WELCOME to a Special Edition of E-Briefs, News and Notes from the Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section devoted to providing application information for law students and current judicial law clerks who may be interested in a position with a government enforcement agency. Many agencies such as the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and California Attorney General’s Office have Honors Program hiring. But the deadlines to apply come early—usually sometime in early September—so we have provided the details/links. Due to a heavy litigation load and healthy budgets, many competition enforcement agencies are hiring more experienced lateral attorneys as well, and we have included information for those who might be interested. We also have some tips for exploring a career in competition law; among them joining the California Lawyers Association and the Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section. If you have any interest in public service in the competition law area, this information could help start your career. Please pass this edition on to anyone that you think might be interested.
If you have any suggestions to improve future Special Editions, please let us know.
Message from the Chair
One of the greatest challenges for a law student or new lawyer is learning about the gateways into a practice area and being able to talk with experienced practitioners in those areas. In antitrust and competition law, many of us who never worked for a government agency look back now and wish we had done so at an early point in our careers. Bob Connolly, Editor in Chief of E-Briefs, News and Notes, conceived of this Special Edition to provide a concise summary and roadmap for those who might be interested in working at a government agency charged with enforcing the antitrust and consumer protection laws. For those who are interested, it also provides contact information for practitioners you should feel free to contact with your questions. Many thanks to Bob and Anthony Leon for this Special Edition, and also to the practitioners who are generously offering their time to provide the benefit of their experience, insight and advice.
David M. Goldstein, Chair of the Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section
Antitrust/Competition Careers in Government—Information for Students/Newer Lawyers and Experienced Laterals
The most frequent career advice given to anyone who wants a career in the field of antitrust/consumer protection is to spend time working in one of the federal, state or local antitrust/consumer protection enforcement agencies. The information below is provided to give law students or newer lawyers information about how to become aware of career opportunities in government. It is a very exciting time to think about a career in antitrust and competition law so if you are interested, read on.
When government job opportunities are announced there is often a short window of time in which to apply. It is, therefore, important if you are interested to set up alerts and know where to look for relevant openings. And for Honors Program positions for students and recent grads, the application deadline is early–around the first week of September–so it’s best to review the process now, starting with the information provided below. And don’t forget to consult with your placement office for potential tips and/or other information.
NOTE: The information below is just to help get you started. The agencies provide much more detail on their web sites, which should be consulted carefully for up-to-date information.
Suggestion for Job Seekers
If you are still in law school, or a recent grad, here are some tips for putting yourself in a better position to evaluate if antitrust is for you, and if so, where the opportunities might be:
- Join the California Lawyers Association’ Antitrust and Unfair Competition Section. Law students can join up to three sections of the California Lawyers’ Association (CLA) for free. We’d love to have you.
- Create (and keep up-to- date) a LinkedIn account and join in antitrust related LinkedIn groups.
- Through the California Lawyers Association, LinkedIn, or other sources, find and attend webinars or other programs in the field that are of interest. Many are free to students and a great way to network.
- If you are still in law school, take an antitrust/economics course. It will help you decide whether you have an interest in this area of law, and if you do, it will show that interest to potential future employers.
- Talk to the Career Office in your law school for information/contacts they may have.
- For anyone, if you are interviewing with a government agency, read/study their website before the interview. Do your homework. This applies to any job interview. The Antitrust Division, USDOJ, for example, has a very informative website. Don’t ask questions in an interview that might show you haven’t looked at the Agencies’ website. Do ask questions such as, “I read on your website…. Can you explain…?”
Antitrust/Consumer Protection Government Opportunities
There are several possible avenues for job government job opportunities in antitrust: Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice; Federal Trade Commission, and Attorney General’s Office, State of California. These are the main, but not the only, sources of competition law related positions. Some federal agencies such as the FCC also have attorneys who review competition issues. Some District Attorneys’ offices have consumer protection/antitrust sections. Other large states besides California may be hiring in their competition sections. A thorough search may yield some surprising opportunities.
United States Department of Justice, Antitrust Division
The Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice has responsibility for criminal enforcement of the antitrust laws as well as civil enforcement and merger responsibility. The Antitrust Division hires new attorneys through its Honors Program as well as making lateral hires. The Honors Program also hires summer law interns.
The Antitrust Division has field offices in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York with headquarters in Washington, DC.
The Antitrust Division will be hiring attorneys in the upcoming year. On March 28, 2022, President Biden submitted his Budget for Fiscal Year 2023 to Congress, including $37.6 billion for the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), which was an overall increase of $2.3 billion from the previous administration’s DOJ request for Fiscal Year 2022. The DOJ specifically requested a critical investment for the Antitrust Division of about $273.0 million, an $88 million increase, to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement and protect consumers. Antitrust enforcement will be one of DOJ’s six priorities through end of September 2023.
Honors Program Internships for 2cd Year Law Students
The Antitrust Division typically hires several summer interns for each of their offices/sections. Applications are due early–by the first week of September.
The Attorney General’s Honors Program
Since 1953, the Attorney General’s Honors Program has been recognized as the nation’s premier entry-level federal attorney recruitment program. The Honors Program attracts candidates from hundreds of law schools across the country representing a broad cross-section of experiences and interests. Selections are made based on many elements of a candidate’s background, including a demonstrated commitment to government service, academic achievement, leadership, journal, moot court and mock trial experience, clinical experience, past employment, and extracurricular activities that relate to the work of Justice and the Antitrust Division. The Department of Justice seeks high caliber attorneys to advance its mission and welcomes applications from candidates whose backgrounds reflect the Nation’s rich diversity.
