The world economy continues to evolve and the Section of Antitrust Law of the American Bar Association is evolving with it. The Section continues to grow internationally, with ties to countries throughout the Americas and around the world. We chose Costa Rica and Canada for our leadership meetings in 2011, and capped off the 2010-2011 Section year by co-sponsoring a June conference on Antitrust in the Americas with IBRAC in Rio de Janeiro.
The Section is the world’s largest association devoted to competition and consumer protection law. It is a true community, whose members are committed to the advancement and mutual understanding of the law in this field. Each year we launch new initiatives, provide valuable commentary, present lively programmes and publish a wide-ranging library of books, journals, magazines and newsletters. Details on each of these are available on our website: www.americanbar.org/groups/antitrust_law.html.The Section’s membership is drawn from every part of the world, and our Annual Spring Meeting in Washington is attended by over 400 lawyers and economists from outside the United States. We maintain liaison relationships with numerous bar groups overseas - including associations from Canada to Argentina - and are represented at meetings of the International Competition Network and OECD, and at other international events. Every year, there are numerous opportunities for our Section to comment on proposals from around the globe and contribute in a variety of ways to improvements in the understanding of law and economics worldwide. We welcome these opportunities and endeavour to make a positive impact.
Here are some highlights to expect in the 2011-2012 Section year:
The Section is presenting an exciting schedule of programmes this year. On 6 October, the Section and Stanford Law School are co-sponsoring a conference on Competition Law and Intellectual Property on Stanford’s campus in Palo Alto, California. This conference will explore cutting-edge issues of technology and competition, as well as privacy and other consumer issues. It will feature a panel on competition and intellectual property in China, a debate about the competitive impact of Google, an address by Dr Carl Shapiro of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, and a panel on mergers in the technology and communications industries. Everyone interested in the application of competition law to high-tech industries will find this event extraordinarily valuable.On 17 November, the Section will present its Annual Fall Forum at the National Press Club in Washington, featuring such key US government officials as Chairman Jon Leibowitz of the Federal Trade Commission and leaders of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. This is a popular and convenient way to learn what is happening inside the enforcement agencies and what to expect next. Anyone who follows developments in government enforcement should be sure to attend.On 20 January 2012, the Section is co-sponsoring an Emerging Scholars Program with New York University Law School at NYU in New York City. This programme provides an opportunity to hear from some of the most talented young professors working the field of competition and consumer law today. They are selected by a blue-ribbon panel of experts and can be expected to bring plenty of fresh ideas. This is the place to learn about the very latest in competition law scholarship.
In February, the Section is holding its biannual International Cartel Workshop, a two-day event featuring demonstrations of each step in a cartel investigation. This time, the workshop is being held in breathtaking Vancouver. The broad and highly experienced faculty includes many of the leading figures in international cartel enforcement. They bring to life the strategies, pitfalls and latest techniques in cartel enforcement and defence. This acclaimed event attracts a large cross-section of enforcers and defence counsel from six continents, and is not to be missed by anyone working in the field.Between 28 and 30 March, the Section presents its 60th Annual Spring Meeting; the largest gathering of competition and consumer protection lawyers and economists anywhere in the world. The Spring Meeting provides a wide array of CLE programmes for every taste, including special tracks on litigation, international and consumer issues. It is attended by enforcers, practitioners, academics and economists from every part of the globe. It includes our Annual Luncheon and Annual Spring Dinner, as well as the widely anticipated Enforcers Roundtable. It also presents an opportunity to visit Washington during one of the most beautiful times of the year. While we cannot guarantee that the cherry blossoms will be in bloom, they usually are!
In May, the Section is co-sponsoring a conference on Antitrust and Health Care, together with the ABA Health Law Section and the American Health Lawyers Association in Arlington, Virginia. This biannual conference highlights issues of competition law of particular concern to the health-care industry, which is attracting considerable attention amid the current political debates over health-care policy. Whatever happens with health-care reform, this conference will examine the interplay between those changes and competition law. This promises to be a lively and provocative event and a ‘must’ for those practising in this area.
In June, the Section is co-sponsoring a symposium on Financial Services and Competition with Columbia Law School in New York City. The recent financial crisis raised many issues concerning competition and consumer protection, which will be addressed by a blue-ribbon faculty. What does ‘too big to fail’ mean in the context of competition law? Should there be different rules for mergers and collaboration in the financial services industry? This symposium should be the most insightful event yet to address these important topics.
In addition, the Section will continue its celebrated output of timely programmes, available both in person and by remote access from your telephone or computer. The Section produces numerous programmes every month on a wide variety of competition subjects. Even if you cannot listen live, most of these programmes are available later on our website and as podcasts.
PublicationsThe Section continues to be the leading publisher of competition and consumer protection titles. Our renowned Antitrust Law Developments, Competition Laws Outside the United States, State Antitrust Practice and Statutes, and Consumer Protection Law Developments are mainstays of every library in the field. Our handbooks and monographs provide in-depth analysis of specific topics. Our highly regarded periodicals - including the peer-reviewed Antitrust Law Journal, Antitrust Magazine and the online Antitrust Source - present a combination of scholarly articles and timely, practical pieces. Our many committee newsletters and updates reach into every corner of breaking news.
This coming year, the Section will publish a new, seventh edition of Antitrust Law Developments. This two-volume set, like its predecessors, is sure to be found on the shelves of virtually every practitioner and enforcer, and in law schools everywhere. A tremendous amount of effort goes into producing a treatise of this kind, which draws upon the collective knowledge and experience of our entire membership. We are very proud to be able to offer this title and know that it will prove to be invaluable to everyone who reads it.
