Antitrust Merger Work - Advice?

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Antitrust Merger Work - Advice?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:55 pm

I am just starting my Biglaw career, and am trying to find what I want to do there. I like the people here who do antitrust merger work (HSR Second Requests seem to be a big thing) and am going to pull some assignments in that direction to see if it's something I like. Hoping to get TLS experience to adequately warn or disabuse me of any misconceptions I might have about it.

Here's what I think I'll like about it:

1. Some lit stuff (read: discovery), but not motions practice or trial (I hate Westlaw and Lexis so much)
2. Still deal-focused, so I may get to work with other corporate groups while I'm still deciding where to make my career
3. Projects seem very intense for a relatively short amount of time, rather than endlessly long lit matters
4. The group in our firm seems to get a lot of work, so I'm hoping that means we don't get axed in a recession

What are the biggest downsides to antitrust M&A work? Unpredictable schedule? Few exit options?

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Re: Antitrust Merger Work - Advice?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:00 pm

Extremely cyclical. Entirely dependent on M&A practice group and you're at their mercy for when antitrust gets to review a deal.

The matters have been longer as of late with renewed DOJ and FTC antitrust focus.

Lots and lots of doc review for HSR filings.

Not many exit options, but more than white collar I would say because it's mix corporate and lit and you could convince someone you do lit.

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Re: Antitrust Merger Work - Advice?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:51 pm

From what I saw while I was in M&A, the HSR filings and related work seemed pretty rote and boring. Lots of paperwork and paper pushing. Never did it myself (others did it for M&A deals I worked on), but I heard this from several folks that did.

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Re: Antitrust Merger Work - Advice?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:From what I saw while I was in M&A, the HSR filings and related work seemed pretty rote and boring. Lots of paperwork and paper pushing. Never did it myself (others did it for M&A deals I worked on), but I heard this from several folks that did.

It depends a lot of if your firm actually handles second requests. M&A practices spin off a lot of HSR work, which is indeed pretty boring, and gets rote very quickly. Many firms employ more or less a dedicated counsel to handle HSR filings for this reason - the work needs to get done, but it doesn't really require a lot of "special sauce" or partner attention.

If your firm also handles actual merger investigations, that's very different on the other hand. For junior associates, there's a decent amount of document review, both actual review, as well as managing contract attorneys. As you get more senior, there's more advocacy, as you'll start meeting with FTC/DOJ to address whatever concerns they have. This is largely putting together powerpoint presentations and working with economists to analyze data. I'd say I spend ~60-70% of my time working on slide decks, or in excel.

The work is probably closer to litigation in terms of substance (doc review, advocacy), but is closer to deal work in terms of feel/lifestyle (matters are intensive for a shorter period of time, everyone is mostly "working together" - not a lot of "gotcha!" moments). As mentioned however, the advocacy is mostly in powerpoints and white papers, not in legal briefs. I've logged onto Westlaw/Lexis like twice in the last five years, while I live in Google image search.

Exit options are probably pretty bad. Larger companies have dedicated in-house antitrust counsel, so there are some in-house opportunities there, but they're not beating down your door either. I get significantly fewer calls than my peers from law school.

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Re: Antitrust Merger Work - Advice?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:32 pm

What are the options like for someone who starts at FTC/DOJ?

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Re: Antitrust Merger Work - Advice?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What are the options like for someone who starts at FTC/DOJ?

Very strong if you want to end up at a firm. The job isn't quite as incestuous as white collar, but it's close. Because most deals live and die at the point where the FTC/DOJ decide to challenge them or not, there is a lot of value in relationships with FTC/DOJ staff and management. Firms value that a bunch, so they hire from FTC/DOJ ranks. I'd say half the partners at my firm have FTC/DOJ experience?



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