Anonymous User wrote:Antitrust associate here.
(1) A background in economics could be helpful, and an interest in economics is definitely helpful, but you don't really need to know much. You'll learn the relevant concepts in your law school antitrust course. As another poster mentioned, the bulk of the economic analysis is done by economists. As a lawyer, you'll need to be able to converse with them and use their findings but, most likely, you'll have been working with the subject matter for a few years before you are responsible for that.
(2) There is a good amount of antitrust work in NYC too. Differences in types of cases and prominence of practice have more to do with firm (or the specific partners bringing in work) than city (as between DC/NYC). Some firms will also have a lot of cross-office work, so the types of cases don't really differ. Most firms don't have separate antitrust groups as far as associate assignments are concerned, though. That is, usually antitrust work is part of a general litigation group, so getting in with the partners who do antitrust work will be on you. The only firms I can think of in NYC with prominent antitrust practices and where associates are assigned to do antitrust work exclusively are Skadden, Wilson Sonsini, and possibly White & Case. So, if you decide you are seriously interested in antitrust, it's worth asking about how work is assigned when you are interviewing for SA positions, so that you can either get into an antitrust-only group or make efforts early on to get to know a partner who does a lot of antitrust work. Outside of DC and NYC (in the U.S.), antitrust work is less common. There are some CA firms that do a decent amount too.
(3) This depends on whether you do litigation or transactional antitrust work. At some firms (e.g. where antitrust is a standalone group), you may be able to do both. On the litigation side, it can be a mix of private litigation and government investigations. Both involve a lot of document review for junior associates (mostly looking for communications with competitors, business documents indicating how decisions were made and for what reasons, etc). Antitrust litigation can be particularly doc review heavy because, especially with government investigations, the scope of document requests can be very broad with limited ability to negotiate them. Otherwise, the tasks are similar to any other litigation work - legal research, etc. On the deal side, part of what junior associates do is help to assess the industry/competitive effects of the deal early on. This usually entails going through publicly available information (and possibly data rooms) to collect market information. As far as the approval stage, junior associates help write white papers to present the case for antitrust approval (there may also be affidavits and depositions involved), help prepare HSR filings, etc. For a first year, these things basically involve more doc review, but with a narrower scope.
(4) There can be overlap between IP and antitrust issues but they aren't usually dealt with in depth by the same people. I do think that a basic IP class in law school is helpful. I have worked on several cases that rested heavily on IP issues (most often patent issues) and it helps to understand the basics. The extent to which tasks are handled by antitrust counsel, IP counsel, or both depends a lot on each client's preferences and relationship with counsel. Regardless, the antitrust issues usually depend on the IP arguments, so it's difficult to avoid working with the IP issues somewhat. For example, as a junior, you may end up looking through documents containing patent applications and related communications, with the task of finding evidence that a party did or did not think a patent was valid. You learn as you go along, and it's not like a law school IP class is going to teach you how to understand whatever scientific content is at issue, but knowing the basics of IP processes/standards is a good start.
Cleary Gottlieb currently has the #1 antitrust/competition practice (at least by Vault). You should look into alot of what they do especially through their DC office.