It is my privilege and pleasure to serve as Chair of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law this year. Together, this Section will continue in 2015-2016 as the preeminent source for analysis, debate, education, and development of antitrust, competition, and consumer protection law. Let me outline for you my priorities and objectives for this year and highlight some upcoming programs and publications that you will not want to miss.
If you are not already a member, I invite you to join the Section to benefit fully from the unparalleled resources and networking we provide. For those of you who are members, I look forward to working with you and to enhancing the benefits you receive.
For the coming year, three areas of my priorities and objectives are: the international arena; balance and diversity; and the judiciary. In addition, we will focus upon communications and content delivery, our consumer protection mission, and greater thought leadership.
We have an exciting array of activities to accomplish increasing the depth and breadth of our international participation. I will only mention some. With the assistance of our International Officer Jon Gleklen, the International Task Force will continue its highly acclaimed efforts to monitor potential relevant legal changes throughout the world and to provide comments as appropriate. We will also continue to participate in the International Competition Network and offer our support for OECD efforts to improve competition laws. We have increased the number of liaisons with foreign competition bar associations. Our Antitrust in the Americas and Antitrust in Asia programs have extended our global presence, and we will have two major programs in Asia this coming year. Our leadership already includes about 40 persons from outside the U.S., and last year almost a quarter of those attending the Section’s Spring Meeting came from outside the U.S., representing over 60 jurisdictions.
As we reach out to the competition bars and enforcers in other jurisdictions, it is imperative that we foster lasting relationships. Last year we launched our Global Networking Series with programs in Brussels and Mexico City as one way to meet this need. In Mexico City the attendance in this jurisdiction with a new competition law was over 100! In the coming year, we will take this successful initiative to London, New Delhi, and Beijing. As you can see, bolstering the Section’s international presence, like most of my priorities for the coming year, is not new. I thank all those who have already worked tirelessly on this and our other objectives as we build upon the foundations already laid.
We will rigorously ensure balance and diversity in all we do. This is imperative to create the best products, to maximize creativity, to reach our broad audience, and to ensure our credibility. We will seek to expand the participation of minorities, women, the LGBT community, the plaintiffs’ bar, government enforcers, and young attorneys, making certain that we keep fueling our pipeline as our active members grow older. As competition advocates, we have special sensitivity to the importance of providing competing points of view. Again, the priority for balance and diversity is not original; it is already deeply ingrained in our Section’s policies and practices. As our delegates Doug Ross and Gary Zanfagna, can explain, this issue is a top priority not just for the Section, but for the entire ABA. To reinforce this goal, we provided training to our leadership in August on some of the recent findings about inherent bias. We will be continuing our mentoring program and sponsoring various events to stimulate the participation of women, the plaintiffs’ bar, and other under-represented groups. Most importantly, I urge each of you to keep this goal in mind in all you do and refer you to the Section’s policies and protocols that guide our activities to meet this goal.
Our courts play a robust and critical role, and our Section will benefit from intensifying our interaction with the judiciary. In the U.S., our competition law regime is premised upon the implementation of the law through the judicial process. Our enforcement agencies do not have the unilateral power to stop an anticompetitive merger, to impose a cartel fine, or to require the change of a monopolistic practice deemed abusive. Like private litigants, they too must resort to the courts. Justice Kagan issued a stark reminder of the power of the courts for the antitrust bar last term, when she noted in the Supreme Court’s Kimble decision that stare decisis has “less-than-usual force” in antitrust law because Congress intended for the courts to mold antitrust law over time. To see one of the concrete steps we are taking to give more attention to the judiciary, look no further than our Fall Forum, which bears the additional title: “Antitrust and Consumer Protection Law – The Interactions of the Courts and the Agencies.” Adding a new dimension to our relationship with the judiciary, the Federal Judicial Center has joined with the Section and George Mason University in co-sponsoring the Law & Economics Training Program only for judges to be held this fall.
