March 10, 2021

ABA antitrust spring meeting showcases top U.S., European enforcement officials

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2021 — The American Bar Association Antitrust Law Section’s 69th Antitrust Law Virtual Spring Meeting, the largest gathering of competition and consumer protection professionals from around the world, will be held March 23-26 online for the second consecutive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Events include a showcase on the future of antitrust; updates from the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and states attorneys general; a technology panel featuring Columbia law professor Tim Wu, recently named special assistant to President Joe Biden; and a conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham.

What:
69th Antitrust Law Virtual Spring Meeting
Sponsored by the ABA Antitrust Law Section

When:
Tuesday-Friday, March 23-26

Where:
Online  

The conference will bring together 1,700 government enforcement officials, private attorneys, in-house corporate counsel, academics, judges, economists and businesspeople from 33 countries to share knowledge about all aspects of competition and consumer protection and data privacy law.  

A key highlight is Friday’s Enforcers Roundtable with Sarah Oxenham Allen, chair of the National Association of Attorneys General Multistate Antitrust Task Force; Sarah Court, commissioner, Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, Richard A. Powers, acting assistant attorney general, Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, Washington, D.C.; Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, acting chair, FTC, Washington, D.C.; and Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president & commissioner, European Commission, Brussels; discussing enforcement priorities, transactions, investigations and cases that are making headlines. . The program is scheduled from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET.

Other program highlights include:

Wednesday:

“Agency Update with the U.S. Department of Justice” —Department of Justice antitrust attorneys Kathleen S. O’Neill, senior director of Investigations & Litigation; Richard A. Powers, acting assistant attorney general; Marvin N. Price, Jr., director of criminal enforcement; and Jeffrey M. Wilder, economics director of enforcement; discuss the latest in civil enforcement, cartel cases and policy initiatives. 10-11 a.m. ET

“International Cartel Cooperation: Has the Needle Moved?” — Last year the International Cartel Workshop analyzed current challenges and trends in the coordination of global cartel enforcement. The International Competition Network then released guidance aimed at enhancing cross-border leniency cooperation. Is coordinated cartel enforcement still a priority in 2021 for antitrust authorities around the world? Speakers include Alexandre Cordeiro Macedo, superintendent general, Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense, Brasilia; Aimee L. Imundo, international counsel, U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, Washington, D.C.; and Maria Jaspers, head of unit cartels, DG Competition, European Commission, Brussels. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET

“A Discussion with Jon Meacham” — The Antitrust Section Chair will engage Pulitzer Prize-winning author, historian and presidential biographer Jon Meacham in a one-on-one conversation. 12:40-1:25 p.m. ET

“Consumer Protection Year in Review” — Last year was a busy one for regulators grappling with cutting-edge enforcement issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic such as consumer refunds, claim substantiation, price gouging, endorsements and consumer reviews used for claims substantiation and privacy. Lesley A. Fair, senior attorney, FTC, Washington, D.C.; Gregory W. Fortsch, associate general counsel, privacy officer, The Nature’s Bounty Company, New York; and Karl A. Racine, attorney general of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.; will discuss current enforcement priorities and initiatives. 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET

Thursday:

“Vertical is the New Horizontal” — The U.S. antitrust enforcement agencies recently revised guidelines about how they evaluate vertical mergers, a growing topic of discussion among enforcers, academics and even politicians. What will their impact be in the U.S., how do they compare to approaches outside the U.S. and how will they affect consolidating industries like health care? Speakers include Heather Johnson, senior counsel to the director, Bureau of Competition, FTC, Washington, D.C.; Jill C. Maguire, assistant chief, Healthcare & Consumer Products Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, Washington, D.C.; and Amber Wessels-Yen, assistant attorney general, Office of the Attorney General, New York, NY. 10-11 a.m. ET

“The Chair’s Showcase: The Future of Antitrust” — Antitrust is at an inflection point. Voices across the political spectrum are asking if new antitrust legislation needed. If so, what should it look like? This program is the culmination of the section’s yearlong exploration of the theme of The Future of Antitrust. Speakers including Christine S. Wilson, commissioner, FTC, Washington, D.C.; and Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Baker Botts LLP, Washington, D.C.; will discuss the prospect of legislative reform and what it might mean for antitrust enforcement. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

“High Technology Deals: Are New Standards Warranted?” — The 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines do not explicitly mention platform economics or network effects, killer acquisitions or acquisitions of nascent technologies by Big Tech platforms. Do the guidelines provide the tools needed to address these issues or do they need an upgrade? A panel of experts to discuss this include FTC Commissioner Noah J. Phillips and Tim Wu, special assistant to President Joe Biden on technology. 2-3 p.m. ET

“Briefing with the State Enforcers” — Antitrust and consumer protection enforcement by state attorneys general is at an all-time high. State attorneys general are among those who will discuss their recent enforcement activities and their future agenda. Speakers include Lizabeth A. Brady, chief, Multistate Antitrust Enforcement, Tallahassee, Florida; Malinda Lee, deputy AG, Los Angeles; Jared Q. Libet, assistant deputy AG, Columbia, South Carolina; and Abigail U. Wood, deputy AG, Philadelphia. 2-3 p.m. ET

“Views from the Bench: Antitrust Edition” — Judges who have presided over some of the most challenging and rigorously contested antitrust and complex litigation cases in the past several years will discuss lessons and observations from the bench. The panel includes Denise L. Cote, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; Amit P. Mehta, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Washington; Sarah E. Pitlyk, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, St. Louis; and Jon S. Tigar, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland. 2-3 p.m. ET

Friday:

“Agency Update With the FTC” — Hear directly from the Federal Trade Commission’s acting directors of the Bureau of Competition, Bureau of Consumer Protection and Bureau of Economics about the latest in antitrust and consumer protection enforcement and policy initiatives. Speakers include Daniel Kaufman, acting director, Bureau of Consumer Protection; Maribeth Petrizzi, acting director, Bureau of Competition; and Michael Vita, acting director, Bureau of Economics. 10-11 a.m. ET

“Future of U.S. Privacy Law & Legislation” — Congress has considered but not passed privacy legislation. States like California have passed their own laws and ballot initiatives, while Europe has raised the bar. With federal-level changes and industry proposals like data portability afoot, what should we anticipate and who will it affect? Speakers include Aryeh S. Friedman, vice president, associate general counsel and chief compliance officer, Dun & Bradstreet Corporation, Short Hill, N.J.; and Stacey Schesser, supervising deputy attorney general, San Francisco. 10-11 a.m. ET

The complete agenda can be viewed online.

This event is open to members of the press. You must register by 11 a.m. ET, March 22. For media registration, please contact Robert Robinson at robert.robinson@americanbar.org.

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