The Honors Program consists of two tracks—internships for law students and permanent positions for graduating students and judicial law clerks:
The Summer Law Intern Program (SLIP) is the Department’s competitive recruitment program for compensated summer internships. Each year, the Department hires approximately 50 paid summer legal interns. The majority of SLIP hires are second year law students who work at Justice the summer between their second and third years of law school. The SLIP is also open to recent law school graduates between graduation and the start of a judicial clerkship or full-time qualifying legal fellowship.
Eligibility is limited to graduating law students and recent law school graduates who entered judicial clerkships, graduate law programs, or qualifying legal fellowships within 9 months of law school graduation and who meet additional eligibility requirements.
The Antitrust Division offers fourteen permanent positions and one two-year fellowship in the locations listed below. Antitrust Division applicants may designate their interest in specific locations on the application.
Washington, DC (9)
New York (1)
San Francisco (2)
Antitrust Division Assistant Attorney General’s Honors Fellowship (1) (Washington, D.C.) (Letters of recommendation required – see Fellowship page for details.)
Applications for Honors Program positions opened on July 31, 2022.
- July 31: Application opens
- Early September: Application deadline
- Late September: Interview candidates selected
- Mid-October – early November: Main Honors Program interview period
- Late November – February: Offers Extended
Antitrust Division Lateral Hiring for Experienced Attorneys
As a general rule, an attorney who is an active member of the bar of any U.S. jurisdiction and has at least one-year post-J.D. legal or other relevant experience been eligible for an experienced attorney position. Nevertheless, some attorney positions require greater experience and additional eligibility criteria.
- All Justice organizations advertise their vacancies for experienced attorneys on the DOJ website. For email updates, click here. Another source to be aware of is www.usajobs.gov. All federal government jobs are advertised here. In the “Enter a Department/Agency Name field,” type “antitrust division” and press Enter.
The following individual currently works at the Antitrust Division and would be happy to talk to you about his experience:
I joined the Division in 2016 as an Honors Attorney after graduating from Stanford Law School, where I was a joint degree student (I finally submitted my dissertation and received my history PhD in 2020). I cannot imagine a better or more interesting line of work and am happy to chat about/sing the praises of the Division and the work we do. The best way to reach me is by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.Andrew Schupanitz
Federal Trade Commission
Like the Antitrust Division, the FTC will be experiencing a significant boost in budget. President Joe Biden’s proposed budget would give an 11% funding increase to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Under the Biden budget, released March 28, 2022, the FTC’s budget would see a $139 million increase. With 1,140 current employees, the FTC is looking to hire not less than 300 full time employees during FY 2023.
The FTC has field offices, including in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with headquarters in Washington DC. For general information about jobs in the FTC, click: Apply to the FTC where you can find information about current job postings, application instructions, evaluation information, displaced federal employees, and special hiring authorities. You can also apply to the Honors Paralegal Program through USAjobs.gov.
Attorney Hiring in the Bureau of Competition
The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition enforces the nation’s antitrust laws. These laws promote vigorous competition and protect consumers from anticompetitive mergers and business practices, such as monopolistic conduct, attempts to monopolize, and conspiracies in restraint of trade. In addition to its enforcement work, the Bureau also provides guidance about the application of the antitrust laws to various stakeholders, including Congress, policy makers, other federal and state government agencies, foreign governments, industry participants, and the public.
Careers in the Bureau of Consumer Protection
The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection—A Great Place to Work
The Federal Trade Commission—the nation’s consumer protection agency—is a dynamic organization that deals with evolving consumer issues, emerging technologies, and plain old-fashioned fraud. The Bureau of Consumer Protection works “For The Consumer” to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them.
For announcements across all agencies within the federal government, check out USA Jobs. You can create a profile, explore opportunities and apply for open positions.
Peter Huston currently works at the FTC in San Francisco and also has had experience in private practice and the Antitrust Division, USDOJ. He would be happy to talk to you about his experience: email@example.com.
State of California, Office of the Attorney General
There are two primary sections/offices in the California AG’s office dealing with antitrust and competition enforcement.
Antitrust & Business Competition
The Attorney General’s Antitrust Law Section enforces California’s antitrust laws both civilly and criminally, and federal antitrust laws civilly, through business merger/acquisition reviews, investigations of potential violations of the law, and, where necessary, litigation.
Competition Unit, Healthcare Rights & Access Section
The Competition Unit, Healthcare Rights and Access Section, Public Rights Division, California Office of the Attorney General investigates and enforces California’s antitrust and competition laws as well as federal antitrust laws as they might impact the affordability, accessibility, and quality of healthcare and pharmaceutical products in California.
For information about jobs at California’s Department of Justice and how to apply, click here. The AG’s website also contains information about the Attorney General’s Honor Program (here). The Attorney General’s Honors Program is a highly competitive program for recent law school graduates and newly admitted lawyers who are committed to a career in public service.
Rob McNary, Robert.McNary@doj.ca.gov (Antitrust Section) would be happy to talk to you about his experience.
Good luck in your job search. Be sure to utilize the resources available to you including agency websites, your placement office and any contacts you may have or can develop. A career in competition law is something you will likely never regret and a government enforcement agency is a great place to start.