Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law

Competition: Fall 2020, Vol 30, No. 2


Elizabeth C. Pritzker
Pritzker Levine LLP
Emeryville, CA

I start this column with what likely will be the most common sentence of 2020. The year brought many challenges and quite a few obstacles.

For public safety reasons and to try to stem the spread of COVID-19, we all "practiced" social distancing and became quite experienced in it—learning first-hand what it means to both work and live at home. We relied on Zoom as our meeting space: we tested its limits and, more than once, it tested ours. Cries for social and racial justice bring to light, once again, systematic inequality in public health and the criminal justice system. We grieved (and sometimes watched) the brutal shootings and unfortunate deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and too many others.

I am proud to have had the privilege of chairing the Executive Committee of the Antitrust, Unfair Competition and Privacy Section during this time. Throughout the year, our outstanding volunteers put together terrific virtual programs and networking events, continued with the publication of timely pieces in our monthly newsletter, e-Briefs, and authored, edited, or contributed to the California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law treatise, as well as this edition of Competition.

Our efforts to meet the challenges of the year are noteworthy. We began the year by updating and clarifying our Section’s mission: to engage, inform, and inspire generations of lawyers to further the practice of antitrust, competition, and privacy law in California. The Section fulfills its mission through its working committees, mentoring programs, and diversity and inclusion initiatives, and by engaging a wide range of perspectives and views to develop, support, and highlight diverse thought-leaders in the antitrust, UCL, and privacy fields.

The Section shelved in-person, live events that had been planned, for obvious reasons, and hosted a whole range of successful virtual CLE programs and webinars. The discussion topics included: Antitrust Economics: Fundamental Concepts Practitioners Need to Know; What’s It Like to be In-House Competition Counsel; Antitrust and Health Care Provider Consolidation; and High Tech Mergers in Silicon Valley. We also sponsored two well-attended COVID-19-specific webinars: one addressing Pricing Issues During COVID-19, and the other focusing on Mental and Emotional Wellness for Lawyers During COVID-19.

The Section doubled down on its commitment to mentoring, diversity, and inclusion. The Section held its Fourth Annual "Celebrating Women in Competition Law in California" in March. We sponsored a webinar on Why You Need a Diverse Trial Team in June. Over four separate days in July and August, we hosted virtual meetings on Networking and Career Development for Young Lawyers and Law Students. And, the Executive Committee is hard at work developing a new Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Program for law students interested in antitrust and unfair competition law that we hope to launch early next year.

The Section’s flagship program, the Golden State Institute (GSI), has been designed as a virtual offering this year, with two virtual sessions to be held each day for three consecutive days between October 27 and 29, 2020. The programming will include: (1) Recent Developments in Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law; (2) A Conversation with California Supreme Court Justice Joshua P. Groban; (3) Big States Antitrust Trial (New York v. Deutsche Telecom); (4) Antitrust and Social Justice; (5) Cartel Enforcement; and (6) A Conversation About Diversity, Racism, and Equality in the Legal Profession. It will also feature a pre-taped conversation with the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and two virtual networking events on October 27 and October 29.

The Section will honor its 2020 Antitrust Lawyer of the Year, Daniel Wall of Latham & Watkins LLP, at a celebratory dinner in April 2021.

The Section has continued to incubate and grow its privacy law offerings. This year will see the launch of a Privacy Treatise, a handbook on the California Consumer Privacy Act, and the inaugural California Privacy Forum—a virtual legal conference focused on educating attorneys on California privacy law that will feature a fireside chat with Stacey Schesser, Supervising Deputy Attorney General for the Privacy Unit in the Consumer Law Section of the Office of the California Attorney General.

As my tenure as Chair closes, I want to thank each of the members of the Executive Committee, our Section advisors, and the many talented volunteers on our standing committees. It is your hard work and dedication that make this Section the stand-out organization that it is. Thank you! You are all fantastic. It has been my honor to serve as your Chair.

In the coming year, the Antitrust, UCL and Privacy Section will be chaired by Qianwei Fu. I am excited to know that the Executive Committee, which will feature a diverse selection of new members, will continue its mission under Qianwei’s very capable stewardship.

There is so much more to come. Onward!

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