I am proud but humbled to take the helm of the largest and most productive association of competition and consumer protection lawyers and economists on the globe. During 2010-2011, the Section of Antitrust Law will continue to provide first-class publications and programming, as well as policy input to serve not only the Section's membership, but also its global constituency of competition and consumer protection lawyers in private practice, government service, and academia. I salute the hundreds of Section members dedicating their time and talent to promote competition and protect consumers.
Here are some of the highlights of the coming Section year, which begins in August 2010. For more information during the year, you can always visit the Section website www.abanet.org/antitrust.
Antitrust Masters V (30 September-3 October 2010, Williamsburg, Virginia)
The Section's highly acclaimed biennial Masters Course features advanced training by current and former government officials, law professors, judges, economists, and seasoned practitioners, including many former chairs of the Section. It remains a must for up-and-coming antitrust lawyers to take their knowledge and skill to the next level.
Fall Forum (18 November 2010, Washington, DC)
Planned and presented by antitrust and consumer protection enforcers, the Section's annual Fall Forum is the place to get a first look at what your clients can expect in the upcoming government fiscal year. Discussion panels and presentations by enforcers from the US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and state enforcement agencies make this single-day conference the best way to stay abreast of the latest enforcement developments.
Consumer Protection Developments (3 February 2011, Washington, DC)
The Section reprises its successful consumer protection programme, at which practitioners learn the latest trends from officials at the Federal Trade Commission and state enforcement agencies, as well as seasoned consumer protection counselors and litigators.
59th Spring Meeting (30 March-1 April 2011, Washington, DC)
The world's largest gathering of competition and consumer protection lawyers, economists, and government officials convenes for the 59th time in the Spring of 2011. With over 2,000 attendees, including over 300 from 40 countries outside the US, the Spring Meeting is the place to be if you are serious about competition and consumer protection law and practice.
Antitrust and Consumer Protection Issues in the Energy Industry (5-6 May 2011, Houston, Texas)
The Section commemorates the centennial of the breakup of Standard Oil with a special programme in the energy capital of the world, focusing on competition and consumer protection issues in this vital industry. Keynote speaker will be former Shell CEO John Hoffmeister, author of the controversial best-seller, Why We Hate the Oil Companies.
Antitrust in the Americas/Direito Concorrencial nas Américas (June 2011, Rio de Janiero, Brazil)
This programme, co-sponsored with IBRAC, focuses on the increasing role played by competition agencies in Latin America, in cooperation with their counterparts in the US and Canada.
The Section will continue its extraordinary output of up-to-the-minute teleseminars on hot issues as they arise (the colloquial 'brown bag programmes' does not do them justice). In early Autumn, look for a teleseminar featuring Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney and Economics Deputy Carl Shapiro on the recent revisions to the Merger Guidelines.
This year, we introduce regular podcasts as a vehicle for delivering the Section's best and most relevant content to members, giving them the ability to hear competition and consumer protection news and programming while taking the train home or walking the dog. Keep your iPods ready!
Antitrust Law Developments and Consumer Protection Law Developments updates
ALD and CPLD are recognised as standards in their fields, consulted by practitioners, judges, and enforcement officials around the world. To keep your copy current, look for the updates around the time of the Spring Meeting.
In the pipeline
2010 will see the second edition of the highly regarded global compendium of Competition Laws Outside the US. Other scheduled publications will address international IP licensing, international monopolisation and market power standards, antitrust evidence, and econometrics, among other topics.
The Antitrust Law Journal, the Section's peer-reviewed journal of legal and economics articles, is cited in more antitrust judicial opinions than any other law journal. Antitrust Magazine offers practical analyses of court decisions and government enforcement actions. The Antitrust Source, the Section's online magazine, offers timely analysis and commentary on recent developments, as well as book reviews, discussions of recent scholarship, and interviews with government officials and other competition and consumer protection leaders.
The Section's busy committees produce regular newsletters with updates and insights on particular areas from agriculture to business torts to unilateral conduct.
There will be several initiatives this year, keeping with the Section's mission to serve its members - and its global constituency - effectively and efficiently.
In addition to the podcasts noted above, the Section will experiment with new ways of reaching out to the national and international competition and consumer protection community with a Section Facebook page (following the initiative of several committees) and other internet networking media.
In light of the increasing concern - particularly by the Department of Justice in the Obama administration - over competition in the agriculture sector, the Section has created an Agriculture and Food Committee to follow and analyse developments in this field.
To reach out to younger lawyers and economists, the Section will be inviting those under 35 (or in practice less than six years) to be young lawyer representatives on committees and task forces, increasing their experience and exposure to become the Section's next generation of leaders.
The Section formed an Economics Task Force comprising leading competition economists, to assure that Section positions on domestic and international legislation and regulations are firmly grounded in sound economics.
Finally, the Section continues to expand its consumer protection mission, recognising - as do most enforcement agencies around the globe - that competition law is but a subset of law and policy protecting consumers. The Section's first consumer protection officer is inaugurated with the new Section year and will oversee the vast array of programmes and publications dealing with issues ranging from false advertising to privacy and information security. Denoting the increased consumer protection role, the Section logo will include the slogan 'Promoting Competition - Protecting Consumers.'
About the author
Allan Van Fleet is a Greenberg Traurig shareholder and head of the litigation practice group in Houston, Texas. His 30 years of litigation, arbitration and antitrust victories, as well as his pro bono work and service to the bar and community, are highlighted in the Super Lawyers profile, 'Van Fleet's Grand Feats: A billion-dollar win? He's got lots of them.' He is recognised nationally and internationally in the Best Lawyers in America, Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Competition and Antitrust Lawyers and The International Who's Who of Competition Lawyers. Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business lauded Allan as 'an exceptional commercial litigator who enjoys a fantastic reputation in the antitrust sector,' ranking him in the top 'Band 1' of antitrust lawyers.
Allan is the chair of the American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law.
He has previously served in the ABA House of Delegates and on the Rule of Law Initiative - Latin America and Caribbean Council. He is a former director of the State Bar of Texas and former chair of the Houston Bar Association Antitrust and Trade Regulation Section. He is the past president of the United States - Mexico Bar Association.
Allan is the former chair of Texas Appleseed and was a principal drafter of and lobbyist for the Texas Fair Defence Act of 2000.