Antitrust lawyers wear many hats, including litigation, regulatory, and counseling. They often work with economic experts and frequently draft, edit, and review documents. Lawyers specializing in antitrust law represent businesses accused of violating competition laws and individuals and businesses damaged by stifled competition. They often handle large, complex cases involving many billable hours.


An antitrust lawyer offers counsel to companies regarding legal issues. For example, a company might ask for advice on a potential merger or joint venture with antitrust concerns. Also, a company should develop an antitrust compliance policy or review the terms of a licensing agreement for intellectual property that could be fraught with antitrust issues. Civil antitrust cases are generally brought to challenge a business deal or practice that lessens competition in the market, thereby harming businesses and consumers. The lawsuits are often brought as class actions, allowing several companies or people who have been abused to pool their resources in a single court action.

These legal disputes typically focus on the Sherman Act, which prohibits certain types of business activities considered illegal monopolistic behavior. These practices include price-fixing agreements among rival businesses, tying and exclusive dealing arrangements, mergers likely to lessen competition in the relevant market substantially, and other conduct violating consumer protection laws. A skilled attorney in this area must have excellent litigation skills and be comfortable negotiating with large businesses that are often reluctant to admit wrongdoing. In addition, an antitrust attorney must be able to research and understand economics, an important component of many antitrust cases.

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Antitrust laws are vital to protect businesses and consumers from unfair competitor tactics. As such, antitrust lawyers often work to enforce or defend against a wide range of antitrust lawsuits and government investigations. They may also assist with mergers and corporate transactions that raise antitrust issues. Litigation matters in antitrust law usually center around allegations of monopolization, price-fixing, and other agreements and activities that lessen competition. Many of these cases involve class action lawsuits that allow numerous people and businesses harmed by a violation to join a single lawsuit. As a result, these cases can be extremely complicated and require the help of expert witnesses. Attorney focusing on antitrust litigation often finds themselves negotiating, depositing, and rapidly arguing motions. These cases can be very document heavy and rely heavily on economic evidence.

For this reason, antitrust lawyers need to be comfortable with economic theory. An experienced antitrust lawyer will also be able to identify the antitrust-liability risks in licensing agreements and other business contracts. It can be a good way for businesses to avoid antitrust violations without taking more costly legal action. Sometimes, a company should develop an internal antitrust policy or conduct an antitrust audit before engaging in any significant business activity.

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As an antitrust lawyer, you will work with companies to ensure they comply with the law. If they are not, they may face fines or other consequences. You might also be involved in settlement negotiations. These can be a great way for businesses to avoid costly litigation. You might also be called upon to help them implement new procedures to prevent future violations. Often, your clients will come to you because they think they have an antitrust claim. However, sometimes the client’s claim doesn’t fit an antitrust statute, and you need to find another legal angle that does. For instance, your client’s case might work a Lanham Act claim (for trademark or false advertising), intellectual property, tortious interference with contract, or a state unfair trade practice statute. Many of these cases are brought as class actions, allowing multiple companies or individuals negatively affected by the business deal to pool their resources in one lawsuit. You must be familiar with all of these types of litigation. As you can imagine, an antitrust career requires many billable hours. So, if you’re interested in this area, it might be best to join a large firm where you can get more experience.

Class Actions

If you’re a plaintiff-side antitrust lawyer, you take on the case of individuals or businesses harmed by unfair business deals that violate antitrust laws. Often, these cases are filed as class actions, allowing victims to pool their resources for one court case. This type of lawsuit can be a lucrative way for an attorney to make money and is typically billed by the hour, though some attorneys may choose to work on a contingency basis. A good antitrust attorney is usually business-oriented, able to develop a strong understanding of their client’s objectives and how those might be affected by the various aspects of antitrust law. They can frame arguments and supporting evidence in ways that resonate with government agencies, courts, or opposing counsel.

In addition to handling mergers and litigation, antitrust attorneys advise companies on strategic ventures that could implicate antitrust considerations. They frequently collaborate with other attorneys and business executives to assist. Often, these issues come to light when a company is considering a large merger or acquisition. In these situations, an antitrust lawyer might help prepare what’s known as a Hart-Scott-Rodino filing, which notifies federal and state agencies of the potential transaction. It is a requirement for transactions over certain size thresholds and must be done quickly to avoid blocking a deal.

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