Other areas of emphasis this year also rest upon foundations already begun. The Content Delivery and Technical Task Force continues, and we hope to implement recommendations in the area of electronic delivery. Barry Nigro, our Publications Officer, is evaluating electronic publications proposals. Anthony Chavez, our Secretary and Communications Officer, is seeking improvements to our Connect platform. Our consumer protection committees, under the leadership of Committee Officer Deb Garza and Consumer Protection Officer Tom Zych, are working on a plan to reach concrete goals to further our consumer protection mission. Kevin O’Connor, our Finance Officer, is soliciting proposals for creative reserves projects.
This year marks the start of work on our eighth edition of Antitrust Law Developments, which will debut in 2017. Titles we expect to see this year include a Primer on Price Discrimination, the Rule of Reason Handbook, the fourth edition of Mergers & Acquisitions: Understanding the Antitrust Issues, and the Indirect Purchaser Handbook. Our pipeline of books promises interesting reading ahead.
Now, I will highlight the exciting slate of conferences that Programs Officer Brian Henry will deliver in the coming year:
1. Merger Practice Workshop – October 1 in Washington, DC. Jackie Grise and Jerry Swindell are chairing this program based on a hypothetical with demonstrations and panels that will show what to do, and not to do, in the merger review process.
2. Antitrust and Intellectual Property Conference – October 8 in Palo Alto. In co-sponsorship with Stanford Law School and the ABA Intellectual Property Section, Sean Gates will bring together experts that will look at the cutting-edge issues involving the intersection of antitrust and intellectual property.
3. Fall Forum: The Interactions of the Courts and the Agencies – November 12 in Washington, DC. Co-chairs Gary Zanfagna and Heather Tewksbury have arranged for the Section to host judges from many of the most important antitrust cases of today along with the top enforcers of the FTC and Antitrust Division to look at how the courts and agencies influence each other and provide practice tips.
4. Next Generation Scholars – January 22 in New York City. Working with NYU, at this event Ned Cavanaugh will help stimulate discussion of new ideas from younger scholars.
5. International Cartel Workshop – February 3-5 in Tokyo. In the eleventh running of this unique demonstration-based program, Jarrett Arp and Don Klawiter assemble the key cartel enforcers from around the globe and top antitrust plaintiffs and defense attorneys to show exactly what they do and how they do it.
6. Spring Meeting – April 6-8 in Washington, DC. Come say goodbye to the JW Marriott at our flagship conference that has become a “must attend” for all those interested in antitrust throughout the world. Paul Friedman and Peggy Ward are organizing an outstanding event.
7. Antitrust in Asia – June 2-3 in Hong Kong. Multinationals are giving greater attention to antitrust enforcement in Asia as it ramps up. Koren Wong-Ervin and Chris Hockett are making sure this event will give greater understanding and guidanceand will emphasize points that will surprise those of you familiar with other competition enforcement regimes.
8. Sentencing Symposium – June in Washington, DC. Continuing our thought leadership objectives, Katie Hellings, Scott Hammond, and John Terzaken are arranging for this day of brainstorming whether there might be better means of handling the criminal punishment of those who violate our antitrust law.
As most of you already know, the Antitrust Section is blessed to have outstanding staff. They are professional, excellent at what they do, understand our business, and add value for our members. On top of that, they are wonderful, nice people. We owe them all our thanks, not just for doing their jobs extraordinarily well, but for all the extra time and effort they have made on our behalf. Needless to say, we want to keep them. This counsels that we be understanding, efficient, and prudent about when we call upon them. Please go out of your way to express your appreciation for their efforts and try first to use our online resources to find answers when appropriate.
As Howard Feller before me, I challenge each of you to make suggestions and continue our thought leadership and improve our Section. My goal is to leave a thriving Section to the Chair-Elect Bill MacLeod when he succeeds as Chair next year and to plant seeds that may continue to grow even when Vice-Chair Jon Jacobson takes the reins.
In closing, thank you all. I look forward to working with you.
Chair, Section of Antitrust Law 2015-2016