Monday, October 29, 2012

A Bad Antitrust Policy by the Florida Bar

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Earlier today, I received the following email from the Florida Bar:

I am a member of the Florida Bar's Antitrust and Trade Certification Committee, and just wanted to let you know that you may have an opportunity to get a certification without taking an exam--assuming you have been a member of the Bar for 20 plus years. Have you? If not, you can still certify but would have to take an exam.

I was horrified by this policy. My response was as follows:

As a policy matter, let me suggest that at automatic 20 year grandfathering clause reduces the quality signal of the certification as many people with one off experiences 15 years ago would claim antitrust expertise. This cheapens the certification for those practitioners who do have antitrust skills.

Antitrust by its nature is an area of complex economic regulation. I don't think that large companies will hire based on an antitrust certificate. However, unsophisticated middle sized firms with real antitrust problems as potential victims as well as individuals caught in a cartel investigation might be duped into hiring a shlock lawyer based on this bogus standard and the bar does a disservice by promoting bad lawyers without antitrust skills as so-called experts. 

This policy suggests a real problem with the Florida Bar regarding its standards. In my opinion, makes the state bar look rather pedestrian.

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