Mr. Kanter left Paul, Weiss in 2020. His growing ties to companies that increasingly had competition complaints against Big Tech companies raised conflicts of interest for the company. For example, while Google is not a Paul, Weiss customer, Apple is.
If he joins the Justice Department, the issue of conflict would likely be a matter of appearance rather than something that would oblige Mr Kanter to withdraw from the Google case, legal experts say. It’s not a disqualifying conflict, they say, because the Justice Department’s role as Prosecutor and Mr. Kanter doesn’t change sides, but instead becomes a Google adversary on behalf of the government.
But it could be an issue that Google brings up when the suit goes to court. Likewise, legal experts view Amazon’s request that Ms. Khan, an outspoken critic of the e-commerce giant, now withdraw from FTC investigations of the company as a public relations tactic — and perhaps an issue to raise in court later. set.
Where Mr. Kanter would most likely need to pull out, they say, is if the Justice Department were to investigate complaints against Microsoft, which he did represent as a corporate attorney.
Microsoft, the target of a federal antitrust case in the 1990s, has so far largely escaped the scrutiny of its Big Tech colleagues. But last year, Slack Technologies filed a complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission, alleging that the tech giant had illegally linked its collaboration software, Microsoft Teams, to its dominant Office productivity software in an attempt to crush Slack, a fledgling rival.
“I think Kanter’s previous experience is a plus, not a disadvantage,” said Charlotte Slaiman, director of competition policy at Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group.
Mr. Kanter first began studying Google on behalf of Microsoft when Google’s planned acquisition of DoubleClick, an advertising technology company, was reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission in 2007. Microsoft and Mr. Kanter argued that with DoubleClick, Google would have a powerful tool to leverage its strong position in search and search advertising for online display advertising – and that the merger should be blocked.