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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Loyola Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies: Student Programs

Posted by Spencer Waller

Thanks again to Danny for the chance to guest blog about the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies which I have directed for the past ten years at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  Last time, I provided a quick overview of the history, mission, and activities of the Institute.  This time I want to focus on the student-oriented aspects of the Institute.  Next time (if Danny doesn’t cut me off) I will discuss our research, publications, and symposia.
 
While Loyola does not have a LLM or SJD program focused on competition or consumer law, we do have LLM and SJD programs in Health Law and Business Law where US and international graduate students occasionally pursue topics in competition or consumer law where the Institute plays a supporting role.
 
The Institute plays its most direct role in creating for the JD program a rich and varied offering of courses in the competition and consumer law area that are available to all students at the law school.  Besides the basic Antitrust and Consumer law courses, the Institute uses its resources to ensure a wide variety of advanced courses from full-time, visiting, and adjunct faculty.  Depending on the year, these have included Health Care Antitrust; International and Comparative Antitrust; Antitrust and Intellectual Property; Cyber Law; Economic Regulation; European Union Law; Law and Economics; Mergers and Acquisitions; the Preparation and Trial of an Antitrust Case; plus externships and independent studies.
 
The Institute also sponsors a unique fellowship for students at the law school. The goal of the Fellowships is to create a group of students (and faculty) with interest in antitrust and consumer law. Outstanding incoming first-year students are selected as well as students in the top third of their class after their first year.  We seek to create a small community of like minded student within the law school and help train the next generation of antitrust and consumer lawyers for the years to come.
 
The Fellowship is limited to students with demonstrated interest or experience in antitrust and consumer protection law.  In the fall of each year, there is an informal application process where interested students are asked to submit a cover letter, transcript, resume, and short personal statement describing their interest and qualifications. Submitting one or two letters of recommendation is optional. Finalists have a short interview with me and some of the current student fellows.  While we have occasionally accepted student fellows with substantial prior antitrust or consumer law experience as they enter Loyola as first years, the vast majority of fellows are selected at the beginning of their second year.
 
Fellows are required to:
 
    * Maintain his or her standing in the top third of the class
    * Complete the basic Antitrust and Consumer Law courses
    * Participate in either an advanced antitrust seminar, independent study or externship with a         substantial writing component
    * Attend all events of the Institute and participate in Institute projects
Fellows receive an annual stipend of at least $3000.00 in addition to any other financial aid they receive.  Third years fellows also receive a $500 travel budget to attend the conference of their choice, which is usually the ABA Antitrust Section spring meeting in Washington, DC. All Loyola law students are also eligible to apply for summer grants underwritten by the Institute to promote otherwise unpaid public interest/public sector work in antitrust and consumer protection.
 
In any given year, there have been between six and twelve student fellows.  In addition to their course work, the fellows have engaged in such projects as testifying before the Illinois State Senate on proposed changes to the Illinois Antitrust Act; assisting in the preparation of written comments to US and international competition and consumer agencies; publishing articles in the Antitrust Law Journal, World Competition Law and Economics Review, the European Consumer Law Journal, and the full array of student journals at Loyola; preparing most of the entries for the News and Views section of the Institute web site; and externing at such placements as the Federal Trade Commission, Illinois Antitrust Bureau, Citizens Utility Board, and the Illinois Commerce Commission.
 
I will spend more time next time describing the symposia and conferences at the Institute in a typical year, but the student fellows help organize and attend both the large more formal programs (and all speakers dinners), as well as monthly informal brown bag lunches where we focus more on the practice of antitrust and consumer law from all perspectives rather than the current of the law.
 
The goal is to produce excellent well-rounded lawyers with a special interest and knowledge in antitrust and consumer that goes far beyond the average newly minted J.D.  Obviously, not every graduating fellow has the interest or the opportunity to specialize in these areas of the law.  However, the more than sixty alumni fellows to date have gone on to federal and state judicial clerkships, practice with large and small firms doing both plaintiff and defendant work in antitrust and consumer law, the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Brooklyn Legal Services, the Legal Assistance Foundation, and corporate legal departments, as well as the full range of public and private law practice in other areas.  Now ten years into the program, it is always a moment of great pride when one of the early fellows now in practice can be of help to the newly graduating student fellows as they enter the legal world in these uncertain times.
 
All told, running the fellowship program is part classroom teaching, part curriculum development, part externship supervision, part editorial work for writing projects both large and small, part informal placement advice, part tour guide at the ABA spring antitrust meeting, and a lot of student contact with some of the best, most motivated students I have had the pleasure of teaching.
 
If you are interested in more information about the student fellowship program or if I can provide any help set up similar programs at other schools please contact me at antitrust@luc.edu.

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