Law School to Host Conference on Federal-State Cooperation on Antitrust Matters


Media Contact: Nancy Goldfarb, 212-854-1584 or [email protected]. edu.
New York, Oct. 2, 2009 -- Top officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and state attorneys general offices will meet at Columbia Law School to discuss how they can improve cooperation in addressing antitrust issues.
The Oct. 7 event at Faculty House, “Antitrust Federalism: Enhancing the Federal/State Relationship,” is being sponsored by the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the Law School’s National State Attorneys General Program, which for the past five years has provided a forum for attorneys general to discuss issues such as the oversight of charitable organizations, consumer protection, and environmental concerns.
The featured speakers will be Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice; Jon D. Leibowitz, Chairman, Federal Trade Commission; and Richard Cordray, Attorney General of Ohio and co-chairman of the NAAG Antitrust Committee.
“The DOJ, FTC, and states work better under some administrations than others. Relations among the three had been somewhat strained during the Bush 2 administration,” said Stephen D. Houck, counsel at Menaker & Herrmann, and former chief of the antitrust division in the New York Attorney General’s office.
Most states, like the federal government, have laws to enforce antitrust actions. While there is some overlap, they hold different powers. The federal government can issue injunctions, while the states can sue for damages, according to Houck, who will moderate the conference.
“The power of the states and federal government can complement each other,” said Houck. “Under President Obama, officials from the DOJ and FTC have signaled that they want to enforce antitrust laws more aggressively. This conference is the beginning of the dialogue.”
The National State Attorneys General Program is headed by Director and Lecturer-in-law James Tierney and Ellen P. Chapnick, Dean for Social Justice Initiatives. It examines the implications of the jurisprudence of state attorneys general. 
Working closely with attorneys general, their staff, students, academics and other members of the legal community, the Program is active in the development and dissemination of legal information that state prosecutors are able to use in the carrying out of their civil and criminal responsibilities.