Bhansali, who graduated from law school at 22, said he might have been a little too eager. "I probably was not very wise about enjoying my youth," he said. But undergraduate courses he took in business and accounting served him well, he said, as did his stint at the University of Texas student newspaper. "A general understanding of business and financial reporting, and strong writing skills, really help in cases that revolve around economic damages," he said.

At the University of Texas School of Law, Bhansali was named to the Order of the Coif and served as executive editor of the Texas Law Review. He then clerked for Judge Ferdinand F. Fernandez of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.