sewellBruce Sewell, who resigned yesterday as Intel‘s general counsel, will now become the top lawyer at Apple. It could be a sign of the times that Apple now needs someone steeped in antitrust law as its top legal advisor.

At Intel, Sewell had an extremely busy job in recent years. He had to fend off antitrust actions from governments around the world and deal with a mammoth antitrust suit filed by Advanced Micro Devices. The paperwork on the AMD case alone has triggered one of the largest document searches in all of legal history.

Sewell replaces Daniel Cooperman, who has served as Apple’s general counsel for the past two years. Cooperman will retire from Apple at the end of September. Sewell will report directly to Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, who said in a statement, “We are thrilled to have Bruce join our executive team, and wish Dan a very happy retirement. With Bruce’s extensive experience in litigation, securities and intellectual property, we expect this to be a seamless transition.”

Sewell joined Intel in 1995 as a senior attorney assigned to business groups in areas such as antitrust compliance, licensing and intellectual property. He was promoted to deputy geneal counsel in 2001. At Apple, Sewell will still have to deal with antitrust issues, even though Apple has a tiny share of the computer market. That’s because Apple faces antitrust scrutiny in markets where it has more muscle, such as the iPod and iPhone markets.