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November 11, 2022

ABA Antitrust Law Section explores range of timely issues in one-day forum in Washington

CHICAGO, Nov. 11, 2022The American Bar Association Antitrust Law Section will convene its annual Antitrust Fall Forum on Nov. 17 in Washington with a full day of in-person programs, including sessions on legislative outlooks, rulemaking and consumer issues.

2022 Antitrust Fall Forum
Sponsored by the ABA Antitrust Law Section

Thursday, Nov. 17

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C., 20004

The program, titled “Repairing the World with Antitrust — A Peek into the Toolbox,” will focus on significant and groundbreaking antitrust, consumer protection and privacy developments over the past year and provide insight into what to expect in antitrust in 2023. The fall event continues previous discussions about whether antitrust can and should “repair the world” and, if so, what tools are potentially available to do so as well as to how to measure success.

Gwendolyn J. Lindsay Cooley, chair of the National Association of Attorneys General Multistate Antitrust Task Force, will deliver a keynote address on states as competition laboratories from 11:35-11:55 a.m. She is the assistant attorney general for antitrust in the Office of the Wisconsin Attorney General and has served in that office for nearly 18 years. In her current job, she directs and manages all antitrust litigation on behalf of Wisconsin.

The day-long program will offer the following panel discussions:

  • Legislative Reform: Competition Policy as a Staple Gun — Updating the antitrust laws does not necessarily mean amending the Sherman or Clayton Act. It can be legislation aimed at firms or practices within a specific industry or sector, such as the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, and the Open App Markets Act. The panel will explore the articulated reasons, and perceived advantages (or disadvantages), of a targeted approach.
    8:45-9:45 a.m.
  • Rulemaking: Duct Tape What’s Unfair or Anti-competitive — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sees rulemaking as a vehicle for setting certain competition and consumer protection standards in contracts and business practices. Assuming it has the requisite rulemaking authority, are non-compete agreements and privacy/data security practices the best candidates for this effort? A panel of experts weigh in and look at the prospective timetable and what resources would be needed.
    10:30-11:30 a.m.

  • Defining Consumers: Taking out the Tape Measure — One of the roiling debates in antitrust circles concerns the continuing validity and vitality of the “consumer welfare” prescription. One way to reexamine this fundamental question is to identify and characterize the “consumer” whose interests are to be protected. The panel will ponder when that is done, are there competing interests that emerge and do trade-offs have to be made?
    1:05 to 2:05 p.m.
  • Guidance: Getting Upright with a Plumb Bob — Agency guidance to the business community has long been viewed as a practical way of communicating competition norms and principles and outlining how prosecutorial discretion is exercised. When guidance has been withdrawn or is under reconsideration, what should be the interim message? The panel will look at what industry participants can expect next from the agencies.
    2:55-3:55 p.m.

  • Settlements: Tightening up Relief with a Screwdriver — The federal antitrust enforcement agencies have been taking a more skeptical view of the efficacy of both structural and behavioral merger remedies. Moreover, the FTC may incorporate prior approval and prior notice provisions designed to cabin and curb future acquisitions. The program will examine these shifts and  their effect on settlements.
    4-5 p.m.

The full agenda, including speakers, is here. Media are welcome to attend but must register in advance by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, by emailing [email protected]. ABA COVID protocols will be in effect, and details will be mailed to those who register.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.