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FTC Faces Shoestring Budget in Antitrust Case Against Facebook

Full-service is old-school, Ms. Harrison argued. “Twenty years ago, clients would go to a big, multiservice firm,” she said, but “now they are much more sophisticated,” seeking specialization. To her, it was clear that Boies Schiller should not “dilute its brand.”

Zuckerberg already vowed, in July, to “go to the mat and … fight” efforts to break up his creation. It’s an approach that he alone could decide to pursue given his controlling power over Facebook’s voting shares — something that no individual at Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has.

“We’re both determined to win, but we’re not afraid to fail,” Mr. Boies said. The two first-generation lawyers see themselves as outsiders who rose “on the merits” (a phrase they use often). “We’re not scared of making difficult decisions and we’re both extremely resilient,” Ms. Harrison added. Now they will have to prove it, again.

For a company devoted to earning the most possible money for the most possible years — a description that applies to most of corporate America — any public battle exists on several planes at once. There’s winning in court, with judges. Then there’s winning in the court of public opinion, with current and potential future customers, not to mention advertisers that have, at times, asserted themselves against.

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