Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting This Week and Thoughts on Outside Law Firms

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

This week is the always excellent ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting. It is the 60th annual Spring Meeting or roughly the amount of time that Milton Handler was active as an antitrust professor for his career. This year I will not make it as I cannot justify leaving my wife at home alone with the baby (and our other girls) for such an extended period of time. Every year I have attended the program has been great and what always strikes me is how international the meetings have become.

At the Spring Meeting, one thing that I always love to do is to talk to in-house antitrust counsel. They are the front lines of dealing with the business unit on issues such as compliance, pricing and product strategies, M&A, etc. Oftentime I hear from counsel who rely very heavily on their outside law firms. Last week in my antitrust mergers class, I had the privilege of having Ron Stern of GE and his outside counsel Debbie Feinstein of Arnold & Porter discuss competition issues in the Comcast/NBC Universal merger. The two worked incredibly well together in the presentation and you can tell that they have a great working relationship. This semester has been incredible in terms of the talent that has discussed merger cases for my class (more on that in a future post includes lots of thank yous).

Given that antitrust lawyers try to work so hard to create success for their clients, I tried to think of a musical theme for the Spring Meeting that captured this relationship. My choice is an acoustic version of Weezer's "Jamie", in which Weezer sings lovingly about their lawyer.

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