Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Announcing a New Feature for Competition Policy International - Corporate Counsel's Corner

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

The excellent Competition Policy International (and if you do not subscribe, you really should) has rolled out a new feature.  On a regular basis, I will interview in-house competition counsel in a new program "Corporate Counsel Corner."  This will be a roughly 10 minute video program.  The first interview, with Steve Cernak of GM, is now up on the web and free here.  The next interview will be with Anne Riley of Shell.  If you are an in-house counsel and would like to be interviewed by me, please send me an email and we can set something up.

A summary of the interview is below:

CPI Executive Board member Danny Sokol introduces CPI's new Corporate Counsel Corner feature; a series of interviews in which he brings to the forefront the corporate viewpoint on dealing with antitrust issues.

Steve CernakWe kick off with Steven Cernak. Steve Cernak is an attorney with the Marketing and Trade Regulation Section of the General Motors Corporation Legal Staff. He has practiced antitrust and trade regulation law for GM since 1989 and serves as lead competition law counsel for GM globally and lead counsel for GM’s Service Operations in the United States. Steve has managed GM’s responses to lemon law and breach of warranty lawsuits across the U.S. since 1999.

Danny and Steve first discuss the new merger guidelines and what changes, if any, these have produced in Steve's approach to filing and regulations.  They move on to explore the challenges of staying on top of the ever-increasing variety of international jurisdictional requirements; in particular, where outside counsel is required and how corporate counsel must now act as quarterbacks for a diverse team of internal and external lawyers and operating managers.

Taking the theme of sports a little further, Danny asks how corporate counsels should team with internal players who may not be familiar with antittrust issues, but need to be. Steve describes his educational process, which includes a novel game called "Compliance Land." Staying on internal matters, Steve also discusses some of the unique challenges that corporate counsels face, including the need to vet potential new members of the board of directors for conflicts of interest.

Danny and Steven then move on to discuss the challenges of communicating with "insider" lawyers and government officials when located in Detroit, or anywhere that isn't Washington, London, Brussels, or other administrative foci. As Steve points out, communication is a two-way street and regulators and lawyers need to come out of the beltway. Steve and Danny wrap up with a discussion of how antitrust activity seems to have migrated from a regulatory emphasis to a litigation emphasis.

Watch and enjoy:

Danny Sokol and Steve Cernak Interview

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