Other new titles expected to be published in the year ahead include a more than 800-page update to our Consumer Protection Law Developments treatise, a handbook on Monopolization and Abuse of Dominance, a handbook on Market Power, and a handbook on RICO State-by-State Practice Guide (2nd ed 2011). The Section also maintains an extensive catalogue of recently published titles, which are available for immediate delivery.
The Section is initiating a task force on making antitrust itself more efficient, to study those aspects of competition and consumer law that have been criticised for costing too much or taking too long. The public’s dissatisfaction with the time and expense consumed by every aspect of the legal system prompted the Section to engage in self-examination of our field, both to identify genuine concerns and to suggest specific remedies. William Kolasky is leading this task force, which is expected to make concrete recommendations for tackling some of the most wasteful and inefficient aspects of competition law and practice.
The Section is also creating a new Task Force on Civil Redress, to collect and study information on the American experience with class actions and other collective means of civil relief, as well as to provide comments to other jurisdictions interested in understanding the American system and adopting systems of their own. Michael Hausfeld and Laurence Sorkin are heading this task force, which will also provide programming and materials to inform the members of the Section and others about developments in this evolving field.
In addition, the Section continues to operate an International Task Force, co-chaired by Cal Goldman, Randy Tritell and Terry Calvani, which consults on a variety of international competition and consumer protection issues; an International Cartel Task Force, co-chaired by Donald Klawiter, Gary Spratling, and James Mutchnik, which consults on cartel issues; and an Economics Task Force, led by Meg Guerin-Calvert and David Scheffman, which consults on economic issues concerning competition and consumer protection.
These task forces provide an important dimension to the Section’s analytical work and to its preparation of comments for external circulation.
Much of the work of the Section is performed by our 26 substantive committees, which focus on specific areas of the law such as merger control, joint conduct, distribution or privacy, or on specific industries such as agriculture, energy or financial services. Membership in these committees is open to all of our regular and associate members, including non-lawyers and lawyers practising anywhere in the world.The committees publish newsletters, updates and bulletins. They present programmes on all the latest developments. They also host online discussions with members who have a particular interest in their areas of concentration. There is no better or more timely source of targeted information in each area than these dedicated committees, which tap into the most knowledgeable people working in each field. Practising in any of these areas without the benefit of these rich resources would be almost reckless.
A full list of our committees is available on our website. You can sign up online or simply subscribe to our committee discussion lists. You will be amazed at the quality and amount of information that will immediately be at your fingertips.
The Section regularly monitors proposals for new legislation and prepares comments as appropriate. From time to time, the Section is asked to provide testimony at congressional hearings on particular legislative initiatives. The Section also occasionally prepares amicus curiae briefs in significant cases.
The Section has been sponsoring an Oral History project that is collecting video histories from leading figures in the field of competition and consumer protection law. These histories are available on our website and we are in the process of compiling material from the videos into an edited documentary that will capture some of the most interesting segments.
For the third year, the Section will sponsor a Supreme Court Swearing-In programme, which provides the opportunity for 24 attorneys to be admitted to the bar of the US Supreme Court. This event will convene in conjunction with the Section Spring Meeting.
The Section sponsors a fellowship programme to help fund internships for law students interested in working for consumer protection bureaus in various states. So far, 128 law students have participated in this worthwhile programme, helping to protect consumers while supplementing their education.
This year, the Section is inaugurating a fellowship to allow scholars from outside the United States to work and study competition law within it. We hope that this programme will foster greater understanding among different jurisdictions.
The Section also sponsors a law-student writing competition, presenting an award each year for the best student article on competition or consumer protection topics.
The Section is committed to serving the profession and the public, and will continue to undertake projects that foster these goals.
The Section has embraced social media enthusiastically, with a lively presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We are committed to making our resources widely available to our members and to the competition and consumer protection law community around the world. We encourage our members and other interested individuals to visit us through any of these media, or to visit our website. We also welcome suggestions for becoming even more connected.
The coming year promises to be interesting and challenging for the global economy, and fascinating for the Section of Antitrust Law. We will continue to pursue our mission of leaving competition and consumer protection law better than we find it, year after year.
About the author
Richard M Steuer is Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law and a partner with Mayer Brown LLP in New York.He specialises in antitrust law, including litigation, mergers & acquisitions, licensing, franchising and e-commerce. He litigates at all levels of federal and state courts, on behalf of defendants and plaintiffs, in private suits and against government entities. He represents clients in government investigations, both civil and criminal, as well as agency review of mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. He also regularly advises leading companies on structuring their business practices, including distribution arrangements and licensing programmes.
Mr Steuer has written a book and dozens of articles on antitrust law, appearing in such journals as the Cornell Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review and Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. He lectures frequently, including presentations at FTC and DoJ workshops, and at programmes sponsored by numerous organisations. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times and the National Law Journal, he has been regularly quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Business Week and other publications, and he has appeared numerous times on CNN and other television networks.
Mr Steuer has taught antitrust law as an adjunct associate professor at NYU School of Law and an adjunct professor at St John’s University School of Law. He is a member of the Advisory Board of BNA’s Antitrust & Trade Regulation Report and is listed in numerous directories of leading competition lawyers. He previously served as Chair of the Antitrust Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
Mr Steuer is a graduate of Columbia Law School, and is admitted to practice in the state of New York and in various federal district courts, including the United States Supreme Court.