Squire Sanders has hired three senior antitrust attorneys from D.C. powerhouse law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld — including Akin Gump’s top antitrust partner, Squire Sanders plans to announce today.

Former Akin Gump antitrust chair Mark Botti, along with partners J. Brady Dugan and Anthony Swisher, are slated to begin at Squire Sanders’ Washington office today. They boost the law firm’s antitrust manpower in D.C. from six to nine lawyers.

Botti said he made the jump to Squire Sanders because he wanted a more international platform — which he found in Squire Sanders’ global antitrust group. The group has lawyers in Europe, Australia and China in addition to Washington.

The move to bring in the antitrust specialists is part of Squire Sanders’ broader efforts to strengthen its regulatory practices around the globe in anticipation of more government scrutiny of mergers.

“One thing that’s happening in the world is that there’s enhanced regulatory scrutiny over what businesses are doing,” Jim Maiwurm said. “Because we think the regulatory scheme is going to become more complex and daunting for clients, they’ll be turning to us more and more often. Antitrust is a natural area of focus.”

Prior to joining Akin Gump in 2007, Botti was a trial attorney and later litigation chief in the antitrust division of the Department of Justice for 13 years. Dugan spent 15 years at Justice; Swisher has represented dozens of corporations facing government antitrust investigations. The group’s experience with the agency made them a valuable asset — though Squire Sanders previously had antitrust lawyers who worked in the DOJ years ago, Botti and his group bring fresher, more recent insight, Maiwurm said.

“Mark’s desire to become more global in approach is consistent with what we’re doing,” Maiwurm said. “We’re in love with the strength of the DOJ experience in this group. It fits like a glove.”

All three lawyers specialize in health care, and Botti said he expects the Obama administration to continue its strict regulation of mergers among hospitals, health plans, health IT companies and other health care industry players.

”I think we can expect a lot of general regulatory and antitrust-related activity in health, and we’ll be well-positioned to participate in that,” he said.”Given how high a priority the [health] sector is to the administration, you can expect the antitrust agencies to focus on it.”